In the Midst of Wooden Boats, Tall Ships

Day 41, Part 1, Grand World Voyage

Monday, Feb. 13, 2023; Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

My knowledge of Hobart before coming here was as the terminus of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, one of the classic offshore yacht competitions (along with the Newport-Bermuda Race and the Fastnet Race). It also is one of the most difficult. As someone who has sailed for much of my life, I do remember news of the tragic 1998 Sydney-Hobart race, when in a large storm five boats sank and six people died.

Today in Hobart the winds were moderate and by afternoon dozens of wooden boats of all sizes headed out into the bay. It is the final day of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, and we are seeing everything from small dinghies and kayaks to classic tall ships.

Today also is Sunday back in the states, and more specifically Super Bowl Sunday. Our team, the Kansas City Chiefs, is playing the Philadelphia Eagles for the title, and kickoff is at 10:30 this morning local time. Because the Zuiderdam docked here last evening, we could go ashore as early today as we wanted. So we disembarked around 8 a.m. to see some of this, the largest city on the island (and state) of Tasmania in Australia.

The dock and harbor are filled with displays, demonstrations and activities related to the wooden boat festival. The slips are full of classic and modern wooden boats. We stopped for a while to watch a demonstration of rope-making. Another section of the harbor had a display of antique machinery related to the maritime industry.

Hobart is another city in which I would enjoy spending a few days or longer. I love its yachting heritage and busy waterfront.

We returned to the ship at 10 a.m. to get good seats for the pre-game show and the Super Bowl. To be honest, the World Stage wasn’t very full yet. But I’ll write a separate post about watching the game for the second time from the Southern Hemisphere.

At 4 p.m., Capt. Friso announced that he would be making generous use of the ship’s horn as we leave the dock. About an hour earlier, dozens of sailing vessels left the marina and harbor for the bay, and we need to sail right through. In a bit of a repeat of our Sydney sail-away, we relied on the pilot boat to help warn off the sailboats. A general rule of thumb is that sailboats have the right of way over power boats, but that adage doesn’t hold up when big ships are involved. And who would want to risk the encounter?

This time the sailboats, who weren’t in the midst of a race, quickly moved to a different part of the bay.

I’m guessing that by the time you read this, you know who won the Super Bowl. We celebrated by having dinner at the Pinnacle with friends Laurie and Ed, also Kansas City fans. We took a step of faith in booking the celebratory dinner a few days earlier. I wish I could say that our confidence was what pushed the Chiefs over the top, but we really don’t have that much power.

I’ll leave you with a photo of one of the best rainbows I’ve seen in a while. It highlighted a lighthouse and graced us as we sailed out of Storm Bay toward the Great Australian Bight.