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Join a nine day boat journey through Tasmania

by Ros Barnett/Sail-World Cruising on 24 Jun 2014
Tawe Nunnugah Living Boat Trust http://lbt.rforster.org/
Every two years, keen adventurers set off from Recherche Bay in the far south of Tasmania to row and sail to Hobart , over 100 nautical miles away, in a fleet of small boats. This expedition, Tawe Nunnugah('to go [by] canoe', from the language of the south- east Tasmania indigenous people) over 9 days, takes participants along some of Tasmania’s beautiful and unique coastline, from the wild south and along the spectacular and historic D’Entrecasteux Channel and up the Huon River before entering the Derwent River to Hobart. Registrations are now open.

Yes the Living Boat Trust is accepting registrations for Tawe Nunnugah 2015. This expedition for small wooden boats will start from Cockle Creek, arriving in the Derwent River on Friday 6th February 2015 to coincide with the Parade of Sail, the starting event for the Australian Wooden Boat Festival.


You don’t have to bring your own boat to take part. There are places available for people in the whaleboats and dinghies, and opportunities to crew on the bigger yachts. For the first time the fleet will have two groups? the early starting rowers who enjoy smooth waters, and the sailors who like to dawdle over breakfast and wait for the breeze later in the morning. The rowing boats range from single hander Derwent Skiffs (designed by Alan Witte) to the eight oars of the traditional whaleboat Swiftsure II, with several St Ayles skiffs (designed by Iain Oughtred) in between.

The Trust has organised a raid to every festival since 2001. Back then just a few dinghies made the journey, sailed by Huon Valley students and their parents and teachers. Now the fleet is larger, the logistics are more complex, and the participants come from all over the globe. The thing that stays the same is the joy of camping ashore every night, with great food, entertainment around the campfire, and setting off from the beach each day to have an adventure on the beautiful cruising waters of Tasmania’s south east.

Leaving Cockle Creek the raid visits Southport to participate in the Southport Regatta on Saturday, 1st February. From there the route stays close to the Bruny Island shore. There will be visits to interesting sites like The Quarries and Quarantine Station, a game of twilight cricket against the locals, and a ukulele slam. The produce of the island will be a big feature of the catering so expect oysters from Get Shucked, lamb from Cloudy Bay, cheese from Nick Haddow, and local berries and vegetables served up in the dining marquee. The chef who made the catering of the last two raids so memorable, Jamie Roberts, has signed on again, so every meal will be a cracker.

For the Living Boat Trust this means expanding the safety fleet to make sure there are enough fast boats to keep everyone in sight. Over the next six months many volunteers are going through training to update first aid, power boat and radio skills, as well as completing the Trust’s safety boat operations training. There is a vast amount of experience in the volunteer group but safety at sea is everyone’s responsibility and always the top priority. The shore support team is also bigger. All rowers and sailors need to do when they reach the camp is relax and enjoy.

The Danish schooner Yukon will again accompany the fleet and anyone wishing for a day trip or short passage on a larger boat should contact her directly by calling skipper, David Nash, on 0447 972 342 or visit Yukon Tours.

At the end of every raid many skippers immediately want to sign up for the next one. There are a few die hards who have done every tawe nunnugah since 2003! Repeat custom, and the fact that the Risk Management Plan approved by MAST sets a maximum fleet size, has meant that the Trust doesn’t need to do much publicity. Any skipper keen to take part should go to the event website and complete a boat registration. Raid coordinator, Ros Barnett, or Trust secretary, Richard Forster, will contact you to discuss the suitability of your boat and crew.

The Trust committee makes the final decision on which boats will form the fleet. The fee per boat is $80. For each person the daily rate is $120. This means the cost to do the full nine day raid for two people in one boat will be $2,240.

If you want more information call Ros Barnett on 0448 316 618 or email ros@lbt.org.au. She will be happy to tell you about the best small boat raid in Australia.
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