Plenty to sea

| posted on April 20, 2017

THE Festival of the Sea proved a hit with the crowds at the Albany Boat Shed on Saturday.

With a busy list of activities rostered throughout the day, the festival had broad appeal, but the bid for boat-building supremacy attracted the largest concentration of spectators.

Three groups of keen builders put their skills to the test, applying a combination of carefully planned boat design and time-poor methods as they raced the clock to create a craft from set materials that could survive a quick lap of Albany’s inner harbour.

At the end of the five-hour building allotment the three boats were scrutineered by the crowd, with assistance from none less than America’s Cup winning builder Steve Ward.

Under instruction from locally sanctioned racing official John Doust and with international yachting greatness on board the rescue boat, the three distinctly unique craft initially floundered from the start as they came to terms with basic operation of their DIY dinghies.

After rounding the top mark, the results became a foregone conclusion as the crew on board Mississinking battled the challenge of their boat living up to its name.

Despite the sound propulsion methods of the quasi paddle-steamer and a swift looking sculler, it was the superior power-to-weight ratio of the young crew of Ben and Luke Griffiths that finished the course first in their slick kayaking craft, drawing applause from the amused crowd.

At the other end of the boat building spectrum, the two St Ayles skiffs that were available for rowing demonstrations drew plenty of interest.

Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club’s John Longley said he hoped to raise enough interest for a skiff to be built locally for community use.

Among the land-based attractions at the festival was chef Peter Manifis who slaved away in the purpose-built kitchen, working with fresh local ingredients including Australian Salmon in his cooking demonstrations.

Festival coordinator Jenny Rickerby was delighted with the attendance, considering it was one of the busiest weekends in Albany.

Funds raised from the event will go towards restoring an historic fishing vessel Wildflower.