The Tall Ships in Town

Earlier this week I had a wonderful few hours wandering around the Hobart docks admiring all the Tall Ships. The Australian Wooden Boat Festival has been held here since 1994 and apparently there were around 500 boats registered.

Many of these were “little” boats and included some handcrafted wooden dingies and also classic speed boats. I hope the Wooden Boat Centre got a few enrolments in their boat building courses – they may be one of the few places teaching traditional boatbuilding methods in the world.

But the Tall Ships – they are my real delight. Just gazing up at the rigging – even in port starts my mind imagining – what if? What would it have been like? If only? . . . At times like this I wonder why I write fantasy and not historical fiction, but I suppose I can put sailing ships into a my worlds if I want.

Hobart, being such a small city, gives a very intimate opportunity to imagine the world even just 100 years ago. It was possible to just ignore some of the modern buildings and paraphernalia and look thought the masts and spars and see original condition bond stores and warehouses, just where they were when the tall ships were the only way to get to Van Diemen’s Land.

My favourite of the day was probably the Europa – the only one with a real figurehead – forever travelling the seas with her lover Zeus who was disguised as a bull.

It’s not often that several passions come together – ships, history, mythology, lovely Spring weather but it did for me. I’d love to hear in the comments below about some writerly research you’ve done that didn’t involve the internet.

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