New Wooden Boat Festival for SA


South Africa has a new boat festival thanks to a group of classic boat enthusiasts, among them the country’s top commercial adventure operator.

The Stanford Wooden Boat Festival will launch this year as part of the Stanford River Festival, which historically attracts around 200 participants.  Expect a bigger crowd this year as wooden boat enthusiasts show off their craft on the sheltered waters of the Kleinrivier that feeds the Hermanus lagoon. The event is the brainchild of well known river adventurer and businessman Felix Unite who runs commercial operations in several popular destinations, including the Orange and Breede Rivers. Said Felix: “This is an opportunity for people interested in canoeing, SUPping, rowing, woodworking, and in particular, DIY building of wooden boats, to get together on and off the water and “compare notes”.”

“It’s an ideal opportunity to share one another’s building experiences, and get ideas from accomplished builders and materials/hardware suppliers.”

He said he was expecting DIY builders from as far a field as the Free State, as well as from Knysna which currently hosts its own Classic Wooden Boat Show – the first of its kind.

Unite told SABBEX the Stanford edition was born out of an appreciation that wooden boat enthusiasts lacked a community through which to gather information and indulge their hobby: “There seems to be a lot of interest, but nobody knew where to get information – no gathering of like-minded folk. So we thought the river festival is an ideal venue for people to get together who share this common interest.”

“What we are trying to create is a community where information is available,” he said.

Growing interest in wooden boats was evident in the increasing availability of supplies, particularly at a new woodworking store in Cape Town “which has all the tools that nobody previously imported because there was so little demand,” Unite said.

However demand is growing, with as many as 30 wooden boats expected to be on display in Stanford.

Said Unite: “These boats are works of art – they really are beautiful.”

The show takes place on the weekend of March 2-3.  For more information email Felix on

Share this: