2022 Big Little Boat Festival Recap: Part 1

Skip to Part 2 and more on-water photos

Skip to Part 3: Boatbuilding awards

The Big Little Boat Festival was held in Edgewater, Maryland, on May 27, 28, 29, 2022.

The Big Little Boat Festival, formerly known as "OkoumeFest," was on hiatus in 2020 for obvious reasons, and ran in 2021 as a low-key, socially-distanced, outdoors affair. This year's Big Little Boat Festival was the real thing. It was Big, there were many Little Boats, and we Festival'ed this thing like a rock band.

2022 marked our first 3-day-long rendezvous since 2007 or so. The change in venue to the spacious grounds of Camp Wabanna, at the convergence of the West and Rhode Rivers near Annapolis, gave us better water access, room for more camping, and several indoor spaces for seminars. 

Parking, never easy, was more of a challenge this year than we'd like, especially when Friday's downpour resulted in a large parking area being too soggy for Saturday traffic. We had a pretty big sailing crowd this year, but the big sandy beach was a "lee shore." If we return to this location next year, we'll make it easier for sailboats to get under way from the beach.

What did you think about the Big Little Boat Festival this year? Let us know at info@clcboats.com

Friday:


CLC brought 60 demo boats from Annapolis, an epic logistical feat. When does ANYONE move 60 wooden boats all at once?


Long-time participants who remember the treacherous hill at Matapeake State Park appreciated the ability to offload right at the beach. Especially the CLC team! 


This was the Great Outdoors in spring, and weather is always a coin-toss. Friday was cloudy and cool, with a boisterous mid-afternoon line of thunderstorms, and another in the evening that had us double-checking mooring lines. 


A row of CLC demo models lashed down before the squalls hit on Friday.


This went by around 1pm on Friday. We had lots of indoor seminars scheduled for Friday, so fortune smiled in that respect.



Joey Schott is a longtime CLC colleague who now builds high-tech carbon fiber kayaks under his own shingle, Turning Point Boatworks. Joey brought a pile of tooling and equipment and demonstrated the resin infusion process. A carbon fiber cockpit coaming is pressed into the mold inside a vacuum bag, and epoxy is drawn into the part by the vacuum pump. It's a tricky, highly esoteric process and fascinating to watch up close. 


John Harris held his small boat rigging seminar inside the gymnasium at Camp Wabanna.


There were a great many fascinating boats on display. Nick Schade brought a clean-sheet kayak design, which he calls the "Runner," intended to excel when paddled downwind in open water.


As always, Nick's craftsmanship is mind-boggling. The "Runner" is a fascinating and elegant kayak design, shaped by functional requirements alone, unburdened by the impulse to follow traditional design cues.


Dan Thaler tries out Nick Schade's Runner design.


The Annapolis Wherry Tandem having a spin on Friday.

Saturday:


Saturday dawned bright and fair, with a cool breeze that kicked up whitecaps at times.



Saturday morning on the beach, with an unwelcome rain puddle courtesy of Friday's squalls. 


52 athletes turned out at 0800 Saturday morning for the 3- and 6-mile paddling races. 46 were on stand-up paddleboards, and 6 were in kayaks. Paddling race results are here.

In the SUP category, Chris Sperry won the 3-mile race; Jack Ballard won the 6-mile race.

In the kayak fleet, Chad Tompkins took home the blue in the 3-miler, while Ryan Landis won on the 6-mile course.


The waterfront was busy all day Saturday. Here's an Adirondack Guideboat on display next to a Sassafras 16. (Don't call the Guideboat a canoe unless you want an oar upside your head. The Guideboat folks are touchy about this.)


The sailors had all the wind they wanted on Saturday; more photos in Part 2! Here's Dave Dawson's lug-rigged Autumn Leaves being chased by Doug Braun's PocketShip.


Eric Vance's jib-headed Autumn Leaves scuds off under "jib and jigger" to an anchorage Saturday night. This is a great example of the many sail reduction options a yawl rig with a jib offers.

Big Little Boat Festival
A nice breeze and puffy clouds on Saturday afternoon.


Another first for our annual rendezvous: live music! Brandon, the Wandering Bard, was one of several acts performing at the main pavilion over the weekend.

Onwards to Part 2!