Chesapeake Light Craft

Page 3: Chesapeake Light Craft's OkoumeFest at Matapeake State Park, Kent Island, Maryland

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Awards celebrating the craftsmanship of homebuilt boats have been an institution at OkoumeFest for twenty years. We were thrilled at the number and quality of home-built boats that showed up at OkoumeFest this year! We tried to get photos of everybody but inevitably some got away. Thanks to EVERYONE for bringing their boats!

Alexander Meller built this perfect Petrel SG. The plywood has been stained, and note the strip of wood veneer glued down the centerline.

This is Bill Rich's Chester Yawl. John Harris, the boat's designer and one of the judges, was fond of the paint scheme. John paints all of his own boats.

Scott Hudson's very clean Northeaster Dory.

William "Red" Deslatte brought a terrific rendition of an Eastport Pram.

William "Red"Deslatte's Eastport Pram. Note the strip overlays on the seats.

Karl Nisson, longtime friend of CLC and OkoumeFest participant, built this flashy Kaholo SUP with a cedar-strip deck.

Tailblock detail on Karl Nisson's Kaholo SUP.

Karl Mikan built this Southwester Dory. Once again, lots of points for a thoughtful paint scheme!

Karl Mikan's Southwester Dory.

Karl Mikan's Southwester Dory.

Fun details! Karl Mikan grafted a golf ball onto the end of his tiller extension as a hand-hold. We intend to steal this idea at the first opportunity.

Bill Hudson built this Passagemaker Dinghy as a tender for a 36-foot catamaran.

Among lots of nice details, we appreciated Bill Hudson's tiller design. (Reuse and recycle!)

Judges this year were John Harris, Nick Schade, and Matt Cordrey. Here we are giving out Saturday's first prize, BEST YOUTH BOATBUILDER. It went to Ryler Manheim (and his dad Jonathan).

Ryler and Jonathan Manheim built this Sabot Dinghy from scratch. Included was a cool "butcher-block" foredeck glued up from cypress.

Ryler and Jonathan's Sabot Dinghy.

This year's LASZLO AWARD, a long tradition awarded each year to the best Laszlo, was awarded to...Dan Thaler. (You had to be here.)

BEST STRIPPER (A returning category this year) went to Kevin Shetrompf's Wee Lassie canoe. 

Details in Kevin Shetrompf's Wee Lassie.

The judges agreed that Kevin Shetrompf's Wee Lassie was one of the nicest renditions we've ever seen of this popular design.

3rd RUNNER-UP BEST SMALL CRAFT went to Eric Vance, who retrofitted his Northeaster Dory as a yawl!

Eric Vance's Northeaster Dory.

Eric Vance camp-cruises the boat. Note the clever arrangement of the mosquito net. There's one good reason to add a mizzen mast!

Eric Vance's Northeaster Dory, showing float bag, stern thwart, boomkin, and rowing compass.

Eric Vance's Northeaster Dory.

2nd RUNNER-UP BEST SMALL CRAFT went to Brian Forsyth, for this beautifully clean Iain Oughtred-designed Skerrie Skiff. (No relation to the CLC Skerry.)

The Skerrie-Skiff is a glued-lapstrake pulling boat, built over a mold. Brian did a great job!

1st RUNNER-UP SMALL CRAFT went to Joe Slusher, who designed and built this canoe-yawl. 

Joe Slusher's canoe-yawl.

Joe Slusher's traditional canoe-yawl (a type of boat that helped bring the middle class into yachting 120 years ago) has lovely lines and is really well thought-through. Patrick O'Brian fan John Harris gave Joe extra points for the boat's name, "Ringle."

While the judges fought like animals throughout the process, and will likely never speak to one another again*, they were unanimous in awarding BEST SMALL CRAFT to Eric DuPont's Chester Yawl. These prizes often have more to do with what's NOT there than what has been added to the design. This Chester Yawl has everything it needs, and no extra lace or filigree. Just beautiful, clean joinery everywhere.  *Just kidding about the judges...

Spacered inwales, an option on the Chester Yawl, look especially nice on Eric DuPont's rendition.

Hard to capture all of the niceties in the camera. One thing we did NOT capture on Eric DuPont's Chester Yawl was the hilarious double-entendre name emblazoned on the transom. But this is a family website, so you'll have to track down Eric next time around...

2nd RUNNER-UP PADDLING CRAFT went to Howard Spira, who brought two strip-planked kayaks. This one is a Bjorn Thomasson "Frej," 507cm long and 53cm wide.

Howard Spira also built this clean-as-a-whistle Nick Schade-designed Petrel kayak.

Another shot of Howard Spira's Bjorn Thomasson "Frej."

1st RUNNER-UP PADDLING CRAFT went to Art Phelps, who designed and built this intriguing recreational kayak. 

Art's kayak includes stabilizers mounted astern. A fisherman could stand in the cockpit and cast.

It's easy to look past the painted wooden boats, but Art's design is beautifully executed, with loads of thoughtful details.

The outriggers fold up for easy transport, or can be removed entirely.

Nice spray rail and bumper detail at the bow.

BEST PADDLING CRAFT was awarded without any argument whatsoever to Dave Greenbaum for this skin-on-frame solo canoe he designed and built.

Like so many of our OkoumeFest winners over the years, nothing about Dave Greenbaum's canoe knocked you down the first time you saw it. Rather, it's the accumulation of nice details, executed without a single misstep, that are what grab you about this design. 

Dave Greenbaum has years of experience with solo canoes, and that deep background dawns on you the more you study this one-of-a-kind design.

The fact that the craftsmanship was so lovely was icing on the cake.

BEST IN SHOW went to Soren Jacobsen for this furniture-grade Sassafras 16 canoe.

Just as with Dave Greenbaum and Eric DuPont, it isn't any one single detail that pushed the judges towards "Best in Show." It's not the flash. It was the thoughtful fusion of design and execution, resulting in a boat of exceptional beauty and value.

This is actually the stock Mark I version of the Sassafras 16 kit, enhanced throughout with clean, understated upgrades. Yes, the interior plywood is stained.

We couldn't help but give Soren points for the laminated wineglass holders. (These carry only non-alcoholic beverages, of course. Ahem.)

Paddles built to match the laminated coloration in the thwarts!

Yeah, it's just a hole for a grab-loop at the bow, but look how clean it is! This writer has been responsible for a lot of ragged holes of this sort...

Custom-cast hardware on access ports in the bow and stern chambers.

Congrats to Soren Jacobsen, and EVERYONE who brought boats to OkoumeFest this year!

See you in 2020!

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Were you at OkoumeFest 2019? Please let us know what you thought.