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Awards celebrating the craftsmanship of homebuilt boats have been an institution at OkoumeFest since the earliest days.

John Harris and Jay Hockenberry were burdened with the task of picking favorites from a large and varied fleet. The winning formula varies each year, and with the mood of the judges, but generally we're looking for overall quality of execution.  Sometimes an understated boat that's done perfectly is just as cool as something splashy.  This year we had winners of both types!

A few photos just to highlight the range of finishes on display:

Paulonia SUP by Lance Proctor

Lance Proctor was back with another very pretty SUP that he designed and built.  He used paulownia with western red cedar accents.

Rob Macksk' strip canoe

We didn't catch the name of the builder, but this is a lovely strip-planked canoe.

Petrel Kayak Kit

Dan Thaler's Petrel kayaks.

Joe Ycas' Tandem Wherry

Joe Ycas brought his Tandem Wherry.

Ben Rooper's Petrel SG

Ben Rooper's Petrel SG

Scott Knapp's Fliptail folding boat

This Fliptail 7 folding boat built by Scott Knapp drew a lot of attention. In fact, it drew the judges' attention, too, and was named runner-up for Best Smallcraft.

The folding boat on the water.

Steve Judson: Canoe Yawl

Best Smallcraft went to Steve Judson for "Moonraker," his elegant Iain Oughtred MacGregor Canoe Yawl. John is a sucker for canoe yawls.

Scott Judson: Canoe Yawl

Scott Judson: Canoe Yawl

Len Thunberg: Greenland Night Heron

Robert Bunch's handsome High Deck Night Heron Hybrid provided some serious competition in the Best Kayak division ...

Greenland Night Heron

Len Thunberg took Runner-up Best Kayak with this very posh Greenland Night Heron.

Greenland Night Heron: Len Thunberg

Len also built this very good-looking skin-on-frame kayak designed by Cape Falcon.

Best Kayak: Frank Sharkowicz

After much hand-wringing, the judges awarded Best Kayak to Frank Sharkowicz for this impressive Petrel with an aluminized fiberglass sheathing.

The fiberglass, which Frank found at a specialty shop, is not impregnated with aluminum, merely coated with it.  This means...a REALLY tricky application job. No sanding of exposed surfaces, for example.  That got him extra points.


Best in Show went to Paul Sobon for his DN-class iceboat. Sadly the water wasn't cold enough for a demonstration. Paul won Best in Show last year with his Marshallese proa. The only question is:  What will Paul bring next year?

Iceboat by Paul Sobon

As usual, it was the accumulation of extremely well thought-out details and execution that got Paul his second bullet.

This kind of care and detail wins prizes!  Note the neat banding of contrasting wood at the end of the boom.  And if you look really closely, you'll see that the groove for the foot of the sail is a well-concealed length of PVC tubing.  Brilliant!

Iceboat by Paul Sobon

And finally, the storm came:

Which did not stop the indefatigable CLC staff from loading boats. In the rain.

Then it cleared off, and some of the damp-but-still-smiling CLC mob posed for the camera.  

See you next year, from the crew at CLC!

See you in 2017!

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