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

We were lucky to have such a large and varied fleet this year.  John Harris, Nick Schade, and Jay Hockenberry undertook the taxing job of judging the entries, applying a formula that applied equal weight to design, craftsmanship, execution, bribery, and graft.

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

Kayak Kit

Neat veneer work on these North Bay XL kayaks.

Canoe Kit

Lew Lott brought a lovely Shearwater 14 Hybrid and this nicely executed strip-planked canoe.

Canoe kit

Ron Price used rice paper to apply dog prints beneath the fiberglass on this excellent Shearwater Sport Hybrid.

We especially appreciated this Maryland-themed Kaholo paddleboard built by Jim Calvert.

The Laszlo Award, which is given annually to the best Laszlo, was won by Laszlo.

Best SUP went to Lance Proctor for these beautiful strip-built SUPs of his own design.  He makes a virtually transparent non-skid surface on the decks using sugar or salt mixed with the varnish. For the record, it remains uncertain whether sugar or salt is the better nonskid treatment.  This was really beautiful boatbuilding, salty or sweet.

Tom Suppan took 2nd Runner-up Best Kayak with this very lacy Night Heron Hybrid.  Some very elaborate marquetry work on that deck!

Tom's geometric designs match his ring.  Or was it the other way around?

First Runner-up to Best Kayak went to perennial winner Dan Thaler for this, his second strip-built Petrel.

Dan's joinery is impeccable.  Look at those delicate accents!

Best Kayak was awarded to another Petrel, this one from Lou Farhood.

Petrel Kayak Kit

The winning kayak had lacewood accents.  Lou also brought a spectacular Guillemot with purpleheart inlays.

Best in Show went to Paul Sobon's Pacific proa. This proa is a 16-footer designed by Gary Dierking in the style of the indigenous craft still used in the Gilbert Islands, Kiribati, in the South Pacific.  This is a REAL proa, which swaps bow for stern when it tacks.

What won Paul the big prize was the incredible care taken in every detail of this complicated little sailboat.  All of the fittings are so neatly detailed and rendered that, at least to a boatbuilder, the effect is mesmerizing.  Paul admits that getting the boat dialed in took several years, but you wouldn't know it---whenever we do something like this we end up with a lot of filled-in screwholes, chafe spots, and temporary fittings.  "Overall execution" is the primary criteria for winning Best in Show, and this is as shipshape a job of it as we've ever seen.

Didn't hurt that John is a notorious proa nerd.

And so ended another OkoumeFest, with a gigantic migration of boats up the steep hill behind Matapeake Beach.

See you in 2016!

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