Chesapeake Light Craft will present its 20th annual small boat rendezvous, OkoumeFest, on Friday and Saturday, May 18-19, 2018.
“Okoume” is the plantation-grown African hardwood used in tens of thousands of CLC’s build-your-own-boat kits. OkoumeFest features an open house with technical seminars on Friday at the CLC plant in Annapolis, and on Saturday an on-the-water rendezvous at Matapeake State Park on Kent Island. This event is RAIN OR SHINE. Please note that if thunderstorms are detected nearby we’ll bring the boats off the water.
The Friday seminars are informative and fun, but the highlight of OkoumeFest always comes on Saturday, when we bring virtually everything in our shop over to the beach at Matapeake for our friends to paddle, row, sail, and generally put through their paces. We also encourage fellow boatbuilders to bring their homebuilt watercraft to show and compete for best-in-show honors and various awards.
OkoumeFest is also a special chance to try some of the boats, such as PocketShip, that they can’t usually take on the road with them. You’ll also be able to try out new designs, such as the Jimmy Skiff II, Tenderly XP, and the Waterlust Sailing Canoe. Attendance is free on both days this year, but please RSVP so that CLC can plan for the hordes.
Friday [schedule] features an open house at the CLC factory with shop tours, boatbuilding seminars with experts, and a cookout. Everything in the CLC store will be discounted, including boat kits.
On Saturday [schedule] the event moves to Matapeake State Park on Kent Island, where nearly 60 CLC boats will line the beach. They welcome you to try out boats all day long, or bring your own to show off.
The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) announced that sailors from the Sydney Flying Squadron, Australia’s oldest open boat sailing club, will be visiting Annapolis on September 13-17, 2017 to participate in a race regatta featuring classic American Sandbaggers and historical Australian 18-Footers. The Squadron is shipping their own fleet of historical 18-foot skiffs from Australia to Annapolis specifically for this event. They will also race their boats in the 8th Annual Classic Wooden Sailboat Rendezvous & Race on September 16-17.
The historical 18-foot skiffs, considered by many to be the fastest class of sailing skiffs, began racing on Australia’s Sydney Harbor in 1892 and later in New Zealand. They’re called “Aussie 18s” by their owners.
The 18-Footers will be launching everyday at 10:30 a.m. from the Annapolis Sailing School and will be on display to the public at 11:00 a.m. on the mornings of September 13, 14, 15 and 16 at the National Sailing Fame docks. For complete schedule of events for the boats and their crew click here.
About the boats:
Skipper: John Winning
Original built: 1932
Modern build: 2000
Builder: Robert Tearne
When launched on the Brisbane River this revolutionary skiff was an instant success – Aust 18’ champion four years in a row from 1933 to 1937 (skipper Vic Vaughan). Revolutionary because she was a heel-less skiff type 18 footer with seven foot beam and a depth of only two feet.
Skipper: Ian Smith
Original built: 1947
Modern build: 2001
Builder: Robert Tearne
Dedicated to and assisted by the Beashel family, who were famous 18-footer sailors. One of the key marks within Sydney Harbour is named the “Beashel Buoy“ and the name “Alruth” is a combination of Alf Beashel and his wife’s name Ruth. Their grandson, Colin, represented Australia in sailing and was Australian Team Captain and Flag Bearer at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Skipper: David Swales
Original built: 1943
Modern build: 2007
Builder: Billy Fisher, Jr.
Original built in 1943 by Bill Fisher, Sr. and his sons Tom and Jimmy. It was club champion in 1944 and 1945 and State Champion in 1945 and 1946. Replica built by Bill Fisher, Jr. as a tribute to his family, from a model owned and passed down through the generations.