Date: September 6, 2008
For More Information Contact: Susan Hibbs (843)546-2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GEORGETOWN WOODEN BOAT SHOW TO HOST FIRST EVER NATIONAL BOAT
Georgetown, SC – The Harbor Historical Association of Georgetown will play host to the
first National Boat Building Championship in the U.S. in conjunction with the 19th
Annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Show on Saturday, October 18th, 2008. Competitive
boat building has been a part of the Wooden Boat Show since 1996.
Last year, WoodenBoat Magazine organized a National BoatBuilding Challenge circuit.
The first Challenge, however, was started by John Hansen, publisher of Boats and
Harbors magazine in 1981 in Newport, RI. Sponsored by SIKA Adhesives, six teams
built whatever model boat they wanted then raced them.
Four years later, at the Oyster Festival in Norwalk, CT, the first “one-design” competition
was held using Phil Bolger’s TEAL skiff. This became the model of choice at the
Georgetown challenge until 2001 when Georgetown’s Willie French and Randy Kinard
set an all-time record of one hour, eleven minutes and 34 seconds to build the 12-foot
With competitors getting just too fast, the Georgetown organizers contacted Carruthers
“B” Coleman at SEACO Yacht Designs in Lexington, KY, who designed a more
complicated skiff which became known as the 12” Georgetown Bateau. With the
creation of the Challenge circuit, the chosen hull is a modified version of Phil Bolger’s
12’ Monhegan skiff.
The first regional challenge was held in Belfast, ME in July 2007, followed by the
second in Georgetown, SC, last October. The third regional competition was held
recently in May in Beaufort, NC, during the North Carolina Maritime Museum’s
WoodenBoat Show. Belfast and Kingston, NY will also hold regional challenges this
year. Plans are to expand the regional contests to more areas over the next few years.
The first National Boatbuilding Championship will pit the top three local teams from
Beaufort, Belfast, Kingston and Georgetown against each other at noon on Saturday,
October 18, on the Georgetown waterfront. Teams will compete not only for the
national title but also to beat the current world record of 2 hours 27 minutes and 33
seconds. Upon completion, the teams will walk their skiffs across the street to be
launched on the Sampit River for the rowing portion of the contest.
Georgetown, the second largest port and third largest city in South Carolina, boasts a
250-year boatbuilding heritage. The Harbor Historical Association was founded to
celebrate the city’s nautical traditions and to raise funds to establish a Maritime
Museum. The annual Wooden Boat Show, of which the Boat Building Challenge is a
major component, along with donations, provides the money for the museum, now
housed in the historic Harper House that was moved to Front Street, and its exhibits.
Two years after the organizers started the Festival, Susan Sanders heard that
Charleston was discontinuing its maritime festival. She and others in the group decided
that Georgetown needed the popular boat building event. It is now a major event in the
afternoon with spectators popping in and out of the large tent on Front Street to cheer
on favorite teams and admire the skills and speed of the competitors.
In between, families and wooden boat lovers stroll Front Street and the Harborwalk,
seemingly transfixed by the array of classic yachts, from kayaks to large yachts. Kids
can build model boats and test them while parents admire artwork. The Georgetown
Wooden Boat Show is definitely a day-long excursion to savor.