OkoumeFest Wooden Boat Show

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Sunshine, a kindly breeze, and a whole bunch of beautiful boats made OkoumeFest 2015 a pleasant and memorable weekend. OkoumeFest 2016 will be May 13 & 14. 

OkoumeFest is Chesapeake Light Craft's annual open house and customer rendezvous, and was held May 15 and 16, 2015. This was the 17th year of this "messabout," a celebration of small wooden boats and the people who build them. (Okoume is the attractive plantation-grown tropical wood that is universally adored for building light craft.)

Thanks so much to everyone who participated this year! We had a spectacular array of homebuilt boats on display, people who traveled thousands of miles to attend, and heaps of great wooden boat vibes.

Following our by-now familiar format, we threw open the doors to our showroom and factory on Friday for tours and boatbuilding seminars, then served out grilled fare and drinks.  

Saturday shifted over to Matapeake State Park on nearby Kent Island.  It was plenty warm, but a steady breeze most of the day kept things pleasant, and all of the sailing craft were very busy.

Scroll down for the full recap. On-water photos continue on Page 2, and the award-winning boats are on Page 3. I'd like to thank the entire CLC staff and especially Ed Wigglesworth, CLC's chief operating officer, for the hard work and long hours required to make OkoumeFest unfold without a hitch.  Thanks again to Nick Schade for bringing his talent and knowledge to share.  And we are indebted, as always, to the Chesapeake Paddlers Association for their safety boats.

What did YOU think of OkoumeFest?  Let us know, and see you next year!  -John C. Harris 

An insider's look at the CNC machine

John gave a shop tour and demonstrated our gigantic new CNC machine.  It does magical work, but John explained why big, complicated computerized machinery can be anything but magical to operate.

Joey's Kayak Seat Seminar

Our friend and former colleague Joey Schott made a special trip from his new home in Florida to join us for the weekend.  Here he demonstrates how to customize your own kayak seat for a perfect fit. He used his sleek, black Petrel Play SG for show-and-tell.

Rigging Discussion in the Parking Lot

We rigged a variety of small craft for John's seminar on small boat rigs and rigging. A big subject;  as usual, John wished he had three hours rather than 45 minutes.

Kayak guru Nick Schade drove down from Connecticut to join us. He brought a trailer load of his typically gorgeous boats.

Nick Schade's Fiberglassing Demo

Nick led a big crowd in a fiberglassing seminar, sheathing the deck of a Great Auk 14.  

Friday Cookout

Outside, our colleague John Staub and his team fired up the grills and served delicious burgers and chicken.

Dinner Theater Setup

John Harris's always-popular varnishing demonstration served as dinner theater.

People came from far and wide, bringing their beauties with them for the next day's competition at the beach.

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Chesapeake Light Craft Fall Kit Sale 2015