OkoumeFest: A Boatbuilders' Rendezvous

Location: Chesapeake Light Craft, Annapolis, Maryland
Dates: Friday, May 15, 2015 - Saturday, May 16, 2015

   Friday, May 15th: Open House in Annapolis
   Saturday, May 16th: Boat Demos on Kent Island

Mark your calendars, wooden boat lovers and builders: Chesapeake Light Craft will present its 17th annual small boat rendezvous on Friday and Saturday, May 15-16, 2015.

OkoumeFest Beach"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.

The Friday seminars are useful and interesting, 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 welcome fellow boatbuilders, who bring their beautifully built watercraft to show and compete for best-in-show honors. This is a special chance to try some of the boats, like PocketShip, we can't usually take on the road with us, and some that are brand-new designs, like the Outrigger Junior.  Attendence is free on both days this year, but please register so that we can plan accordingly. 



More than 300 people attended last year's OkoumeFest, not only to attend boatbuilding seminars or have a test run in one of CLC’s 55 demonstrator boats, but also to show off boats they had built themselves.  CLC offers awards to amateur-built boats, many of which took hundreds of hours to build and look like exotic furniture. The event draws small boat aficionados from as far away as New England, Florida, and the west coast.

OkoumeFest 2014 Recap

Watch the video below to learn more about the event.




A few important announcements for those signing up: 


Keep scrolling for an overview of OkoumeFest 2015.  The event is FREE, and spreads over two days:

Friday is an open house at our shop here in Annapolis, beginning at 1pm. Throughout the afternoon we'll have shop tours, boatbuilding demonstrations and seminars---a reception with food and drink will begin around 5pm. Joining us will be kayak design guru Nick Schade, author of the Guillemot and Petrel lines of eye-catching performance craft, including some new stitch-and-glue models, with a special demonstration.

We'll announce the schedule soon.


We'll also be blowing out a lot of old and new inventory at the shop on Friday.  There will be some great deals on boat kits, supplies, and gear.  



On Saturday we move across the Bay to Matapeake, a lovely park on Kent Island.   

  •  9:00:  On-water demos begin
    All day, kids boatbuilding on the beach!
  •  3:00:  Judging for awards begins 
  •  4:00:  Awards, including Best Smallcraft, Best Kayak, and Best in show 
  •  5:00:  Pack up   

With a huge sandy beach, there is room for everyone to spread out.  The kids will love the place.  We have a special table just for the little ones, with free boat models they can assemble and decorate themselves.


From 9am to 5pm---weather permitting---you can try out our fleet of boat kits on the water, meet other builders, or launch your own boat.  Yes, PocketShip will be there, too.

Important Notes Regarding Saturday:

  • Bring your own picnic lunch or grab food at the Matapeake Cafe onsite.
  • Bring your own Paddles & Life Jackets.  We'll have lots of gear for in-water trials, but you can help us keep the lines down by bringing your own.
  • The hill from the unloading area to the beach is significant.  If you are bringing smallcraft or a large kayak, you'll be glad that you brought your dolly.
  • If you are trailering a larger craft like PocketShip, you'll need to use the Matapeake Launch Ramp, shown on the map here.  If you park your vehicle and trailer at the ramp, there's a nominal fee.

As always, we'll be handing out prizes in various categories:  Best Kayak, Best SmallcraftBest in Show, and a few more this year.  Whether you enter your boat or not, don't miss this unique celebration of small wooden boats.

See you there!  (If you can't make it, check for updates on our Facebook page)

Map & Directions:


GPS users can find us at OkoumeFest by plugging in the following addresses.


Friday at the CLC Shop:
Chespeake Light Craft
1805 George Avenue
Annapolis, Maryland 21401 

Saturday at the Beach:
Matapeake State Park
201 Clubhouse Drive
Stevensville, Maryland 21666 

To get to Matapeake from Annapolis, take Route 50 Eastbound across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and get off at the first exit on Kent Island (exit 37 - Route).  Turn right on Route 8 and follow it South for about two miles.  This map will guide you the rest of the way (click to enlarge):

OkoumeFest Map 

There are numerous lodging options on either side of bay: Annapolis Accommodations - Kent Island Accommodations