Saturday’s Challenge: Boatbuilding Noon – 4pm, Race at 5 pm
TEAM #1: Marshall Jessen, McClellanville SC & Rigel Jessen, McClellanville SC ( and Aiden Jessen)
Special Award: Safest Team
This father/son team is building for the 4th time. Marshall is a Challenge veteran, having won the contest in 2002, 2005, and 2006. One year, he miraculously built a boat by himself and unbelievably finished in under 4 hours. He’s also an excellent rower.
TEAM #2: Bobby Staab, Morehead City NC & Josh Fulp, Morehead City NC
1st Place, Dynamite Payson National Award Winners, World Record Holders (1:45:03)
Bobby has directed and coached the boat building team from Croatan High School since its inception in 2007. Last year his high school team placed 3rd in the Georgetown Challenge. Josh is a three-time winner of the Beaufort Challenge High School Division, and a recipient of the North Carolina Boat Building Heritage Foundation High School Achievement Award. Since graduating from high school, Josh has teamed up with his former coach, Bobby, and they have been unstoppable. Last year they broke the world record in Georgetown with a time of 2:12:36.
TEAM #3: Keane McLaughlin, Summerville SC & Craig McLaughlin, Charleston SC
2nd Place Tie (2:46:36) / Special Award: The Broken Oar Award
The McLaughlin brothers have built several boats ranging from 8’ to 40’. Keane is a landscape architect for a large engineering firm and Craig owns and operates a boutique graphic design/advertising firm. They believe they have lady luck on their side by having all their twenty fingers still intact. This is their second time competing in Georgetown. Last year they placed second overall. They also placed second in the Beaufort NC Challenge last May.
TEAM #4: Sherwood Lapping, Charlotte NC & Jenks Ravenel
Sherwood is a general contractor and a life-long wood worker and carpenter. Jenks, a computer security consultant, enjoys sailing and woodworking. This year is their second Challenge. Last year, as rookies, they managed to finish just under the four hour limit and took home no silver. This year, they’re determined to do better.
TEAM #5: Victor Woods, Surfside SC & Josh Woods, Greenville SC
Victor (father) is a serious fisherman. He has been in the construction business for over 40 years, but this will be the first boat he’s ever built. Josh (son) is a do-it-yourselfer who loves the water, a challenge, and some bonding time with his dad. Both team members will be thrilled if they finish the competition with a complete boat while retaining all their fingers and toes AND their pride.
TEAM #6: Zack Westmoreland & Mark Westmoreland, Myrtle Beach, SC
This team is back for the second year. Zack, a carpenter and woodworker, competed in 2012 with a different brother. He says he’s found the best carpenter in SC. He loves to work with wood in any shape or form and has a knack for thinking things through. Brother Mark claims that he can drive nails from 50 feet away with just his voice. He has a love for woodworking, a good eye for detail and enjoys playing pool, fishing and spending time with family.
TEAM #7: Casey White, Matthews NC & Skip White, Murrells Inlet, SC
2nd Place Tie (2:42:30)
This father/son team has competed together and against each other in years past. Skip is a general contractor and boat enthusiast. Casey grew up helping his father build houses and now has his own general contracting business.
TEAM #8: Thomas Jennings & Kelly, Myrtle Beach, SC
TEAM #9: Mike Erickson, N. Charleston SC & Alex Gracin, Charleston, SC
Mike is from Kokomo, Indiana. In 2013 he made a paddle board entered it into the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show. Alex is from Heflin, Alabama. He has never built a boat before. This team is competing for the first time.
TEAM #10: NO POWER TOOLS!!! Tom Russell, John Coffman, Bob Bailey, Sea Level, NC
Special Award: Quietest Team
Tom got involved in boat building when he entered the Beaufort Boatbuilding in their first year, 2007. He has been building boats ever since. Prior to boat building, he was a cabinet maker. John is a retired computer analyst. He has been volunteering at the Watercraft Center of the NC Maritime Museum for many years. That is where Tom met John. John talked him into being his partner in the Beaufort Challenge and a great friendship has blossomed. Bob was a carpenter and framer at Old Salem Village in Salem, Mass., so he has working with hand tools his whole life. This team will be fascinating to watch. They will use only hand tools to build the Challenge boat and plan to complete it within the 4-hour time period.
Sunday’s Master Boatbuilders Challenge: Boatbuilding 11 am- 3pm
TEAM #1: Mark Bayne, Charleston SC & Rob Dwelley, Hope, ME – The Winners!
Mark was a key player in getting the Boatbuilding Challenge started in Georgetown in 1996. As a competitor with Doug Jayne, he came in first that year. In 1997 and 1999, Mark and Todd Frizelle prevailed. Mark is currently directing the boat building program at Cape Fear Tech in Wilmington, NC. He has come full circle, having been in the first graduating class at Cape Fear in 1979. In the interim, he has built over 100 wooden boats and has restored countless others. Mark’s signature achievement was being the shipwright in building the Spirit of South Carolina, a 140 foot schooner launched in 2007.
Rob needs no introduction to the Challenge boat building in Georgetown, having served every year but one, since 1996, as director and play-by-play announcer – up on a tall ladder with microphone, keeping the spectators apprised of how the teams are doing. He was involved in competitive boat building before coming to Georgetown, both as a competitor and as a director, beginning in 1982. He’s no stranger to woodworking since his livelihood has been as building contractor/project manager in Camden, ME. Not surprisingly, Rob is a devoted sailor as well. In our era of i-phones and computers, Rob believes it’s still important for young people to be able to skillfully work with their hands, build things, and experience the pride of achievement; ergo, his devotion to the Wooden Boat Challenge.
TEAM #2: Willie French, Georgetown, SC & John Lammonds, Pawleys Island, SC
Willie is a New Zealander and has been hooked on boats all his life. After finishing school, he apprenticed in a boatyard in Tauranga, where he gained tradesman status. Once fiberglass took charge in boat building, Willie embarked on his “OE” (overseas experience) which he is still experiencing. After discovering Georgetown, he put his tradesman’s knowledge to work and won the 2000 Challenge with partner, Jim Harmon. He and various teammates became unbeatable and shattered one world record after another. He then took furlough from boat building competition until he was coaxed into competing in the inaugural in Belfast, ME where he proceeded to blow away the field, winning by better than one hour Willie claims his last hurrah will be this 25th anniversary Challenge contest for Masters, but who knows, we’ve heard that song before.
At night, John can be seen pickin’ and grinnin’ with his guitar at some of the better local bistros. During the day John builds things – canoes, fine furniture, high-end cabinetry, and musical instruments. He has even rebuilt a plantation home and a historic home here in the county. Talk about an all-around guy! He has also been a star of the Wooden Boat Challenge here in Georgetown. In 2008, he teamed up with Dan Skerman and placed first in world-record time. In 2010 and 2012, the same pair placed second overall, thanks to John’s less-than-stellar performance in the rowing portion of the contest, as he has conceded. For consolation, John teamed up with Edwin McCain in the first episode of the reality show called “Boats Have Souls”.
TEAM #3: Fred Hoelscher, Georgetown, SC & Sean Hoelscher, Myrtle Beach, SC
Fred has participated in at least nine Challenges since 2001 when he teamed up with son, Sean. They didn’t finish the boat completely, but to be able to compete in the rowing leg, they slapped the boat together with duck tape to make it seaworthy (sort-of). They won no prize but were given a special award for ingenuity and stick-to-it-tivness. Daughters and friends followed as Fred’s teammates, and though not yet a winner Fred continues to exhibit his doggedness. One of Fred’s latest achievements is to conduct the Museum’s Youth Sailing Program in the summer. This has become a winner for Fred.
Sean is an agronomist and landscape architect with the City of Myrtle Beach where landscape architecture is sorely needed. In the Challenge, he has finished in three in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2012, Sean and his teammate Clint Goude were the first winners of the Dynamite Payson Trophy for winning the National Boatbuilding Challenge in Beaufort, NC. (Dynamite, a Maine boat designer, builder, and author, now deceased, was and is the fountainhead of small wooden boat building.)
TEAM #4: Dave Lowe, Georgetown, SC & Skip White, Murrells Inlet, SC
“A Way with Words” says that powerboat owners are habitually dismissive of sailors as preppy, pernicious, or just plain nerds and refers to them as “blow boaters”. Dave Lowe is neither preppy, pernicious, nor nerdy, though he is a devoted sailor. He learned to sail on a Sunfish in Murrells Inlet in 1984 and has cruised and raced sailboats ever since, up and down the Carolinas coast and in the Carribean. After settling in Georgetown, he has taken a strong liking to the Wooden Boat Show and the Boatbuilding Challenge. He first jumped into the Challenge with Dave Zimmerman in 2000 and 2001. In 2003, he teamed up with Skip White, and they took second place, thereby establishing their legitimacy immediately. He has competed off and on since, always being a strong contender. Dave also assisted Fred Hoelscher in teaching kids how to sail in the Museum’s Youth Sailing Program. The kids were taught sailing straight from the horse’s mouth.
Skip is a general contractor and boating buff. Knowing how to build things and liking boats is a perfect match for becoming a Challenge competitior. Skip has risen to a point of distinction amongst the Challenge aficionados. After competing with Dave Lowe in 2003 and 2004, Skip competed with his son Casey in 2005 (third place), 2006 (world record), 2007,2008 (third place), and 2009 (fourth place). Skip reunited with Dave in 2010 and place first that year and again in 2012. Lowe and White is a formidable combination.