26th Annual Wooden Boat Show Announced

26th Annual Wooden Boat Show, Georgetown, SC
October 17 and 18, 2015
Contact: Sally Swineford 843-340-3879
Email: boats@dev.woodenboatshow.com

26th Annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Show is set for October 17 and 18

The Harbor Historical Association of Georgetown will present the 26th Annual Wooden Boat Show on Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18, 2015. This year's show, which has no admission fee, will feature one of the nation's best wooden boat exhibits, two wooden boatbuilding competitions, children's model boatbuilding, knot tying, maritime art & crafts, food and music. These events will take place on the waterfront and along Front Street in Historic downtown Georgetown. Proceeds will benefit the South Carolina Maritime Museum.


Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

On Saturday, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., more than 140 classic wooden boats will be displayed in the water and along Front Street. Vessels ranging in sizes from kayaks to cruising yachts will be exhibited in categories including: row, canoe, kayak, surfboard, sail, inboard power, outboard power, owner designed and built, century class (100 years or older), model boats and “classic” categories for boats that are aged 50 years or older. Visitors will be able to meet and talk to wooden boat craftsmen, manufacturers and owners. Maritime art & crafts will also be on display.

The Wooden Boat Challenge will begin at noon under the big tent on Broad Street. Two-person teams will race to build a rowing skiff within a four-hour time limit. At 5 p.m. the competitors will test their completed skiffs for seaworthiness in a rowing relay across the Sampit River. The teams will be scored on speed of construction, quality of work and rowing speed. Cash prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place winners.

At 7 p.m. an awards ceremony and banquet will be held for boat exhibitors, boatbuilding competitors, sponsors and guests. Prizes will be presented to the winners in each of the exhibit categories as well as the People's Choice Grand Award winner, to the Six Knot Challenge winner, and to the winning Wooden Boat Challenge competitors.


Sunday, October 18, 2015 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

In addition to the boat and commercial exhibits, family activities will include an Opti Pram regatta featuring the SC Youth Sailing program’s fleet of wooden Optis, knot tying with Dan the Knot Man and kid’s model boat building. 

Other activities will be announced closer to the event.

The Harbor Historical Association, a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization, produces the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show. For more information, to register a boat for exhibit or to sponsor this event contact Georgetown Wooden Boat Show, PO Box 2228, Georgetown, SC, 29442; or send an email to boats@dev.woodenboatshow.com. Visit the website at www.dev.woodenboatshow.com.


About the Georgetown Wood Boat Show:
The Georgetown Wooden Boat Show was the winner of the 2014 Charles A. Bundy Award presented by SC Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Tourism at the Governors Conference on Travel and Tourism. The Bundy Award recognizes contributions to rural tourism in South Carolina. In 2013, '14 and '15 the boat show received the prestigious designation as a Top 20 Event for October by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Georgetown Wooden Boat Show: Records set for crowd and boat building

By Jason Lesley,  Coastal Observer

For more photos by Tanya Ackerman, Coastal Observer go HERE 

The silver anniversary Georgetown Wooden Boat Show was as good as gold.

From the brilliant October sunshine gleaming off the polished wood and brass of boats on display along Front Street and the Harborwalk, to estimates of the biggest crowd, the most sponsors and a new world record, Georgetown was awash in visitors Saturday and Sunday.

Last year’s Wooden Boat Show lifted spirits in the community just weeks after a fire destroyed five buildings on Front Street. The rubble has been removed, but evidence of that tragic fire remains in the form of a big gap in the 700 block along the Harborwalk. The fire is history now, not something to keep the area’s residents at home on their favorite weekend, especially with days dawning to a light autumn chill and giving way to Indian summer.

“I think it was the biggest crowd we’ve ever had,” said Johnny Weaver, president of the Harbor Historical Association, sponsor of the boat show. “You couldn’t help but have a big crowd with the kind of weather we had.” Weaver said there were 160 exhibits that extended into the 900 block of Front Street for the first time. Many of the businesses displaced by last year’s fire moved to the 900 block.

Street vendors were selling pileau and shrimp creole, but Front Street restaurants and their sidewalk tables were jammed with customers. “Businesses tell us that the boat show is the best day they have all year long,” Weaver said. “We don’t have a lot of stuff that competes with them.” Ron Rader, resident of the Hagley community and owner of Coffee Break Cafe, said both Saturday and Sunday were excellent.

This year’s show included two music stages on opposite ends of Front Street, featuring bluegrass and classic guitar and banjo picking. That all the instruments were wooden seemed to be a given.

Craftsmen profited too. Woodcarver Rick Hendrick of North Myrtle Beach said he closes his store, Rick and Billy’s Carvings and More, to attend the Georgetown boat show. “I do better here in one day than I do in two or three days at other places,” he said. Hendrick turns scrap wood, roots and driftwood into sea creatures. He said he buys roots by the trailer-load and looks for the animals in the wood. “I either see it right away,” he said, “or it can sit for a year or two.” He works with a chain saw, a grinder and a sander to produce his sculptures. He said he would be carving on-site at boat shows in Mobile, Ala., and Biloxi, Miss., and would consider carving at Georgetown’s show if it remains two days.

Not everything on display had a price tag, though a boat is almost always for sale. Darrell Hodo of the Isle of Palms was showing a Carolina Dory, a mahogany and oak runabout, he built. Hodo has been coming to the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show since 1993 and judged some of the boatbuilding contests. “It’s grown every year,” he said.

Richard and Gwen Heusel of Pawleys Island tied in voting for the People’s Choice Award for exhibiting Miss Velvet, their 12-foot Taylor strip boat built in 1996, with Barry Blaisdell of Gloucester, Mass., for a 37.5-foot Crocker built in 1960 named Gabriel.

Buddy Lindsay of the Hagley community was showing a 1993 Beetle Cat 2 built in Dorchester, Mass., in the shape of a Nantucket whaler but just half the size. Lindsay said John Beetle built the first model in 1921 to teach his grandson to sail. Neighbors admired the craft and he started building boats for them. Sales have surpassed 4,000, and Beetle Inc., is an industry in Wareham, Mass. Famous owners include or have included U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, movie director Steven Spielberg, designer Calvin Klein and the late Jacqueline Onassis, who had one shipped to Greece in 1969 for John F. Kennedy Jr. and Caroline Kennedy to learn sailing. Lindsay won an exhibit award for his boat, Sonship II.

A North Carolina team established a new world record for building the Georgetown bateau in the Wooden Boat Challenge on Saturday. Bobby Staab of Cape Carteret, N.C., and Josh Fulp of Morehead City, N.C., already held the speed record of 2 hours, 12 minutes and finished Saturday’s competition in 1 hour, 45 minutes. They won the Dynamite Payson National Award.

Three-time winner Marshal Jessen of McClellanville — he was champion in 2002, ’05 and ’06 — had his sons Aiden and Rigel, as partners this year and they won the award for being the safest team.

The boatbuilding team drawing the most interest from onlookers Saturday was one using only hand tools. Tom Russell and John Coffman of Sea Level, N.C., teamed with furniture maker Bob Bailey of Woodleaf, N.C., to place sixth in the contest and win an award for “quietest team.” Russell and Coffman were said to have lost the Beaufort boatbuilding challenge one year when they stopped to eat a sandwich.

Masters boatbuilding winners were Mark Bayne of Charleston and Rob Dwelley, of Hope, Maine. They built the Teal, a classic Phil Bolger double-ended instant rowboat design. Skip White of Murrells Inlet pulled double duty over the weekend. He teamed with Casey White of Matthews, N.C., on Saturday and finished third in 2 hours, 42 minutes. As a past champion in 2010 and 2012, he and Dave Lowe of Georgetown competed in the master’s contest on Sunday and built their own design, a hammerhead shark boat.

2014 Winners

People’s Choice (Tied)
Richard & Gwen Heusel, Pawleys Island, SC
12’ Taylor strip boat built 1996, MISS VELVET

Barry Blaisdell, Gloucester, MA
37.5' Crocker built 1960, GABRIEL

Exhibit Category Winners

John Martin, Charleston, SC
14.5' Whitehall Pulling Boat built 2001, PENELOPE

Classic Row

Jim & Alice Dean, Wilmington, NC
8.5' Lowell tender built 1952, T/T BOUTTIME II

Carley Abner, Jasper, GA
11'5" Cedar strip canoe built 2011, CHESTATTE 115

Classic Canoe
Michael Grace, West Melbourne, FL
17' Willits Brothers sailing canoe built 1956, VERMILION

Herb Deloach, Chattanooga, TN
17.5' cedar & walnut kayak built 2009


Scott Baumberger, Swansea, SC
11'7" Stand Up Paddle Board built 2014

Michael Herron, Woodstock, GA
17' Cat Ketch built 2013, PINNOCHIO

Classic Sail

Barry Blaisdell, Gloucester, MA
37.5' Crocker built 1960, GABRIEL

Outboard Power
Terry Guyton, Pawleys Island, SC
15' replica of a Waccamaw River fishing vessel built in the late 70s by Conway boatbuilder, Harvey Tindal, built  2014, GHARVEY

Classic Outboard Power
Robert Keller, Southport, NC
15' Lyman built 1956

Inboard Power
Herreshoff Designs, Inc. Bristol, RI
48' Herreshoff Torpedo Boat built 1974, STILETTO

Classic Inboard Power
Herb Deloach, Chattanooga, TN
16' Century Runabout built 1956, LIL DIXIE GIRL

Owner Designed and Built
Gunning Wooden Boats, LLC
14.5' Gunning Outboard Runabout built 2005, SPITFIRE

Century Class
Carson Benton/Neal Swann, Myrtle Beach and Georgetown, SC
13' Juniper & oak sailboat built circa 1900

Model Boat
Efrain Ortiz, Shearline Boatworks, Morehead City, NC
2014 remote control model of WON, a 61' Shearline sportfisher

Cradle Boat

Doug Roberts, Moundsville, WV
40" Cradle boat built 2014, SWEET DREAMS

Exhibit Special Award Winners

John White, Bluffton, SC - Row, BARBARA S

John Martin, Charleston, SC - Canoe, BASCOM PIROGUE

Carley Abner, Jasper, GA - Kayak, CURAHEE 175

River Grace, West Melbourne, FL - Classic Canoe, RIVERBOY

Buddy Lindsay, Pawleys Island, SC - Beetle Cat sailboat, SONSHIP II

Darrell Hodo, Isle of Palms, SC - Outboard Power, MISS ASHLEY

David Godsell, Wilmington, NC - Aristocraft Torpedo

NC Maritime Museum, Beaufort, NC - Simmons Classic Outboard, CAP'N AL

Jim Potter, Columbia, SC - Core Sound Trawler, MISS FRAN

Charleston Classics, Isle of Palms, SC - Classic Inboard Blanchard Motor Cruiser, COLLEEN

Jim Varner, Charleston, SC - Chris Craft Special Runabout, LOVE ME TENDER
(Jim Varner has attended all 25 Georgetown Wooden Boat Shows)

Richard Gotz, Goose Creek, SC - Owner Designed & Built wood/dacron sailboat, FOR SAIL

Lawrence Tracy, Fountain Inn, SC - Cradle boat, DANA


Saturday’s Wooden Boat Challenge Award Winners

1st Place, Dynamite Payson National Award, & World Record
Bobby Staab & Josh Fulp, Morehead City, NC (1:45:03)

Tied for 2nd Place
Keane McLaughlin & Craig McLaughlin, Summerville & Charleston SC (2:46:36)

Tied for 2nd Place
Casey White & Skip White, Matthews, NC &  Murrells Inlet, SC (2:42:30)

The Broken Oar Special Award
Keane McLaughlin & Craig McLaughlin, Summerville & Charleston, SC

The Quietest Team Special Award
Tom Russell, John Coffman and Bob Bailey, Sea Level, NC. Built the boat with hand tools.

The Safest Team Special Award
Marshall Jessen, Rigel Jessen and Aiden Jessen, McClellanville, SC

Sunday’s Master Boatbuilders Challenge
Teams were given the same materials, had 4-hours to build any boat they wanted to build, and were judged on quality.

The Winners
Mark Bayne, Charleston SC & Rob Dwelley, Hope, ME

Sunday's Teams & Boat Designs

Mark Bayne, Charleston SC & Rob Dwelley, Hope, ME - built the Teal, a classic Phil Bolger double-ended instant rowboat design

Fred Hoelscher & Sean Hoelscher, Georgetown & Myrtle Beach, SC - built the Teal and will use it as a sailboat

Dave Lowe & Skip White, Georgetown & Murrells Inlet, SC - built their own design, a hammerhead shark boat

Willie French & John Lammonds, Georgetown & Pawleys Island, SC - built their own design, a small catamaran

Six Knot Challenge Winner
Sarkis Keuleyan, Wadmalaw Island, SC


Winners of the 12' lapstrake semi-dory built by Mark Bayne 

Dane and Andy "Dandy" Patrick, Pawleys Island SC

Georgetown Wooden Boat Show: Extra day helps celebrate event's 25th year

By Jason Lesley,  Coastal Observer

Mac McAlister prepared for this weekend’s 25th annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Show last Saturday by hauling his sailboat, Exodus, out of the water near Cathou’s Fish House at the end of St. James Street in Georgetown in order to paint the bottom and change the propeller. He and his wife, Mary, brought their sons, Robert, Jamie and Charlie, along to do the heavy lifting.

“There are only certain people who want a boat like this,” McAlister said. “It’s a lot of work.”

McAlister plans to exhibit Exodus in the wooden boat show this weekend. It won the best classic sail category last year. McAlister said the boat reminds him of a piece of sculpture. “The way it’s double ended,” he said, “it’s a beautiful shape. That’s the reason we bought it.” Aside from its beauty, the 30-foot Exodus is heavy, made of Alaskan cedar planking on oak frames, and is stable on the ocean. “It’s a good heavy duty boat for doing just about anything,” McAlister said. “You could cross an ocean in it if you so desired.”

The sailboat was designed by boatbuilder William Garden in Seattle in 1962. The boat was a copy of the heavy-duty pilot boats that went out to guide schooners into port, McAlister said. The boat was sold and sailed through the Panama Canal to Florida. It eventually made its way to Long Island Sound where the McAlisters bought it four years ago and sailed it to Georgetown.

They’ve had it on the ocean between Georgetown and Charleston, but it’s been out of commission for the past year getting a new engine at Johnson Marina up the Sampit River where the water is deep enough to accommodate the boat’s 5-and-a-half-foot draft.

McAlister said he and Mary attended a three-day wooden boat show in Townsend, Wash., and came away thinking the Georgetown show stacked up pretty well. “They have a big time show every year,” he said. “I think ours is every bit as good and a lot more concentrated. The parties are better, and now we’ve got a Sunday deal. It should be really good.”

That “Sunday deal” is this year’s second boat-building competition for past champions, The Master Boat Builders Challenge, beginning at 11 a.m. That will be in addition to the regular Saturday Wooden Boat Challenge beginning at noon and ending at 5 p.m. with a race on the Sampit River.

After a sponsor party Friday night at the S. C. Maritime Museum, the boat show begins at 11 a.m. Saturday with more than 140 classic wooden boats in the water and along Front Street. Vessels ranging in sizes from kayaks to cruising yachts will be exhibited in categories including: row, canoe, kayak, surfboard, sail, inboard power, outboard power, owner designed and built, century class (100 years or older), model boats and “classic” categories for boats that are aged 50 years or older. Visitors will be able to meet and talk to wooden boat craftsmen, manufacturers and owners. Maritime art and crafts will also be on display.

A new event this year will be “gig rows” with the New Charleston Mosquito Fleet from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday from the floating docks at Francis Marion Park. Each row takes about 45 minutes. The New Charleston Mosquito Fleet was founded in 1995 in Charleston to get inner city middle school children involved in boatbuilding and boating.

Among activities for children will be model boatbuilding and sailing and knot-tying demonstrations with Dan “the Knot Man” Machowski. Visitors will have an opportunity to test their knot tying skills in the “Six Knot Challenge.” Machowski is a member of the Spirit Knot Tyers and former president of the International Guild of Knot Tyers.

Sunday’s festivities include an ensemble performance by the Winyah Indigo Chorale Society and a regatta featuring the S.C. Youth Sailing program’s fleet of wooden Optis.

The official 2014 Wooden Boat Show image was created by Litchfield artist Johnnie Cowan. Her original oil painting, “The Maiden Voyage”, will be auctioned at the Goat Island Yacht Club Regatta to be held on Friday, and T-shirts and posters featuring the artwork will be sold at this year’s show and will be available at the S.C. Maritime Museum.

The celebration began 25 years ago as Bayfest, a celebration of the city’s maritime heritage. As that event foundered, a group of downtown business people took over the wooden boat portion and brought in 35 exhibitors in 1993. The Harbor Historical Association was formed in 1994 and has raised over $525,000 for the museum.

25th GWBS Retrospective Book


Take this opportunity to help publish the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show 25th Anniversary Retrospective!

This high quality, hardcover coffee table book will come out in October, just in time for the 25th Georgetown Wooden Boat Show.

It will feature photos of all aspects of the show from all years, including the boats, the exhibits, the Challenge, Goat Island Regatta, and all the fun, plus articles, official records, posters and much more.

Your $100 sponsorship puts your name on the Sponsors’ Page of the book and you will receive a complimentary advance copy.  You will enjoy this book and all the memories for years to come!

Advance Copy Sponsor Form

2013 Exhibitor - Doug McQuilken's Project Boat

Read Doug McQuilken's post on WoodenBoat Mag's online blog:

"After relocating our catboat from Connecticut last year, we set a goal to get enough completed to make a respectable showing for a 'project boat' at the 2013 Georgetown Wooden Boat Show. We started by “manhandling” the boat from blocks and stands to the trailer. I forgot what a chore this was!

My wife pitched in, and plugged, epoxied, and varnished the topsides. This turned out to be the most attractive aspect of the boat. Here is Valiant ready to go."

See more at: A Lonely Southern Wooden Catboat

GWBS Wins State Tourism Award! Woo Hoo!

Hilton Head Island — The best of the best in hospitality, marketing and rural tourism were recognized at the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism & Travel recently.

The Charles A. Bundy Award, an award that recognizes contributions to rural tourism in South Carolina, was given to the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show.

The show began in 1993 by a group of local business people who wanted to improve business in downtown Georgetown. For the past two decades, this event has continued to build its economic impact on the community.

Local hotels, for example, experienced a 50 percent increase in accommodations revenues during the boat show weekend, and restaurants along Front Street have seen a 45 percent spike in revenue.

The real impact, however, has gone far beyond business.

The festival has helped revitalize two historic buildings, and continues to play a pivotal role in the development of the South Carolina Maritime Museum.

In the wake of the devastating fire on Front Street last September, the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show became a rallying point for the community to move forward and overcome the challenges brought by the tragedy.

Read the South Strand News Article

The Bundy Award
The Bundy - lookin' good in a WBS sponsor hat.


Dudley Dix Yacht Design: Wrap-up Of the GWBS

A group of three Paper Jet sailing skiffs were on exhibit at this year's GWBS. Each of the skiffs were owner built.  The Paper Jet was designed by Dudley Dix.

"Last weekend we exhibited our Paper Jet on the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show in South Carolina. This was our 2nd time at this show, having been there in 2009 and won a special award for our Paper Jet. This time she wasn't lonely and was in the company of two sisters from the area. The show was on Saturday 19th October, on the Georgetown waterfront."

Read More here: Dudley Dix Yacht Design


The Write Boat Blog - Scenes from the 24th GWBS

The Write Boat Blog:

"The 24th Annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Show was the perfect event to pull the community together following the devastating September 25, 2013 waterfront fire. A record attendance provided a morale and economic boost to the business community and South Carolina Maritime Museum.  Beautiful boats.  Beautiful weather.  Smiling faces. A good time had by all.  And a most appreciative community."  Read more here: The Write Boat Blog, Monday, October 28, 2013 


US 17 Coastal Highway - Views from the 24th GWBS

US 17 Coastal Highway Blog: "I haven't been to the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show in over ten years - but this year I was determined to go after a fire destroyed historic buildings along Front Street in Georgetown's historic district.  I arrived mid-morning - and was thrilled to see that the place was packed!  I also felt quite a bit of guilt, since I have a neglected wooden boat (21' sailboat) on a trailer in my backyard desperately in need of sanding, varnishing - and as we all know, sailing.  Boats like to be out on the water.   Boy, there were some beautiful (and much loved) boats there." Read More Here: Views from the 24th Annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Show