Southeast Tourism Society Selects Georgetown Wooden Boat Show as Top 20 Event

Southeast Tourism Society Selects the 27th Annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Show as a ‘STS Top 20 Event’
Travel industry organization has saluted region’s best events since 1985

ATLANTA, Ga. (June 9, 2016) – The Southeast Tourism Society has named the 27th Annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Show a STS Top 20 Event in the Southeast for October 2016.

This year’s Georgetown Wooden Boat Show will be held on October 15 and 16, 2016. The STS Top 20 Festival and Event Awards have highlighted programs around the Southeast since 1985.

Travel industry experts select 20 events per month, and STS publicizes them throughout the United States. The complete list is published on two websites: and Travel Media Press Room.

The Georgetown Wooden Boat Show features one of the Southeast’s best wooden boat exhibits with more than 140 classic wooden boats displayed on land and water, a wooden boatbuilding competition, children’s model boatbuilding, knot tying, maritime art and crafts, food, and music. A new event for this year will be a Cardboard Boat Regatta. 

“The Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Festival and Event list is an excellent guide for the Southeast’s visitors and residents. Events selected represent the best, and often most unique, activities in our region,” said Bill Hardman, president and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society.

Events considered for the STS Top 20 recognition must be at least three years old and have attendance of at least 1,000. Nomination forms and deadlines are available at or by calling 770-542-1523.

STS, founded in 1983 and headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting tourism to and within 12 states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Contact: Georgetown Wooden Boat Show
Name: Sally Swineford
Phone: 843-340-3879

Winners Announced


Click on the Google Docs link above.

Remembering Len Anderson

This year's Georgetown Wooden Boat Show is dedicated to our irreplaceable friend, Len Anderson. But while his place as No. 1 brainstormer and dream achiever is forever secure, we will honor his memory by following the examples he set for us.

We’re going to roll the tape now, the invisible tape that Len Anderson advised others about.

“Everything you do goes onto an invisible tape,” he’d say, “and you can never erase anything on that tape. You have no control over when that tape is going to be played back. Good or bad.”

Len could possibly (probably) be sipping a glass of Scotch as he offered his insight, but it wasn’t the kind of dime store wisdom found in the bottom of a cheap bottle of booze. It was his version of the Golden Rule, and he embodied it, and many others benefitted.

Some folks were lucky enough to know Len and appreciate his wit, while others in the Georgetown area know his legacy through the South Carolina Maritime Museum, although they may not know his name. The museum and the Wooden Boat Show exist in large part due to his patient behind-the-scenes work and vision.

Len grew up in Illinois, where he learned to sail on chilly waters. He was an athletic guy – his high school football team was undefeated for three years, and he was the quarterback. His athleticism gave him a choice: pitch for the Chicago Cubs, or take a football scholarship to Yale. He chose the latter, where he was again a quarterback.

But in his third year of college Len was having way too much fun, so his grades were not really where they should have been. He needed a change.

Len joined the U.S. Marine Corp., and he went to Korea. The four years he was on active duty during the Korean Conflict were the most defining in his life, he always said. Maybe it was the discipline or the fighting or the change of scenery, but when he came back to the U.S. with the rank of Captain, Len was on track. He married Marilyn Goodman, returned to Yale and finished his undergraduate degree. He performed so well that his professors were shocked at the transformation. They actually did studies on him, trying to figure out what happened to make him turn around so dramatically, and then Len went on to Harvard and earned an MBA. He and Marilyn had three sons, and they remained good friends after choosing different paths.

Len did something that is extremely rare these days: He spent his entire career working for only one company. He was an executive at Carolina By-Products in Greensboro, N.C., and he was there until he retired 30 years later.

Len met Susan Sanders in the early 1970s, and they became fast friends before deciding to sail through life together. The North Carolina coast was home to their favorite port, Oriental. That’s where Len retired and started Banjo Charters with his CSY44 sailboat named Banjo, and he and Susan launched an embroidery shop called Harbor Specialties.

“Hi ho, hi ho,” Len would sing as he strummed his banjo. “We sail and then we sew. We roll and pitch, and then we stitch. Hi ho, hi ho.” Len even taught Susan how to play the guitar so she could back up his banjo picking. Bluegrass is mostly what he played on that banjo, and it was one more area where he was accomplished. Len and Susan enjoyed sailing with friends, many of them musicians, on their succession of sailboats. Everyone aboard enjoyed harmony.

This period in Oriental is also when Len launched Harbor Talk, a newsletter sent to Harbor Specialties customers “now and then.” He always enjoyed writing and was so dedicated to doing it well that he had grammar and writing books by Strunk & White and William Zinsser on his night table that he studied for more than 40 years. Len’s articles in Harbor Talk always had interesting perspectives about boating and seashore life.

In 1993 Len and Susan drove through Georgetown for the first time and loved the waterfront. They loved it so much they packed everything up, moved to Georgetown and opened another embroidery shop.

He and Susan immersed themselves in the community, and they volunteered. One of the things they did was to leave the docks every day at 4 p.m. in their shrimp trawler Katy Hill (named for a bluegrass song) and cruise the harbor to greet transient boaters traveling north and south on the Intracoastal Waterway. They handed out packets including a map Len drew that featured all the important spots, like the post office and the liquor store. One year they logged in 2,100 boats.

In those days Georgetown had the Wooden Boat Exhibition, a precursor to today’s Wooden Boat Show when about eight boats were displayed at Georgetown Landing as part of the town’s Bay Fest. In 1993 the parks and recreation director asked Len to take charge of the exhibition, and Len speculated it was his Sperry Topsiders that got him the job. He asked Sid Hood to help him out, and since they both had businesses on Front Street they insisted on relocating the boats there.

Every year Len gently encouraged his cohorts to go a little farther and improve the boat show, which moved along the end goal of funding a maritime museum.

Most everyone knew Georgetown was the perfect place to establish the South Carolina Maritime Museum, and that doing so would be a boon for businesses in the waterfront area. Len was a brilliant idea guy who could clearly see what was important. He was the one who waded through the intensive and tedious paperwork of getting 501c3 tax-exempt status for the museum’s Harbor Historical Association, because he knew nothing else could advance until that was in place. The group’s mission was to preserve and promote the maritime heritage of Georgetown and South Carolina, and to eventually open the SC Maritime Museum.

As Len and Susan traveled to boating events along the coast, they spread the word that Georgetown, S.C., had a great wooden boat show. Len and Sid knew the exhibitors were what made the event, and they made it a point to treat them like honored guests. They added an exhibitors’ awards banquet, when they handed out handsome oval brass plaques as awards that could be affixed to the boats. There were a lot of awards. There were awards for the best boat in each exhibit category and there were special awards that became obvious as boat show day progressed, like an award for the oldest boat or the farthest distance traveled – the more awards the better!  Today, 26 years after the first Georgetown Wooden Boat Show, the number of exhibitors is approaching 200.

Back in the early 1990s there was a big (but short-lived) maritime show in Charleston that included a wooden boat-building challenge. When the show folded Len and Susan – accompanied by Sid, Sally Swineford and Susan Hibbs - didn’t lose any time acquiring the challenge for the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show, held the third weekend in October. Georgetown’s first boat-building challenge was in 1996, and it took the wooden boat show to a new level, especially with expenses like a big tent and building materials, which cost about $20,000.

Sponsors were suddenly extremely important, so Len came up with the Goat Island Yacht Club. He crafted the logo, a frolicking ram standing on its hind legs in front of a stylized “I”, which stands for Island. It proved to be a wildly fun and effective social club that Len proclaimed was “a state of mind.” The only way to be a member of this spectacle of conviviality (and get a coveted GIYC cap) is to sponsor the Wooden Boat Show. It’s hard to say who had more fun - Len and his fellow hard-working sponsor board members, or the sponsors themselves.

In 2000, Len and Susan decided to move to Charleston and open another Harbor Specialties, and they took with them Elizabeth Joyce. Susan says Elizabeth is the daughter they never had, and Elizabeth says she sorely misses going to Len for his advice. Elizabeth bought the Charleston location of Harbor Specialties from them, and she still owns it.

Len had respect for the underdog,” Elizabeth said. “He said, ‘What you see isn’t always what you get. You can’t judge people by how they appear. Live every day with no regrets, and treat everybody as nice as you can and with respect.’ Len had a process to how he did things, and in a certain order. As long as you stayed in that order, it was amazing how smooth things would go. He was methodical and genuine, and he definitely changed my life…He never got in anyone’s face about anything, and he never lost his patience.”

In 2005 Len and Susan moved to Beaufort, N.C., and they opened another Harbor Specialties after selling the Charleston store to Elizabeth. But even when they didn’t live in Georgetown, Len and Susan still helped out with organizing the boat show.

In 2011 it was time to open the SC Maritime Museum, and Len and Susan temporarily (for three years) moved back to Georgetown to help oversee that momentous occasion. This was the period when Len helped establish the museum’s youth sailing school. “We gotta get young blood,” he often said.

Len acquired the schematics for sailing school boats from friends in Oriental, and he digitized them for his well-used CNC router so he could precisely cut out boat pieces and, with the help of friends, construct a lot of little sailboats.

“We watched a little kid, skinny as a rail, walk in,” Susan said. “We both looked at each other and said, ‘Uh-oh. How is that little thing going to be able to sail one of these boats?’ He was just as timid and scared as he could be. But by the end of the week he was leading the crowd. He was the first one here, he was the first one to get his boat out and he could outperform anybody. We changed that kid’s life.”

2015 marked the third summer of sailing camps, and 130 children participated. Byproducts of the wildly successful camps were additional museum funding, but more importantly, it is cultivating a new generation of boat lovers who will someday take over museum stewardship and keep Georgetown’s seafaring history and traditions alive.

It’s just one of the many legacies Len Anderson left here. He could figure out anything and do anything, his friends say. That CNC router played a role in a lot of his great ideas, like sign making. He designed and constructed the beautiful gold leaf-trimmed museum sign that people can see from Front Street, as well as many other Front Street business signs. Len also used the router to make wooden sailboat models designed for children to put together, decorate and sail on a pool of water during the Wooden Boat Show.

In late 2014 Len and Susan moved back to the North Carolina coast, and that’s where Len passed away. He’s buried in Oriental, and U.S. Marines from Camp Lejeune came and performed a 21-gun salute along with full military honors. His grave marker says, as he requested, that he was a Marine and was Captain of the S/V Banjo.

Len’s tape isn’t invisible any more, and he got it right on the first take.

The Show Will Go On!

We are not cancelling the show.
Downtown Georgetown is not in the area that was hit the hardest by the SC floods. Some businesses on Front Street experienced flooding and water damage but they are getting their shops in order and will be ready for the boat show. Sponsorships and exhibitor registrations continue to roll in and, as of today, not one exhibitor has cancelled.

Statement from Georgetown Co. Emergency Management
Flooding Update:  October 8, 2015
There has been quite a bit of confusion and misinformation following statements made by the governor earlier today. We do not currently have any evacuations recommended for the Pawleys Island or City of Georgetown areas. If you have any questions, please call our Disaster Call Center at (843) 545-3273 or visit for accurate and up to date information.

Weather for the weekend of October 17 and 18:

Our facebook page for updates:

Book Your Stay:

Traveling by boat:
Visit Weekly Local Notices to Mariners (LNM): LNM's are issued on Tuesday.  Last week's LNM had no mention of the floods.  So it is more probable that Tuesday Oct. 13 issue #41-15 will have some update.  However, mariner's transiting the ICW either north or south of Georgetown should be advised that Aids to Navigation (ATON's) may be missing or off station, and it will probably be a while before discrepancies are reported.
You can contact U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla staff officer for public affairs in Georgetown:
Bill Unger -  Home tel. 843-527-7840 or email
Report from Bill Unger about Marinas along the ICW (Sunday, Oct 11 ):
Bucksport 843-397-5566 ---They are pumping gasoline, but their deisel pump was damaged by the flood
Wacca Wache 843-651-2994 -- currently not pumping fuel, possible transient docking available
Reserve Harbor 843-235-8262 -- good fuel
Heritage Plantation 843-237-3650 -- awaiting call back for conditions
Georgetown Landing 843-546-1776 -- good fuel
Belle Isle 843-546-8491

Traveling by car: (Sunday, Oct 11) 
Highways to Georgetown:
Hwy. 521, Hwy. 701, Hwy 17 north & south are all open.
Hwy. 51 is currently closed on the east side of the Browns Ferry Bridge (Black River) and at Lanes Creek Bridge just west of Johnson & Dunbar roads.
Dunbar Rd. and bridge across the Black River may still be closed as well as some local roads in Georgetown Co. north of the Black River.



26th Annual Wooden Boat Show Announced

26th Annual Wooden Boat Show, Georgetown, SC
October 17 and 18, 2015
Contact: Sally Swineford 843-340-3879

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 Visit the website at


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