Homer Wooden Boat Show
Each year in early May the good
citizens of Homer, Alaska put on a wooden boat show, known officially
as the Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Festival. While some beautifully
turned out varnish was on display, the Festival boats, like those
in the adjacent harbor, are primarily of a work/sporting nature
-- fishing skiffs, working row boats, commercial and historic
fishing/whaling craft and wilderness canoes.
Homer Boat Harbor...mostly commercial or
....a tolman standard going by
The harshness of the boating and
weather environment keeps local builders focused on rugged designs
devoid of fancy decoration and trim. Renn Tolman lives in Homer
and developed his Alaskan
skiff for use on Kachemak Bay. Nearly a dozen of
his skiffs, most home built from his designs were on display:
standard 20’ open skiffs, wide-body 21.5’ers and 22’
Jumbos, the largest gathering of his new Jumbo design to date.
The row of Tolman widebodys and Jumbos at
Two of the Tolmans drew the majority
of interest: Jim O’Meara’s JimO, a 22’
Jumbo launched the day before the show opened. Jim built the skiff
from a Jumbo pre-cut kit in 92 days while holding a full time
job! The kit’s originator, Neal Schlee (www.skiffkits.com)
also showed his nearly complete Jumbo with his own cabin design.
JimO......92 days from being a pile of pre-cut
marine ply to the
water.....very nice indeed.......
neal schlee's skiff...owner....www.skiffkits.com
On the historic boat front, Homer’s
Pratt Museum brought their 80’s replica of an 1850’s
Beetle Whale boat. 29.5’ long, it was ,manned by five rowers,
a rudderman and harpooner. Kids made models while the weather
turned from sunny and warm to blowing and 50. Homeroids, being
a rugged bunch, attended in big numbers whatever the weather.
Add beautiful scenery and great seafood and a good time was had
the whale boat
John Isaac spent 1300 hours on this Guillemot
.....the crowd favorite!
river drift boat......fantastic workmanship
a strip built Wherry
a quebec-built freight canoe......wonderful.....and
I'm including a picture of Renn
Tolman wondering around the Homer show with a bottle of Yukon
Jack in his hand. It's a wonderful shot of a guy who is hard to
photograph because he's always on the move. The bottle is a Tolman
tradition: builders of his skiff are expected to take a snort
from the bottle directly after completion of their skiff and they
receive a Tolman hat from Renn at the time. Please understand
the bottle's place in the event - I wonldn't want you to think
Renn's always "with bottle". He was successful in getting
quite a few shots down unsuspecting throats during the show because
lots of new boats showed up.
Renn insists that newly built skiff owners
take a shot of Yukon
Jack......here he's seen stalking his next pray....
Bruce Armstrong/Santa Barbara