Wooden Boat Festival

By Kim Apel - San Diego, California - USA


The Scuzbums have been participating individually and intermittently in the annual San Diego Wooden Boat Festival for many of the festival's 14 years, but this year we got (somewhat) organized and put a record ten boats on display (June 19-20), literally "under the Scuzbum banner" at the Koehler Kraft boat yard on Shelter Island. All were wooden boats, home-built between 1962 and 2002, displaying the variety of wooden construction: strip-planked, plywood stitch-and-tape, ply-on-frame and so on. In addition to the eclectic assortment of Scuzbum craft, there was a shaded booth, staffed by friendly 'Bums who chatted nonstop with each other and the numerous visitors. Mark Kovaletz made it doubly educational by providing a display of "bird's-mouth" spar-making and hands-on instruction in "longboard" fairing, an essential technique of strip-planked boat building (see photo).

Mike Kovaletz doing longboard fairing instruction.

After setting up the exhibits Friday afternoon, Randy and Jeanne Ames hosted dinner at the nearby Silver Gate Yacht Club for exhibitors and families. Several out-of-towners had hotel reservations and made a family weekend out of the festival. The prevailing "June gloom" was actually welcome weather for the festival; bright sun would have been too much of a good thing. All that glossy varnish (everywhere you looked) and the pristine white deck and cockpit of Shawn Payment's just restored Blue Jay could have caused permanent vision damage. Over 20 Scuzbums and their families participated as exhibitors or visitors. A few "dropout" Scuzbums who have been missing in action for years showed up, a pleasant surprise. The legendary Tony Groves is back in town, working at Koehler Kraft. The long-lost Joe Ditler, one of the original Scuzbums, came by the booth, as did Bret Morris.

View of Scuzbum dry display area and glimpses of the nine boats on exhibit (one more on the water).

Scuzbums' boats figured prominently in the "People's Choice" awards for most popular boats on exhibit. Mark Kovaletz' GRIN-N-TONIC was first place among sailboats displayed "on the hard", and Shawn Payment's and Kim Apel's boats were also recognized.

View of Mark Kovaletz strip planked NS14 performance dinghy.

The ScuzMum didn't originally expect to be in town for the festival, but her planned RV expedition to Nova Scotia was derailed by spiking gas costs. Unfortunate for Annie, but her presence was welcomed by the rest of us. Afterward, Annie thanked the exhibitors via email: "Not only were your boats gorgeous (prize-winners all) but you were so friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, instructive, generous, and just plain good fun to be with. Our booth and your boats were the best there, and you guys showed a lot of class. You made people feel welcome, you told them about your boats, showed them things, and all with a smile. You were wonderful. A lot of people have a really good feeling about Scuzbums, and all because of you. I don't know where you get all that energy, but it was a real pleasure to be in your company. I had a ball."

Shawn Payment's just restored 1962 Blue Jay.
Shawn Payment's Blue Jay underway.
Randy Ames' "Pautuxent" Chesapeake Light Craft Kayak
One of the two steam boats giving free rides. This one is "Amity" designed and built by Chuck Darragh.
A restored Thompson wood canvas skiff on display.
Detail view of the fine work on this Thompson Skiff.
Kim Apel's 17' 2" Glen-L Designs sliding seat recreational rowing shell.
Overview of 40 or so big boats on the water display at the San Diego Wooden Boat Festival.



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