Report and pictures by Dan Gyoerkoe, ACBS Executive Director
The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation Maritime Museum and Research Center hosted the 28th Annual Wooden Boat Festival in Madisonville, Louisiana.
The Wooden Boat Festival featured more than 75 boats with 13 boats that were more than 50 feet in length. The event draws around 30,000 attendees. The Bayou Chapter of the ACBS provided judges and had a booth.
Festival is the key word as the event includes many vendors, activities, classic cars, children’s area, live music, and more. A unique event is the Quick and Dirty Boat Building contest. Each crew (team) is provided the same materials and the teams have 14 hours to build a boat. The boats are designed to hold two members of the team that race the boat 100 yards to a buoy and back rowing in one direction then sailing on the return leg of the trip with a leeward sail.
I have attended a number of boat shows this year. Each show is unique because of the types of boats that are commonly used on the local waterways. Louisiana has a rich history of fishing, shrimping, and oystering. Many of the wooden boats in the boat show are working boats like trawlers, shrimp boats, and luggers. And, more than a dozen of the boats were home built.
I spent some time with Jeff Cobb, a member of the Bayou Chapter, who built a 22 ft runabout style boat with a 220 hp Mercruiser engine. The project took about five years to complete and offers a great ride in the water. With more free board than a traditional runabout, the ride was dry. It may be the first boat ride I have been on this year that I didn’t get wet.
I presented two ACBS awards Saturday evening after the judging was complete. The ACBS Best non-wood Award was given to Malindy, a 48 ft. Grand Banks Trawler owned by Greg Lemons. The ACBS Best Preserved Award was given to Carlie Time, a 14 ft. Lyman Skiff Power owned by Charlie Van Vranken.
The variety of sizes and uses of vintage boats was impressive.