Young sailors build boats, race in Camden Harbor

Camden Windjammer Festival Day 3
By Susan Mustapich | Sep 04, 2017
Photo by: Susan Mustapich From left, Ward, age 9, aka Captain Hook and Grant, age 7, aka Croc, paddled their brand new Optimist sailboat hull Happily Ever After in the Build A Boat Race in Camden Harbor Sept. 3, winning "best decorated."

CAMDEN — The young boat builders who made Optimist sailboats at the Camden Windjammer Festival could not wait to launch their newly constructed hulls and shove off for a fun paddle race Sept. 3.

After a day and a half of boat building on the Public Landing along with their adult mentors, the Build A Boat Construction contestants were ready to see what their boats could do, as were the spectators who filled two stands of bleachers by the boardwalk.

At 11:30 a.m., the intrepid teams pushed off into a chilly Camden Harbor in their Optimist sailboat hulls, which were nailed, seamed and sealed just the day before.

The contestants were confident, regardless of how their boats handled. While some took off on a straight course, others got turned around, yet were steadfast while learning how to steer and coordinate their paddling.

In a departure from past Build A Boat races, none of the boats sank immediately or after slowly taking on water, and all contestants remained dry.

Oliver and Larson paddled Castle Boys to win first place, with a strong lead throughout the race around the floats where numerous windjammers were anchored. (Video below.)

Fire Bolt, the only boat with three sailors, came in second. Its team of sisters Adella and Georgia, and best friend August won the award for "most coordinated" in the race.

Bobby and Toby, who built The Boat, and who may have been trying to win the overboard award with their stand up paddling, came in third, winning the "People's Choice" award.

After getting turned around, Ward, age 9, aka Captain Hook, and Grant, age 7, aka Croc, straightened their course and steadfastly and confidently paddled Happily Ever After to complete the finish, winning "best decorated."

Camden residents and volunteers Glenn Ruesswick and Brian Robinson teamed up for the third year in a row to organize the contest that brings family members and friends together for hands on boat building. The contest is a mainstay at the Camden Windjammer Festival, and introduces young people to Camden's maritime and sailing history and the modern day working waterfront.

Boat construction started in the early morning on Sept. 2, under a tent on the Public Landing. Several key sponsors supported a new concept this year, the building of seaworthy Optimist sailing prams, that team members could take home and sail.  EBS Building Supplies provided the plywood, Bench Dogs cut the hull components from the plywood on their Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine, and the SIKA Corporation provided the sealants. Adventure Advertising assisted with converting the boat plans for the CNC machine, and Jim and Meg Sharp offered all of the teams a place to finish out the masts and final touches on their Optis at the Sail, Power & Steam Museum in Rockland.

Courier Publications reporter Susan Mustapich can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at smustapich@villagesoup.com.

Castle Boys finish
Castle Boys finish, Build A Boat Construction race, Camden, Maine. (Video by: Susan Mustapich)
Castle Boys Oliver and Larson won first place in the Build a Boat paddle race, in their newly constructed Optimist sailboat hull, at the Camden Windjammer Festival Sept. 3. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
From left, sisters Georgia, left, and Adella, right, built Fire Bolt with best friend August, center, at the Camden Windjammer Festival's Build A Boat Construction event Sept. 2 and 3. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
From left, Bobby, Toby and David Tew built The Boat at the Camden Windjammer Festival Build a Boat Construction event Sept. 2 and 3. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Four intrepid teams paddled off into Camden Harbor in their newly constructed Optimist sailboat hulls Sept. 3, that were nailed, seamed and sealed the day before. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Castle Boys, the white hulled Optimist sailboat, broke away from the rest of the boats, as they paddled around the historic vessels at anchor in Camden Harbor Sept. 3 at the Camden Windjammer Festival. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Fire Bolt won the award for "most coordinated" in the paddle race that tops off the Build A Boat Construction event at the Camden Windjammer Festival Sept. 3. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Speculation was that Bobby and Toby were trying to win the overboard award in the Build A Boat paddle race Sept. 3 by standing up in The Boat. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
After turning around in a circle, Ward, 9, and Grant, 7, regained control of their boat, Happily Ever After, and paddled steadily around the floats to the finish of the Build A Boat Construction fun race Sept. 3. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
The boys paddling their newly constructed Optimist sailboat hull Happily Ever After make it around the windjammer floats and head towards the finish line in the Build A Boat fun race Sept. 3. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Spectators on the Camden Public Landing enjoyed the Build A Boat Construction race, including a boy with awesome face painting by Pirates of the Dark Rose. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Brian Robinson, right, hands out trophies to members of the four teams who built and then paddled Optimist sailboat hulls during Build-A-Boat Construction Sept. 2 and 3 at the Camden Windjammer Festival. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
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