While the launch of my skin-on-frame outrigger canoe AL DEMANY CHIMAN was marked by kind of unpleasant weather, the following day was gorgeous. This day, October 2nd, was the core day of this year’s Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. For a long time this had been a key date on my calendar. I wanted to bring the new boat there and exhibit it. It was driving the work. By launching the day before (which I thought was wise), I just made it!
I got going at dawn and drove into the sunrise [cue some appropriate music] out to St. Michael’s, MD. I set up AL DEMANY CHIMAN for judging and began looking around. Again, there was a stunning collection of boats. I think anyone can see the Museum’s collection of pictures on Facebook. Some of my favorites included some Swampscott dory variants, a CLC Chesapeake 17 tricked out as a trimaran (the only other multihull), a sweet Delaware Ducker, some nice Melonseed Skiffs, and the native log canoes. But that really scratches the surface. In addition to the Museum’s pictures, you should check out the full collection from the blog “Eye in Hand”, to which a couple of the links above point.
Periodically I checked in with AL DEMANY CHIMAN and was thrilled to hear many compliments, some quite enthusiastic. What was hilarious was the reaction of people to the skin. Almost everyone asked what the material was and this was usually preceded by them touching it gently and tenuously like it was rice paper. It happened time and again and made me chuckle inside each time.
After an early lunch I got out on the water again in AL DEMANY CHIMAN. Light wind, bright sun, and pretty boats all around. The boat was a ton more fun in a more typical wind. She moves nicely and I got a bit better fell for her stability. Soon the sailboats came out for their race and just immersed myself in the fleet. Everywhere I looked there were gorgeous boats. After they started and headed off on a reach, I headed upwind, sat down on the floorboards, and just chilled out. It was wonderful.
On somewhat of a whim, I entered the rowing / paddling race. AL DEMANY’ and I got our butts whooped by the kayakers and sliding seat rowers, but that was to be expected. It was fun, nonetheless.
So – a great day. There was a cherry on this sundae, though. The judges gave AL DEMANY CHIMAN second place in the paddling division. Obviously with this and the compliments I am feeling psyched with the reaction to my creation. Now I’ve got to make the most of the last of the season…