The traditions of Spring will soon be arriving in Beaufort and again, for the tenth year, the Beaufort Boatbuilding Challenge will enliven the Waterfront under the big top on Saturday, May 5th. At the starting whistle, eighteen two-person teams go at it full speed to build a 12-foot Carolina Bateau rowing skiff in less than four hours. But speed must be accompanied by craftsmanship and seaworthiness for a team to be a winner. The rowing race inevitably packs the Boardwalk as participants demonstrate their rowing ability (sometimes swimming ability!) in their newly crafted vessels. The top three teams will receive cash prizes and be named the winners of the Beaufort Challenge and also qualify for the national championship. Since its inception eleven years ago, the Challenge has grown to become one of the largest crowd draws on the Beaufort Waterfront.
Held simultaneously with the N.C. Maritime Museum’s Wooden Boat Show, Beaufort is flooded with boat enthusiasts and spectators. Our 501c (3) organization is the NC Boatbuilding Heritage Foundation with a mission to promote awareness of the boat building heritage of North Carolina and to provide scholarships to deserving students who wish to pursue the skills of boat building. With the success of the previous challenges, we are providing:
An entire year’s tuition scholarship at Carteret Community College to a full time student enrolled in their Marine Technologies program.An entire year’s tuition scholarship at Cape Fear Community College for another deserving student in their Wooden Boat and Boat Manufacturing Programs.All the necessary materials to Croatan, West Carteret and East Carteret High Schools to maintain their boat building and maritime classes.
We are particularly excited about the high school programs above as they will pique the interest of students in disciplines of both carpentry and boat building. We will have at least one team from two high schools in this year’s Challenge and the students will be chosen from the ongoing classes. Additionally, we anticipate six teams of elementary and middle school students to participate in this year’s Challenge. The excitement of these youngsters is truly infectious!