The 2023 National Boat Building Challenge is sponsored by First National Bank

Boat building begins at 11:00 a.m. and the relay race begins at 4 p.m

Teams have been comprised of professional boat builders, amateur boat builders, and mostly never-before boatbuilders.  We have had brothers, brothers-in-law, spouses, father-daughter, professional colleagues, neighbors, uncle-nephew, and cousins compete.   Some have finished, many have not.  First Place Prize: $1,000, Second Place: $500, Third Place: $250.  

The competition was a huge success in Belfast in 2007, 2008, and 2010 to 2022. It has been held in South Carolina for the past 30 years.


The challenge involves two-person teams building a 12-foot wooden skiff in under four hours, followed by a rowing relay race. Teams are judged on how quickly they complete construction, the quality of the craftsmanship and their speed on the water in the two-man relay rowing race.  See how to build a boat in one minute (video).

The rules are simple:

  1. Teams of two compete to build a wooden boat in under 4 hours.
  2. Power and hand tools may be used, but not pneumatic tools.
  3. All materials are provided except for oars (which must be handmade, and the transom, which may be glued but not cut)
  4. All teams are provided with the plans ahead of time.
  5. Teams provide their own tools, worktables, and oars.
  6. At the end of 4 hours, the boats are judged on completeness and quality of craftsmanship.
  7. Then the builders must have enough faith in their work to get into the boat and compete in a relay race in the harbor

For the $100 entry fee, each team receives plans and building materials, a workspace and competes for first place, second place, and third place trophies and prizes. Scholarships are available.

The National Boat Building Competition will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, at Steamboat Landing in Belfast. Judging will take place at 3:00 p.m. The race will begin at 4 p.m. at Boat House Beach

For more information write

Complete the application below and click on SUBMIT. Mail the $100 entry fee payable to Belfast Rotary  P.O. Box 74, Belfast, ME 04915. Or click on the Add to Cart Button.

To reserve a workspace for the competition and receive boat plans, click on the Add to Cart button below and use Paypal or a charge card to submit the $100.00 fee or send a check for $100.00 payable to the Belfast Rotary Club, PO Box 74, Belfast, ME. 04915. Also, don't forget to click the Submit Button to register.

Boat Building Registration Fee