The National Boatbuilding Challenge will be returning to Belfast on Aug. 14, 2021, during the Belfast Harbor Fest.

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: $500, Second Place: $300, Third Place: $200.  

The competition was a huge success in Belfast in 2007, 2008, and 2010 to 2019. It has been held in South Carolina for the past 28 years.


Boat almost finishedSM

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. 14, 2021, 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

Click here to download the application and official rules for teams entering the August 14 Challenge: 2021 Boatbuilding Application

Complete the application and mail it to Belfast Rotary Boatbuilding Challenge, P.O. Box 74, Belfast, ME 04915; or scan and email to