Preview: My Favorite OCH Videos (and Why), by Co-Founder Eric Blake

April 25, 2013

Avatar Eric Blake

NOTE: As we count down to the release of OCH’s 100th video, the Off Center Crew is passing along our own sentimental favorites…

I must admit that when Steve Stone told us that we were approaching our 100th video, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Scrolling through the video list brought back so many wonderful stories of each and every shoot. How they came to be on our shooting list, what went into them, and the usually hysterical laughter on my way home as I wondered how on earth our editor, Kevin Ross, could possibly put something together out of what had just transpired.

I have to tell you that I feel like the luckiest guy on the planet. I came to boats in a high school woodworking shop, and ever since, I have been guided by my heros: Bill, Maynard, and Ben.

Years before we moved to Brooklin, I remember a dinner party where people were talking about good books they had read. My wife and I got into an exchange about my reading habits and she asked, “If you read so much, then who is your favorite author?” “Maynard Bray,” I replied, and I was sure of it. It was the collaboration by the three of these guys on a book about Joel White that brought me to Brooklin for a job at the boatyard. They changed my life, and to have been involved with them as well as the rest of our amazing OCH crew in the creation of the first hundred videos is something I will never forget.

My favorite three OCH videos… now, where do I start?

#1 – Steambending Frames Into the S-Boat MISCHIEF


The first video that comes to mind is the very first one that Steve and Maynard made, and the one that got going. Steve was moonlighting at the yard at the time, working on the restoration of the Herreshoff S-boat MISCHIEF, and Maynard was occasionally walking through taking still photos as he often did. The steambox had just been fired up, and Brian Larkin and Steve were getting ready to steam-bend new oak frames into MISCHIEF. Steve asked Maynard if he had ever shot any video with his point-and-shoot camera and Maynard said he hadn’t but would like to give it a try. Steve gave him a few pointers, then did the editing, and the result was this video.

The two things I love best about this video are watching Steve play boatbuilder and, more importantly, realizing that he and Maynard saw right away how well a video could get across a message—way better than a thousand words or any number of still pictures. It’s just wonderful being able to see and hear the steam box gurgling away, watch how the door to the box works, view the pace of the work—like how a hot timber is handled and put into place. This was the video that got the OCH ball rolling, and for many reasons, that ball has continued to pick up speed.

Next on my list are two videos, both of which I like for the same reason. Carol Hasse and her Folkboat LORRAINE in Port Townsend, and Havilah Hawkins and his sloop VELA right here in Brooklin. These two videos really made me realize what draws me to boats.

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