2016 Annual Update — Passing Like a Dream

June 3, 2016

Avatar The Off Center Crew

Dear Off Center Members & Friends ~

Members often ask us if OCH is growing. In response, we’re glad to report that OffCenterHarbor.com has continued to grow steadily every single month since we launched the site 54 months ago.

In 2015 – for the second consecutive year – OCH had over 30 percent growth from the year before.

So far in 2016, we’re experiencing the same steady pace, and we’re keeping our eye on building a sustainable business that provides value to our community and the industry.

While OCH’s growth may be what people ask us about the most, we’re really more excited about the collection of boating know-how we’re creating.


From the beginning, we wanted members to feel like they were getting access to centuries of boating know-how every time they logged onto the site. With each new video and post we have aimed to provide a well-designed, balanced, and unpredictable mix of instruction and inspiration.

Although we do have a master plan of how we want the Off Center Collection to develop, we let the natural ebb and flow of projects and boats that we see in harbors and shops determine many of the topics as well as our filming schedule. At times the mix may be a little uneven: a cluster of videos of boats on the water, perhaps, followed by another cluster of work taking place in the shops. But over time we’ll be producing a well-balanced collection of know-how designed to enhance all aspects of our members’ boating life. We hope you come to understand the randomness and get to enjoy flowing along with us in Off Center Harbor’s tides and currents.

Since the beginning, we’ve created 320 new OCH Videos, 300 new Guide Posts, and have discovered 130 Flotsam videos. It’s a wonderful feeling to see this body of work all in one place, just one click away.


As you read this update, we’ll be heading for Port Townsend, WA, to cover several small boat events there, including the Pocket Yacht Palooza & Crooza—and we might even get a few tours of the boats in this year’s Race to Alaska.

At the end of June, we’ll be hosting a “Happy Hour” at the Wooden Boat Show in Mystic, CT, on Friday, June 24th at 4:30pm. (Join us for a beer and a laugh or two at Mystic Seaport’s Preservation Shipyard.)

The temptation to build one of Havilah Hawkins’ flat-bottom skiffs got the better of us, so this summer we’ll be building one with local kids inside the small boat shed at Brooklin Boat Yard. With any luck, we’ll be releasing a full-on video series of the building process along with detailed drawings.

In the year ahead, we’ll be adding new kinds of boats and even more know-how about their maintenance and repair. We’ll be telling stories of the people and culture around the boats, always keeping in mind (OCH Guide) Peter Neill’s advice:

“To understand the boat, you have to go way beyond the boat itself.”

Next February, we hope to go down under again to Tasmania, and we have a few other overseas destinations that we’re studying as well.


A big part of Off Center Harbor’s mission is to capture the traditional maritime skills and cultures that are quickly vanishing, and help pass those skills and cultures along to future generations.

We were honored recently when Kurt Hasselbalch, Curator of the Hart Nautical Collections at the MIT Museum, made the following statement about OCH:

“OffCenterHarbor.com has become a significant resource for
exploring traditional maritime culture and skills. Combining new video/
internet technologies with their talent for storytelling, OCH is capturing
nautical experiences in ways that are engaging to broad audiences.”

Perhaps the most critical piece in our ability to create such outstanding boating know-how videos lies in the enthusiastic support of builders, artisans and sailors who have invited us aboard their boats and into their shops to show us what they’ve learned over decades of study and practice.

We feel grateful to be working alongside people who we both enjoy and respect.

As summer begins to warm the coast of Maine, we wanted to show our appreciation to all those who’ve helped us in passing these valuable skills along to future generations, so we created a little video as a reflection of the first few years of our adventure together.

The song we selected for this video, “Oh the Shimmering Summer,” is one of our favorites of Walt Wilkins. Since Walt has graciously provided music for so many of Off Center’s best videos, we thought it fitting to include it as a reflection of our first four years while tapping our toes to his guitar and voice. You can download this song for your own summer soundtrack from iTunes or Amazon.

We hope you have a wonderful summer with your friends and family…

The Off Center Crew
~ Ben, Bill, Emma, Eric, Heidi, Kevin, Mark, Maynard, and Steve


23 Responses So Far to “2016 Annual Update — Passing Like a Dream”:

  1. Avatar Andy Reynolds says:

    And a heartfelt thanks back to you, all, for the hard work and great results. This video has a great vibe, lots of inspiring photography, and a way of distilling the joy of all the aspects of messing about in boats, for people of all ages.

  2. Avatar John Supan says:

    Amen! Sail on.

  3. Avatar Oke Meyer says:

    I look forward to the end of each week in great anticipation of your mail message. I have done very little sailing or boating but love to look at the lines of the boats that you present in your videos. I have lived in Ohio for the past 40 years and still travel to the NY area to visit family and always look forward to the Hudson river area and the coast. I’m a grandfather woodworker and woodturner and continue to show and attempt to create an interest in my grandchildren. Please keep up the good work and I will continue to push my grandchildren and others to learn to enjoy working with their hands so that they to can enjoy the fruits of their labor. Well done and please keep it going. Oke

  4. Avatar Ralph Eade says:

    Congratulations guys I have looked forward to the videos for years. I love them all the boats, voyages, building stuff all. Hope to catch up with Steve (or who ever is fortunate enough to be sent down under) again at the Tasmanian Wooden Boat Festival in February 17.

  5. Avatar Drew Staniar says:

    As a new member, I congratulate you on your success! The videos are great. I invite all OCH members to the Mystic Wooden Boat Show to visit Pandora, a tiny 20′ catboat that was built by an amateur boat builder in 1991. She is entering the ‘beauty contest’. Pls. stop by, introduce yourself, inspect her, and vote for Pandora as your “fan favorite”. Thanks, Burt and Drew Staniar

  6. Avatar Russ Manheimer says:

    Channeling E. B. White here: If a man is obsessed about boats and can’t be on the boat he is obsessed about, then the next best thing is Off Center Harbor.

    So very proud of you all. Thanks for the Joy.

    Russ Manheimer

  7. Avatar Mark Burchfield says:

    Great spot, new member, recovering from wood blight for six decades, (born 1953)
    So happy to have found you, have known names from Woodenboat for years but now faces to go with. The people, the effort, instruction, so looking forward – have plans for Coquina and Mist, run across some of you at Mystic or Port Townsend soon.
    I’m not great on Internet access, this may already be possible but I’d like a way to get to videos without searching through from the start each time, I get distracted a l on the way and I’ll never finish with Calidonia. Great time always…

  8. Avatar randall spurr says:

    Congratulations all of you! What goes around comes around.

  9. Avatar John Kristoff says:

    An aging sailor, 78 at present, with 21,000 nautical miles of Navy experience on the Pacific, I can still feel its roll of waves beneath my feet. This morning, watching Minnesota treetop simulations of sea winds from my working cabinet shop windows, I recall a sailor’s joys. “Passing Like a Dream” to be sure, but once a sailor always a sailor, and that peace derived from wind and water forever remains. Thank you.

  10. Avatar Frank Crumbaugh says:

    I am not surprised but very much gratified by the growth; makes me glad to be a Life Member. Keep doing what you’re doing. Enjoyed meeting Steve when in Brookilin recently. .

  11. Avatar David Heal says:

    Lovin’ your site! Any chance your site could include a function that identifies which videos/flotsom/subjects/features I have already viewed? With so many viewing opportunities, I frequently forget which subjects/features I have already enjoyed!! Creeping senility no doubt (or informational overload)?

    • Steve Stone Steve Stone says:

      Hey David. Thanks for your suggestion. We’re working on a few features like this, but we do wonder if that particular feature may be a buzz kill for members who, like us, have memories so bad that we can get 3 or 4 totally fresh new viewings out of each video before remembering that we’ve seen it already!

  12. David Tew David Tew says:

    Congratulations on your success and growth. It’s so inspiring. And enjoy your travels!

  13. Avatar Dennis Lancaster says:

    As a boat builder who has entered his senior declining years. I don’t build anymore, or sail much, but sure do enjoy the videos here at OCH and do wish all of you well in future adventures. I’ll be lurking on the side lines, enjoying the view. Thanks Folks

  14. Avatar Jerry Kirschenbaum says:

    Congratulations to all of you. I have procrastinated away many a work morning watching videos and going for a second cup of coffee. Hope to see you on Penobscot Bay many times this summer. What a wonderful thing you have all done.

  15. Avatar Chris Robbins says:

    My brother told me about this site and I joined shortly thereafter. My family made its living in the Oyster business. Family boats are shown in the book Under Sail- The Dredge Boats of the Delaware Bay. My father remembers sailing on his cousin’s boat as a child. Unfortunately after WW 2 the boats all lost their rigs as they were converted to power and most now are rotting away. I spent the first 15 years of my professional life as a cabinetmaker doing woodwork on fiberglass yachts. Now as a partner in an architectural woodworking company, I find myself drawn to the woodworking artistry shown on your site. While my boat, an Alberg 29, is fiberglass, she still has plenty of wood with the full keel and classic lines of an earlier day.

    I enjoy your story telling, the way you are able to capture the essence of the trade and the love of the water. You meld tradition and craftsmanship handed down through the years, with the unfettered joy of sailing in a way I’ve not seen else ware. You are preserving a great treasure, and do so with excellent production values. I look forward to many more quiet evenings with this wonderful community.

  16. Avatar Warren Peluso says:

    Congratulations on the success of your wonderful endeavor. I really enjoy your website. Keep up the good work. I wish you success in the future.

  17. Avatar David Jeffery says:

    Hope I run across some of the OCH crew in Brooklin in late July, when I’ll be at the WBSchool.

  18. Avatar Fred Bender says:

    I’m also new to this site. The content here is exactly what I have been looking for. Geoff Kerrs’ working videos have lead me to order the plans for the Caledonia Yawl. I’m looking forward to the adventure and further guiding videos and articles to reduce the amount of head scratching that’s around the corner.
    Thanks Geoff

  19. Avatar George Weinbrenner says:

    Keep those videos coming. Can’t get enough of them.

  20. Avatar Kevin Tisdall says:

    Really love the site and the content so far (new member as of late last fall).

    I wish you would do an article (or series) on refinishing modern boat interiors. Techniques to deal with teak (or any) veneer that may be past it’s prime or simply need sprucing up. Mainly bulkheads, not cabin soles, but you can do soles as well :).


  21. Avatar Bob Kellett says:

    Ive just started my first year with OCH and am enjoying your videos and site greatly. Keep up the good work!

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