Email This Page to a Friend2016 Annual Update — Passing Like a Dream
June 3, 2016
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.
THE OFF CENTER COLLECTION — VIDEOS, GUIDE POSTS & FLOTSAM
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.
THE YEAR AHEAD
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
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