Small Boat Gatherings – Simplicity Afloat

September 7, 2016

Seeking a simpler life afloat? Small boat gatherings will stimulate your dreams and help you find community.

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Our Small Boats category.


Visit the Traditional Small Craft Association for more small boat events and gatherings.

The Small Boats annual magazine from Woodenboat.


Small Reach Regatta is hosted in Brooklin, Maine.

Port Townsend Pocket Yachters hosts events such as the Pocket Yacht Palooza and Palooza Crooza.

Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival is hosted at Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St.Michaels, Maryland.

Tawe Nunnagah is a 10 day raid sponsored by the Living Boat Trust along the Southeast coast of Tasmania every two years, leading up to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival.

Semaine Du Golfe is a week long raid in Brittany, France.

Sail Caledonia is a Scottish Raid.

VeLaRaid is an annual event in Venice, Italy.


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– I was looking at a Shannon 38, which is one of my dream boats, and was thinking in that direction most of my life, and then I have three friends with 38-40 plus footers, and I see how much time they’re occurring maintaining these boats, and all these areas that I wanted no part of: refrigeration, so on and so forth. So I said, we wanna be on the water sailing, and going places, and here we are.

– And it’s been wonderful to come to the Small Reach Regatta, and see all the people in little boats.

– We’ve always had our circle of cruising buddies, but never this diversity of boats and sailors. A lot of them were here this past week for the SRR. So it’s a great fraternity, and I just feel like we’ve had them forever in our lives.

– I’ve been sailing dinghies all my life, and at some point, I got a cruising boat, got four kids, but the older two are starting to do their own things, understandably. So the 42 foot boat just was getting used less and less. I decided that I’m missing out on a lot of sailing. I got back into dinghies at some point with a friend, met some people out at St. Michael’s Small Craft Festival three years ago, that was our first event. After that, just been keeping in touch with some of those guys I never knew before.

– There’s enough time frame in what you’re doing between the sails for people to just relax and chat about things other than boats.

– [Voiceover] As we travel around the world filming videos for Off Center Harbor, we see small boat gatherings popping up all over. Small boat raids have been popular in Europe for a long time. Now we’re seeing them on the east and west coast of the U.S. And a ten day raid down in Tasmania just popped on our radar. It’s almost like these small boat skippers have figured out an old kind of boating in its simplest form. When the Small Reach Regatta returned to Maine this summer, we headed down to the waterfront to get a closer look at what these gatherings are about.

– The Traditional Small Craft Association, they have chapters around the country. I know the New Jersey and Delaware river has a very vibrant sailing scene. Down in Florida, there’s the West Coast Trailer Sailor Squadron. They do events throughout the sailing season down in Florida. It’s all small boats, families, camping on beaches.

– When we left, we called, Boy that was great sailing camp for adults. It was great.

– In Maine every year, we put on the Small Reach Regatta. There are small communities around America that are sailing small boats, camping in small boats, cruising in small boats, by themselves, with their families, with their friends, and they are more than happy to show you how to do it to get you involved.

– It was one of the best weekends I ever had in my life, just some guys that love sailing, small boats, almost every single of them was gorgeous, most of them are hand-built.

– You can take your friends. You can take your family. You get a good boat, you put them in, and you just go, have fun. In the mean time, you’re on a beautiful island, and you couldn’t ask for anything more.

12 Responses So Far to “Small Boat Gatherings – Simplicity Afloat”:

  1. suzan suzan says:

    Thank you Maynard for highlighting the TSCA!! Great meeting you at the WBS in Maine looking over that sweet little catboat! I encourage your team to spotlight more Small Craft _/)
    Capt Suz
    TSCA (President)

  2. Avatar John Wujack says:

    What design is the white, lap strake, (cat ketch?) that is shown being beached at the 3:10 mark? Stunningly beautiful! Thanks, John

    • Avatar Maynard Bray says:

      The boat you ask about belongs to me and is a replica of N.G. Herreshoff’s Coquina. She is a 16’8” cat ketch and building info is available from D.N. Hylan. Doug Hylan and I developed this package in cooperation with the MIT Museum which holds the original plans and the rights.

      She’s a wonderful little boat: fast and fun to sail.

      • Avatar John Wujack says:

        Maynard, This is pleasant news learning that you are connected to this lovely boat. I’d love to see more. You continue to be my hero. Regards, John

  3. Avatar jan labij says:

    Trailer sailers are great, even plastic ones. Because the boat is small, it is very practical to be owner built in wood. I started sailing in my fathers Snipe, 75 years ago. Worked my way up to 38 feet. More work than fun. Then a friend bought a used MacGregor 25, and asked me to help him learn how to sail it. What an eye opener that boat was. Easy to sail, easy to trailer, easy to rig. Simple really is better!

  4. Avatar Daniel Gonneau says:

    Excellent video, I hope you’ll post a new one covering the 2018 event! Some day I hope to go again (I attended in 2012, great fun)…

  5. Avatar Rod McLaren says:

    Without realizing it, some of us on the Canadian prairies have been part of this movement. July 2018 will be the 6th Elbow Run on the 145 mile long Lake Diefenbaker. We started in 2013 with 2 WindRider 17’s and it has grown since then. We welcome newcomers to join us this year with different boat designs.

    • Avatar Rick Robinson says:

      I want to take part in this….I’m in North Dakota and would really like to take part in a small sailboat group sail. I sail 150 mile long Lake Sakakawea and my boat is a 17.6 foot Mudhen.

  6. Avatar Conbert Benneck says:

    I totally agree with the comments. In our case, sailing New England in a 29 foot sailboat gradually lost all the charm of sailing; the quiet; the secluded anchorages; the camaraderie among sailors. It was all slowly being ruined by the ever growing hoard of powerboats.
    After one last powerboat experience where we were bracketed by two large powerboats in a narrow channel leading to the Mystic River doing 25 knots, and making us the ham in their sandwich, their wakes rolled us (in a no wake zone) creating havoc down below where my wife had just made herself some coffee. The coffee filter / coffee / coffee pot all rolled around on the cabin sole carpet. After that we went trailer sailing in a 15 footer. Could go where no powerboats dared to go, and enjoyed a vastly expanded sailing area and peace and quiet again. The costs also went to almost $0 except for some ramp charges when we used the boat. Winter storage was next to our garage. We used B&Bs / and cooked on board as well. I can only highly recommend this way of sailing. If you are an experienced sailor you can sail almost anywhere. A sister ship of our boat was single-handed from San Diego to Honolulu.

  7. Avatar Dave Dickmeyer says:

    Four minutes is just not enough time to give to these beautiful small craft! More please!

  8. Avatar Patrick Daniels says:

    Time to make Christophe an honorary OCH employee!! Small boats!

  9. Avatar David Satter says:

    Simple is good, sold my Herreshoff bristol 30. now looking at a small catboat or Beetlecat.Would love to get to the Small Reach Regatta one day.

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