National Boatbuilding Challenge & Brightwork: A Makers’ Festival in Kingston

Acquiring a working 1930s Chris-Craft motorboat might be outside the budget range of most of us, but, thanks to the existence of the Riverport Wooden Boat School next door to the Hudson River Maritime Museum (HRMM), building a small boat of one’s own is a more realistic dream for many. For inspiration, check out the National Boatbuilding Challenge in Kingston this weekend. 

The National Boatbuilding Challenge is a nationwide competition; 2018 is the second year that HRMM is playing host as a first-round venue. You get into the finals by being part of a team of two people who successfully construct a seaworthy boat from scratch in just four hours: between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 23. By 4 p.m., the boats will be judged for “quality of build” and ready to enter in a rowing race on the Rondout.

The Boatbuilding Challenge is just one component of Brightwork: A Makers’ Festival, a community celebration of “the art of craft” happening this weekend at the Maritime Museum. Unless you’re taking a workshop with some visiting artisan, there’s no charge to attend Brightwork, which will feature maker demonstrations, live music, hands-on activities for children, art, craft and food vendors.


Brightwork: A Makers’ Festival opens to the public at 11 a.m. on Saturday, runs until 6 p.m. and then returns on Sunday, June 24, minus the Boatbuilding Challenge, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you haven’t yet discovered Kingston’s Strand as a summer staycation destination that will make you feel like you’ve instantly apparated to some quaint coastal village far away, this event is the perfect excuse to check it out. You will definitely want to come back. You might even feel inspired to build yourself a wooden boat.

To register for the National Boatbuilding Challenge or find out more about the Brightwork schedule, visit The Hudson River Maritime Museum and Riverport Wooden Boat School are located at 50 Rondout Landing, along the Strand in Kingston.

Brightwork: A Makers’ Festival, Saturday/Sunday, June 23/24, 11 a.m., free, Riverport Wooden Boat School, 50 Rondout Landing, Kingston;