Cedar Key Small Boat Meet


by Ron Hoddinott

Well, the Cedar Key Small Boat Meet is over, and reflecting back on it, it seemed like it was the best and biggest yet! There were so many boats, and such a variety of small craft present. Hand made canoes and kayaks, Melonseeds, SeaPearls, designs by Arch Davis, Bolger, Ian Oughtred, Atkin, and others were everywhere! Estimates of 120 boats at the meet may be a bit high, but there were a lot of boats there that's for sure!

Friday night at Bob and Jerry Treat's house on 7th street was again a wonderful experience, talking to so many accomplished sailors, builders and designers. Meade and Jan Geougon, and Jim Brown, of Sea Runner Tri fame, were there to name just a few.

Saturday is always the biggest day at Cedar Key, so many great boats on the water, it looked like an 1890's ACA canoe gathering! The sailing canoe is obviously coming back into favor, and why not? At one time in this country, before the advent of the outboard motor, the common man could afford a sailing canoe. It can easily be stored, transported to exotic destinations, sailed or paddled. It was the vehicle which carried the greenhorn into the wildernesses of upstate New York (Adirondacks), and Maine. The Hugh Horton sailing canoes have been a feature at Cedar Key for years now, but this year there were more designs, some hand built and some converted boats from factory canoes. With oil prices what they are and where they're going, the sense of having a sailboat that can be carried easily on top of a small economical car is beginning to make a lot of sense to many.

I couldn't stay out on the water all that long on Saturday, even though Becky and Jessica Combs, and a new friend named Jim were really enjoying the brisk southwest winds aboard Whisper, because my younger brother Tom was getting his 8 foot long smoker fired up for the evening cookout. Now Tom just loves to cook, but he enjoys sharing his love of good food with an appreciative crowd, and we certainly had an appreciative crowd at the Squadron cookout! We sold over 95 tickets to the cookout, and this year we didn't run out of food!

Tom cooked chickens, and polish sausage in his smoker with a special (secret) marinade, and baked beans on top of the fire box in a huge stainless pot! Squadron members donated rolls and butter, lots of cole slaw (we did eventually run out cole slaw), a great Jambalya, salads, and lots and lots of fantastic deserts! Water and soft drinks were provided by the Squadron as well, and we had a very good sound system connected to a CD/Tape player for music.

If all that wasn't enough, there were tee-shirts and magazines to give away as door prizes from Small Craft Advisor, and Marine Concepts Sailboats. Everyone really enjoyed the party and the food, and I knew it was a success when I looked over at Tom and saw him grinning, relaxing and smoking a big stogie (after all the food had been served).

Thanks to ALL the Squadron member who helped set up, clean up, take down, put away, serve, take the moola, hog the microphone, be generally friendly to everyone, and make it known to all that our little club is a friendly and fun group of people! You are the best advertisement for our organization that one could ask for!

On Sunday, I took Whisper out by myself, and sailed to North Key, got bit by horseflies, chatted and dined with Terry Poling who was also sailing alone, met up with Jeff and Diana Lackey aboard MoonPie. We all then headed south to SeaHorse Key, went round the outside and skirted the bird rookeries all the way to Snake Key. At Snake the sailing canoes of Hugh Horton, Mead and Jan Gougeon were on the beach. They waved me in and watched Whisper skim the shallows on the western approach, created a wake behind her as the water compressed between the bottom of the boat and the bottom of the bay. A final sail around Aetsena Otie Key, and back to the Island Place completed my sailing for the weekend. Unsettled weather was forecast for Sunday night, although it never arrived, so I lowered the masts to make it easier to put away on Monday morning.

Sunday evening Paul and Dodie Waggoner and I went over to the Captain's Table for dinner, where we enjoyed cheeseburgers and wine for dinner! It wasn't smoked chicken and sausage, but it was good, and the company made it sweet.

Thanks again to everyone who attended and helped out at the cookout! If you missed it this year, don't make that mistake in 2007!