Boat show benefits Cape Fear students

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Taking advantage of the warm weather, a healthy number of exhibitors and other coordinating events on the Cape Fear Community College campus, the 15th annual CFCC Boat Show was another successful iteration of the event.

The Saturday, April 5 show provided an outlet for handmade boat collectors and manufacturers to showcase their vessels, allowed CFCC students in the wooden boat building and boat service and manufacturing programs to open the doors of their workshops to the public and raised money for scholarships to those programs.

CFCC Marine Technology department chair Jason Rogers said this year’s event was successful in raising those vital scholarship funds.

“Financially we had one of our most successful shows,” Rogers said. “We netted about $3,000 into our scholarship fund, which is really good.”

The bulk of the funds raised during the event come from the sponsors and exhibitors. Rogers said title sponsors Bell Hart Marine, Johnson Custom Boats, Inc. and Masonboro Skiff Company contributed the most to the scholarship fund.

There were also 28 handmade boat exhibitors during Saturday’s show. The boats ranged from antique rowboats to powerboats and models unique to the Lower Cape Fear Region like the Simmons Sea Skiff.

Simmons Sea Skiff owner George Allen has exhibited every year at the CFCC Boat Show and said his 22-foot, original two-tone blue skiff was one of the last, made in 1971 at Tom Simmons’ Myrtle Grove shop.

“I found this one for sale off Oleander Drive in 1977,” Allen said. “I try to let the people here know about wooden boats because they are an endangered species.”

Allen said he admired the Simmons Sea Skiffs since he was a young boy in Wrightsville Beach because of the wooden boats’ handling and stability.

“I remember when I was kid at Wrightsville Beach and all of my friends’ families had one,” he said. “We would go skiing in the ocean with these boats, and there are not many boats you could do that with because of the waves.”

Stories and boats like Allen’s were on display for the many visitors who walked through the boat show on Saturday. CFCC public information officer David Hardin said many of those patrons also visited the open house at Union Station that day.

“It is always a good event but this year was especially good because we got some new exhibitors,” Hardin said. “Also the open house at Union Station has been going on all day, and I think we attracted a lot of people to the show that might not have come otherwise.”

email cole@luminanews.com

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