CLASSIC SAILBOAT RACE
A match race between
24-foot spritsail skiff
Matt Robert’s brand new
20-foot shad boat replica
is scheduled in September
from Wrightsville’s Banks
Channel to Southport for
the annual boat show.
Bryan Humphrey’s 24-foot spritsail skiff
Kommradeship was on the cover of our May
issue, illustrating a story on the Beaufort
Wooden Boat Show we titled “Preserving
the Craft.” We told the story of how
Humphrey rescued the vessel from a watery
grave in 2007, and renovated it with the help of a band of
boat building brothers. He sailed it to the show in Beaufort.
Humphrey also plans to sail Kommradeship to the
Southport Wooden Boat Show, scheduled for Sept. 29, but
it won’t be a leisurely cruise. It will be a match race against a
brand new 20-foot shad boat replica, built by Matt Roberts
as part of the Cape Fear Community College’s boat building
“It’s like America’s Cup with reverse technology,” says
Roberts, the sailing school instructor at the Blockade Runner.
The two Wrightsville Beach-based sailors met through
mutual friends at Cape Fear, where Roberts began building
his boat last November.
“Bryan sails out of Carolina Yacht Club, and I’m at the
Blockade Runner,” Roberts says. “We started talking smack.”
The trash talk led to the just-for-fun match
race, which will go from Banks Channel to
Roberts raced super yachts in the Caribbean
before returning to the area to start the
accredited sailing school in October 2017.
“I’m used to 150-footers,” he says. “The idiosyncrasies of
this boat are new. We’ll see what happens.”
North Carolina designated the shad boat as the official
state historical boat in 1987 — the key word being historical.
The small, highly maneuverable craft developed on Roanoke
Island were ideal for shallow water fishing along the coast.
But the boat’s popularity gradually faded away.
When Roberts decided to build a wooden boat, it seemed
an obvious choice.
“I’m into the old traditions,” he says. “It’s our North
Carolina heritage and it looks cool. It’s shallow-drafted, you
can take it over to Masonboro. The reason you do a wooden
boat is to maintain the tradition and heritage. It’s something
that’s worth keeping around.”
— Simon Gonzalez
WBM FILE PHOTO