The National Boatbuilding Challenge is returning to Belfast Saturday, Aug. 21, during the Belfast Harbor Fest, sponsored by the Belfast Rotary Club. The competition was well-received in Belfast in 2007 and 2008 and has been held in South Carolina for the past 21 years.

The challenge involves two-person teams building a 12-foot wooden skiff in less than four hours, followed by a rowing race. Teams are judged on how quickly they complete construction, the quality of the craftsmanship and their speed on the water in the two-man relay rowing race.

For the $150 entry fee, each team receives plans and building materials, a workspace and competes for a $500 first-place prize, $300 for second place and $200 for third place. Teams provide their own tools, work tables and oars, which can be made beforehand.

This year, an intercollegiate trophy competition is being added. In addition to competing for the overall prizes, the Maine boat-building schools will compete with each other to see which school will take the trophy home.

The competition will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, at Steamboat Landing in Belfast. For more information or to register, visit or call David Crabiel at 322-5805.

And if you aren’t a boat-builder, admission to the festival is free and the National Boatbuilding Challenge is fun to watch.

The Belfast Harbor Fest is a weekend-long event celebrating all things marine-related. Friday night there is a Launch Party to kick off the festival with music, food and locally-brewed beer. In addition to the boat-building challenge, Saturday features a 5K race, pancake breakfast, sea captain’s talk, a children’s area and a classic boat show. Nautical-related vendors and exhibitors will be displaying their wares for sale and giving demonstrations on various crafts and trades.