Two teams of veterans from various branches of the military will be in Belfast this weekend for the National Boatbuilding Challenge, which is part of Harbor Fest. In addition, a team of their daughters also has signed up to compete.

The annual Harbor Fest is hosted by Belfast Rotary and each year, more diverse teams of builders participate in the challenge: teams of two building a small boat within a four-hour time frame and racing the finished product in the harbor to claim the title of champions plus a $1,250 prize.

Belfast Rotarian Duke Marston said he offered the teams of veterans free entry into the challenge — usually there's a $100 entry fee — and said they're an entertaining group.

One of the teams this year includes Keven Keaveny, a veteran from New York, who founded a program there called the Veterans Wooden Boat Workshop. According to his biography, when he returned from serving in Afghanistan, he decided to build a boat. In the process, Keaveny found it was therapeutic and thought he might be able to help other returning veterans reintegrate with society and their families though building boats.

"The Veterans Wooden Boat Workshop is about veteran reintegration, family and community," he said in an email. "By including our ladies (daughters) in the workshop and competitions, it encourages other veterans to interact with their families, friends and loved ones. It lets them see it's OK. A lot of veterans isolate, cut themselves off from everything and everyone when they get out of the service. They deserve a good life and they need to see it's possible."

While most of the team members have little experience, the Belfast competition isn't their first, Keaveny said. Four teams participated in a competition in Kingston, N.Y., at the invitation of the Hudson River Maritime Museum, he said.

"It was a blast," Keaveny said. "We have no chance of winning, we just promise to be entertaining!"

In face, in Kingston, he said, one team didn't finish its boat. Two did receive awards — one for most crooked boat and the other for most time spent looking at blueprints — according to Keaveny.

The teams coming to Maine include 13- and 15-year-old daughters but generally the ages range from 20s to 70s, he said. The team names, chosen over barbecue and beers, Keaveny said, are Odin's Scourge, Guardians of Valhalla and Veteran Warrior Princesses.

The National Boatbuilding Challenge takes place Saturday, Aug. 18, at 11 a.m., when construction begins in the big tent set up at Steamboat Landing Park. At 4 p.m., the teams launch their skiffs in the harbor near Belfast Boathouse to race for the title.