Bruce Armstrong's Report from the Homer Show

Arriving Homer noon Friday, we proceeded as directed by Renn to the Kachemack Gear Shed, a marine hardware store beyond discription. Renn said anybody at the `Gear Shed could point us to his world headquarters on the Bay……sure enough, everyone knew Renn and his whereabouts….we pulled up in front of Renn's shop on a bright, sunny afternoon, dodged a couple skiffs in for repair and banged on the locked front door. "WHAT! Oh – just a minute" Once inside and past the hand shaking, we listened and watched as Renn showed Stan Lefton, a California refugee who'd recently finished his own Jumbo, his nearly complete Jumbo. While listening and watching, sometimes in Renn's new Jumbo, sometimes wandering around shooting his office, epoxy cart, tool bench, etc, I was taken by Renn's relentless enthusiasm and knowledge of boats, guns, shooting, the outdoors, folk dancing, etc ….no wishy-washy opinions here! We've all heard that Renn is slowing down, not building as many boats today…..well, if he's slowing down, I'd hate to try and keep up with him ten years ago…the way he darts around, jumping in and out of bo ats, all while encumbered with rubber boots and epoxy-stiffened Carharrts is quite a mazing. Before leaving for the Homer Spit and show set-up, Renn pulled out the Yukon Jack and passed it around….me, Diane, Stan: "part of the builder's initiation…drink up" This must be Alaska!

We stopped for lunch at a place above the Spit's small boat harbor and watched a beautiful Jumbo dock….little did we know it was Jim O'Meara pulling in after his first run…..we hooked up for the full tour and pictures before friends showed up and they were off fishing…..shame to spoil a nice new boat! I'd have joined them but for assuring Renn I'd be at the show site at 3 to help set up. By 5 we had an entire row of Jumbos and widebody's ready to display. Stan Lefton's grey Jumbo with a big cabin/side windows. Self-built in Homer exclusively for fishing, the insulated, heated cabin features doors front a nd back. Ron Blake's Jumbo built in Bellingham: Shameless Hooker…..the class of the field for finish and trim. W/B open skiff now owned by Doug Huvar. Doug's the 3rd owner of this early Renn-built widebody and has just finished a complete re-fit. Blue, yellow trim. Seen at the ramp/did not attend the show: 1991 20' Standard / white / blue bottom Renn-built, original owner Derek Stonorov uses it to fish and explore and carry film crews around the Bay. Ron Williams' just completed W/B in white with blue trim…..Ron's wife Lorraine did the detail work and paint and it's super-nice……some mahogany trim and a very nice cabin, this boat looks pro-built….. Gary Porter's W/B: Because this is the most traveled boat at the show and has had the most lovin'/rubbin', it was the most interesting….Gary and his wife have obviously spent lot's of time solving the little problems that come up cruising on a small boat – and it shows……very pretty and his cabin appears light and does not overpower the hull visually. I spent the most time looking at this boat. Renn's new skiff: This boat is going across the Bay June 10 come hell or high water! Renn moves forward like the tide and I have no doubts he'll launch and go on a trip I can only dream about, so sure is he of the boat and its preparation. Sure wish I hadn't asked what the shinny thing was in his insulated cabin. (Hint: heat er) Jim O'Meara's 93 day wonder: the 22' Jumbo. Renn had to have been thrilled to have the newly completed Jumbo at the show! Jim's boat was the talk of the Spit since Homeroids know how much work goes into building a cabin-skiff………gawking was the order of the weekend as folks walked around Jim's beautiful newly-splashed cream/green skiff. He got stroked all day and into the nite! Neal's just-about-done 22' Jumbo drew huge and enthusiastic crowds all weekend and Neal surely closed several fence-sitters…..when done, Neal's Jumbo will look like a fiberglass boat…..that's how good the hull looks! Maroon wide body skiff…….beautiful open boat……never could find the owner.

Several other Tolmans went directly by the show and on to the launch ramp or were moored in the harbor. Other Tolman owners didn't even bother bringing their skiffs to the show while two other Tolmans and Renn's green boat remained at Renn's shop .. that's how common they are in Homer. My varnish queen would look very strange in this line-up and I can see why Renn was taken aback when I sent him completion pictures back in '97. Doubt I'll be dragging Begone! to Alaska anytime soon.

Dinner after the Saturday show was an all'hands affair ….. no descriptions necessary ……fun….Diane and I poked around Homer Sunday morning, went to the new 18M National Parks wildlife museum/park HQ, drove up the the heights for the view and got out of town about noon, stopping at a small fishing village – Inilchik on Cook Inlet for lunch…. Someone towing a 3-axle boat/trailer got it all wrong coming into Soldotna -burned to a crisp…..one hour wait….decided to go to Seward as suggested by JimO instead of back to bland Anchorage. Good Call…..Seward and the boating environment are wonderful…..next time I want to see Whittier and Prince William Sound…..there may be a place for my skiff up there after all. Monday morning we visited Neal and Linda at Skiffkits…..fantastic machinery and op eration…….held the prototype of the Tolman model which I can now hardly wait to get my hand on….but am not standing by the mail box awaiting its arrival. Neal was about to start cutting for a sold kit and I have to think, from talking to the folks at the Homer show, that Neal has a big winner on his hands. The inquiries are coming in nationwide.

That's about it for the boating part of the trip…..anyone wanting big-file copies of any of my pictures are welcome to contact me directly…..there area about 250 on iPhoto ……..Bruce/Santa Barbara.

Click on the links for the contact sheets to get an over all look at images. Keep note of any specific image file names you'd like to see large and come back to the list below and click on that link to see a larger version. When I get more energy I'll link the thumbnail images on the contact sheets so you can directly click on the images.
  1. ContactSheet-1.jpg
  2. ContactSheet-2.jpg
  3. ContactSheet-3.jpg
  4. ContactSheet-4.jpg
  5. ContactSheet-5.jpg
  6. ContactSheet-6.jpg
  7. ContactSheet-7.jpg
  1. AUT_5301.jpg
  2. AUT_5302.jpg
  3. AUT_5303.jpg
  4. AUT_5304.jpg
  5. AUT_5305.jpg
  6. AUT_5306.jpg
  7. AUT_5307.jpg
  8. AUT_5308.jpg
  9. AUT_5309.jpg
  10. AUT_5310.jpg
  11. AUT_5312.jpg
  12. AUT_5313.jpg
  13. AUT_5315.jpg
  14. AUT_5318.jpg
  15. AUT_5319.jpg
  16. AUT_5320.jpg
  17. AUT_5321.jpg
  18. AUT_5322.jpg
  19. AUT_5323.jpg
  20. AUT_5324.jpg
  21. AUT_5325.jpg
  22. AUT_5326.jpg
  23. AUT_5327.jpg
  24. AUT_5328.jpg
  25. AUT_5329.jpg
  26. P5076031.jpg
  27. P5076032.jpg
  28. P5076033.jpg
  29. P5076034.jpg
  30. P5076035.jpg
  31. P5076036.jpg
  32. P5076037.jpg
  33. P5076038.jpg
  34. P5076039.jpg
  35. P5076040.jpg
  36. P5076041.jpg
  37. P5076042.jpg
  38. P5076043.jpg
  39. P5076044.jpg
  40. P5076045.jpg
  41. P5076046.jpg
  42. P5076047.jpg
  43. P5076048.jpg
  44. P5076049.jpg
  45. P5076050.jpg
  46. P5076051.jpg
  47. P5076052.jpg
  48. P5076053.jpg
  49. P5076054.jpg
  50. P5076055.jpg
  51. P5076056.jpg
  52. P5076057.jpg
  53. P5076058.jpg
  54. P5076059.jpg
  55. P5076060.jpg
  56. P5076061.jpg
  57. P5076062.jpg
  58. P5076063.jpg
  59. P5076064.jpg
  60. P5076065.jpg
  61. P5076066.jpg
  62. P5076067.jpg
  63. P5076068.jpg
  64. P5076069.jpg
  65. P5076070.jpg
  66. P5076071.jpg
  67. P5076072.jpg
  68. P5076073.jpg
  69. P5076074.jpg
  70. P5076075.jpg
  71. P5076076.jpg
  72. P5076077.jpg
  73. P5076078.jpg
  74. P5076079.jpg
  75. P5076080.jpg
  76. P5076081.jpg
  77. P5076082.jpg
  78. P5076083.jpg
  79. P5076084.jpg
  80. P5076085.jpg
  81. P5076086.jpg
  82. P5076087.jpg
  83. P5076088.jpg
  84. P5076089.jpg
  85. P5076090.jpg
  86. P5076091.jpg
  87. P5076092.jpg
  88. P5076093.jpg
  89. P5076094.jpg
  90. P5076095.jpg
  91. P5076096.jpg
  92. P5076097.jpg
  93. P5076098.jpg
  94. P5076099.jpg
  95. P5076100.jpg
  96. P5076101.jpg
  97. P5076102.jpg
  98. P5076103.jpg
  99. P5076104.jpg
  100. P5076105.jpg
  101. P5086106.jpg
  102. P5086107.jpg
  103. P5086108.jpg
  104. P5086109.jpg
  105. P5086110.jpg
  106. P5086111.jpg
  107. P5086112.jpg
  108. P5086113.jpg
  109. P5086114.jpg
  110. P5086115.jpg
  111. P5086116.jpg
  112. P5086117.jpg
  113. P5086118.jpg
  114. P5086119.jpg
  115. P5086120.jpg
  116. P5086121.jpg
  117. P5086122.jpg
  118. P5086123.jpg
  119. P5086124.jpg
  120. P5086125.jpg
  121. P5086126.jpg
  122. P5086127.jpg
  123. P5086128.jpg
  124. P5086129.jpg
  125. P5086130.jpg
  126. P5086131.jpg
  127. P5086132.jpg
  128. P5086133.jpg
  129. P5086134.jpg
  130. P5086135.jpg
  131. P5086136.jpg
  132. P5086137.jpg
  133. P5086138.jpg
  134. P5086139.jpg
  135. P5086140.jpg
  136. P5086141.jpg
  137. P5086142.jpg
  138. P5086143.jpg
  139. P5086144.jpg
  140. P5086145.jpg
  141. P5086146.jpg
  142. P5086147.jpg
  143. P5086148.jpg
  144. P5086149.jpg
  145. P5086150.jpg
  146. P5086151.jpg
  147. P5086152.jpg
  148. P5086153.jpg
  149. P5086154.jpg
  150. P5086155.jpg
  151. P5086156.jpg
  152. P5086157.jpg
  153. P5086158.jpg
  154. P5086159.jpg
  155. P5086160.jpg
  156. P5086161.jpg
  157. P5086162.jpg
  158. P5086163.jpg
  159. P5086164.jpg
  160. P5086165.jpg
  161. P5086166.jpg
  162. P5086167.jpg
  163. P5086168.jpg
  164. P5086170.jpg
  165. P5086171.jpg
  166. P5086172.jpg
  167. P5086173.jpg
  168. P5096174.jpg
  169. P5096175.jpg
  170. P5096176.jpg
  171. P5096177.jpg
  172. P5096178.jpg
  173. P5096179.jpg
  174. P5096180.jpg
  175. P5096181.jpg
  176. P5096182.jpg
  177. P5096183.jpg
  178. P5096184.jpg
  179. P5096185.jpg
  180. P5096193.jpg
  181. P5096194.jpg
  182. P5096195.jpg
  183. P5096196.jpg
  184. P5096197.jpg
  185. P5096198.jpg
  186. P5096199.jpg
  187. P5096200.jpg
  188. P5096201.jpg
  189. P5096202.jpg
  190. P5096203.jpg
  191. P5106204.jpg
  192. P5106205.jpg
  193. P5106206.jpg
  194. P5106207.jpg
  195. P5106208.jpg
  196. P5106209.jpg
  197. P5106210.jpg
  198. P5106211.jpg
  199. P5106212.jpg
  200. P5106213.jpg
  201. P5106214.jpg
  202. P5106215.jpg
News  |  Maps  |  Fish  |  Tackle  |  Links  |  Stories  |  Forum  |  Conservation  |  Tolman Skiff
© 2003 by FishyFish. All rights reserved.