By Steve Lansdowne - Austin, Texas - USA

The first annual CENTEX Small Boat Messabout was held in 2008 at 10 a.m. on the second Saturday after April 15th at the Lower Colorado River Authority (known locally as LCRA) Lake Bastrop Park, North Shore (not to be confused with Bastrop State Park).  The plan is to have this event continue every year on this specified date, which is an easy one to remember – after tax returns (or extensions) are filed and late enough in April to ensure nice weather.  The 900 acre Lake Bastrop location is just north of Bastrop, Texas, which is about 40 miles east of Austin.  The $3 per person entry fee to the park is low enough to allow all to come.  The park has a cement launching ramp, restrooms, and a fishing pier, as well as tent camping and RV sites for those wanting to stay overnight.  The shore is well suited to small boat launching as there is an area several hundred feet wide that slopes to the lake and continues gently sloping for many more feet under water.  This is adjacent to a roped-off swimming area.

A variety of small boats and their handlers attended the 2008 messabout.  Local boatbuilder and designer David Nichols and his son came with one of his Indian Girl canoes, complete with downwind sail.  Unfortunately there was no wind, but it is still a fine craft!

David is an avid fisherman, and I suspect that his vocation evolved from his love of the outdoors.  He has taught at the WoodenBoat School in Maine and the Great Lakes Boat Building School in Cedarville, Michigan.  He also brought along the much larger Big Laker, a newer design that takes an outboard and loves to chase fish.

Steve Lansdowne and his cedar strip Wee Rob double paddle sailing canoe, designed by Iain Oughtred, hosted this event, which at the time this photo was taken was still rather windless.

Lance Turner showed up with his Railbird Skiff, a masterpiece that has a very well done paint job, not to mention workmanship. 

Roger Harlow brought his Phil Bolger June Bug.  He seldom misses a messabout or other Texas small boating event.

Roger shortened this boat to 12’ so it fits into the back of his long van, eliminating the need for a trailer. (Once it is all in, the rear door does close.)  Once it is out, he sleeps in the van.

Tim Cowden appeared with his double paddle canoe.

Duckworks very own Chuck Leinweber came with a very lightweight canvas on frame kayak built from an old design he got off the ‘net.

and also a Flyfisher, one of David’s creations.   

Neal McNamara arrived with his older cedar strip canoe which had been glassed on the outside. 

This boat now sports a sail rig also.

John Wright came without any boat, which is quite unusual, as he has several to choose from.  He was featured on the cover of a recent issue of Messing About in Boats sailing in his Puddle Duck Racer in the Texas 200.  During a respite in the paddling John was involved in some heavy discussion of, most likely, nautical events and vessels.

The 2009 Messabout will likely feature an exquisitely built Charlotte double paddle canoe (Tom Hill design) from the workshop of Lance Turner, shown here.

Steve also plans to have his Melonseed in the water at the 2009 Messabout.  As she is currently deckless, she is too shy to be shown in public at present. 

Hope to see any and all local ‘messers’ at our 2009 Messabout on April 25, 2009.


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