About 20 people gathered together Sept. 27-30 in Manchester, California, a town about three hours north of San Francisco, for the third annual Mendo Mini Campout and Boat Build.
The idea for the campout was hatched by host Nathan Hake of Cranium Construction and his friend John Bass of Surface Form during one of the “Epic” events put on by the now-defunct Blue Concrete. The men chose to focus on concrete boat building because, Hake says, boats are one of the last objects you’d think would be made of concrete. It also helps that there’s a working pier nearby in Point Arena where they could launch whatever they made.
This year, the group built two 20-foot fiberglass molds using Smooth-On’s EpoxAcoat as a gel coat and backed them with fiberglass cloth and Smooth-On EpoxAmite. They then cast two boats.
The red boat, “The ReKrakken,” was made with a traditional GFRC mix design of a sprayed face coat and a hand-packed AR glass-fiber backer applied about ¾-inch thick. The boat weighed in at about 1,480 pounds.
The green “Creme de Menthe” sported a new lightweight Buddy Rhodes vertical mix, which is 30 percent lighter than conventional GFRC mixes. The mix design consisted of AR glass fibers, a traditional sprayed face coat and a hand-placed fibrous lightweight backer for a total thickness of 1 inch. The seaworthy vessel weighed in at just over 1,300 pounds.
With this kind of heft, “There’s always the potential that the creations will end up at the bottom of the Pacific,” Hake says. But this year’s ship launch didn’t disappoint — it was a double success.
The annual event, which will be held again next fall, is all about camaraderie, fun and promoting the spirit of collective creativity.
Hake wants to extend a big shout out to Smooth-On and Buddy Rhodes Concrete Products, without which the event would not be possible. Ernie Dojack and Jim Scheetz of Smooth-On and the iconic Buddy Rhodes and his team were eager participants. The men brought a ton of materials with them, Hake says, “Like literally a ton.”/>