A catamaran made of red cedar is a tribute to owner’s late friend
In an age where most boats are made of Plexiglas or some similar material, the 20-foot wooden catamaran, Fast Furniture, stands out as something of a relic.
For Scott Tuma, however, it’s more than just that. It’s a reminder of times he spent out on the water with good friends, it’s a memorial to one specific friendship and it’s also just a fascinating boat, he said.
“We spent a lot of time sailing on this boat in the 1990s,” said Tuma, a project manager for League City and a longtime resident of the bay area.
By most estimations, the 20-foot-long and 10-foot-wide catamaran, made of red cedar wood, was built in 1977 by workers from Michigan-based Gougeon Brothers Inc. as an Olympic-style boat, Tuma said.
The boat was used in the 1988 U.S. Olympic trials, Tuma said.
Tuma’s childhood friend, Colby Sharp, once owned the catamaran and the two men took it on many different trips in the area, Tuma said.
But Sharp moved to Colorado and died in an accident several years ago, and the catamaran sat in a storage unit near Dallas for about 20 years, Tuma said.
That is until Tuma was talking with his friend’s brother and the boat came up, Tuma said. One thing led to another, and Tuma drove to Dallas and picked up the boat, brought it back to the League City area and got to work repairing it.
“Colby was a free spirit and at one point decided to paint the whole deck red,” Tuma said with a smile.
Tuma and another friend spent months stripping the boat down to just raw wood, Tuma said.
“It still has a lot of the parts it had originally in the 1970s,” Tuma said of the restoration. “I tried to keep it as original as possible.”
From there, they restored the boat to its current vintage look. But the ship wasn’t finished until Tuma added the name, Fast Furniture, in 1970s-style vintage red and white cursive lettering, to the side, he said.
By the time Tuma got the boat, the lettering was gone, but he found a T-shirt with the name and original lettering, and then found a graphics shop to duplicate it, he said.
That was all about three years ago, Tuma said. Since then, Tuma has raced the catamaran in the Lakewood Yacht Club’s Keels & Wheels event three years in a row as well as several other local events.
“Now that so many boats are made of Plexiglas, this just looks so unique,” Tuma said.
Tuma has been sailing for more than 40 years. He owns several boats, in addition to Fast Furniture, including a boat he pieced together out of spare parts, but the wooden catamaran, stored at Lakewood Yacht Club in preparation for Keels & Wheels, holds a special place in his heart, he said.
“In memory of Colby Sharp,” is written on the boat’s side, in its characteristic vintage lettering.
From the dings it has taken in races, to the red flecks of paint no restoration attempt could have removed, Fast Furniture is a reminder of the joys and memories of decades worth of sailing, Tuma said.