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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Fun Times, Fun Boats

At this past weekend’s Shipbuilding Festival in Bangeojin it was land of the bizarre and strange.  The highlight of the event was the boat building contest which was to make the best boat possible out of recycled materials.

Nearly two dozen teams competed in categories such as aesthetics, harmoniousness (whatever that is), strength, creativity, speed and amount of recycled materials.  Some teams, whose members included professionals or students majoring in naval architecture, were quite skilled. Others, well, not so much. formed a team and our boat was made of empty makeoli bottles formed into pontoon covered with polystyrene foam.  The Phillipino team created what looked to be a “Flintstone” mobile.  A number of boats were plain failures and never made it beyond putting it in the water. Others failed under the pressure of weight, lack of structural soundness and hard racing.  In all, though, it was a successful event that brought hundreds of people to Ilsan beach to play and watch.


Both the UlsanOnline team and the Phillipino teams won 500k won prizes. Although neither team built a spectacular boat, our prizes were more consolation and encouragement than because of our skills, most likely because we were the only foreigner teams at the festival. Our boat took water quickly as our makeoli bottle pontoons were far from waterproof. Our paddle quickly disintegrated under the fierce paddling Dave put forth. The Phillipino team only thought of motion after it was built, so although quite stylish was very sluggish in the water. Regardless, we had an excellent time hanging out with friends and building something out of nothing.

Throughout the festival the organizers were very helpful and kind and brought us water several times to stave off the heat and humidity on the beach. They also helped direct our chicken delivery man to our table when lunch time arrived.  The other participants were great and had many colorful, fanciful ideas for their boats. I was surprised by the amount of English spoken, particular by the engineering student teams.

After the shipbuilding, we moved over to the “We are 1 in Ulsan” festival and listened to live music from the Phillipino band while we ate galbi and quaffed beer. It was a full day and we had a great time. I would encourage others to participate in next year’s Shipbuilding festival. Having built one (semi-failure) boat and watched several other failures, I believe next year we could manage a true prize winner.

Bonus : Lots of TV cameras were present and our team was interviewed by MBC. We made the 8:00pm news and there were action shots of Ryan, Scott and Dave with a 10-second interview with Dave aired on the local channel. There was also UBC that got in our faces for pictures, but I didn’t see any thing on their news.