Top 5 Wooden Boat Shows on the East Coast, Making M/Y America Great again
Just when I thought things might be getting a little boring life proves me wrong. So where do I start? Matthew. This season it was so quiet. The little storms posed no threat. Then came along Matthew, big and ominous. First he had Florida in its sights and then the Carolinas. He finally landed in South Carolina and when he hit ,the storm moved inland. With wind and rain he pounced for days. Before the storm we prepared, no boats would fall. We dotted all the “I’s: and crossed all the “T’s.” We were going to get hit with around 50 knots. We pulled off the back of our tent building that housed “Jenny Clark” (the front was already open) to allow the wind to pass through and we secured the boat and everything inside the tent.
When the storm approached, Margaret and I stayed in the Myron Building in our small travel trailer. The winds and rain pounded starting around 9pm all the way through the night, the hardest probably around 1am. At sunrise the wind had calmed some and we emerged from the Myron Building to see the front of our tent tangled into a knot. I called my crew and even though it was a Sunday they all showed up within minutes. We pulled down the heavy covers, or what was left of it.
With all of the preparations we had done all of our boats in the yard were unscathed other than the one inside the actual tent building. The damage was minor, but still. Margaret, myself, and Willie (our little black schnauzer) had slept through most of it. The seasons are now changing and friends from the North are stopping by. The storm will fade into history. I want to thank our friends for their concerns.
Margaret and I recently drove down to Georgetown, S.C. for their wooden boat show. I remember passing through this place a long time ago. The back drop to the town back then was a steel mill and the black smoke it spewed. This time, after crossing a bridge and turning down a small road we became a bit lost. However, we looked at the beautiful houses with the streets shaded with a canopy of ancient live oak trees draped with Spanish moss. It looked like a painting of the Old South. We got our bearings and when we looked downtown some of the roads were flooded. Still, people were wading to get to the boat show. I wanted to get there early. Coming into Front Street, five or six city blocks were closed off with boats of all sizes and shapes, vendors, and food kiosks. It was like the whole town was behind this event and it really showed. People as far away as Florida and Kentucky were there. By noon the tide had dropped and we could see the boats on the dock, in the water. I thought the flooding might be from the storm, but it was actually from the super moon.
We walked and talked, meeting both first time builders and seasoned veterans. One man we met had built a Viking Longboat – no plans or books - just from an illustration. Right or wrong he did it. Another gentleman we met, James Herndon of Carolina Custom Canoe Paddles built these beautiful paddles and canoes. I ended up buying one of his paddles. Most of them were more expensive but one was marked down. He told me that it had a flaw and handed it to me. I looked and looked and then had to shrug my shoulders in resignation. I could find nothing wrong with his work. He then held it out and placed his eye down the length of it. He said, “See, the handle is twisted.”
What I saw was a work of art. He told Margaret he had spent 18 months building his canoe, which was a beauty. I hung it on a wall the main office where it could be admired by all for what it is – a work of art to be admired and to inspire. And besides, I don’t own a canoe. And before you ask, no, I don’t plan on adding another boat to my fleet just to fit the paddle. Now THAT’s crazy talk – or is it? As the day drew on we walked the docks. There was a Ruby, a 1930 Elco Marinette owned by Jerry Pope. Jerry is a great guy who takes great care of his beautiful boat. His cockpit cover is a wooden frame covered by stretched canvas. The storm had torn it a bit, but this was not going to stop him from making the show, so he temporarily patched it. He said he has all winter to redo it so he wasn’t worried.
We were invited aboard for cocktails and to watch the race. There’s a boat building challenge at the show, and part of that competition is to have a rowing relay – this was the fun part. Watching people scrambling to hand off the baton without tipping their vessel over is always a blast. That evening we had a great meal in one of the many waterfront restaurants there. What I found exciting was how people got behind this show to make it a true event. Somehow the dredge islands and a steel mill as backdrops added to the charm of this special place.
This will probably get lots of emails but since I have been on this journey to attend as many wooden boat shows this summer as I could, here, in my opinion and you are entitled to yours, is my ratings for the top 5:
1. Vintage Weekend
2. Mystic Wooden Boat Show
3. Georgetown, SC Wooden Boat Show
4. Mount Dora, FL
5. St. Michael’s Wooden Boat Show
We still have yet to go to the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d’Elegance, which is coming up this weekend, Sat. Nov. 5th In South Carolina. So, who knows, I might have to change that whole list!
Next: Making “America” great again! No, I am not talking politics! We are talking about the Trumpy, contract 420, 1965, built for James L. Knight as the “Jimiana.” Capt. Ted came up with that saying and I thought I would share it. Actually this time we are doing systems work and a paint job. What is nice is my view from my office window allows me to see four Trumpys bows at once: “Eskimo,” “America,” “Jacqueline,” and “Jenny Clark.” If there is a Valhalla, this is mine. The two most beautiful modern Trumpy yachts are side by side – what a view! This next year is the year that Eskimo comes back to life. I plan to try my hardest to be a proper matchmaker for “Eskimo.”
I have rambled on long enough, but there is one more story to share. Yesterday I received a postcard, the handwriting is shaky and the words were simple: “Please help save/sell these old yachts.”
The list followed:
Miss Ann, 124’ 1926 in VA. Capt. Schick 804-224-7730
El Primero, 127’, 1833 in Washington State. www.hansonyachts.com
Acadia, 126’, 1929, also in Washington State at the above web address
The postcard was sent to me by Mr. Michael Thomas of Lake Worth, Fl. Thank you Thomas!
Until next time,
PS – I hope to see you at Hilton Head’s Concours d’Elegance and/or Ocean Reef’s Vintage Weekend!