Event celebrates classic Wooden Boats

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Even the owners of typical modern fiberglass boats can appreciate the aesthetic pleasures of beautifully restored wooden runabouts, sloops, sharpies, yawls and schooners.

Even the owners of typical modern fiberglass boats can appreciate the aesthetic pleasures of beautifully restored wooden runabouts, sloops, sharpies, yawls and schooners.

Prime examples — more than 40 in all — will be on display Aug. 23-24 at Hawthorne Cove Marina in Salem, Mass., for the 26th annual Antique and Classic Boat Festival.

“We’ll have a lot of newcomers but a lot of old favorites as well,” says Pat Wells, one of the founding members of the show. “It will probably be half and half.”

Boat owners from all over the East Coast will be on hand with their vessels to answer questions and, in some cases, give tours. Wells says people have come from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and even Florida in recent years.

“During the course of the festival, we try to divide the time between letting the boat owners have their private time and when their boats are open to the public,” Wells says. “Often, they are very hospitable, letting the public aboard. It’s a way for people from all over to come together and share their love for boating in a very fluid, laid-back atmosphere.”

Wells says lasting friendships among the boat owners and the show’s attendees have been made over the years as a result of this show.

Originally held as a way to revitalize BostonHarbor and advocate for more dock space, the show has since become a local tradition in the New England region. Festival events include the Blessing of the Fleet in addition to the Parade of Boats.

“We try to keep it low-key and fun,” says Wells. “We do judge the vessels and hand out awards, but boat owners can choose to opt out of that if they so choose.”

One old favorite making another appearance at the show is the 1926 38-foot Lawley currently owned by Linwood and Gail Cross of South Portland, Maine. She was built by George Lawley & Son in Neponset, Mass.

“That boat has probably come to the most festivals,” says Wells. “We’re always happy to see her back in her home state.”

The festival will also showcase a variety of artists and exhibitors, such as The International Yacht Restoration School based in Newport, R.I., and The Belted Cow Company of Yarmouth, Maine, as well as musical guests.

The show is sponsored by the Antique & Classic Boat Festival, Inc., and Hawthorne Cove Marina. Tickets are $5 a donation, and children under 12 are free. For information on submitting your boat for the show or festival events, contact Wells at (617) 666-8530 or visit www.boatfestival.org .