Memorable turnout at classic boat show

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The 21st annual Mahogany Memories boat show, held July 9 at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, Conn., attracted more spectators this year than ever before.

The 21st annual Mahogany Memories boat show, held July 9 at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, Conn., attracted more spectators this year than ever before.

“We really pulled it off. I’d say it was the best show we’ve ever had,” says show co-chairperson Lee Heinzman. “It was great that so many people showed up to see all these unusual boats that have been impeccably restored.

“I heard from more than one person that this was the best mid-sized show they’d ever been to,” he continues. “We like to hear that.”

Hosted by the Southern New England Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, the show featured nearly 40 classic boats restored by owners who came from points between Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The boats ranged from 11 feet to more than 40 feet in length. One boat that Heinzman thought was particularly interesting was an 1893 catboat.

“She was just absolutely beautiful; stunning,” he says.

In addition to the boats, a large tent near the museum housed exhibits by seven model boatbuilders as well as a number of vendors. One model boat on display was a five-foot steam tug featuring a hand-made steam engine.

“For years now the builder has been bringing that boat to the show in varying stages of completion,” Heinzman explains. “He said he’s almost finished and hopes to launch her pretty soon out of Mystic [Conn.].”

The Best in Show award this year went to boat owners Michael Kowalczyk and Victor Sylvester, who restored Sunset, a 13-foot, 6-inch 1920 Edwin Long outboard runabout.

“I was of course very surprised and pleased,” Kowalczyk says of winning the award. “It’s nice to see a small boat from a little-known boatbuilder be honored.”

Heinzman says that although putting together a show like Mahogany Memories takes a lot of work, he’s already looking forward to next year’s event. “Each year this show has been getting better and better and that’s something we’re looking to continue for the show next year,” he says.