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News notes LIS Nov 2006

Collect wooden models of Hemingway’s Pilar

The Ernest Hemingway Collection announced it had awarded the license to produce handcrafted wooden replicas of Ernest Hemingway’s beloved fishing boat, Pilar, to Old World Trading Company of Farmingdale, N.Y.

A 28-inch museum-quality replica of Pilar, built to scale from blueprints, and two decorative models, available in 28-inch and 15-inch sizes and fashioned from photographs of the famed fishing boat, are now available for sale in retail stores and online at

In building the Pilar replicas, master boatbuilders ran the ship through a mini shipyard, said Old World Trading Company president Mark Von Zwehl. “The pieces are all handcrafted with particular attention to detail, built just like a real ship — the planking, the ribs and some working parts.”

The original Pilar, a 38-foot Wheeler Playmate, is now docked at Hemingway’s Finca Vigia estate in San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. The boat has been well-maintained and kept under cover, but is currently undergoing some minor restoration work.

The original was teal and black, and the new replicas from Old World Trading Co. will be offered in both teal and black, and red and black, Von Zwehl said. Both models come fully assembled.

“Hemingway was the ultimate sportsman, and the Pilar and its captain, Gregorio Fuentes, are widely believed to be the inspiration for the novella ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ and its protagonist, Santiago.” Von Zwehl said. “Producing these ships with the blessing of the family and the Ernest Hemingway Collection gives us great pride.”

WoodenBoat show draws crowds despite rain

A little rain in the forecast did not discourage attendees throughout the weekend at the WoodenBoat Show held in Newport, R.I., in late August. As the predicted scattered showers turned into a torrential downpour the first afternoon, visitors moved into the tents to explore the goods displayed there, and attend workshops and demonstrations presented by industry experts, exhibitors and authors.

A collection of various wooden boats was on display at the docks, across the land space and in the tents. The two Down East-style lobster boats, Nimble and Biscuit, restored and exhibited by Thomas Townsend Custom Marine Woodworking, exemplified a sensible aesthetic.

Classic sailing style was epitomized in the 57-foot Arrluuk, an example of L. Francis Herrshoff’s design. Brooklin Boat Yard Brokerage brought this brightly varnished crowd pleaser to the show. The 85-foot sardine carrier Bernadine, traveled all the way from New Brunswick to tie up to the show dock.

Family and friends say goodbye to Donald Levin

Nearly a year after his death the family of Donald Levin — a 33-year veteran of Pettit Paints — recently scattered his ashes over Huntington Harbor in New York.

Family and friends say it was a fitting tribute for Levin, who had a lifelong love of the sea.

Born on Long Island, Levin spent much of his life living near the coast. Levin graduated from Columbia University with a degree in naval architecture. He worked at Augie’s Boat Shop in Huntington and later joined Pettit. He lived on Long Island, in Connecticut and in North Carolina, but his face was well-known at trade shows and sales meetings throughout the East Coast. Friends and colleagues remember him as an involved and hard-working member of the community.

Levin died Oct. 10, 2005. His wife, Linda, scattered his ashes, accompanied by his children, grandchildren and colleagues from Pettit. They sailed out of Huntington, swapped stories and offered toasts.

Lake Champlain show attracts thousands

The 2006 Lake Champlain Antique and Classic Boat Show and Maritime Festival took place Aug. 18 to 20 at The Burlington Boat House overlooking Lake Champlain. Show Chairman Mike O’Brien expanded the three-day event by partnering the show with the Burlington waterfront activities. The show kicked off with antique boats arriving and airplanes practicing for a weekend air show. The Vermont Air National Guard celebrated their 60th anniversary with modern and vintage warbirds flying demonstrations over the Burlington waterfront. The air show concluded with a spectacular performance by the USAF Thunderbirds for the thousands of people spread out along the waterfront.

Boat Show festivities featured more than 50 historic, antique and classic boats on display. This year’s show included boats from Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut and Canada.

“Besides having great crowds this year, we have also set a whole new standard in the quality of the boats participating,” says Myndy Woodruff, president of LCACBS chapter.

Nautical Nightmares returns to Mystic

Tickets are now on sale for Nautical Nightmares — the fifth annual Halloween season event at Mystic Seaport.

Nautical Nightmares is an event that explores the mystery of historic ghost tales, legends and unsolved mysteries. Things that go bump in the night, eerie ghost tales and spirits guiding you through a darkened village are just some of the ghostly goings-on visitors will encounter. This event is not recommended for children under 7.

Various performance nights are held from mid- to late-October.

Tickets are $18 for adults ($15 for members) and $16 for children ages 6-17 ($13 for members). Tickets can be purchased by calling (888) 973-2767 or in person at the Mystic Seaport Visitor Reception Center.

Entries sought for model lighthouse competition

This winter the Norwalk, Conn.-based Maritime Aquarium renews a holiday tradition with the fifth annual Festival of Lighthouses contest.

The aquarium needs artists (ages 14 and up) to enter the contest, which guarantees a family membership to the aquarium for each accepted entry and features a top prize of $1,000.

Entries must be three-dimensional works of art between 3 and 6 feet tall with working lights. All accepted entries will be on display at the aquarium.

The winners will be announced at a private evening reception for the artists and their families at the aquarium Jan. 18, 2007. Entry forms must be received at The Maritime Aquarium by Nov. 1.

Last year’s contest drew entries using a wide variety of materials from stone, gingerbread, candy, foam, stained glass, wood and recycled materials.

For an entry form and a copy of the official rules, call The Maritime Aquarium at (203) 852-0700, Ext. 2248.

Triborough Bridge turns 70

This past July marked the 70th anniversary of the opening of the Triborough Bridge built by Robert Moses and the Works Progress Administration. Conceived first when ground was broken at the time of the Great Depression in 1929, its start was delayed until 1933, as one of the largest public works projects of the time costing more than $60 million.

With a toll of 25 cents per car, the main span of the bridge crosses the Hell Gate waters of the East River — which technically is not even a river but a tidal estuary — and connects Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan.

During World War II the bridge helped control traffic of vessels that had been routed to the inside waters of Long Island Sound to avoid the German submarines off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean.

What must be the genesis of the present day Vessel Traffic Services System, a Coast Guard sailor was stationed on the midpoint of the bridge between Queens and Manhattan with a radio and loud speaker system to advise the Hell Gate Pilots on ships passing underneath of the marine traffic sailing in the East River waters. He also controlled a system of red and green lights on the Hell Gate Railroad Bridge to control traffic. During one 30-minute period at the time, 30 vessels passed under the bridges.

— Francis J. Duffy

L.I. dealer adds Riviera Yachts line

Mattituck Inlet Marina of Mattituck, New York, has been named an official dealer by Riviera Yachts of the Americas, covering Long Island.

Mattituck Inlet Marina will handle the line of Australian-built Flybridge Convertibles, Sport Cruisers and Sport Yachts ranging from 33 to 60 feet.

Jim Pape, president of Mattituck Inlet says, “We chose Riviera because the boats have great quality, style, appointments and affordability. The line offers something for everyone — hard-core fishermen love these boats and so do their wives. It’s a great line for the Long Island market.”