Longtime Mass. dealer dies at age 89
Stewart William Roach turned a love for racing and an aptitude for marine mechanics into a boat dealership that served Massachusetts for decades.
Born in 1920, Roach pursued his passion for hydroplane racing while attending Boston’s Wentworth Institute of Technology. He went on to teach marine engine troubleshooting techniques to the military.
In 1938, tired of neighbors’ complaints about the boat-related noise, he borrowed $5,000 from his mother and purchased a location on Route 1 in Norwood, Mass. Norwood Marine sold Bertram, Chris-Craft and Lyman, among other brands, says his son, Stewart J. Roach.
“It was one of the old-school ‘mom-and-pop’ dealerships,” says the younger Roach, who owns the current Norwood Yacht Sales on Boston Harbor at Marina Bay in North Quincy, Mass. “I still have people telling me, ‘I bought a boat from your father.’ ”
The senior Roach also touched many people in the marine industry. He was the kind of employer who instilled respect in his employees.
“A lot of people who worked for him went on to brokerages and yacht companies,” says Roach. “At the wake one guy who used to work for him reminded me that, when you were doing some work, and if he asked you for a wrench, you would do a full sprint … to go get it.”
In 1960 Roach purchased a waterfront property in Dorchester, Mass. — former home of the storied Lawley shipyard — and expanded his business, later selling the Route 1 location in 1975. In 1988 and 1989 Norwood was the world’s largest Bertram dealer, says his son.
Roach retired to Osterville, Mass., in 1997. He died April 10 at the age of 89.
Contributions can be made to Underdog ResQ, The Scruffy Fund, P.O. Box 35096 Boston, MA 02135 or online at www.underdogresq.com.
ELF to appear at Salem classic boat show
Forty vintage sailboats and motoryachts from the 1880s to 1960s are expected to be on display at the 27th annual Antique and Classic Boat Festival in Salem, Mass.
The festival will take place Aug. 22 and 23 at Hawthorne Cove Marina in Salem. Tickets are $5 for adults; children under 12 are free.
The boats expected to appear at the show are mostly wood and privately owned. The vessels range from skiffs and dories to mahogany runabouts and cruisers as well as sailboats. The featured boat is ELF, a topsail cutter built by George Lawley and Sons Yard in 1888 in Boston. ELF was built as a state-of-the-art racing yacht with an extraordinary rig, according to organizers.
In the past, Ragtime, a 1928 64-foot luxury commuter, as well as Ghost, a 1934 cabin cruiser have appeared at the festival.
For information, visit www.boatfestival.org or call (617) 666-8530.
Classic Lymans gather in Boothbay
The 14th annual Classic Lyman and Antique Boat Show is set for July 31 to Aug. 2 in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
In the past there have been upwards of 35 Lyman boats from the local area on display at the show. This year owners of any antique and classic boat are invited to attend the rendezvous, according to Philip Yasinkski, rendezvous coordinator.
Boaters can expect events ranging from dinners and receptions, open tours of boatyards and current projects, and a boat parade around the harbor, according to coordinators.
For information, visit www.oldboatlovers.com.
This article originally appeared in the New England Home Waters Section of the August 2009 issue.