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News notes Sept 2007 New England

Classic boats on display

The historic port of Salem will host the 25th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival (formerly the Boston Annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival) Aug. 25 and 26.

Classic sailboats, powerboats and hand-powered craft on display to the public range from a 19th-century canoe and steam launch to 1920s- to ’40s-era mahogany runabouts and cabin cruisers to the comely sail flotilla — sloops and sharpies to yawls and schooners.

Visitors can meet skippers and crew and vote for their favorite boat. Other highlights include judging (optional), a blessing of the fleet, a crafts market, antique automobiles, entertainment and a grand finale of a parade of boats in SalemHarbor.

Some skippers sport vintage garb; others display period decor and table settings aboard their craft. Many owners invite the public aboard for a personal tour and regale them with tales of their boat’s history, memorable voyages and the joys and woes of restoring her.

A theme of this year’s show is the commuter, an exponent of America’s “Jazz Age.” Built for elegance and speed, these glamorous yachts whisked wealthy owners in style to downtown offices in Manhattan, Boston and Detroit, and epitomized luxury-yacht building at its pinnacle.

Commuters invited to rendezvous at the show include the 1928 Ragtime, beautifully restored by owner Jeff Lowell of Boothbay Region Boatyard in Maine; the rebuilt torpedo-stern commuter Aphrodite, owned by Charles Royce of Greenwich, Conn., and the tradition-inspired contemporary commuter Vendetta, owned by singer Billy Joel.

The purpose of the festival, according to Pat Wells, founder and coordinator, is to encourage owners of antique and classic craft to keep up their boats.

“This is important as their vessels are our maritime heritage,” Wells says. “If they don’t bother, we lose it.”

Classic boat owners are encouraged to call (617) 666-8530 or (617) 868-7587 to enter their boats. “Boats don’t have to be in ‘show’ condition,” says Wells. “The spirit of the festival is to gather together the grand old craft and those who love them.”

New boat fleet heads to Newport

The Newport International Boat Show returns for its 37th year Sept. 13 to 16.

What organizers call one of the four largest in-water boat shows in the country, the Newport show features both power and sail.

The show will encompass more than 15 acres along America’s Cup Avenue, stretching from the NewportYachtingCenter to Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina. Some 850 exhibitors with more than 700 boats, ranging from 16 to 85 feet, on display, along with kayaks, inflatables, equipment, accessories and services including financing, insurance, storage, surveying, repair and maintenance.

Demonstrations, seminars, workshops and children’s programs are also on the agenda.

Tickets are $25, $18 and $16 while children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult.

A shuttle bus service will run from Newport Beach and Jamestown all four days. New this year is parking at Newport Shipyard with a water taxi to the show through the Brokerage Show.

For information, call (800) 582-7846 or visit .

Buoy shot out, two men arrested

The sound of pre-dawn gunfire and damage to a harbor buoy June 9 led to the arrest of two men in Marshfield, Mass.

The Marshfield Police Department requested Coast Guard assistance at about 3 a.m. upon suspicion that someone was shooting at a navigational buoy from a boat in GreenHarbor. A boarding team from Coast Guard Station Scituate located the suspected vessel, reportedly discovered empty beer bottles and believed the suspects were hiding below deck. After the team issued repeated verbal commands and drew their weapons, three “unarmed, but uncooperative” men emerged.

The Coast Guard determined the light in the No. 3 buoy was shot out and extinguished. Mariners in GreenHarbor were urged to take note of the damaged navigational aid and exercise caution pending its repair. The investigation is ongoing.

R.I. boatbuilder loses fight with cancer

Ernie Gavin, who built Stur-Dee skiffs and catboats for 60 years, died May 31 after a long battle with cancer.

“My daughter, Mackenzie, and I will keep building boats the way he taught us to build them: with integrity and common sense. No shortcuts,” Gavin’s daughter Heidi said in a statement on the company Web site.

Gavin, 81, started the Tiverton, R.I.-based Stud-Dee Boat Co. in 1947. His daughter says he stayed involved right to the end of his life.

Stur-Dee is known for hand-laid fiberglass boats. They include the Amesbury Dory (12, 14 and 16 feet), the 14-foot, 4-inch Stur-Dee Cat (designed by Edson Schock), a 10-foot rowing skiff and 8-foot Harbormaster tender.

The family-run company has overcome adversity in its 60 years of operation. A Dec. 12, 1988, electrical fire burned all of the wooden buildings of the shop to the ground.Without insurance, an undeterred Gavin rebuilt with his savings. Gavin also survived cancer in 1994.

“He was a fighter,” his daughter wrote. “We owe it to him to carry on the same way he did when he faced devastation. Just keep working.”

New film looks at Maine fishing community

A new movie drama focuses on a small fishing island off the coast of Maine, where families have lived and worked off the sea for generations.

The main character in “Islander,” Eben Cole, played by Thomas Hildreth, who also wrote and produced the story, is sent to prison after a dispute over fishing grounds turns deadly. He returns to his community five years later as an ostracized felon.

His wife has divorced him and prohibits Eben from seeing their daughter and most of the town treats their one-time friend as a pariah. But Eben is determined to rebuild his life.

Popper, an old fisherman from his father’s generation, played by Philip Baker Hall, hires Eben to work as the sternman on his lobster boat, an opportunity no other fisherman would offer.

“Islander” is playing at several coastal New England towns this summer.