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Record attendance at Maine show

This year’s showcase of all things Down East featured more than 120 boats and a champion waterdog

This year’s showcase of all things Down East featured more than 120 boats and a champion waterdog

More than $100 million worth of yachts graced the Rockland waterfront during the fourth annual Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show held Aug. 11 to 13.

The more than 120 vessels ranged from Lyman-Morse’s 84-foot luxury motoryacht and Morris Yacht’s 45-footracing/cruising sloop to handcrafted kayaks and the Portland Pudgy survival dinghy. Yachts of traditional and modern designs constructed in wood, composite and fiberglass were displayed, with visitors admiring the varnished woodwork, polished brass and luxurious interiors.

In the annual Boatyard Dog Championship Trials, Soldado Woollett, an abandoned puppy found on a Puerto Rican beach and brought to South Thomaston, Maine, beat out five other canines with her freestyle tricks — running across floating lobster crates, jumping through a hoop and climbing a ladder onto her master’s shoulder.

“Our show celebrates all aspects of coastal creativity,” says John Hansen Jr., publisher of Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors magazine, the show’s sponsor. “It’s inspiring how all the disciplines — boatbuilding, fine art, home construction, furniture making, food, photography — feed each other, and influence the whole.”

One visitor, a boat delivery captain, proclaimed the event the best of all the New England boat shows.

The variety among the 300 exhibits seemed to please the estimated 13,000 visitors. Many boarded boats, queried builders, placed orders, then perused booths of nautical necessities (from financing to propellers, paddles and sails to docks and winter storage).

Others browsed through 11 tents of fine art, folk art, cabinetry, furniture, books, crafts, clothing and decorative accessories. Architects, homebuilders and real estate agents shared tent space with museums, nonprofit organizations and a reflexology foot massage booth.

Kids built and sailed model boats, played games and examined sea creatures in a touch tank. Bluegrass, jazz and steel drum bands kept things lively. Chowder, lobster rolls and ice cream led the food offerings.

“This year saw our highest attendance yet, but it’s the community spirit and our volunteers that make our show a success,” says Hansen. “This year we expanded into a Coastal Community Week, supplementing our show with lectures at the Farnsworth Art Museum, a film and Cape Breton fiddle contest at The Strand Theater and festivities at the Lighthouse Museum.”

The fifth annual Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show, the state’s largest in-the-water boat show, is scheduled to take place Aug. 10 to 12, 2007, on Rockland’s waterfront.