DOCKTALK Don’t Miss the Antique and Classic Boat Festival
by Ruth Christie
h, the many wonders of wellpreserved wood. With a few graceful coats of upscale varnish, wouldn’t we all look good too, no matter our age? Father’s Day weekend is a perfect time to visit the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels for the 23rd running of the Antique and Classic Boat Festival June 18-20. Come to think of it, there’s never a bad time to visit St. Michaels. Photos courtesy of Chris Brown for the Classic Wooden Boat Festival
Classic connoisseurs will love the largest antique boat show and festivities along the Mid-Atlantic. You’ll see more than 100 restored and nicely preserved classics in the water and on land; some were built nearly 100 years ago. The festival features maritime artists, craftsmen, vendors, kids’ fun, and a “Field of Dreams” near the Steamboat Building, with classic used boats and motors for sale as well as a flea market of nautical necessities.
So, When Do They Want Us To Show Up?
Showtimes are Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If you like retro designs, mahogany wood, gilded instrument panels, plush leather seats, and carefully crafted boats that hail from a more romantic era, then this is your festival. Hundreds of boat enthusiasts and aficionados will be there to answer questions as boats bob peacefully in the waters off the museum, making perfect photo ops. A few Chesapeake Bay Powerboating
owners will crank up their engines to putter close to the docks, but most of the crafts will stay tethered to shore, like small floating museums. Roger Johnson took a year to restore and rebuild a 28-foot 1930 antique boat. He has been restoring old boats to their former glory since 1975, after finding his first one in a field. He says, “When I grew up, they weren’t antiques. But when I bought one, that’s when I decided this is what I wanted to do.” Most admit the hobby can become expensive. Jeff Stebbins says, “If you love
the way they look and the way they glide on the water, it’s worth every penny. You have to be dedicated to restore boats like these. They are a piece of history that are still used on a regular basis; they’re here to tell the tales of countless other Chris-Craft, Century, Lyman, and GarWood vessels from our past that were burned, tossed out, and left to rot.” B. K. Powells adds, “The stories behind the boats and their graceful lines, rumbling sounds, and nostalgic beauty are simply hard to resist.” Make time to read each boat’s storyboard to learn the boat’s history, names of owners, where it was discovered, the restoration process, and more.
More Specifics, Please
Inside the show, you’ll find juried fine artists and artisans, including painters, sculptors, scrimshanders, photographers,
wildlife carvers, jewelers, model makers, chrome-platers, old gauge repairers, and furniture makers. The festival also features antique clothing and home furnishings, boat builders and restorers, boat kits and products, safety gear, rope and hard-to-find parts. The festival hosts are the Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society International (ACBS) and CBMM. Judging under ACBS guidelines will take place Saturday.
Like Cyndi Lauper, Kids Just Want To Have Fun
In addition to a live touchtank, several justfor-kids activities are scheduled as part of ACBS’s International Youth Development Program. Boats for Kids lets youngsters assemble small boats and learn to sail them in a special pool. Kit Boat Building gets teens building one of the James Craft Kit boats of the classic Chris-Craft design. And, volunteers from Sea Scouts from Ship #759 in Baltimore will be on hand to help out and answer any questions.
Cruise Over by Boat
Reserve your slip now at a marina in St. Michaels; things book up quickly. One year, PropTalk did not do its homework and made last-minute plans. The harbor was so crowded, we had to beg and cajole the kind folks at Higgins Yacht Yard to find room for us. Luckily, they made space for our party platform inside the TraveLift area with seven like-minded vessels. It all worked out fine and dandy, of course, but plan ahead. For more details, visit chesapeakebayacbs.org/annual-boat-festival. PropTalk June 2010 13