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Classic yachts crowd into Salem for Classic Boat Festival

by Sail-World Cruising on 21 Aug 2013
Salem Classic Boat Festival SW
The flash of polished bronze and gleam of varnished wood across the water will be the order of the day as elegant antique and classic yachts sail into the host city of Salem, Massachusetts for the 31st Annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival August 24-25.

Mostly wood, primarily private yachts and aesthetically stunning, the vessels will be on display to the public over the weekend at Brewer Hawthorne Cove Marina. The inventory of antique boats is dwindling as more and more fall into disrepair and abandonment. It is imperative to save the few left.

A hallmark of the Festival is the great variety of craft exhibited. 'Where else,' says Pat Wells, Coordinator, 'can one see 1900s-60s motor yachts, mahogany speedboats, sloops, yawls, schooners and a 19th century gold-leaf canoe! Although many of these craft are museum quality, they are real boats in the water and in use by their owners today.'

The Festival was launched in 1983 under the auspices of the Boston Educational Marine Exchange, a non-profit, membership association founded by visionary architect/mariner Carl Koch in 1976 to revitalize Boston Harbor. The Festival has now been held in Boston, Charlestown, Quincy, and Salem.

Through its judging and awards program, the Festival provides incentives and standards for restoring and maintaining antique and classic vessels - our maritime heritage! It also inspires and rewards owners by providing them with a venue to show off their unique craft to the public. Participants are buoyed by picking up tips and encouragement from kindred boat owners and Festival judges. Last, but not least, participants are gaining converts among the public, inspiring others to rescue and restore a classic of their own.

To the delight of the public, some skippers sport vintage garb; others display period décor, table settings and captivating floral arrangements aboard their boat.


Children are especially thrilled to be able to board a boat and are instilled with the romance of the sea and the dream of owning a boat of their own. Welcome mats are in evidence for children and pets. Even parrots have been known to enliven the scene. Many hospitable owners invite the public aboard for a personal tour, regaling visitors with tales of their boat's history, memorable voyages and the joys and woes of restoring their classic.

A crafts fair, artists, old-time band music, children's activities, the Blessing of the Fleet and boat parade round out this popular event.

For additional information about the Antique & Classic Boat Festival and to learn about ways in which you can become a Friend or Sponsor and support the Festival, please contact: Pat Wells at 617-666-8530 or patwells@earthlink.net.

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