While the fast-paced regatta season is upon us in New England, the Antique and Classic Boat Rendezvous at Mystic Seaport gives boat owners and admirers the opportunity to slow down and enjoy some of the most extraordinary boats in the country.
This year marks the 42nd Annual Rendezvous and showcases some impressive antique and classic vessels built before 1975, including sailboats, cruisers, and runabouts. Boats are encouraged to dress ship for the event, for museum guests to enjoy the displayed vessels.
Frederick “Ted” Crosby, USA Fleet Commodore of the Classic Yacht Association, owns and maintains Nisca, a 1924 William Hand Jr. Piute Class express cruiser with his wife Rebecca. The Crosby’s have attended the Rendezvous 16 times, with 10 awards and admit that the event is a great time to catch up with old friends, as well as enjoy the beautiful craftsmanship of the antique boats. According to Crosby, “it’s one of the few times I’ve been to [the Mystic Seaport] that all the dock space was gone.”
Shannon McKenzie, Director of Watercraft Programs at Mystic Seaport, admits her favorite part of the event is “seeing all of the boats tied up along our waterfront on display to the public. The museum visitors walk along to see all of the boats, ask questions of the owners, and admire the craftsmanship. The Watercraft Area events bring something new to our members and the visiting public to enjoy.”
According to McKenzie, the planning process begins in the winter “by choosing a featured vessel or class. We work with [the selected class or vessel] to develop a group of invited boats beyond our usual invitation list. In the recent past, we highlighted boats built in a certain, area, boats over 100 years old, and boats from a certain designer. Featuring a group of vessels allows us to attract more and a variety of boats to the event.”
This year in honor of the 85th anniversary of the museum’s schooner, Brilliant, the naval architecture firm designs of Sparkman & Stephens were highlighted at this year’s event. Launched in 1932 and design #12 of co-founder Olin Stephen’s, Brilliant has carried more than 10,000 students aboard as one of the longest-running sail training programs in the country.
On Saturday evening, awards were presented for excellence in restoration, authenticity, and workmanship. Several members of the Classic Yacht Owners Association participated in the rendezvous, some of whom were recognized at the awards presentation. Rockport Marine, Gannon & Benjamin and Sneider Yacht Restoration are all CYOA partners involved in the winning restorations.
Best in Class
CYOA Chairman Charles “Chuck” Townsend – Fidelio (1956)
Most Original & Authentic
Board Member Thorpe Leeson & Casey Fasciano – Courageous (1947)
Best Sailing Yacht
Black Watch Alliance – Black Watch (1938)
Best Power Yacht
Marcy Jean Brenner – Trade Wind (1938)
Judge Emirates Award
Joe Robillard – The Kid
Special Recognition for long and dedicated stewardship of Bolero
Ed Kane & Marty Wallace – Bolero (1949)
The Rendezvous wrapped with a parade of the classic boats down the Mystic River to Fishers Island Sound. The highlight of the Rendezvous and the Mystic summer season, boats parade down the river and each boat is announced at the Mystic River Park as it passes under the iconic Bascule Bridge.
Clark Poston, CYOA Director, says, “There isn’t a rock to sit on for the parade along the shoreline.” An event that gets the whole community involved, as local homeowners have parties during the parade, and it brings out so many people who cheer and wave at all of the beautiful, well-kept vessels as they cruise past.
“If you can’t maintain what you’ve got, you can always enjoy what someone else has” jokes Crosby, but he hopes to increase the amount of wooden boat owners throughout the country and continue the great camaraderie.
For more information on the Classic Yacht Owners Association or to see how you can become a member visit their website www.classicyachtownersassociation.org