Boats, Boats, Boats And A Little More…

Wooden boats? Oh, it must be the annual WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport.

4 July 2017

Göran R Buckhorn has had a look at wooden boats.

The 26th annual WoodenBoat Show is the three-day festival that kicks off the high season at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut. The maritime museum’s 19-acre grounds can take a lot of vendors and visitors, and is the perfect place for such an event. Not only do professional boat builders and vendors of all things boat and wood grace the grounds and Mystic River shoreline, also ‘private’ persons come to display what they have built or restored in their garages or backyards – often to their spouses’ dismay.

The more than 100 vendors that yearly come to the WoodenBoat Show, which is organised and arranged by WoodenBoat Publications in Maine and hosted by Mystic Seaport, are selling everything boat owners might need for their boats, whether it’s a dinghy or a superyacht. ‘Antique’ dealers and sellers of bric-a-brac – honestly, is there a difference, more than the prices? – are hawking out stuff to eager customers left and right. After having attended this show for close to ten years now, I have learned that you should walk around quickly the first hours to check out the merchandise at the different vendors, that way you might save hundreds of dollars.

The weather this long weekend, between 30 June and 2 July, was pleasant for a show, partly sunny or partly cloudy with a breeze coming in from the Mystic River.

Beautiful boats

This Norwegian cutter, “Flekkerøy”, is probably the vessel that came furthest away of all of the visiting boats at this year’s WoodenBoat Show. She is a gaff-rigged pilot cutter, built in 1936 and named after the island where she originally worked. She was bought by Bjønar Berg in 2005, and after he and his partner, Klara Emmerfors, a boatbuilder, had sailed her in Scandinavian waters, they sailed from Frederikstad to USA, via the Shetland Islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and Canada.
This boat has not travelled far to get to Mystic Seaport. Noank is a small village at the mouth of the Mystic River.
Is “Duchess” aware that the World Rowing Championships is going to be held at Sarasota, Florida, in September?
Yellow and blue – is there a Swedish connection here?
Every real sailboat has to have a bowsprit.
You might think that the camera angle makes this engine look ginormous, but the camera is not lying. This is a gargantuan engine for this small boat.
Here is a Norwegian “færing” built in New York State.
“Kaleidoscope” was built by Rocking the Boat, an organisation which was launched in 1996 as a volunteer project in an East Harlem junior high school. The programme now includes boat building, rowing, sailing, team building, environment and social work. Their slogan is ‘Kids don’t just build boats, boats build kids’. Take a look at:
The front-rower, “Heart-Throb”.
Boat builder Will Aurigemma looked this happy when HTBS wanted to snap a picture of him and his beautiful skiff. More images of his boat and other pics on his Instagram account, Born2keel.
Kai Stürmann (left) and his brother Claus were at this year’s festival to show off Kai’s newly restored training single scull, which was built by Joseph A. Garofalo of Worcester Oar and Paddle Company. An article about Kai, a HTBS reader, and his Garofalo single scull will follow on HTBS.

Boats for sale

Not only are some of the vendors selling kits for you to build your own boat, there are also ‘ready-made’ boats for you to purchase – and save you many hours of frustration, if not money.

You could actually build a boat at the WoodenBoat Show.
A beautifully restored Beetle catboat from 1988 could be yours for $11,000.
This beauty was also for sale.
Williams-Mystic had this Sea Scout Sloop for sale for only $1,979 – a steal.

Not boats

Timber anyone?
Perfect for the man, or woman, cave.
Would you like to make a distress call? Here is a thing for you.
A nice old underwater camera. After having looked at the price tags for the other stuff from this dealer, I decided not to ask him for the price of this camera.
Maybe your favourite author is Ernest Hemingway and now you have bought your “Pilar”, but you are lacking a fishing chair. This ‘rod holder’ can be yours for $3,500 – it doesn’t come with fishing rods or fish.
A shop where you will find a cannon for every need, whether it is to start a sailing regatta or just to scare away the Canadian geese that are making a mess on your lawn.
You need a pair of old sculls? This is not the place to buy them. The pair of Worcester Oar and Paddle sculls on the left is $1,100.
Now here is a nifty little thing, a so-called Teardrop Camper. This type of camper dates back from at least the 1930s and at the WoodenBoat Show was this 5′ x 8′ (1.5 x 2.4 m) model kit from Chesapeake Light Craft. It looks small on the outside but is roomy on the inside. The company’s website says that, ‘Two adults up to 6’6″ (198 cm) can stretch out in great luxury. Large doors on both sides and a 15″ square hatch on the roof provide easy access and copious ventilation. There’s room for a 12-volt electrical system to run lights, fans, a stereo, and charging plugs for devices.’ Read more here.
Where is the bar?

Time to leave but not before…

An outing on the river. Starting with tossing the oars.
The 115-foot (35-metre) “Draken Harald Hårfagre” will be open for tours between 30 June and 4 September. Take a look here.
Next tour is coming up on the Viking longship. This “Draken Harald Hårfagre” volunteer got the job as a ‘lur’ blower thanks to his skills on the trombone.
One of the first thing visitors meet when they go on board “Draken Harald Hårfagre” is one of Odin’s ravens, Huginn or Muninn, take your pick.
The dragon head on the Viking ship is one of the most photographed objects at Mystic Seaport this summer.
Dogs might be the animal on board a Thames skiff or a rowing boat, but on board a sailing boat it should be a cat, preferably by the name of Joey.

Now, let’s do this again next year!


  1. Goran

    Great article

    I hope to visit the show one day in the future.

    Cheers Clive Clive Radley FRSA, BSc(Eng), MRAeS, MAPM 07504508621 01252658445 Sent from my iPad


  2. Looks like the sculling blade next to the expensive Worcester ones has travelled some distance. The orange label is from F Collar Ltd of South Hinksey,Oxford, England. Wonder what happened to its partner?

  3. Two norwegians at the same place, same time, using the very same route. Great coincidence! I love both the Flekkeroy and the Draken Harald Harfagre.

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