I talked my son Jeffrey and his friend Emily to accompany me to the show. We hit the road at around 9am and are at the Seaport at 11. Clint has left us “Exhibitor” passes at the check-in booth, which get us free entry into the show. Cool. He also sent me a Chase Small Craft t-shirt, which I am wearing to make my Carol Merrill act at his booth look more convincing. Maybe it will even fool show attendees into thinking that Clint has … “employees”! [Serious note: I have no economic arrangement with Clint other than I bought the boat kit from him. Any endorsements I provide are solely because I love my boat and would love to see more Calendar Islands Yawls on the water. Plus I think Clint is doing great stuff and want to see his business prosper.]
We find our way to Clint’s booth and Grey Fox, prominently displayed under the big tent on the lawn. The mainmast just barely fits under the tent, and Clint has the mainsail triple-reefed so the yard doesn’t extend above the top of the mast.
Prominently displayed in the boat is a big beer mug that says “ Annual WoodenBoat Show – Best in Show – Owner Built Sail”. WE WON!!! Our category at least. Wow, I am flattered. The awards were given out yesterday. Quite an honor given the quality of the competition, which I see during the day. I think the fact that the CIY is a new design, and a clever one, that the judges haven’t seen before, was a big factor in winning. It certainly wasn’t just that my craftsmanship was better than many of the other boats there. But the CIY is novel – mine is only the second one to hit the water, and the first one is out on the Great Lakes. Hey, whatever it takes, I’ll keep the mug!
Mystic Seaport is a gem anytime. I could spend days there and not see everything. But when the WoodenBoat Show is on, it’s extra special. So many boats, and gear, and exhibitors on display. We have great time showing off our boat, and also viewing all the other boats. A walk through the Henry B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard there is also really interesting. We get a peek at the work going on on the Mayflower II in dry dock, which is in for a 3-year major rebuild by the DuPont shipwrights. And then a bit further down the dock we happen upon this vessel:
It’s the Viking longship Draken Harald Hårfagre, the world’s biggest Viking ship, visiting the Seaport on a 2-year sojourn to North America. Built in 2012, it’s a reconstruction of what a large seagoing Viking ship would have been, based on historic documents, archeological findings, and Norwegian boatbuilding traditions. This thing is huge – some 115 feet long and with a 26-foot beam The timbers are massive. I’m sure it’s the biggest open boat I’ll ever see. Emily spies a crew member up on the foredeck and the next thing I know, she and he are having a lively conversation in Norwegian! The crewman must have flabbergasted to have someone just start talking to him in his native tongue. I had forgotten that Emily’s mother is Norwegian.
The day goes by in a flash and next thing we know, it’s 5pm and the show is shutting down. We unrig Grey Fox and Clint fetches the trailer, and by 6:30 we’re out of there. Back to Larchmont with Grey Fox flying down I-95 at 50 knots!