|Something Old, Something New|
Part 3: The whole group was cutting up rambunctiously in the foredeck seating area.
By Capt. Bill Pike — May 2003
Take, for example, our interview with the captain of the Consolidated, which came hot on the heels of the harp concert. Having elaborately arrayed herself in Jazz-era regalia to suit the vintage of a vessel built in 1927, Karen Stimpson of Portland, Maine, had prevailed upon several of her friends to do the same, and the whole group was cutting up rambunctiously in the foredeck seating area, despite the decorousness of the harp music floating from the cockpit.
“What are you ladies supposed to be?” Helminski asked.
chorused the reply.
he shot back.
“Floozies in any era,” came the chorus again, followed by gales of laughter.
Our last encounter of the day was also highly representative of the spirit of the show. It featured Hank Clark of Topsfield, Massachusetts, his daughter Rachel, and their boat Valhalla, a 1934 Wheeler Playmate Cruiser, sistership to Hemingway’s Pilar, one of the most storied motorboats of all time. While Hank’s self-effacing manner and his daughter’s quiet presence belied any intention of grabbing the spotlight, or even one of the awards conferred at the end of the festival, the boat itself was a piece of pure, eye-catching Americana. At her helm station, I briefly tried to imagine what it must have been like for the great writer aboard his own Wheeler back in the 1930’s, working the throttle levers, eyeballing the compass, gazing out at the deep-blue Gulf Stream.
“I spend 50 hours workin’ on this old girl, for every hour I take her out,” Hank joked ruefully.
“But I love our boat,” Rachel chimed in, “she’s good for my father.”
A realization hit me shortly after departing Valhalla. Although I’d expected some of the owners and spectators at the festival to be a little down on the freshly minted sleekness of the Chris-Craft I was driving, no such sentiments had ever surfaced. In fact, earlier in the afternoon the owner of the lovely Rand Power Cruiser Temma, Audrey Rubenstein of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, had remarked with enthusiasm as we toodled by, “That’s a lovely Chris-Craft you’ve got there—very sexy.”
Seems like lovers of antique boats are often genuinely appreciative of new ones, too. Believe it or not!
Boston Antique & Classic Boat Festival Phone: 617) 666-8530. www.by-the-sea.com/bacbfestival. (This year’s show: August 16 and 17, Hawthorne Cove Marina, Salem, Massachusetts).
This article originally appeared in the April 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.