Whoooooeeeee! What a Show!

This past August, having delivered a salty downeaster up the coast from points south, I had the opportunity to visit the Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show in Rockland, Maine. And oh whata show! Quite frankly, I don't think I've witnessed more marinized pulchritude per square foot in a day--due to time constraints I was only able to devote a day to hoofing it around the docks and piers--anywhere else on the planet. The above photo gives you an idea of what the whole deal looks like at first blush.

And here below are a couple of other views as well. The first one epitomizes the laid-back atmosphere of the whole extravaganza. I mean, you can participate with great intensity if you want, or like the two gents shown here (I snapped the photo on setup day, prior to the actual start of the festivities) you can grab yourself a folding chair, sit back, and simply watch other folks sweatily move docks and boats, erect tents, and set up scads of fab food booths. And nobody seems to mind which option you choose even a little bit. If you concentrate on the photo of the two kicked-back gents for a while, by the way, you'll see a hairy creature peering out at you, a William Wegman dog who's indicative of a sort of sideline theme: the canine race. There's a highly unique and excellent boatyard-dog competition at the show's tail end (Sunday morning, I believe it is), although, sad to say, dogs are not officially welcomed during the rest of the time. Insurance issues, officials tell me.

The second photo (below) shows another tonier side of the things perhaps. The view over the topside steering station of Ragtime, an old-time commuter built in 1928 by Consolidated Shipbuilding of Morris Heights, New York and lovingly restored and maintained by the Boothbay Region Boatyard in Southport, Maine, is both charming and (let's face it folks) supremely classy.

Which is not to say that there aren't lots of more mainstreamy visions on display, among them antique marine engines:

Antique canoes of considerable interest to those of us who occasionally travel the vast Canadian outback in modern Old Town-built vessels:

Ice cream cones, a confectional invention that helps prove that, perhaps, old guys do indeed rule, at least where boats and having fun around them are the major priorities:

Small, sweetly-crafted wooden boats, like this little gaff-rigger, complete with belaying pins:

And small, sweetly-crafted fiberglass boats, like this highfalutin' North Shore 22 from Maine's Grey Barn Boatworks, a tender with an electrically-actuated fold-down windshield to better stow within a megayacht's garage:

But hey, the thing that best summarizes the whole lovely event for me is the smile on the young fellow's face in the photo below. I caught him in the act of faux-drivin' one of Wilbur Yacht's finest. Didn't need to ask him to smile. Have no idea where he was headed. I'm guessing it was a long way off, though.

Reminds me of me.


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