June 25, 2018
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20th annual WoodenBoat Show slated in Mystic, Conn.

Photo courtesy of The WoodenBoat Show
Photo courtesy of The WoodenBoat Show
A flotilla of wooden boats is lined up along the shore at a previous WoodenBoat Show. The show is sponsored by WoodenBoat Publications in Brooklin and will run from June 24-26 at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Ct.
By Rich Hewitt, BDN Staff

BROOKLIN, Maine — For wooden boat lovers, there’s nothing like the chance to view a bunch of boats together all at one time.

That’s just what the WoodenBoat Show offers. The 20th annual event will run 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 24-26, at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Conn., providing boat owners, builders and dreamers the opportunity to see and go on board more than 100 wooden boats of every type. From 8-foot Skua race boats to a 70-foot Scottish fishing boat, kayaks to day sailers, there will be a boat for every taste, according to Michelle Corbiel, director of public relations at WoodenBoat magazine.

“Our readers are so passionate about wooden boats,” she said. “They follow us wherever we go.”

This is the fifth year in a row — and eighth year overall — that the show has been held in Mystic, according to Corbiel. In early years, the show moved every few years, targeting sites with strong boat building communities or maritime museums, including Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island and Michigan. But the show seems to have found a home at Mystic Seaport, with its strong focus on maritime history and the craft of wooden boat building.

“At Mystic, that’s what it’s all about,” she said. “They’ve got a lot of boats in their collection and they have a wonderful setup there. There’s a lot for families to do, and that’s who we’re trying to attract to the show.”

One of the featured events at the show is Family BoatBuilding, in which families sign up in advance to build a boat from a kit offered by builders and designers whose kits are featured at the show. The families provide basic tools and work over the weekend to create a small boat that often can be launched at the show.

“This is a way to show how accessible wooden boats are,” Corbeil said. ”It’s a way to show that with simple tools they can build a boat in a weekend that they can actually use.”

Although the family builders are able to launch the boats at the end of the weekend show, they usually will have to do some finish work when they get their boats home, she said.

A total of 26 families have signed up this year for the event.

Another popular attraction at the show over the years has been the “I built it myself” display. Based on the monthly “Launchings” column in WoodenBoat magazine, which features photos of owner-built boats, the “I built it myself” event provides space on the grounds for builders to bring the boats they’ve built to show them off. In the past, the boats on display have included a sailboat with mahogany trim that shone like a finished piano, a small cradle boat and a canoe finish with a surface of cartoons.

“We’ve had some amazing reader-built boats,” Corbiel said. “They’re all something that the average person has done. This is what we do at WoodenBoat; we try to impress people that anyone can do this.”

There is still space left for some last-minute entries for that event, Corbiel said.

Full details of the show’s events, including a list of exhibitors, is available on the show’s website at www.thewoodenboatshow.com.

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