Best In Show!

The reviews of the 2011 WoodenBoat Show are in, and it’s 10′s across the board!

Attendance numbers were great (highest numbers of attendees since 1997 and the best Sunday ever) and exhibitors and visitors alike expounded about the diversity of the boats on land, boats in the water, demonstrations, and the increased number of exhibitors.

A few days before the Show, it looked like Mother Nature might rain on our parade, but for once luck was on our side, and after a very wet Thursday evening, we were presented with a near perfect weekend for an outdoor boat show. So with the weather in our hip pocket, everything else fell into place, and Mystic Seaport presented itself in its most favorable light. Virtually every corner of Mystic Seaport was alive with engaging activity reminding us that we are the place where people come to understand their maritime heritage. Demonstrations taught practitioners how to make improvements on their work; newly built or restored vessels showed us all the great craftsmanship that exists in yards today — contemporary wizards of wood.

With all due respect to what happened on land during the WoodenBoat Show, so many of the very best experiences happened on water as the River was alive with watercraft. The small craft builders showed off their most recent creations, and Moms and Dads taught children how to row or to sail. Newcomers went up and down the river on Sabino to better understand the fabric of this place, and representatives of WoodenBoat and Mystic Seaport competed in the annual SKUA Races (won by Shannon McKenzie of Mystic Seaport!)

I think we all went home feeling somehow enhanced by being immersed in our maritime traditions. We talked the talk with people who walk the walk. What a great beginning to the summer: there couldn’t be a wooden boat enthusiast whose spirit wasn’t renewed.

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