Made of This...
"The vision of the Antique
and Classic Boat Society is to provide an organization wherein
people of a common interest in and love of historic, antique and
classic boats can come togetherin a spirit of fellowship and fun
to share dreams, adventures, knowledge and experiences."
ACBS Membership Directory
Point, at the 18-acre Chesapeake
Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michael's, is the setting for the 16th
annual Antique and Classic Boat Festival sponsored by the Chesapeake
Bay chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society (ACBS), June
13 - 15. More than 100 motor and sailing craft are entered in
the event that this year will honor the memory of well-known Annapolitan
Herb Zorn, who died last year at the age of 76. An ACBS member
since 1975, he was a co-founder with Paul Warner of the Chesapeake
Bay Chapter in 1982. "Herb started the Chesapeake chapter ACBS
boat show at the Annapolis City Dock in 1982 with about five entries,"
recalls Bob Pelrine, former owner of a 1942 22-foot Chris-Craft.
"The fact that the show has grown tremendously is testimony to
his love and dedication."
The owner of 18 boats over the years, Herb's favorite was Class
of 1931, a restored 22-foot triple cockpit Chris-Craft runabout.
Linda Zorn describes her late husband as "a perfectionist," whose
love of mahogany boats began at his family's summer home on the
Magothy River. Although he was a man of many interests (an astute
businessman as well as founder of the 1,500-member Crabtowne Ski
Club and member of the Annapolis Yacht Club and the Eastport Yacht
Club), his first love was boating---and the ACBS.
"Herb was a meticulous man, with a special appreciation for the
craftsmanship involved in the design and construction of old wooden
boats," says Capt. Jim Shotwell, a well-known boat builder/restorer
and chief judge at this year's festival. Capt. Shotwell and his
colleagues will present the first memorial ACBS/CBC Herbert L.
Zorn Memorial Craftsmanship Award at the festival. "Herb had a
true passion for boats and wanted to share it with others. Everyone
who met Herb loved him," he says.
Herb's passion is shared by the 6,628 members of ACBS which has
45 chapters in the U.S. and Canada. Many members trace their love
of wooden boats to childhood and to vivid memories of their first
experiences on the water. Shotwell, 56, remembers fishing with
his grandfather on the Susquehanna River and learning from him
how to care for and repair boats. He and many others are spearheading
ACBS efforts to interest youth in antique and classic boats.
According to ACBS standards, boats built up to 1918 are historic;
between 1919 and 1942, they are considered antique; and from 1943
to 1968, categorized as classic. Additional categories include
production wooden boats built since 1969, custom-made, modified
"single edition" wooden boats produced since 1969, and replica,
non-production exact copy of duplicate of a previously built wooden
boat. Judging within these categories considers authenticity,
workmanship and maintenance. "The basic premise is to judge a
boat in its present condition against what it was like when it
was originally delivered to the first owner," says Shotwell.
Both motor and sailing craft will be the focus of the upcoming
ACBS festival. Programs chaired by Diana Shotwell will include
a youth development area where experts will give hands-on instruction
in kayak building and teach kids the rudiments of sailboat construction.
Vendors representing the nautical arts and boat services/products
will offer items for sale. Exhibitors include sculptor Paul Lockhart,
scrimshander Jane Tukarsi, and John Into and Nancy Price, creators
of "scratch-built model boats."
Chairperson of the event Mary Ann Fiaschetti expects a big turnout
this year given the national trend towards the "the good old days"
that accompanies a world driven by technology and engulfed in
turmoil. There is something immutable about wooden boats which,
when carefully restored and maintained, are beautiful works of
art. The physical work can be therapeutic, a welcome change from
the dehumanizing, computer-oriented workplace.
Baltimore architect Jacqui Collins, 34, estimates she has spent
more than 500 hours restoring her grandfather's 1941 Gar Wood,
an all-mahogany 20-foot-6-inch utility craft named Ace. As a child,
Collins grew to love the boat during many family excursions on
Lake George in upstate New York. Three years ago she moved to
Maryland and brought the boat to Dockside Boat Works in Cordova
on the Eastern Shore, where she and friend Rob Rottman replaced
rotted wood and took the boat down to its original mahogany, applying
10 coats of varnish as part of the painstaking restoration.
Antique and Classic Boat Charters, Inc., of Annapolis will offer
sponsored free rides on a refurbished 18-passenger, 1966 Ipswich
Yacht Club launch. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
is the boat's long-winded name, imprinted on her custom-made transom
board as well as on each of the 18 life jackets for the boat.
Other boat owners displaying their "babies" at the festival include
Julie and W. Scott Tompkins and their 1946 25-foot Chris-Craft
Sportsman (Ol' Smoothie); and Marcia and Tom Auth, who
lovingly stripped their 1938 17-foot Chris-Craft runabout (Second
Date) and had Jerry Le Compte of Dockside Boat Works do the
fine carpentry work. "It's all about the beauty of wood and the
craftsmanship involved in creating these beautiful boats," says
Bill Thompson of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum agrees. "Long
before fiberglass, there was wood. It makes a boat special. Wood
is associated with living things-it puts life in a boat," says
Thompson. "There is nothing like the sound of the throaty roar
of those inboards."
Festival hours are Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; daily admission $10, seniors
$8, children $5 (free under 5). For more information, call 410-437-9066
or 410-745-2916 or visit www.acbs.org
Lou Baker is a veteran freelance writer who has lived in
Annapolis since 1968.