Floating classics dock at Havre de Grace show 4th annual event draws 30 vessels

June 27, 1993|By Victor Paul Alvarez | Victor Paul Alvarez,Staff Writer

At noon, the crowd went silent, and all eyes focused on the American flag flying from the mast of a 1928 sailboat docked on the Susquehanna River.

Sailors placed their hats over their hearts, and children took a break from eating hot dogs and squinted in the sun as the "Star-Spangled Banner" blared from loudspeakers in Havre de Grace.

The crowd turned out yesterday to savor 30 classic vessels, pieces of the past that returned to the historic town for the fourth annual Havre de Grace Antique and Classic Boat Show.

The Chesapeake Bay skipjacks, bugeyes and draketails that bobbed in the water or sat on land were expected to draw some 2,500 people for the two-day show, which continues today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Proceeds from the show, organized by volunteer members of the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, will help pay for construction of a museum building near Lafayette and Concorde streets.

For those seeking diversions other than classic boats, the show also features country, blues and rock music, plenty of food and drink, face-paintings, even palm readings at the Tidewater Marina.

Heather Hooper, a 24-year-old college student and bartender who came from Catonsville for yesterday's show, learned from a palm reader that she would live to be 93.

But her present found her admiring her favorite boat at the show, a 47-foot sailboat called the Beaver.

She thought the name was cute, "and I like the fact that they were taking something old and making it better, renovating the past."

The Beaver belongs to Fred and Alexia Sinton, a Pennsylvania couple who brought their children with them for a day of boat talk, good food and music.

"This boat was made in 1928 for an English sea captain," said Alexia Sinton, her children's faces popping up in the portholes, waving to her from inside the boat.

"We got it mainly for family adventures, restoring and traveling."

Paul Thomas, who teaches a boat-building course at Harford Community College, demonstrated the techniques of canoe building. The 18-foot flat-water canoe he worked on yesterday will sell for $3,000 when finished.

As with seemingly all native Havre de Grace shows and festivals, the distinctive form of duck decoys set the theme for the afternoon.

Broaddus Hey of Havre De Grace brought with him perhaps the largest "duck" in town.

The Draketail boat, so named because its aft resembles the back end of a duck, came from The Boat Gallery yacht store in Georgetown, Md.

The running boards on the 30-foot Hooper are light blue, surrounded by stained wood trim.

"Used to be that watermen considered blue unlucky, they'd never paint a boat this way in the old days; just superstitious I guess," Mr. Hey said.

Nearby, guns rested on the bow of a duck-hunting boat, and some 40 decoys piled up in the stern, their little eyes staring

back at boat enthusiasts.

"We like to provide a place where people who enjoy these boats can come together," said Fran Brust, one of the show's volunteer organizers. "We like it to be a family affair."

The families turned out strong.

A group of small boys danced to the bluegrass played by the Rovin' Ramblers while little girls waited in line to get their faces painted with rainbows and birds.

The sun-drenched afternoon provided perfect weather for getting outside and eating flame-broiled burgers, drinking freshly squeezed lemonade and also remembering the dangers of unsafe sailing.

George Walker, who lived in Kinsalz, Ireland until he married a Philadelphia woman and immigrated to America in 1938, represented the United States Power Squadrons at the show.

He stressed the importance of safety, noting that anyone can sign up for a boating course. And, he said, those who don't know boating should learn all about it.

"Its fascinating," he said. "I'm more at home on water than I am on land."

Tickets for the show, at Frank Hutchins Park, cost $3 for adults. Children under 12 accompanied by an adult are admitted free.

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