ancestryink fisherman

Monday, April 20, 2015

Woods Hole Model Boat Show: Small in Size, Large in Historical Significance

I look for excuses to spend any amount of time in Woods Hole which, next to Menemsha on Martha's Vineyard,  is my favorite small fishing village around.  I say "fishing" but there is a lot going on in this tiny place: WHOI and MBL. The ferry to the Islands. An awesome Aquarium and Exhibit Center, Zumba classes, good food, a long history...life.  Just the way I like it!

Model boats in the WH Community Center

I have been fantasizing lately about selling my very nicely appointed home on the far side of Falmouth, and taking up residence in one of the many, small and funky wood-shingled shacks that...oh come on...would anyone really notice someone living in their boat shed?  Or garden shed?  Or better yet - house boat? And then of course, taking a small job at the Marine Biological Labs - you know:  anything at all, but preferably history related.

Okay I digress, but note that "small" is the key word here.

I have some nice photos to show you of this past weekend and a very special small event that brought a lot of interesting people - and boats - together.

Saturday and Sunday was the Woods Hole Model Boat Show hosted by the Woods Hole Historical Museum.   Every two years,  model ship makers exhibit their work throughout the village of Woods Hole in different locations.  Remote controlled model sail boats race in Eel Pond and there are a host of great events too numerous to mention, for all ages.

The Races in Two Days:

Saturday was a picture perfect day for the Men's race:

Starting Line Eel Pond

Light winds

The ship owners stood on the dock, controlling their boats in light winds.  Heading out to the buoys was a lot quicker than heading back in.

Sunday was the Ladies Regatta.   The wind had kicked up and temperatures were a bit chillier and there were far fewer boats.  I got to town early and had breakfast at my favorite place: The Woods Hole Market.  Off to the right, you can see some practice runs going on.

Back deck of Woods Hole Market- Eel Pond
Ladies Regatta
The Models in Two Days:

Saturday morning, I made the rounds of the exhibit rooms and there were some extremely impressive ship models created by folks from all over New England.

After a really stimulating discussion with one model ship maker, I learned all about the kind of "coaster" my great-grandfather may have sailed from Canada to Pennsylvania during his seafaring life of delivering lumber and coal and fish.

He also knew of the Arethusa, a rum-runner of old, which I happen to know my g-grandfather sailed on in the early 1900's.  I'm sure I took up way too much of this man's time, but I had fun swapping our genealogical info and how it related to maritime life and ships  back in the 1800's.  My only regret was that I did not get his name!

Next, I had a very special surprise.  Ray Crean, a retired teacher from Beverly and renowned model ship maker, was displaying a model of the US Coast Guard Cutter Duane. It rang a bell.  I told him I thought my father (now deceased)  had been on that ship in WWII.

When I got home from Woods Hole Saturday afternoon, I located my father's Coast Guard documents amongst our family memorabilia,  and sure enough - there was Dad's discharge paper listing CGC Duane as one of the ships on which he served.  It was wonderful to see a model of the ship.

Copy of father's CG discharge papers - Pharmacist's Mate

The ships we heard about the most in my family, and of which we have actual photos, were the  Forsyth and the USS Covington.  Dad was stationed on the Covington near Greenland and Iceland.  He rarely talked about the War, but he always talked with awe about the beauty he saw there.

Sunday morning, I dashed back to Woods Hole (ok, for the aforementioned breakfast, but also...) with a copy of the discharge papers in hand to share with Mr. Crean.  Alas, though checking back frequently for an hour or so,  he was away from his table probably taking in the show and races,  and I never got the chance to show him the papers.  Mr. Crean certainly knew his history and ships.  The knowledge I came across in this show was only rivaled by years of meticulous work of the model makers.

There were so many other model ships to talk about, too.  The amazing model of the Charles W. Morgan, the more modern remote controlled boats...too many to include here. I wish I had more time on Sunday to go back and see everything a second time.

Last but not least to mention here, the Historical Society and their friendly volunteers really made wandering around the village to see the show an easy and totally pleasurable experience!

I heard a rumor that this year's Model Boat Show was the last for Woods Hole. I certainly hope that is not true.

All photos property of the author.

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