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Classic boats on display in Meredith



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Boats lined up at the Meredith town docks for the 37th annual Lake Winnipesaukee Classic and Antique Boat Show. Erin Plummer. (click for larger version)
July 28, 2010
MEREDITH — Boats that had been floating in Lake Winnipesaukee and other water bodies nearly a century ago took a recent trip to Meredith Bay for the 37th Annual Lake Winnipesaukee Classic and Antique Boat Show.

Boats ranging from 100-year-old wooden hulls to 40-year-old fiberglass motorboats were tied to the town docks on Saturday for viewing and judging.

The show is put on by the New England Chapter of the Classic and Antique Boat Society with activities starting on Friday for boating enthusiasts leading to Saturday's show.

This year's featured boat was Chris-Craft.

"We try to pick one of the major brands and showcase them," said boat show registrar Jan Hayes, saying last year's featured boat was Garwood. "I think it (was) one of the first wooden boats manufactured."

Hayes said 72 people registered for the show and by Saturday afternoon around 67 had shown up. The numbers were steady from last year, though Hayes said attendance has been down in general, mostly due to the economy. However, the nice weather worked in the show's favor.

"People still like to see the wooden boats and it's a gorgeous day for a boat show," Hayes said. "I think that it's a very, very well run show for the Christ-Crafts and there are a lot of different models."

Anthony S. Mollica was also available to sign copies of his book "Building Chris-Craft: Inside the Factories."

One of the antique Chris-Craft's on display was owned by Bob Doyle of Moultonboro.

Doyle has owned the 1931 Christ-Craft Alalou II for the past 10 months and said it has never been off Lake Winnipesaukee.

Doyle said the boat was originally owned by Chinese government leader Chiang Kai-shek and sold by his widow. Doyle said he found the boat in Foley Cove in Wolfeboro.

"I was lucky enough to find it last year," Doyle said. "First boat I've ever had that my wife likes and they're fun."

Doyle said he also owns a Formula but wanted a change. He said the boat was in excellent condition and it runs well, with maintenance work of local man Bill John.

"They had it right 79 years ago," Doyle said. "It really is an art for people who take care of these boats to keep them in this condition."

This was his first time at the boat show and said he was not aiming to win any prizes.

"Part of the reason you do it is just to support the hard work these people do and that all these gorgeous boats are still in existence."

Randy Rush of Milford entered his boat Walter's Dream, whose name reflects the story of his boat and a bit of his own family history. In 1959, his great-grandfather Walter Harris created plans for a boat. Four years ago, Rush said he saw a boat in Rochester, N.Y., that looked much like Harris' plans.

He bought the boat and restored it using those plans and naming it after his great-grandfather.

"It's in the water all summer over Fish Cove," Rush said. "I think it's just the most amazing thing. My great-grandfather would be laughing now."

Bob and Alice Valpey of Center Harbor are the third owners of a 1910 boat called Viking.

"I remember it as a young child," Bob Valpey said.

The boat was built in 1910 and its second owners were members of the Gregg family, the family of former Governor and current Sen. Judd Gregg. Bob Valpey said they boat the boat from the Gregg family 40 years ago.

"It's a much more comfortable boat to ride in than most of the newer boats," Bob Valpey said.

He said he does much work on the boat and has help from a few people in the antique boat business.

While many of the antique boats on display were wooden boats, there were also a few classic motorboats on display.

A 1961 Hydrodyne was one of the fiberglass speedboats on display. Owner Woody Cartwright, a resident of Knoxville, Tenn., who was visiting family on the lake, said he found the boat in Bow and contacted the owner in Chicago.

"I own two more of this same type," Cartwright said.

He said he has been to a previous show and, while many people seem to be more interested in the wooden boats, he does receive words of support from fellow boat enthusiasts.

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