Clas­sic boats and yachts just get bet­ter with the pas­sage of time—find them here.

Seek out the clas­sic yachts and boats that grace the waters off Bos­ton this month.

Where Boston - - CONTENTS - By Alex Oliveira

WHEN PURITAN SET­TLERS first eked their way across the At­lantic and onto the shores of Cape Cod four hun­dred years ago, the iden­tity of New Eng­land be­came in­ex­tri­ca­bly bound to the sea. Cod, tuna and sword­fish boats sailed out from Gloucester while whale­boats fanned out across the globe from Nan­tucket and Martha’s Vine­yard. In Bos­ton proper the com­merce of these ships was pro­cessed, sold and shipped, while the boat­yards of New Bed­ford, and Rhode Is­land churned out the ves­sels that car­ried crews of New Eng­lan­ders through­out the world.

Though the Cod has dried up, the whale-oil lamps have been snuffed out by elec­tric­ity, and the boat­yards of Bris­tol make their mark with fiber­glass molds, the clas­sic ves­sels that once dom­i­nated Bos­ton’s mar­itime world can still be found and ex­pe­ri­enced through­out New Eng- land. Both on and off the wa­ter, here are some of the best ways to re­live the hey­day of Bos­ton’s ocean bound his­tory.


In 1870, a young man from the ship­build­ing hub of Bris­tol, RI, grad­u­ated from MIT with a de­gree in me­chan­i­cal engi­neer­ing. His name was Nathanael Greene Her­reshoff, and within 20 years he would be de­sign­ing and build­ing the fastest boats in the world. Her­reshoff’s early years were devoted to steam pow­ered ves­sels, de­sign­ing and pro­duc­ing first-of-their-kind iron tor­pedo boats for the US Navy; as the turn of the cen­tury ap­proached, he shifted his grow­ing re­sources to the pro­duc­tion of in­no­va­tive sail­ing yachts.

If you want to see the boats be­hind the blue­prints, take a trip down the high­way to

the orig­i­nal Her­reshoff Ma­rine Mu­seum in Bris­tol, Rhode Is­land. There on the banks of Nar­ra­gansett Bay, the Her­reshoff fam­ily home­stead stands be­side the ware­houses where the boats were all built. In­side vis­i­tors can view and ex­plore over sixty re­stored and pre­served boats, rang­ing from eight foot dinghies to 75-foot Amer­ica’s Cup de­fend­ers and ev­ery­thing in be­tween.

For an up-close look at the process of de­sign­ing and build­ing these clas­sic yachts, pay a visit to Her­reshoff’s alma mater MIT this fall where they will be dis­play­ing a vast col­lec­tion of plans, blue­prints and orig­i­nal pho­to­graphs of Her­reshoff’s his­toric yachts.


Pa­per-bound de­signs re­veal what goes into de­sign­ing a boat and land-bound hulls pro­vide a close up look at what those de­signs cre­ate. There is noth­ing, how­ever, like see­ing those con­cepts and hulls spring to life where they were meant to thrive: on the wa­ter. The an­nual Her­reshoff Clas­sic Yacht Re­gatta (Aug. 23-24) brings clas­sic sail­ing yachts from across the world to com­pete in two days of com­pet­i­tive sail­ing on Nar­ra­gansett Bay and pub­lic so­cial events on the shore. When the Her­reshoff re­gatta ends, com­peti­tors will point their bows south and sail down the bay to New­port for two more days of clas­sic sail­ing in the New­port Clas­sic Yacht Re­gatta from the Aug. 25-26.


There’s a cer­tain feel­ing, an elec­tric vi­bra­tion, that spreads through the deck of a yacht when its sails catch the wind and the hull be­gins to heel to lee­ward; there’s no place where that en­ergy is bet­ter felt than on the deck of a mighty tall ship un­der sail. Take a trip across the Vine­yard Sound to the Black Dog Wharf in Vine­yard Haven, where on af­ter­noons and evenings The Black Dog’s 108-foot schooner Shenan­doah and the 90-foot Alabama in­vite vis­i­tors to help raise the sails and cruise through­out Vine­yard Haven Har­bor and the Sound. For those who can’t make it to Martha’s Vine­yard, the Lib­erty Fleet of Tall Ships’ Lib­erty Clip­per and Lib­erty Star make fre­quent tours of Bos­ton Har­bor per day, and even serve as a float­ing hos­tel by night. 34TH AN­NUAL GLOUCESTER SCHOONER FES­TI­VAL When the Dorch­ester Com­pany funded the set­tling of the Cape Ann (the penin­sula where Gloucester sits) in 1623, farm­ing was in­tended to sup­port the set­tle­ment and make back more than their in­vest­ment in the ex­pe­di­tion. How­ever, Cape Ann’s tough, sea swept soil proved to be less than arable and the set­tlers were forced to take to the sea, fish­ing the wa­ter ex­ten­sively un­til the colony was largely aban­doned. A few re­mained how­ever, pulling their liveli­hood from the ocean un­til Gloucester was re­set­tled and grew to be the fish­ing cap­i­tal of New Eng­land, a ti­tle it holds to this day. Though the har­bor is now dom­i­nated by the tall bows of steel fish­ing ves­sels, the Gloucester Schooner Fes­ti­val (Aug. 31-Sept. 3) of­fers the rare spec­ta­cle of a har­bor full of tall ships un­der sail, as schooners from around the world pa­rade and race about Gloucester Har­bor.


When the Gloucester colony was first aban­doned, it was to present day Salem that the set­tlers re­lo­cated. It’s fit­ting then that Salem Har­bor is host­ing the 36th An­nual An­tique and Clas­sic Boat Fes­ti­val (Aug. 25-26). At Brewer Hawthorne Cove Ma­rina, a fleet of clas­sic sail­boats and mo­tor yachts will be moored up along the docks for pub­lic tours.

There’s a cer­tain feel­ing—an elec­tric vi­bra­tion—that spreads through the deck of a yacht when its sails catch the wind.

PURE EL­E­GANCE (From top) Wasp, de­signed by Nathanael G. Her­reshoff; plans by Her­reshoff; the schooner Ad­ven­ture in Gloucester Har­bor. (Pre­vi­ous) Shenan­doah.

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