There were more boats in the water at the Maine Boat & Home Show in Rockland last weekend than there have been in years past. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY STEPHEN RAPPAPORT

Rockland boat show shrinks in area but not in scope

ROCKLAND — The 17th edition of the Maine Boat & Home Show held on the waterfront in Harbor Park last weekend was “all in all, terrific,” Saturday’s thunderstorms notwithstanding, John K. Hanson, the show’s chief ringmaster, said Monday.

Hanson is the publisher of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors, the magazine which has produced the show since its initiation. While the show’s physical footprint was smaller than in past years, he said, in some respects the show was bigger than ever.

In the past several years, the show has incorporated a food court featuring a variety of food trucks and some kind of small boat exhibit in Buoy Park adjacent to the principal show grounds.

This year, Hanson said, food services were moved into Harbor Park and the small boat exhibit put on hiatus. The show was also unable to use the pier belonging to the Pearl restaurant which did not open this summer.

“The show was more compact,” Hanson said, but not really smaller. “We had more boats in the water than we’ve had in years and the same number of exhibitors and vendors.”

Those exhibitors and vendors should be pleased with the show, despite what Hanson described as “two tremendous thunderstorms with 30-knot winds and torrential rain” on Saturday afternoon.

According to Polly Saltonstall, editor of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors, attendance at the show was up from last year’s and, according to Hanson, about what it has averaged over the past four to five years.

While the show brings together artists, artisans and craftspeople from around Maine, marine-related items and boats — especially boats — are the principal attraction.

This year, Saltonstall said, “back of the book” calculations suggested that the show displayed about $2.9 million worth of boats — skiffs, kayaks, sailboats of wooden and fiberglass construction — on land and nearly $19 million worth in the water.

Many of those boats came from Hancock County boatbuilders large — the Hinckley Co. was there in force — and small, including the Bridges Point Boat Co., the Classic Boat Co., Redfern Boats and Wilbur Yachts, all from Mount Desert Island

“We’ve heard reports of four boats definitely sold and lots more deals in the making,” Saltonstall said.

“The boat guys are all pleased,” Hanson said.

So too were the owners of Tatoo, a tiny papillon, winner of this year’s edition of the “boatyard dog championship,” to many the most important element of the show, on Sunday morning. Tatoo will get his own moment in the limelight in a regular Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Boatyard Dog column this fall.

Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. [email protected]

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