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Visiting The Salem Antique & Classic Boat Show

Vintage and antique boats filled the Hawthorne Cove Marina in Salem last weekend, August 24-25 for the 37th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival. This popular North Shore boat show gives visitors the rare opportunity to view and tour a unique collection of privately owned vintage boats. Dating from the early 19th to the mid-20th century, many of these classic vessels are built from wood. It’s one of our favorite August things to do!

Schooner, Malabar II


Museum-quality motor yachts, mahogany speedboats, sloops, yawls, and schooners arrived in shipshape condition for the weekend.


Photo by Antique & Classic Boat Festival


Most boats are in the water, and are still in use today, after being lovingly restored.


1939 Greavette Streamliner


Swampscott Dory, detail


A Swampscott Dory


Like any gathering of sailors, this show is an excuse to trade cruising tales and share a boat’s history and restoration story. Interiors are decked out with flowers and table settings. The captain and crew may even wear vintage attire to set the mood. A simple “permission to come aboard” will usually get you a tour of the cabin, and a history lesson.

Boat Show Award Winners

The boats were judged by the show visitors, with voting closing Saturday at 4 p.m. Awards were handed out in seven categories: Best Sailboat, Best Powerboat, Best Reproduction, Best Hand-Powered Boat, Finest Interior, Best Restoration By Owner, and Best In Original Condition.

Aimee Beth, Finest Interior 2019, photo by Antique & Classic Boat Festival


Malabar II, Best Sailboat of 2019, photo by Antique & Classic Boat Festival


The Malabar II is a beautiful 52-foot schooner built in 1922, designed by reknowned yacht designer John Alden.

Smaller boats were also on display, like a circa-1970 Swampscott dory built by Pert Lowell of Newbury, Massachusetts. Its current owner is 16-year-old Alex Giniatis of Hanover. Alex has sailed to the festival from Hingham, Massachusetts, aboard his grandfather’s 1946 catboat Tabby every year since he was just 4 years old. Tabby received an Honorable Mention this year, for Best Sailboat.

Winning the award for Best Reproduction was the Lewis H. Story, a recreation of an early 18th century fishing sailboat known as a “Chewbacco” owned by the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum. It was commissioned in 1998 to serve as the museum’s flagship vessel. The Lewis H. Story measures 30 feet on deck and her hull, deck arrangement and rig are a fine example of the small, fast boats built locally after the Revolutionary War. The Lewis H. Story is named in honor of Essex shipwright and maritime historian, Lewis H. Story 1873-1948. 

The Lewis H. Story, Best Reproduction winner.

The Antique & Classic Boat Festival is always a fun opportunity for the kids to tour and learn about maritime history firsthand. The annual Blessing of the Fleet reminds us that these boats are still very much at sea. And there were plenty of other things to do – a crafts fair, artist booths, and sea-themed children’s activities. Free boat rides were provided by Mahi Mahi Cruises & Charters. Live music carried on the vintage theme with tunes by The New New Orleans Jazz Band, the Mood Elevators, and Toby Tobas on steel drums.

If you live in the North Shore area, or plan to visit Salem in August, the annual Antique & Classic Boat Show is a must-visit event. If you’re planning a move to the area, Sagan Harborside Realty is your lifestyle expert for Marblehead, Swampscott, or North Shore luxury homes. Just give us a call at 781-593-6111.

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