Les Cheneaux Antique Wooden Boat Show Is Sat.
More than 125 antique wooden boats will be displayed at the 35th annual Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show in Hessel Saturday, August 11. The vessels come in all shapes and sizes and include runabouts, utility boats, lapstrake skiffs, sailboats, canoes, and pre-1968 cruisers.
The feature boats this year are long-lost sisters who have been reunited as Sugar and Snips. These two 1927, 26- foot-long, Chris-Craft flat deck runabouts were literally produced one after the other. Though identical on the surface, the temperament of the two vessels couldn’t be more different. While Sugar is powered by her original motor (a quiet Kermath 150 HP engine), Snips is driven by a Ilmor 725 HP V-10, based on the Chrysler V-10.
Considering the separate paths the boats had taken since the assembly line, a reunion seemed unlikely. Yet they ended up in the same shop for restoration. While one was a nearly perfect vessel that had been in storage on Mackinac Island after service as a water taxi, the other was a gray boat that needed nearly every piece of wood replaced.
Event Chairperson Barb Smith said the “classic glass” category of antique fiberglass boats is returning this year. Last year’s entries were part of a special event and not judged. The draw of these boats was apparent, however, and they will be judged for the first time this year.
Classic glass boats must meet the commonly-accepted Antique and Classic Boat Society standards for antique fiberglass boats, which specify they are to be less than 24 feet and constructed no later than 1975.
Overall, there are 18 classes of boats in this year’s show, and two winners will be selected in each. Judges consider every boat in the show for “Best in Show” awards. Spectators can vote for their favoraite, the “People’s Choice,” and awards are also given for best name, best non-professional restoration, and building a legacy in the Les Cheneaux Islands area.
Awards are announced at a 4 p.m. awards ceremony
The show begins when the flag is raised by the color guard of the American Legion Pickford Post 323 as part of a 10 a.m. ceremony, during which five Stearman by-planes will fly over Hessel. The planes were used as trainers during World War II. They even have some mahogany and spruce details on their wings.
Cedarville High School alumnus Katie Bowlby will sing the national anthem.
Another flyover will occur at 3 p.m.
Running concurrently with the boat show is the Festival of the Arts, which offers families a chance to view artwork crafted by local artisans. Vendors at the festival will set up their tents in the courtesy dock parking lot in Hessel, east of the Hessel Marina. Booths will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
More than 300 volunteers have signed on to assist boaters, sell tickets, and direct spectators.
Proceeds of the show benefit the Les Cheneaux Historical and Maritime museums, helping them with programming, utility costs, and maintenance.
There is no alcohol consumption or smoking allowed inside the boat show gates. Pets are also prohibited. The cost of admission is $7 for adults and $3 for those between the ages of 12 to 18 years old. Children younger than 12 years old may get into the event free.
The oldest boat registered thus far is the Islington, a 30- foot, 1895 Truscott launch. This vessel received the Sharon A. Smith Legacy Award last year. The largest boat registered is the Jenny Clark, a 1962, 55-foot Trumphy cruiser.
Boats may register right up until the show begins.