Woods Hole Museum model boat show displays seafaring artistry


Residents of Martha’s Vineyard and travelers to the Island will have a reason to linger in Woods Hole this weekend beyond waiting for a Steamship Authority ferry. The eighth biennial Woods Hole Historical Museum Model Boat Show will highlight the art of replica model boat building with a display of more than 150 replica craft, many seaworthy.

The two-day event this Saturday and Sunday includes model displays, lectures and a host of hands-on opportunities for the entire family. Model makers will also take to the water with their boats.

The lectures and displays will be offered at several additional contiguous locations, including the public library on Main Street in Woods Hole.

The event began as a small-scale show for model boat builders 16 years ago. It has grown considerably and in 2009 it attracted more than 800 people, Phil Courcier of the Woods Hole Historical Museum said in a telephone call with The Times. Mr. Courcier said that the artistry and sense of history it evokes is part of the attraction.

“I wasn’t there for the first show 16 years ago but I’m told it was modest, perhaps 50 people,” he said. “But as word has gotten out, the show’s attracted model builders from all over the country. These boats are works of art. They are exact replicas, with fastidious attention to the details of the original vessels, which range from six-inch boats in a bottle to seven-foot replica models.”

Special exhibits include America’s Cup sailing vessels and model military, scientific craft and tug boats. The craft are seaworthy, Mr. Courcier said.

He noted that two years ago, Island boat builder and modeler Tom Hale and his son Phil Hale, owner of Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard, sailed a replica model of the schooner Rebecca across Vineyard Sound to the model boat show to promote the event. “It is a wonderful event, very enjoyable,” Tom Hale said.

On Saturday, professional ship model-maker, author and editor, Rob Napier will describe his restoration of the HMS Princess Royal, a British model built in 1773. Richard Baldwin, who builds 4.5-foot sailboats equipped with GPS and launched in the Atlantic, will describe his efforts to help interest students in ocean environments.

On Sunday, Hanu Singh, associate scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute will discuss the scientific uses of small robotic boats. Model builder Bill Huizing will demonstrate techniques he used to build his 7-foot, 1:20 scale model of the Puritan, the 1885 America’s Cup defender.

The event includes model races at Eel Pond, a short stroll from the show, and hands-on segments in which novices can try their hand at radio-controlled model boat sailing and kids can make a model and float it in the pool.

Two-day tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for children over 6 and $25 for families. Saturday the show begins at 9 am and ends at 4 pm. Sunday hours are 9 am to 3 pm. For more information go to woodsholehistoricalmuseum.org.