Monday, September 28

Antique Boat Museum Holds Annual Boat Parade

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Some traditions continue, even in a time of coronavirus. One of these is the annual boat parade in the Thousand Islands sponsored by the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, New York.

The parade this year, held last Saturday, involved some 20 boats, not quite as many as usual, and it had to operate only in American waters, since the border with Canada is still closed. And the Museum’s annual live auction of antique boats, which listed about 100 boats last year, only had seven this year, and it was virtual.

Still, an antique boat parade is something to celebrate. The boats cruised along the U.S. side of the St. Lawrence River, with one parade in the morning, going through the American Narrows and on to Deer Island, and another in the afternoon, around Grindstone Island.

Boats averaged a cruising speed of 10 knots during the parades. In narrow places (and if you’ve ever been to the Thousand Islands, you know there are a lot of narrow places), they kept in single file behind Zipper, one of the museum’s showboats (pictured above).

The lines for Zipper, a 41-foot commuter boat, were drawn for the Purdy Boat Company in the ‘30s, but the boat was never built. Then in 1974, John W. Stroh, of the brewery company, commissioned Staudacher Yachts to build Zipper to its original design. Staudacher gave the boat a double-planked hull with mahogany planking on steam-bent oak frames. It’s powered by twin V-8 gas Crusaders.

The parades gave a boost to everyone involved. Mary Palmer, who has spent summers with her husband on Wellesley Island for the past 30 years, told the Watertown Daily Times that it was important to carry on with traditions even in difficult times. “People need to have some form of continuity,” she said. Read more:




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