Documentary Celebrates Wooden Boats

The craft of building, restoring and loving wooden boats was celebrated Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Vineyard debut of the movie Wood Sails Dreams screened at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society in Vineyard Haven. The one-hour documentary is a New England coastal story and it is a Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket story.

The film was directed and written by Nantucket resident John Stanton and honored an industry that might have disappeared 40 years ago were it not for a group of passionate wooden boat enthusiasts. There was a time when some boaters worried that fiberglass boats would replace all wooden boats.

The movie begins with footage honoring the Opera House Cup, a wooden sailboat race which this past August celebrated its 41st year. The race began in 1973 and has grown over the years. This past summer there were nearly 50 entrants. The movie pays tribute to the Opera Cup principal supporters Gwen Gaillard, owner of the Opera House Restaurant, and others, including all the sailors who bring their wooden boats of all sizes to compete in the daylong race in Nantucket Sound. There is plenty of dramatic footage of these wooden sailboats speeding across Nantucket Sound. Each vessel under sail resembles the magnificence of a bird in flight, but also displays a detailed and polished fragility.

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