CHIPPEWA BAY, N.Y. (WWTI) — A collection of antique race boats and vintage hydroplanes were on display in the North Country this past weekend.
Many of these boats were on display right along the St. Lawrence River in Chippewa Bay during the last week of July. Featured boats included hydroplanes raced by award-winning drivers, fully-restored antique boats for sale, hand-carved racing boats and active racing vessels pulled out of the water just for the show.
Hosted at the Chippewa Bay Maritime Museum, just yards from the St. Lawrence River, local boat collectors, retired and active races displayed their vessels to the community and told stories of racing in the region. Although some are out of the water now, these boats have a long-running history. Which for some, spans back over 50 years on the St. Lawrence River and local water bodies.
Event Organizer and Director of the Chippewa Bay Maritime Museum Allen Newell, shared that he first started racing back when he was a young teenager, and always carried his passion with him. He added that some of the boats included in the show were first made in the 1950’s.
These boats, specifically engineered for racing in calm bays or smaller lakes and reach speeds over 100 miles per hour.
Joining the show were not only the boats, but were individuals who told their own racing stories, and recollected their time with the sport. This including racing pro Hunter Grimes III who got his start through both his grandfather and father’s racing careers.
Grimes now spends most weekends touring the country with his race boats.
My grandfather was a pretty famous racer back in the fifties and sixties, back when guys actually did racing as a career,” Grimes said. “When he passed away in 1998, my dad said, ‘we’re going to do that because that’s what we should be doing.”
And now, boat collectors, retired and active racers alike are working to keep the vintage boat racing tradition alive in the North Country. Ultimately hoping to share their passion with younger generations.
“I hope the younger people appreciate the older stuff,” Newell shared. “And I think that’s, that’s a problem these days. There’s not a good connection with younger people and older things.”
Grimes added, “It’s great to see the younger children get an interest in it. A lot of them, because it’s not well known, they see something like this, and when you tell them ‘you can do that someday’ they just go crazy.”
Vintage race boats and hydroplanes were on display on at the Chippewa Bay Maritime Museum on July 31. The museum remains open weekly for visitors.