Yachting enthusiasts will stream to Annapolis this weekend for the start of the annual In-The-Water Boat Show. There will be hundreds of sail boats on display, sleek, fast, and ultra-modern.
Which is fine. Everyone wants to know what's new.
But if you want to see real boats - sea going vessels that will never be duplicated, whose molds were thrown away the day they left the ways - try a visit to the Harry Lundeberg School of seamanship in Piney Point, Md.
Take a look at the Dauntless. She's 250 feet long, the largest steam yacht afloat and as spit-shine perfect today as she was the day Horace Bodge, the automobile baron, presented her to daughter Delphine as a present.
On grab a look at the Manitou, the residential yacht of John F. Kennedy in his White House years. She's 64 feet, yawl-rigged and, like the Dauntless, she rests in immaculate trim at the school's wharf.
The Lunderberg school has put together four restorations for its maritime museum, each of which speaks a brief piece for the history of the nearby Chesapeake. There is a skip-jack, hand-built for sail-powered oyster dredging on the bay; a bugeye ketch that once hauled freight, a streamlined log canoe and an ancient Potomac River dory.
These boats rest in drydock under a covered shed, their masts lopped off a few feet above the decks but their hulls in original trim.
The queen of the Lundeberg sailing fleet is the Capt. James Cook, which is kept in the water. A 135-foot Bluenose schooner, she once piled the treacherous waters off Nova Scotia, fishing for halibut and cod.
That's only the school's show fleet.
Among its working vessels is the raised and completely refurbished Mount Vernon, one of the old Wilson Line cruise boats. The school bought salvage rights to her after she sank, hoisted her from the mud and rebuilt her from stem to stern.
Renamed the Charles S. Zimmerman, she's the main schoolhouse for Lundeberg students. She has a 300-seat auditorium, a nautical library that runs from end to end in the hold and classrooms above decks.
The school has rebuilt the lightship Ambrose, which once guarded the entrance to New York harbor, and the vocational school ship Claude (Sonny) Simmons, once a Chesapeake freighter. And there are barges, dories, lifeboats, skiffs, tankers, barge pushers and tugs to train young seamen, plus a fleet of Columbia and O'Day sailboats for recreation.
The Lundeberg School is the training center for recruits of the Seafarers's International Union.
The union has used its 60-acre Piney Point facilities to teach aspiring young seamen the basics of life at sea since the academy opened in 1967.
It's an odd setting for that kind of training. The Lundeberg school looks more like a country club than a training ground for a harsh life at sea. There are swimming pools, acres of manicured lawns patrolled by wandering bands of tame peacocks, and at every wharf another monstrous yacht rests, restored to glinting perfection.
For those who can't wait another month to get a look at handsome yachts, the Annapolis sailboat show will open Friday at the Maryland capital city's public dock.
Hours will be 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10-7 Sunday and 10-6 Monday. The annual powerboat show will be the following weekend.
Admission at Annapolis wil be $5 for adults and $3 for children.