Nantucket’s Opera House Cup Is a Classic of its Own

The time is the early 1970s. Fiberglass has been the new wonder material for building boats for over a decade and now it is taking over the market. Many wooden sailboats, some of them quite famous, are hauled out and waiting the chainsaw or left to linger in disrepair. There is a feeling in the air that the craft of traditional wooden boat building might become extinct.

Then something happens. Over the next four decades a cast of people, following their own passions, help usher in a revival of wooden sailboats. They find and restore classic yachts and along the way preserve a slice of American nautical history. They keep the work of traditional wooden boatbuilding alive in boatyards big and small, from Vineyard Haven to Maine and many points in between. They get together at regattas gathering a fleet of stunning beauty, or they sail with a small crew across the Atlantic Ocean.

This excerpt from our latest film “Wood/Sails/Dreams” explores the resurgence of wooden boats and traditional wooden boat building that began in the 1970s. Regattas like the Opera House Cup were instrumental in that resurgence. In 1973 only a handful of boats left the starting line and the trophy was a used ice bucket. Today that ice bucket is etched with the names of some of the most beautiful wooden yachts on the east coast. The Opera House Cup regatta takes place every August in the waters off Nantucket. We hope to bring “Wood/Sails/Dreams” to the big screen in time for the 40th running of the Opera House Cup, on August 19, 2012.