Motor yachts put luxury, history on parade in Mystic

Spectators line the dock at Mystic River Park to watch as boats participating in Mystic Seaport's 37th annual Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous parade down the Mystic River on Sunday. The 2012 Rendezvous pays tribute to the Huckins Yacht Corp., an 84-year-old yacht building company in Jacksonville, Fla.
Spectators line the dock at Mystic River Park to watch as boats participating in Mystic Seaport's 37th annual Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous parade down the Mystic River on Sunday. The 2012 Rendezvous pays tribute to the Huckins Yacht Corp., an 84-year-old yacht building company in Jacksonville, Fla. Sean D. Elliot/The Day Buy Photo

Mystic - Twenty years ago, the U.S. Coast Guard seized a 60-foot long Huckins motor yacht with millions of dollars worth of cocaine and marijuana on board.

Over the past five years, its new owner, Robert Mooney of Mystic, has put 15,000 hours of labor into restoring the 51-year-old boat and turning it into a luxury vessel with Oriental rugs, three fireplaces, dolphin-shaped bathroom fixtures and a Jacuzzi tub.

This past weekend the Moveable Feast was among a collection of mint- condition Huckins motor yachts on display at the 37th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous at Mystic Seaport.

While the yachts highlighted the event, the celebration also featured sailboats, cruisers, runabouts, power, tug and sailboats and on Sunday afternoon a 33-boat parade down the Mystic River.

Mooney said the Moveable Feast, which is fitted with V-12 engines, was lovingly decorated with his wife in mind.

On board, there is a small fully equipped kitchen and three sitting areas away from the main areas of traffic on the boat.

"All the comforts of home," he said standing in the kitchen. "Anything you can think of we have. This is a totally self-contained living environment."

This year's rendezvous paid tribute to the Huckins Yacht Corp. - an 84-year-old yacht building company based in Jacksonville, Fla. Over that time, the company has built 457 hulls, one of them belonging to Mooney.

"When I got the boat it was such a disaster. I didn't show it to my wife for three years," he said.

The bouquet of flowers he had placed above one of the fireplaces for his wife when she did visit that first time has since dried and withered, but he won't throw it away, for the sake of romance.

One of the most intriguing smaller boats at the museum event was the 1930 Sinbad VI, a 45-foot boat with an offset cabin that performed submarine patrol for the Coast Guard.

The Sinbad VI is fully maintained by the Woods family and has been for about 40 years.

Charlie Woods, son of Sinbad VI owner Charles H. Woods Jr., said Sunday morning that among the boat's unique characteristics are the patched holes along the side of the boat that used to hold depth charge launchers and the position of the boat's cabin.

"The cabin is unusual. Most boats have narrow walkways on both sides, but the walkway on the starboard side is about two feet wide, and on the port side, it's about six inches wide," Woods said.

The boat is painted and varnished annually and is one of the older boats in the show.

Woods said his father has owned the boat for 28 years - longer than he's had his five children - and the boat has become an important part of their family.

"It's stunning the amount of work he's doing at 75 years old. There's been a lot of blood, sweat and tears put into her," Woods said. "It's a hobby for him certainly ... you can't possibly jot down the number of hours he works every day."

j.hanckel@theday.com

Mystic Seaport's steamboat Sabino gets under way Sunday as boats participating in the Seaport's 37th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous prepare to parade down the Mystic River.
Mystic Seaport's steamboat Sabino gets under way Sunday as boats participating in the Seaport's 37th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous prepare to parade down the Mystic River. Sean D. Elliot/The Day Buy Photo
Passengers wearing 1920s costumes on the Sinbad VI wave to the spectators on the shore during Mystic Seaport's 37th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous parade down the Mystic River. The event showcases original- condition and restored vessels built before 1970, including cruisers, sailboats, runabouts, and  launches.
Passengers wearing 1920s costumes on the Sinbad VI wave to the spectators on the shore during Mystic Seaport's 37th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous parade down the Mystic River. The event showcases original- condition and restored vessels built before 1970, including cruisers, sailboats, runabouts, and launches. Sean D. Elliot/The Day Buy Photo
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