On Tuesday, December 4, this year’s TREES IN THE RIGGING organizers and participants gathered at the Connecticut River Museum to celebrate victory in the annual boat decorating contest. The event, held on November 25 under the light of a full moon, featured festively-lit vessels passing in review in front of the Museum. Out of a field of 14 participants in the judged competition, Chis and Casey Clark of FOLLOWING C and Bill Sullivan of PATIENCE tied for first place while Dave and Jackie Boudinot of FLAT-BOTTOM GIRL took second place, Cynthia Yerman of DEFIANCE III was awarded third place, and an honorable mention was given to TWO COOTS IN TWO KAYAKS.
Judges Dean McChesney, Pam McChesney and Chantal Lawrence were extremely impressed with the creativity and execution of this year’s contest. So much so they came up even when deciding between the glorious green tree created by strategic lighting of the ketch PATIENCE’s rigging and the dazzling display of lights and artistry that turned the 44-foot FOLLOWING C into a floating snow globe. Each first place team won a etched glass pitcher and glass set donated by the Connecticut River Museum. The second place, 24-foot pontoon FLAT-BOTTOM GIRL was honored for its use of white lights to create a brilliant star atop a luminous tree and was awarded a $50 gift certificate and nautical cheese board set donated by BOATIQUE USA. The third place DEFIANCE III was recognized for its conversion to Santa’s sleigh, complete with Rudolph’s red nose lighting the way, and received a nautical welcome mat donated by the Connecticut River Museum. TWO COOTS IN TWO KAYAKS was literally a last minute entry, popping their lighted rigs into the river and paddling up the tail end of the procession, names unknown. TREES IN THE RIGGING is a community event presented annually by the Connecticut River Museum, the Essex Historical Society, and the Essex Board of Trade.