CLAYTON — Michael J. Folsom hopes thousands of people sail to the village this weekend. As founder and organizer of the second annual Sailing Seaway Clayton, Mr. Folsom said he expects 8,000 to 10,000 people to visit the village, patronize its shops and enjoy entertainment this weekend.
“The main objective is to drive people into the village, and with the Food and Wine Festival, and the boat museum offering free admission, we’ll do just that,” the Clayton summer resident said Saturday. “This has put us in the right direction. Clayton has a very unique impression it leaves on people; it’s that thing that’s always just right.”
The Antique Boat Museum, 750 Mary St., offered free admission Saturday as part of its family day. As Sailing Seaway Clayton continues today, Father’s Day, the first 50 dads who visit the tall ship Fair Jeanne also will get free passes to the museum.
The 110-foot-long, 80-foot-tall Ottawa-based ship sailed into the village Thursday night and has offered free tours since Friday. Capt. Samuel P.R. Drinnan said the 30-year-old vessel has sailed more than 120,000 nautical miles, and is overseen by Bytown Brigantine, an Ottawa nonprofit dedicated to promoting character-building through training on the ship’s operations.
“The boat, at the end of the day, is just a tool,” Mr. Drinnan said. “There’s no experience necessary to step on board. There’s jobs for everybody on board, and if sails aren’t your thing, there’s always help to be had in the galley or navigating. If everyone doesn’t work together, the ship doesn’t move.”
Last year’s tall ship visit of the California-based Lynx, Mr. Folsom said, also attracted thousands of people.
Traigh T. Kittle, 7, said he enjoyed seeing Fair Jeanne and the other boats in the water, but it was speedboats that really caught his attention.
“They’re really fast,” he said.
His sister, Teegan K., 4, said she preferred watching dogs jump off a 40-foot dock into a pool so their owners could measure how far they went. The Seaway Splash competition was sponsored by Thousand Islands Marine & Island Service Inc., and attracted dogs and dog owners from throughout the U.S. and Canada. Clayton now is home to the world record for the event’s Big Wave competition, the long jump: Taz, a Labrador owned by Quebec resident Mike Chiasson, managed to jump 28 feet, 11 inches, breaking the previous record of 28 feet, 10 inches.
Teegan and Traigh’s mother, Darci J. Kittle, Clayton, said it’s nice having a family event close to home.
“We live outside of town, and come and park, and then walk all day,” she said. “I liked it all here; there was a good variety.”
Nancy McGuire traveled from Arizona to visit family in the Thousand Islands, and stopped by Clayton for all the festivities.
“There’s no water where we are, so visiting here and the islands was our first time on any boat,” she said.
Mr. Folsom, who also maintains the blog Ship Watcher, said he appreciates the village’s continuous support for the festival, and he applauded area businesses for sponsoring the weekend event. The Watertown Daily Times was one of many sponsors.
The celebration continues today, beginning at 9 a.m.