Did You Know (Annisquam Fish Class)

1951 photo of Annisquam Fish Class catboat, Montgomery boat yard and artist, David Montgomery

Collage by E.J. Lefavour

This 1951 photo (courtesy of Cynthia Kennedy Sam of Annisquam) is of one of the famous Annisquam Fish Class catboats in a race (which Annisquam won).  The original Fishes were first built in 1921 by Nick Montgomery at the Mongomery Boat Yard in Gloucester, and were used as class boats by several Yacht clubs in the area, including the Annisquam Yacht Club, Conomo Point and Eastern Point/Sandy Bay Yacht Club.  Montgomery built 80 Fish boats the first year.  There have been close to 1,000 built since then.  The last Fish was built in 2006 for actress, Lindsay Crouse, who has a home in Annisquam; however, you can still have one built if you’d like to order one. 

The second photo is of the seven-ton concrete mold, made by Nick Montgomery in the winter of 1920, which was still used to form the Fish boats up until about six years ago. 

The third photo is of the workshop where the boat building takes place.  The Montgomery Boat Yard, now a third-generation business and one of the oldest family boat yards in New England, is located at 29 Ferry Road on Montgomery Cove (so named in honor of the 100 years of operation of the boat yard in 2008). 

Third generation boat-building Montgomery, David, is also a gifted artist.  He and members of the Cape Ann Artisan’s Group have a group exhibit at the Sawyer Free Library through March.  The last photo is of David in his studio with some of his work.   Check out the Library exhibit.

E.J. Lefavour



  • David is such a great guy – in addition to being a boat builder and a fine artist he is also an actor. He has had small parts in a number of movies including Clint Eastwood’s “Mystic River”. Really talented guy.


  • That is very cool. I didn’t know that; although he is obviously very talented. I loved that movie. It was filmed in the backyard of my studio building in East Boston overlooking the Mystic River and Tobin Bridge. I’m sure I wouldn’t have recognized him as having been in the movie, as it was a number of years ago, but if I have a chance to see it again, I’ll definitely look for him. Cape Ann is just filled with so many really fascinating people.


  • Cynthia Kennedy Sam

    Thanks for your usual great posts, E. They are always interesting and well written.
    Incidentally, for any old time Fish Boat sailors, the black/white picture is of “GRAYLING” # 35, owned and skippered by Anne Janeway with me as her trusty crew. The date would have been circa 1951.
    Run don’t walk to David Montgomery exhibitions!
    Cynthia K. Sam


  • Cynthia Kennedy Sam

    An added comment —-’twas Anne Janeway in #35 (not “Annisquam”) who won the race!
    At the sound of a gun fired off of the the Annisquam yacht club. We departed right in front of the yacht club, headed out to Ipswich Bay, whether or not the tide was rushing in or out. This involved lots of tacking, avoiding rocks, buoys and sandbars, or often moving backwards during windless moments. The races then were very tricky and strategic.


  • In 1959, David’s father, Herb, built our family boat, the 32′ flush-deck cruiser “Cirrus” in the boat yard on Ferry St. I can remember seeing the patterns for the Fish and Cat boats at the yard. My father had that boat for many years – it was kept at Pier 7 in East Gloucester. Finally, old age just took it toll on the Cirrus, and I believe the boat was sold to a company somewhere in the Midwest, where it was placed on display in the lobby of the company’s headquarters.


  • Will Bloombergh

    My father owned a Fish class sailboat. #4. The Goldfish.
    He raced out of Annisquam Y.C. and won many prizes back in the 1920s & 30s.


  • Pingback: Motif No. 1 and the Fish Boat, 1934 | GoodMorningGloucester

  • I’m in the process of having one of these “Montycats” restored to its historic condition. The work is starting soon and will be complete in the spring of 2013. The boat’s been in dry storage in our shed for the past 45 years in excellent condition considering its age. It was bought used in 1960 and sailed around Ipswich until settling in for its long hibernation in Westport, MA. It’s been one of my lifetime goals to restore this boat and sail it. I then hope to find someone in the Ipswich / Annisquam / Gloucester region who appreciates the history and workmanship of these vessels to give it a permanent home.


  • My Father Brooks Stevens Jr. courted my Mother Janet Hubbard in the early 20’s sailing Annisquam Fish Boats. As I understand it until Hollis Fremch introduced them my Mother was finishing in the middle of the fleet and after being introduced my Mother would come in first with my Father second. Years later, I my Father had a Fish Boat built for my sister. I think he watched every nail being driven and he also had a monel or stainles strap put in to which the stays were attached to. Shrouds in the ealy boats were attached with rope lashings. With the advent of turn buckles and the mast step resting on the garboards they leaked. That was never a problem for my sister Janet’s boat.
    Yes,we competed against Anne Janeway.


    • Wow – all about Annisquam! Last 1 year I’d posted a photo of Anne and me on Grayling and now this comment appears. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


      • Yes, I have many memories of Annisquam. In retrospect I feel that I was related to half the town. My Mother was related to the Mechems and Turners, my Father was related to those on the Ames Estate on Bay View. Alden and Eleanor French were referred to as Uncle A and Aunt El.
        My Father was responsible for bringing the first Lightning to Annisquam and initially we started with the Bird Boats. Ultimately there were enough Lightnings to where we were a class all by ourselves. If my memory my Brother Derwin was secretary for the Lightning Association


Leaving a comment rewards the author of this post- add to the discussion here-

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s