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Rainbow Fleet Parade

Posted by Cecilia Walker on


Back in 1992, Laura Ashley, Inc. moved its North American headquarters to Boston during a period of reorganization and restructuring for the company.  I was hired on as part of the original team who had opened up the offices on St. James Avenue.  It was a unique experience — building an organization with (what felt like) 90% new employees and a small group who had come over from the U.K. with a handful who had relocated from New Jersey.  I formed some great friendships with that original group of people, one of whom I was fortunate to be re-acquainted with 8 years ago, when we ran into each other at our children’s swimming class.  Meet Amber Waterhouse.

After working with Amber in a corporate setting, it’s been great to experience her friendship at a different point in our lives.  I’ve seen how creative she is in a work capacity, but have learned that she’s also a talented artist.  Amber recently shared her paintings of threes with me.  These are of Nantucket’s Rainbow Fleet.

“American Rainbow,” 8×8 oil on panel

Love the red, white and blue sail.

“Leisurely Underway,” 8×10 oil on panel

Even though there is visibly a 4th sailboat, the 3 in the foreground are the main subjects in the composition.

The Rainbow Fleet boat is a 12’4″ Beetle Cat catboat first built in 1920 in New Bedford, Massachusetts by members of the Beetle Family. In 1926 the Nantucket Yacht Club chose the Beetle Cat design to start a racing fleet for young children, and each boat was given a different colored sail so parents could locate where their child was.  The Rainbow Fleet, as it became known, was then made famous in 1930 by a photograph taken by Marshall Gardiner as the boats rounded Brant Point Lighthouse.  Every year, the 3rd Sunday in August, the Opera House Cup Regatta is held on Nantucket, and to mark the start of the race is the traditional Rainbow Fleet Parade.

This year the Opera House Cup Regatta is scheduled for Sunday, August 21st.

Amber has more paintings of the Rainbow Fleet in her portfolio which you can view here.

images courtesy of and ©Amber Waterhouse


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