Christmas, Tiverton style, includes what else? A Stur-Dee dinghy

Holiday season arrives at The Gut not on a sleigh, but aboard a Stur-Dee built on Bulgarmarsh Road

By Ted Hayes
Posted 11/29/22

Lit up with a tree and hundreds of timed and battery-operated lights, Little Lady Christmas is once again moored at her now traditional holiday post, in The Gut at Nanaquaket Pond.

Caitlin and …

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Christmas, Tiverton style, includes what else? A Stur-Dee dinghy

Holiday season arrives at The Gut not on a sleigh, but aboard a Stur-Dee built on Bulgarmarsh Road

Posted

Lit up with a tree and hundreds of timed and battery-operated lights, Little Lady Christmas is once again moored at her now traditional holiday post, in The Gut at Nanaquaket Pond.

Caitlin and Paul Durand, his brother Tim and friends Jonathan "Woody" Peckham and Benjamin Marks decorated and towed the eight foot dinghy out to the middle of the gut Saturday afternoon, where it's been a familiar sight for the past three years and where it will remain through this, its fourth holiday season.

Isabel, the Durands' two-year-old, oversaw the work, while Peckham — "the Mayor of the Gut!", Caitlin said — got paddleboard and towing duties.

"It's always a great day and a lot of our friends and family come to help," she said.

They weren't the only ones watching — "when it went in the water there were already almost 20 cars there."

The Durands got the idea of a floating Christmas tree during a holiday trip to Nantucket. Back home, they knew they had a good vessel for it and the perfect spot.

A Harbormaster model built by the Stur-Dee Boat Co. on Bulgarmarsh Road, the dinghy had gone through a few hands before the Nantucket trip's inspiration. It was previously owned by a friend of the Durands' who gifted it to them upon a move to Maine. From there, Timothy Durand took possession of it and still keeps it, bringing it out for its Christmas makeover late November each year. Caitlin, whose husband Paul runs Durand's Auto Gallery and Durand's Kawasaki on Main Road with his brother, said the boat always draws attention, and she's seen photos of it on Social Media — "Sperry shoes had it on their Instagram," she said.

Mostly, it's fun to see it lit at night, and hear about the enjoyment people get out of it, she said.

Like most launch days, Saturday was fun and festive, she said. Amidst "a little bit of merriment," the launch crew floated the boat out around 4 p.m. and lit it for the first time this year.

"It's turned into a really fun Christmas tradition," Durand said. "Everyone has a great time."

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.