“Super Models” Coming to Whaling Museum in Sag Harbor | The Sag Harbor Express | By Michelle Trauring
Donald Sultan has no interest in actual sailboats. He doesn’t even like being on the water.
But his bathrooms in both Sag Harbor and New York say otherwise.
There are war ships, merchant ships, clipper ships and even sailboats thoughtfully placed in each — all meticulous, all handmade, and all miniature.
“They go with the tub,” Sultan said by way of explanation. “The beauty of the ship in real life is actually almost too much for me to take in. But a model ship, you really let your imagination go with it. It’s a craft, a very special craft, and they’re all accurate. So you get to see the beauty of the riggings.
“They’re poetic, really, and also, it’s the dream,” he continued. “It’s like people who love model trains, it’s the dream of the old rails. There’s something about them.
In search of new boats to see, the avid collector approached the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, and was promptly led to the basement, and then the attic. When he saw them — two dozen 18th– and 19th-century ships, some protected by cases, but most of them covered in dust — he thought, “We’ve gotta get these things out of here and clean them up.”
Countless cans of compressed air later, the finest 15 ships and boats will be on display starting Saturday, August 5, and are aptly titled “Super Models.” Ranging in size from 8 inches to 4½ feet, these are ships that represent maritime history — ships that could have been spotted down in the harbor back in the 1800s, according to Richard Doctorow, the collections manager at the museum.