Manchester by the Sea’s Fishing Boat Has Ties to a New England Family’s Real-Life Tragedy

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The Claudia Maire onscreen. Photo: Amazon Studios

In Manchester by the Sea, a family fishing boat becomes a dramatic point of contention between the movie’s subjects, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) and his nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges), who are both reckoning with the loss of a family member. The teen is determined to keep it, while his uncle insists on selling it. In real life, the commercial lobster boat is named for a Manchester-by-the-Sea family’s deceased daughter. “The name of the boat, the Claudia Marie, that’s a real family that has gone through a tragedy, so the fact they used this boat named after this little girl who passed away… this whole town embraced that,” Paul Barclay, a Manchester local, told the Boston Globe. When Manchester residents Ed and Julie Smith agreed to let their boat be used in the film, they had no idea it would be an important plot point. Julie said she froze when she saw the boat, named after the couple’s 13-month-old daughter who died in 2001, in the movie’s opening scene. “We had no idea the boat would be so instrumental in the movie,” she told the Globe. “We were blown away by that.”

The Story Behind Manchester by the Sea’s Fishing Boat