Family history runs deep at many lakes throughout the country where summer cabins have been handed down and maintained through generations. Dane’s family purchased the cabin at Bay Lake 53 years ago, and it continues to be special place for Dane and his family today. Our second visit to Bay Lake once again gave us the opportunity to spend time with Dane’s family, who’s genuine hospitality instantly makes you feel at home. As Dane grew up on the lake, his knowledge of the lakes history and boating over the years is extensive (and infectious).
Bay Lake is also the home to many great classic boats, and one of the best times to spot some classics in action is right around the supper hour when the locals are cruising to one of the two lakeside restaurants – Lonesome Pine Restaurant and Bar (Established in 1936) or Ruttgers Bay Lake Lodge (family owned and operated since 1898).
With 80 degrees and not a cloud in the summer sky, Dane and I decided to take the family pontoon boat out on the lake in the evening light to shoot some photos of “ANNIKA” an all original (153 hours from new) 1958 Chris-Craft Sea Skiff. (The pontoon boat makes shooting easier when you only have two guys and someone has to drive the subject boat).
As we were making our way across Bay Lake on the pontoon boat to pick up the Sea Skiff for the shoot, suddenly we noticed a cool looking Riva Super Florida cruising towards us. We actually saw the same Riva the day before, but only had a small point-and-shoot pocket camera on board at the time. But we did manage to grab a shot of the Riva named “aah…Riva” as it passed by (shown below).
Later that first night, we reminded ourselves why we should always carry our camera gear – for that rare occasion when you spot a cool Riva on the lake.
So this time, when we noticed the Riva approaching us on the pontoon boat, with our camera gear in hand, we waved our arms at the people in the Riva like we were guiding a 737 into the jetway at O’Hare Airport…
The look on John Mulheran’s face kind of says it all… “Who are these guys on the pontoon boat, and what do they want?” But fortunately for us, John and his wife steered in our direction. We explained that we just wanted to take a few shots of their 1962 Super Florida and he agreed to make a few laps around the pontoon boat, then we waved thanks and they continued on their evening cruise.
John Mulheran and his two brothers Dan & Pete all have properties on Bay Lake – Dan has a Century Resorter and Pete has a Hemi powered Century Coronado. I guess you could say classic boating runs in the family.
John recently contacted Dane & I and we sent him some of our photos from that fun summer day. I asked John for some information on his Riva which he was happy to share with us, it has an extensive history – Texx.
My pleasure. It is a 1962 Riva Super Florida, Hull #633. It is powered by a Crusader 220hp V8. It was originally purchased new from RIVA in 1962 by a man in London, England. It spent several years there and was reputedly sold to royalty in Norway where it was used as a Tender for access to a Princes yacht in the Fiords. It was then purchased by a private owner in Norway who did some modest renovation. (Dutch wood patches, refinishing and a couple non original instruments, rewiring).
Around 1996, a man in North Carolina imported the boat, kept it for a few years and then sold it to a man in Indiana for use on Lake Tippecanoe in Northern Indiana. He later put it on consignment at Antique Boat Center in Cincinnati, which is where I found and bought it in 2004.
The boat underwent a fairly extensive refurbishing (complete strip, epoxy in cover board cracks, a couple pieces in the support structure, all bright work removed and refinished, all instrumentation returned to original, 12 coats varnish and fresh bottom paint) by wooden boat restorer Tom Juul of Alexandria, MN. and he has been the caretaker and provided winter storage ever since, with the occasional fine tuning in the off season. And he has done a wonderful job taking a 7 or so up to a 8.5-9…
The beautiful woman beside me in the pictures is my wife of 40 years, as of this December 27, 2015. Please let me know if there is anything else I can provide Texx.
All the best – John T. Mulheran
Thanks John, it’s great to see the that the boats documentation is been so well preserved. Fellow Woody Boater Brian Robinson helped me gather some basic production information on this model of Riva.
The Florida, Florida Super, and Super Florida were all inter sequenced hull numbers #1-#1029.
The Florida ran from 1952-1964
The Florida Super from 1953-1959
The Super Florida from 1960-1969
The book says 426 Florida’s, and 711 Florida Supers/Super Florida’s. The math doesn’t add up but that is what the book says. About ten different engines were used over the years. – Brian
John Mulheran also sent us these great photos.
Texx – Attached are a couple photo’s taken by my daughter in law Sarah Mulheran of a take run with a 1944 Beechcraft C-18 (reputed by the pilot that day – to be one of the planes used in the airport scene in Casablanca) that delivered my daughter Bridget’s friend to our cabin on Bay Lake one beautiful Saturday morning… Needless to say it was quite the fun experience!! – John
Imagine how much fun it would be to travel to the lake for a weekend at the cabin in a vintage Beechcraft then be able to ride around in a classic Riva. Doesn’t get much better than that. – Texx
The Beechcraft Model 18 (or “Twin Beech”, as it is also known) is a six to 11-seat, twin-engined, low-wing, tailwheel light aircraft manufactured by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. Continuously produced from 1937 to November 1969, (over 32 years, the world record at the time), over 9,000 were produced, making it one of the world’s most widely used light aircraft. Sold worldwide as a civilian executive, utility, cargo aircraft, and passenger airliner on tailwheels, nosewheels, skis or floats, it was also used as a military aircraft.
In the early postwar era, the Beech 18 was the pre-eminent “business aircraft” and “feeder airliner.” Besides carrying passengers, its civilian uses have included aerial spraying, sterile insect release, fish seeding, dry ice cloud seeding, aerial firefighting, air mail delivery, ambulance service, numerous movie productions, skydiving, freight, weapon-and drug-smuggling, engine testbed, skywriting, banner towing, and stunt aircraft. Many are now privately owned, around the world, with over 300 in the U.S. still on the FAA Aircraft Registry in December 2014. – Wikipedia
Special thanks to John Mulheran for sharing the story of his Riva with us today and to Sarah for the cool photos. Also to our friend Dane Anderson for making this classic visit to Bay Lake, Minnesota such a memorable experience.
I hope this helps you get through the winter today.