The Tahoe Yacht Club decided it was time to pay tribute to the early fiberglass boats and materials that eventually shaped the future of todays modern boat designs.
David Olson, Tahoe Yacht Club Foundation President, wrote in the 2010 Lake Tahoe Concours program,
“As we reflect on the treasures from the past, we very quickly see how the design, and materials used from the boats of the 1920’s through the mid-1960’s evolved and changed. Previously we have honored the early elegant wooden launches, the grand runabouts, the speedboats all showing their beautiful finely varnished wooden structures and exteriors. Today we honor and pay tribute to the use of a “man-made” material, developed during World War II, that totally revolutionized boat construction and exterior finishes. Just think that some of these examples we have gathered here today are 60 years old. From a historical perspective these early fiberglass boats were constructed in the same time frame or right after last years Marque class of “Blond Deck Runabouts.”
Here’s the second of three classic Dan Arena Co. boats that Dan & Casey Arena brought to the show this year. This one is a 1956 20′ Barracuda Utility powered by a 215 hp Dearborn Interceptor V-8, which by the way is the only all original, unrestored boat in their collection.
We have to also give thanks to Danny Pavel (Show Manager) and Sue Cawdrey (Public Relations and Marketing) for all their assistance prior to and during the event this year.
A total of approximately 15 fiberglass boats were on display that the show, a wide range of manufacturer’s and sizes. The majority of the fiberglass boats were classified as either Transitional Fiberglass – Marque Class (Boats manufactured with wood hulls and fiberglass accessories such as fins, hard tops or decking) or Full Fiberglass – Marque Class (Boats manufactured primarily out of fiberglass).
Two Chris-Craft Cobra’s were entered in the Transitional Fiberglass Class “Fluff” a 1955 21′ and “Serpent” a 1955 18′ Cobra which received the top award for Marque Class Best of Show and Best Chris-Craft of Show.
“Twin Finn” (below) a 1959 21′ Chris-Craft Continental received the Second Place Award in the Transitional Fiberglass Class.
Also judged in the Full Fiberglass Class was “Mint Julep” a very nice 1959 16′ Wizard Bolero (shown below) powered by a period correct Bimini Blue 70 hp 6-cylinder Mercury Outboard. Those Tall 6 Merc’s, commonly referred to as “Dock Busters” (because they have no running neutral) are very cool and always a crowd favorite. This boat is a past award winner at Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead ACBS events in California.
Other boats in the Full Fiberglass Class included a 1949 16’6″ Triangle Boat Co Utility named “Penny Lee” and a 1964 18′ Arena Craft 18′ Bonito Utility named “Classical Glass.” Multiple award winner “The Quiver” a 1959 19′ Chris-Craft Silver Arrow was on hand but not judged.
So the experiment was, can you take an original fiberglass boat in good condition and bring it back to life for a reasonable amount of money? The answer is Yes – and I can say that “Casper” was very well received by the boat show organizer’s, participant’s and the spectator’s at the Lake Tahoe Concours. Further evidence that these entry level boats can provide an opportunity for folks to become involved in the antique and classic boat hobby both on a local and national level, without spending a fortune.