In recent weeks, people have posted about “The Lifestyle” of Woody Boating.
Some of us collect, restore, travel, and show exquisite, perfect, exotic, high-dollar classics. That’s one lifestyle. At the other pole, some of us own single, modest, “user” boats, which we maintain reasonably well, and employ as grocery getters, sun seekers, and fish finders — a.k.a. daily drivers. That’s another lifestyle.
With such a wide range of classic and antique boat types, models, designs, vintages, conditions, price-points, etc. (and let’s not forget the wide range of characters who own the boats), it is difficult to say there is a single lifestyle. Rather, there are many lifestyles people who own wooden boats lead.
Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of attending the 13th Annual Bay Harbor Vintage Car and Boat Festival, which benefits the Bay Harbor Foundation, supporting scores of regional non-profits. Many Woody Boaters visited Bay Harbor last September to attend the ACBS International show, hosted by the Water Wonderland Chapter. Those who did — and those who attended virtually via Woody Boater — saw the beauty of the Bay Harbor Resort and Marina. You also saw how Bay Harbor is a lifestyle. Elegant, gracious, polished, and service-oriented, where “best” is aimed for and achieved.
The 2011 Festival easily met, and perhaps even surpassed the ACBS experience. Starting with the weather. Barely a breath of wind, perfectly sunny, mid 70‘s, and no humidity. Northern Michigan summer at its best.
No, there weren’t as many boats as the ACBS show (about 50 vs over 100). Nor was there a plethora of exhibitors. By example, I did not see any outboard barbeques. But, as the photos will show, the quality and variety of boats was right up there.
And, in place of about 50 boats, there was something else. At least 50 classic and antique cars. (Oh, and 1 bus.) Ok, a good many of those could not be called cars. These were automobiles. Machines from such known collections as Gilmore, Parfet, Off Brothers, Waldorf, DeVos. For those of us whose passion for motorized assets includes things that roll instead of float, this show offered the chance to see, and hear, exotic, legendary, and downright stunning vehicles.
But enuff with the superlatives and on with the show. Let’s cut to the pics right? ‘Cause I read this blog at least daily and know how much we all want to head for dessert (eye candy) and skip the main meal.
The little 1952 Lyman side-steer. It was for sale for over a year. I knew it was restored, but the online pics did not do justice to how pristine it is. So I spent much of the day kicking myself for not having bought that boat. If I’d bumped into the owner, I’d probably have blurted out: “How much for the little girl? …The little girl, your daughters… sell them to me. Sell me your children!”
A Duke called Duchess. Get it? Very good. ‘Cause it wasn’t until the boat was back on its trailer before I figured that one out. Here’s a pic… It’s a 1937 Playmate. Beautiful from every angle, as a Playmate should be, right? This boat = floating jewelry!
Remember this meticulous, one-of-a kind 1936 Custom Gar Wood Commuter, launched at last fall’s ACBS International? Well folks, it’s for sale. I met the owner, Dennis Spillane. Knows how to do a boat right. Super nice guy. Of course he is: he owns a mid-40’s 25′ Sportsman. Oh, and Paul, his (towing vehicle) is bigger!
Where else but from the Mittler Collection. An amazing 1928 Purdy “Gold Cup” Racer. It won the Gold Cup and President’s Cup in 1929. It is powered with a Wright V-8, that has Hispano Suiza components. How did I know all that w/o Texx there? I took a pic of the sign beside the boat. You know, in his advanced deafness, Beethoven cut the legs off his pianos so he could “hear” the vibrations through the floor. I swear one hears a Mittler boat before one sees it. They announce their presence when they fire up. This one was no exception. Was Mittler hard of hearing too?
Danny Mertaugh drove up in this gorgeous 26′ Chris Craft Triple restored by his family’s shop, Classic and Antique Boats of Hessel. I love the giant, cone-shaped, pre-war spotlight on this boat.
My boat, a 1949 Chris-Craft 25′ Sportsman, Marion E. It’s our Family Truckster. See the resemblance? Lots of chrome, wood on the sides, wood on the top, green interior? It’s uncanny. As this is our (well maintained) user boat, it’s probably the only one at the show with ice cream in the front deck seams and a Cheeto or two in the bilge. This isn’t a shameless plug. I’m just a proud parent. God I love this boat!
Another pic of that Mittler Purdy “Gold Cup” Racer, with a glimpse of it’s gorgeous motor. You guessed it. This falls into the “exquisite, perfect, exotic, high-dollar classics” lifestyle category. See? It even comes with its own mechanic!
Check out this striking Chris-Craft classic glass Express. And it wasn’t even in the Show! See the little flag in the bottom left corner of this pic? It says it all in one word: Dam! BTW, anyone know of one of these this nice? Please post a link in the Comments, or e-mail me. (Just don’t let my wife find out.)
This breathtaking Chris-Craft is a 1964 Connie, measuring 57′ Length and 15′ Beam. Pathfinder was purchased in 1968 by its current owners, Claudia and Robert Scherer. Anyone with bucks can buy a beautiful new steel, glass, or aluminum yacht. But it takes character and heart to take on the responsibility for one of these beauts. Yes, it’s wood. So no more complaining about your restoration and maintenance costs, y’hear?
These three photos are of Pilgrim, a 1940 65′ Burger. Get this from the Burger website: “Burger started another trend that gained immediate popularity when, in 1940, it launched the first flush deck cruiser, the 65′ PILGRIM.” To this day, PILGRIM plies the waters of Lake Michigan and the Door County region of Wisconsin.” So, how good is the paint on this boat…?
Yes, these three pics are of an exciting and rare 1939 Century Thunderbolt powered by a Gray Racing Fireball 244 c.i. motor. This model is famous for its stepped hull. Check out the cool copper exhaust pipe in the cockpit, sticking through the hull side. Who’d a thunk it came with cockpit heating?! The lucky owners are Bill and Julie Munro. First one I’ve seen in the flesh, er, planks. These photos do not do it justice. I would love to have seen it go!
Show’s now over. And these guys in Kelly Girl, a little pre-war Chris-Craft Utility, knew just what to do. They broke out the Jameson, which I thought was an appropriate choice of beverage for a boat with an Irish name. (And here you thought the picnic basket, bottle, glasses, and flowers in these boats were “for display only.”) They then set out for the Bay Harbor Yacht Club Bar.
Only a toe-in-the-water representation of fiberglass at this show. This mid-60’s Chris-Craft Super Sport boasts fiberglass pontoons. Not by design, there just happened to be no Classic Glass at Bay Harbor this year. We’ll have to fix that in 2012, right Woody Boaters?
This one is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Parfet, whose 1906 Columbia Touring Car, 1932 Duesenberg J154 Convertible Victoria (unreal!), and 1935 Auburn 851 Supercharged Speedster (shown at the beginning of my report – also unreal!) dazzled the parade of automobiles. Remind me to look them up next time I’m in Hickory Corners, MI. Friends like that I need.
Alex Watson – Fellow Woody Boater