As we reported a couple weeks ago here and on the Boat Buzz, we set out to find a top for our beloved go to boat. Imagine trying to find a top for a 24 ft Sportsman. What does it look like? What are the real dimensions? This all started when we got some images from the time that the boat was found up in PA. Frank “CSI” Miklos documented the hanger that the boat had been stored in. It had a soft top! Where could it be? Where could we find any top? And since the boat is very very original? It needed to be an original one. WELL… First, thanks big time to fellow Woody Boater Bill Mack who happens own one amazing example of a 24 Sportsman. One year earlier, but an identical boat. AND, has a top, the original untouched un-opened top by the way!
Bill set out to see what would be involved in replicating the top.. Jim Staib of Fine Wood Boats the go to resource for parts with in the hobby, went into his stash to see if he had the parts, or at least some hard wear. While that was going on. The folks at Katz’s Marina were we bought the boat and had it varnished were looking in every nook and granny for it as it may have been stored there. But they did not recall it ever being with the boat. Step in, John and Kim Kadimik. John is the guy that handled the preservation of the boat originally. All I got in an email was this image. No words, just the image.. Ahhhhhhh now it got fun…Game on..
This image was like finding a long lost friend, here was the entire community out there looking for a dumb top.. The hobby at it’s best. Folks in Ohio, New Jersey, Canada, Illinois, Florida all looking and trying to help… So? were was the image that John shot? Trust me, my brain was racing and thinking of metal building around Lake Hopatcong.. Everyone was.. Were the hell was that shot? It got fun at this point. Well…it’s in CLAYTON NY! Yup Clayton NY at the top of the USof A.. At St. Lawrence Boat Works to be exact. What in the hell was it doing there? And Johns photo was shot over the summer! Is it still there? Note, this is not just some matching top. It’s the original top to the boat.. AND, it’s been re-chromed and all ready to go. Turns out it had been left behind when the Ploetners took home the boat over 6 years ago, in Ploenters boat years, that’s about 20 boats ago. Don Sr, and Don 2 are avid boat collectors and big time award winners. A simple oversight. Everyone involved moaned.. OHHHHHH! So..while reporting on the Mecum auction, I noticed Don Price of St. Lawrence Boat Restoration, down in Florida…on TV buying a boat for a client, and contacted Scott Ayles to see if he could contact Don down there…. Don called right away and the top was found right were John photographed it. JESUS! A simple hunt for a top, and so many kind people all stepping forward to help.
So… It’s in Clayton… Is it in a big block of ice? Just have it shipped? NO WAY.. One it would cost over $500 bucks to ship because of the crate needed to protect it, and the size, not to mention I would puke if it got dented. So it’s a hail Mary trip, DC to Clayton and back in a day, with Jimmy and Patrick.. ROAD TRIP!!!! They tell me Clayton is beautiful this time of year.. We are going to find out Saturday. And report later on all its magnificence. Actually i have always been curious what it looks like in the winter.. Apparently there are 4 people there keeping the heat going. Now if you will excuse me, I need to coral the dogs for the sled. MUSH!