A few weeks ago we were contacted by some folks who recently discovered an unusual wooden race boat (or should we say gentleman’s race boat) which had been stored in a barn since the 1950’s. The new owner of the boat was interested to learn more about the boats history, the era it was built, the designer or builder, etc. Unfortunately at the time, we only had a few photos of the boat, and very little knowledge to include with the story.
We reached out to the Woody Boater community in search of any information on the boat, and received some great feedback which, unfortunately was mixed in terms of determining it’s original power configuration, original or existing stern construction and possible links to the boats designer or builder. (Click here to see the original Woody Boater story and comments)
Peter Breen from Peter Breen Antique & Classic Boats Co Ltd commented…
I have been shown this boat before. This style boat was built by nearly everyone for a short period of time throughout the late 20’s and early 30’s. Without some kind of family history involvement, you are just guessing. There were a lot of the smaller shops that built some absolutely fabulous one off boats. The bigger shops throughout Canada didn’t build outboards, with the exception of Peterborough. If I ever run across anything I will let you know – Peter.
Harry Wilson, from Miss Canada fame commented… (prior to seeing the photos of the single step bottom – below)
I am not familiar with the mystery boat, but I think I see a couple of influences beyond a possible van Patten connection. The square cutwater bow & lift reminds me more of early Ventnor 225 hydros, such as Mortimer Auerbach’s Emancipator III & IV (1934 & 1935) or Zippy Too. It does not appear that the bottom is stepped. The power could have been a PR Johnson or the like. My guess is this was the work of a garage builder, someone who had a better understanding of aerodynamics more than of hydrodynamics. Certainly, the streamlined above-water work is beautiful… a bit like John Hacker’s Curlew designed for Fred Burgess of Lake Joseph & Toronto in the 1930s. Sorry I can’t be more help – Harry.
Doug Van Patten, son of Naval Architect and noted raceboat designer Douglas Van Patten commented…
The mystery boat looks like a minature “Scotty”. If the fairbody lines were extended it would be a double ender,
like “Scotty”. That and the fact it was found in a barn near Detroit leads me to beleive it is a John Hacker design from the late nineteen twenties to the early nineteen thirties. The lack of instruments on the dashboard and the coaming abaft of the transom stern leads me to conclude that the mystery boat was designed and built as an outboard – Doug
Thanks to Peter, Harry & Doug for your comments – We appreciate you taking the time to help us with the search.
We also received some inquiries from our viewers asking for additional information on the mystery boat and we requested some additional photographs from the owner, which we recently received and are shown below. To assist with the search, we have also included the following comments (below) which were posted on the original story recently for clarification from the owner.
1. It was found in a barn in central Massachusetts, not Detroit. It has been placed in the barn in the 1950s. The owner had died in the late 90s. His son knew nothing of it’s origins other than a vague recollection that it came from NH but was not sure.
2. The boat measures 14 feet. The cockpit is big enough for 2 adults. The steering wheel was moved at some point from the right to the center.
3. The boat is constructed with brass screws.
4. There is a hatch forward of the cockpit. This hatch can be completely removed and is latched from beneath.
5. Although I’m not an expert, the stern seems to be have been modified by someone at a later date for the outboard. The construction details on the back do not match the rest of the boat.
6. The boat had very little or no time with the outboard engine. This is based on the lack of wear where the control cables rub against the hull. There is very little indication that the cables had moved much at all.
Hope this helps, Regards, A.J.
The existing center location of the steering wheel, which may have been relocated from starboard side to accommodate the cable steering (which it currently has as shown below) for the outboard or to center the driver in the cockpit… Just a guess of course.
Here’s a nice shot of Ethyl Ruth IV, a beautifully restored 1934 27’ Hacker Gold Cup Race Boat, a John Hacker design from the similar period. To learn more history on this legendary race boat you can click here.
So if you think you recognize some aspects of this boat or have any further information that we can pass along to the owners, I’m sure they would appreciate it when they begin the restoration process.
A few things to also note on this boat.
1. The boat is not for sale.
2. We do not know the historical value of the boat.
2. We do not know the owner or the current location of the boat.
3. We understand that since the original story was published, the owner has received a number of inquiries from people interested in buying the boat. Woody Boater has had no involvement in terms of providing information to buyers, restorers or dealers, and are not directing these people to the seller – as we do not know the owner, the owners contact information, zip code or even the current location of the boat.
4. Any additional information or comments on the history of the boat from our viewers can be posted in the comment box below or e-mailed to Texx@woodyboater.com and I will gladly see that this is forwarded to the owners representative who by the way is the person we received the recent photos from.
We are simply trying help the owner / owners representative locate accurate historical information on the mystery boat as requested.
(You can also contact me by e-mail at Texx@woodyboater.com)