Fellow Woody Boater and Classic Crooner Charles J is determined to learn more about his rare 1962 Ideal Craft outboard “Sweet Mahogany”. After all, this classic wooden boat has been in his extended family since it was built in 1962 – where it provided great service and fun running the waters of Moriches Bays, part of the southern bays network of Long Island.
Charles lovingly refurbished (not restored but refurbished) the boat in 1997 and for years has been trying to learn more about the history of the Ideal Boat Company of America, with not much success.
Charles noted in his e-mail… “Texx – After doing much research I found my way to the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia and yes indeed there it was found; a copy of a 1962 brochure for the Ideal Boat Company of America. I have the 15′ outboard model.
I was hoping I might get my little “Sweet Mahogany” posted on Woody Boater and perhaps get some feedback from your readers regarding origins of the company, how long in business, general insights into the company; I have personally only seen one other Ideal Craft in all my years – I suspect Ideal Craft was a short lived company of yesteryear.”
The Story of “Sweet Mahogany”
The boat was originally purchased in 1962 with a white 45HP Mercury, the bottom was “bottom paint gold,” red water line stripe, sky-blue in hull color and more of a brownish stain for the bright work. Over the years a cousin, the original owner changed the color scheme as did I in my 1997 make over. In 1969 in Man’s quest for speed, my cousin hung a four cylinder 80HP Mercury on her and I can still remember the aunts and uncles screaming “slow down, you’re killing us back here (many fond memories that drove the refurbishment),” my cousin claimed it was 50 mile an hour boat, not sure about that but in those days and in relative terms, it was pretty fast.
With my refurbishment (not restoration), I know the purists would be upset with my new controls, steering wheel and “Holey-Mackerel-Foreign-Imports-Batman,” is that a Yamaha on that piece of lovely Americana? Well bottom line when I originally made the boat over, it was at that time, more about usability and dependability and less about its classic heritage…it’s still a pretty little rig don’t you think!.
She’ll do about 40 WOT with three in the boat but you most certainly don’t want to find any serious wakes at that speed. I live in Northern Virginia and often use the boat for what I affectionately call the Classic Boat River Tour; put in at Gravely Point, cruise up into Georgetown and then down to Old Town for dinner and fun. The cruise back to Gravely point with Washington DC lit up against the dark sky is quite beautiful from the Potomac vantage point; it’s particularly satisfying if one doesn’t run into a floating tree, huge log or other incredible “Wood” that awaits you in the Potomac.
Any information that the Woody Boater community can provide for me on the history of the Ideal Boat Company or if anyone owns one or knows where others are, I would love to hear from them.
Best Regards – Charles J
When we received the most recent e-mail from Charles asking for our help to find more information on the Ideal Boat Company of America, my first thought was to go through my collection of “The Real Runabouts” by Bob Speltz – surely there would be some reference to the Ideal Boat Company in there. I carefully went through all 7 volumes, cover to cover – and found NOTHING. When you can’t find it in the Speltz books, you know you’re in trouble… Then I went through all the other wooden boat books in my library – and found NOTHING. Then I went to my 2012 ACBS Directory, surely a member of the ACBS must have an Ideal Boat Company boat listed… NOTHING.
So at this point I had no choice but to refer to my secret weapon, used only in emergencies – E-mail fellow Woody Boater & noted historian Lee Wangstad. I hated to bother Lee just days before the big Minneapolis Boat Show which he will no doubt be busy preparing for with the Bob Speltz Land-o-Lakes ACBS Chapter, but I was out of options… and this was making me nuts!
Lee Wangstad responded –
Texx – Sorry, nothing here, although it does sound familiar. I know that I don’t have any literature (that’s pretty well organized), but thought that I might have something in one of the periodicals. The obvious places produced nothing, but I’ll continue to look.
There were hundreds of companies building plywood runabouts in the mid to late 50’s, following the success of firms like Speedicraft, Swift, and Otis Borum. There were also companies that were buying kits in bulk and going into production. They were all somewhat similar in appearance, but each had its own identity. Carter Craft, Stamas, Lawrence, SportCraft, St. Cloud, the list goes on.
Most were built in Florida. Of course, there was Aristo-Craft and SwitzerCraft, but they were into a whole different element. Bob Switzer told me that it was Otis Borum that told him that he was doing just fine building “boaty-boats,” bread and butter family boats, while he considered Switzer to be building state-of-the-art cutting edge type designs. After their meeting SwitzerCraft began building “boaty-boats” to sell more boats. It worked. I’ll continue to look. – Lee
Thanks Lee, we appreciate your help on this. So now, we are reaching out to our always knowledgeable, always helpful Woody Boater community to ask the question:
Does anyone out there in Woody Boater land know anything about the Ideal Boat Company of America from the early 1960’s – Please?
Charles J also has a website he developed with some photos from 1997 when he refurbished “Sweet Mahogany”. At the top our story today we also referred to Charles J as a Classic Crooner, which is the name of his music CD “Crooner Classics” – Music and wooden boats all in one place, it doesn’t get much better than that! Check it out by Clicking Here.