On Sunday night, immediately after the Gull Lake Classic Boat Show at Bar Harbor, we received the following e-mail from fellow Woody Boater Steven Olson, a freelance writer in Brainard, MN.
Hey Matt & Texx – After a local woody collector (Mr. Kermit Sutton) invited us to stop by the 2013 Gull Lake Classic Boat Show at Bar Harbor (after sort of running into him and his wife, as they were loading their Belle Isle masterpiece onto a custom woody-trailer at Hay Lake/Whitefish Lake on Friday), we came, we looked, we saw, we have become woody-convert-wannabees, looking sorrowfully upon our mere, but still proud, Bayliner 175.
I’ve drafted a piece I would like to offer for publishing on Woody Boater. If you would be at all interested, I will email you a final draft plus more best images with captions, and transferring all rights to Woody Boater.
Just let me know…thanks! – Steve Olson
Of course we always welcome fresh stories like this here at Woody Boater, and over the next few days – as I was on my 1,200 mile motorcycle trip back home – Steven and I exchanged e-mails from the road as he was preparing his story. Steven discovered the Gull Lake Boat Show, beginning at the launch ramp on Whitefish Lake and he was fascinated (as we all were) by the new fully enclosed, fully automatic classic boat trailer that was on display at the show from Boathouse Classic Trailers. As you will see, this is the ultimate in classic boat trailers. – Texx
A COOL ENCHANTMENT
Story & Photos by Steven Olson
We weren’t thinking about Woodys, or boat shows, on one recent Friday while launching our bowrider at Hay landing on Whitefish Lake. An enthusiastic couple greeted us dockside as we watched them load their classic Belle Isle Super Bear Cat onto a custom trailer.
“Looks like a Lee Anderson special”, I joked. “No, but it’s a friend of his!” came the response. “You should come to the boat show this weekend at Bar Harbor!”, they said. We came, we looked, we saw. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “A boat is a boat, how many more do you need to look at?” We saw Woodys, then more Woodys, and after snapping a hundred photos and still counting, the answer became clear to me.
More than half a century ago as a kid, I recall my first glimpse of the Woody mystique: fast, Woody “speedboats”, as they were known back then, operating tours on the Fox Chain of Lakes near the Wisconsin-Illinois border. A skipper on his megaphone announced to crowds on shore, “Ten miles around the lake!”, then planed off with the deep-throated roar of the engine, polished wood gleaming in dazzling sunlight.
I also recall several day outings on Lake Michigan, aboard a Chris-Craft cabin cruiser. This, I thought, was like heaven. Then, Valhalla did strike me: seeing a Woody on a northern Wisconsin lake while summer vacationing near Rhinelander — refreshingly yours, a call to cool enchantment, from the land of sky blue waters, as the famous televised beer commercials from that era exclaimed.
Fast forward 58 years. Dockside at Bar Harbor, Saturday, August 24th, a classic Woody on display, on the dashboard sits a can of Hamm’s beer, empty, with the removable pull-tab (remember those?) missing. Refreshingly yours, and deja vu all over again.
The “Ondine”, Kermit Sutton’s 1926 Belle Isle Super Bear Cat, we found on display above the dock area, nestled against its custom travel trailer, and looking pristine as we had seen it coming off of Hay Lake.
There was even a cabin cruiser, Rudy Amacher’s “Knooper Way”, a 28′ Chris-Craft Constellation from 1962, remarkably looking like it had just left the dealer showroom, that hearkened me back to days spent on Lake Michigan in the 1950’s.
There were Lee Anderson’s several amazing choices from his collection, including early 1900’s Woody tour boats recalling bygone lazy, hazy days of summer. There was his “Ethyl-Ruth IV”, which embodies such impossibly smooth streamlines that it made you wonder if it has ever taken off, airborne, after coming up on plane.
“The Love of Boats” is a shared emotion. In Minnesota, it’s a way of life. Woody boats…forever memorable, true Minnesota Classics, from the land of sky blue waters.
by Steve Olson. (Patty Hallbeck contributed to this article.)
[Steve Olson is a freelance writer and lives near Brainerd, Minnesota]
Special thanks to Steve Olson and Patty Hallbeck for sharing their Classic Minnesota experience from the recent Gull Lake Classic Boat Show at Bar Harbor, MN – Site of the 2015 ACBS International Meetings and Boat Show. – Texx
Here are a few more shots I snapped during the Gull Lake Boat Show of the Boathouse Classic Trailer in action, as the retractable cover is moved back. There is also a curtain section that closes in the back of the trailer.
For more information on these custom made boat trailers, you can go to the Boathouse Classic Trailers website.