Another weekend below zero. Another weekend of snow. Fact is, hell HAS frozen over! And we live there! I wasn’t going to let the weather keep me from doing something on the Correct Craft Atom Skier I shared with you last fall. So far, it has been a bilge cleaning affair. The pellet stove will get the 16 x 24 shop toasty in a couple hours. The bucket of TSP stays warm on top the stove while I scrape and scrub 59 years worth of goop and ick from the bilge. I was going to ask Matt to have Woodyboaterville chime in with their workshop heating methods and tricks but then something else happened.
I found something in the bilge of the Atom Skier. Now I’m wondering what cool stuff our Woodyboater restorers may have found while working on their boats? While continuing the bilge-cleaning operation on the newly acquired 14′ Correct Craft, I removed the last bits of the rotten plywood battery platform. This area is dead center in the bilge under the front seat.
There, in the organic goo that accumulated over the years was a familiar looking circle of copper. A penny. A 1919 wheat penny minted in Philadelphia. I’m no coin collector but one on-line price guide has my Lincoln cent at a cool 70 cents! Value (or lack thereof) aside, the bigger and more intriguing questions are, how did it get there and how long has it been there? Since this coin was made 36 years before the boat was built, it could have been there the whole time. Or, it could have been dropped by the last guy to sit in the boat with loose chance in his pocket. Considering the weight and profile of a copper penny, it would take considerable jostling to get it up between the keelson and the battery platform.
Even with a bilge full of water, the coin isn’t likely to get “washed” around. Is it? So how did it get there? Let’s flash back to Pinecastle, Florida, 1955. The boys are in the shop at the Correct Craft plant slappin’ together another little Atom Skier. Bill Haley and Comets are rockin’ around the clock on the radio. This particular boat-building crew wants their new baby to have a happy life. One of the guys digs into his work pants and pulls out a “lucky penny”. The rest of the crew nods and the coin gets a special place on the keelson before they add the battery platform. Just then, Bill Haley’s tune ends and the number two hit of 1955, Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford comes on and they break for lunch. Yeah, that’s what happened, all right. As cool as that scenario might be, the penny probably fell out of uncle Lenny’s Bermuda shorts in 1982. However it got there, the Lucky Penny will stay in the Atom Skier. Say, that’s not a bad name for a boat, is it?