We got a fun email from Dr. Christopher E. Matt AKA El Cameno with this fun story about the insane restoration of a vintage Switzer Craft. The pictures and video tell a great tale of ones mans obsession to go Woody Boating..
The approximate chance of an average person living in the US being struck by lightning in a given year is estimated at 1 in 500,000 as per Wikipedia.
However, the chances increase significantly if one is familiar with the human lightning arrestor better known as Steve Stevenson of Wisconsin. How’s that? Well, it’s because of his uncanny ability to find a rare wooden boat and strike a deal that’s somewhat analogous to the speed of a thunder bolt.
Before you realize that you have been struck, you find yourself somehow driving away with an unexpected newly purchased vintage wooden boat attached to your vehicle, as Steve smiles and waves goodbye to you with his right hand, while clutching a wad of cash in his left hand. Our twenty plus year friendship is firmly grounded, yet I’m always shocked as to how lightning fast he is able close a vintage wooden boat deal.
How did Steve know I’d be the buyer and what did I purchase? Well, because both Steve and I have spent a great deal of our teenage years navigating the pristine waters of the beautiful Chain O’ Lakes in Waupaca, WI, he knew that his find was representative of the wooden boats we admired during our spirited youth. His acquisition was a 12 foot mahogany plywood Switzer Craft runabout. This 1952 model was known as the “Lightning 25”. What an unusual shape that was considered ahead of its time with it’s gently rolled deck secured in part by a rounded transom.
All in all, she came together quite nicely both on the trailer and in the water after approximately 2 years of restoration.
Overall the restoration experience with “Lightning” was well worth the endeavor saving yet another piece of American design and engineering from the scrape yard. Boating today with this combination on the Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes once again brings back those fond memories indelibly engrained as a youth from years gone by.
The heck with statistics. If I know Steve, I’ll probably get struck again when least expected.
And if you enjoyed reading the book, here is the movie.