Thanks to fellow Woody Boater Michael Claudon from Snake Mountain Boatworks for sending us in his restoration of a wonderful Shepard. Michael does a lot..A LOT of youtube videos. Close your eyes and you will swear its Walter Kronkite, but then you wont see the Shepard. A conundrum yes.
But all a part of the fun they are having up in Vermont! Here is a fun report about Michael and his/our pal Phil Jones from Smith Mountain Lake. Not Snake Mountain.. It gets a little confusing. One is in Virginia, the other in the other V state, Vermont. OK that just confuses it more, both are Shepard nuts. Which adds to the confusion. To be clear, Shepard BOATS…. OK this is just getting silly. Take it away Micheal.
“My cell bleeped in late September. Phil Jones, a good friend and seemingly bottomless font of information and wisdom on all things Shepherd boats, had sent me a typically cryptic text, “Hey, found a 53 Hemi-powered Sportsman. Check your email.” I did, and there she was, presented in three PDFs. Phil’s email message? “Call me.” Phil explained that he had received a headsup from Michael Windsor, Windsor Boatworks in Gravenhurst, ON, who had just finished an informal survey of “Take Two” and pronounced her complete, sound and mostly original. The engine had been run about ten months earlier.
The catch? She was lying at Desmasdon’s Marina in Pointe au Baril, which is on Lake Huron in Canada’s Muskoka Lakes region, about three hours north of Toronto, and nine plus hours from Weybridge, VT, the home of Snake Mountain Boatworks’ shop. “One of us must buy her, and I already have my ’48 Hemi-powered Sportsman.” With only nine photos to go by, and after protracted, long-distance negotiations, we bought her. I set out for Pointe au Baril early in the morning on October 27, 2015, towing an empty trailer. The Marina had closed ten hours later when I arrived in the area, so I spent a fitful night in a nearby motel, and was in the Marina’s yard at 8:30 AM on the 28th, armed with a completely waterproof cover that would fit her like second skin, and wondering what I would find, as never before had I purchased any woodies from photos.
But she was every bit as advertised and better. There were faults for sure: a terrible stern pole and mount – a late fifties Perko special, floor covering that would soon be history, ceilings stained incorrectly, a helm seat that had been lowered six inches and a missing third seat. But her original molded, tempered glass windshield was flawless. All the hardware was Brydon Brass Manufacturing Company Ltd., as it should be. While I could not then lift the floor panels and inspect the bilge, there is no evidence ofrot or even soft wood anywhere.
You be the judge as you view her “coming home”
The references to 1954 in the video’s narration I now know should have been 1953, as explained below. The remnants of Hurricane Patricia had begun lashing southern Ontario as I left Desmasdon’s Marina at 11:30 AM on the 28th, so I elected to follow the northern route by taking the Trans-Canada Highway, hoping to largely skirt Patricia’s northern edges. It rained, sometimes like a fire hose, and the cross winds were brutal from time to time, but at 10:00 PM, and more than ready to be out of my truck, Take Two and I pulled into the driveway.
Her former owner characterized her as a 1954, but I found 22-53-308 stamped in several places as I began deconstructing on the 29th. Take Two is actually a 1953, which makes her among the very early Hemi-331-powered 22’ Shepherd Sportsman Model 110S’s. Her engine has been pulled, which required six hours, and involved many a skinned knuckle, as we teased her forward, under the aft seat bridge and finally out of the bilge. The flooring is up which revealed uniformly solid bilge framing and framing knees from stem to stern.
Phil was correct, one of absolutely had to own and save Take Two, and I do, and who Snake Mountain Boatworks will save her over the winter, and I will send in follow-up progress reports as we do. If we meet our goal, Phil Jones and his ’48, and I with my ’53, will participate together in the 2016 Muskoka Antique and Classic Boat Show. We hope to see you there!