A huge welcome and thanks to “lurker” and fellow Woody Boater Craig Watkins for sending in a great report from the Chicago area. Take it away Craig. BTW, we are all Lurkers! HA!
I’ve never written to you before but I have lurked on your website for years., I’m new to this hobby and wanted to tell you about our last couple weeks.
Mind you, this is only the second time this boat has been in the water. It is a 2017 and where it isn’t a ‘classic’ by definition based on age, I think you’ll agree it still fits in the ‘classic’ area.
First, after 5 years of weekends and nights in the garage, we launched the boat August 5th. My wife had said that she very much wanted to be a part of the first launch but she also knew if something went wrong (possible mechanical issues) that she knew me and didn’t want to be around. Ha. She knows me very well.
It floats! First time in the water and I was actually concerned.
So, I invited several ‘car buddies’ up to Wisconsin. One guy even flew up from Florida just for the boat launch. They all enjoyed being a part of it and we had a great day.
We had our other boat alongside in case any issues came up, but within 15 minutes, after things were going so smoothly, we parked the other boat and all piled in the wood boat. Here are a few pictures of the launch.
Underway. (the hat was a gift from my friends)
No wake zone. Rides and sounds nice.
It really moves!
Back home after a successful day.
So for my families first cruise, we decided to do something different. Instead of cruising the same lake as the weekend before, we found a public boat launch out in the suburbs of Chicago. We took the Calumet Sag Channel west to meet up with the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (yes, it sounds gross, but it primarily a barge canal into the city that is open to pleasure boaters). This eventually put us in the South fork of the Chicago River. Which took us downtown and out through the locks into Lake Michigan.
Here is the path we took.
Countless railroad bridges.
Still have some final trimming to do on the windshield gaskets.
This low bridge was no problem for us but the boat on the other side had to turn around.
I don’t have any photos on the lake because it was so rough that the boat was actually submarining under huge swells. We were completely soaked and tucked the phones away. After the first few minutes of concern, we were all laughing and having a good time. We got gas on one of the lake harbors and quickly made our way back to the locks for the calm water of the Chicago River.
On the way home it was late in the afternoon and I asked my wife if she wanted to drive it. I was very much hoping she would. I pointed out the canal was straight as an arrow, the water was glass smooth and we were going 20-30 minutes between even seeing another boat. She took the wheel.
Here she is clipping along at 40 mph.
Coming to some interstate highway crossings.
So I know it’s not a write-up about a boat show or a group outing but I wanted to let you know that people are getting into the hobby in many different ways. We all don’t take the same path, but in the end we are all having a blast!