This is the big Clayton Boat Show Weekend. Gonna be there? This years big Feature boats are two Baby Gar’s with a very rich history. Cicada and Snail will be there for you to drool all over along with many many other amazing boats.
This is a dream show location. Smack in the middle of the Thousand islands in Clayton at the Antique Boat Museum. You can bask chest deep in mahogany and varnish and the wonderful world that inspired many a wonderful summer. Here is a wonderful history about the Baby Gars from the folks at The Antique Boat Museum.
Baby Gars manufactured by the Gar Wood Boat Company carved a significant mark into racing and boating history. The Museum is very fortunate to own two of these 33’ raceboats and has special plans for both of them in 2019.
Thanks to an anonymous underwriter, Snail has been recommissioned for in-water display and occasional use this summer. This 1927 boat was the 37th Baby Gar built for Life Savers Inc. company president Edward J. Noble. Noble spent his summers in the 1000 Islands and local legend has it that he offered a large reward for any boat on the River that could beat Snail in a race. Snail’s specific tie to the 1000 Islands makes her an exceptionally unique Baby Gar, and attention was paid to ensure her original details remained intact.
Her 12 cylinder 400 HP Liberty engine was removed in the fall and refurbished by Larry Turcotte, who previously worked on the engine before Snail was donated to ABM in 2000. Todd Croteau, Project Manager at the Historic American Engineering Record for Heritage Documentation Programs at the U.S. National Park Service came to Clayton in December to scan Snail using photogrammetry to precisely document and create digital 3D models of the boat.
The finished lines drawings are in the Museum’s archives to ensure proper documentation of the boat and for future reference. Saint Lawrence Restoration completed some carpentry and finishing work before the reinstallation of her engine and subsequent launch.
Cicada is only the most recent name carried by the museum’s 1928 Baby Gar. At various times she has also been known as Davey Jones, Rascal, and Empty Pockets. Built in 1928 as Davey Jones for Caleb Bragg, owner of Baby Bootlegger, Cicada became Empty Pockets after Bragg sold her to actor Keenan Wynn in the early 1930s. In 1938, then Rascal, Cicada sank in Long Island Sound and was resurrected by Bill Leiber and Jack Kraemer who was also the mechanic for Hotsy Totsy, the boat that won the Gold Cup in 1940. Renamed Davey Jones, she competed in the K class in 1939, 1940, and 1941 with her original Gar Wood Liberty V-12.
In 1949, Kraemer and Leiber repowered Cicada with a 1000 HP Allison V-1710 12-cylinder and she set speed records in the early 1950s at the Harwood Trophy race around Manhattan Island in 1950 and 1951. Davey Jones was rescued from the scrap heap in the early 1980s, when, according to Mark Mason who picked the boat up, there were trees growing through the hull. The boat was completely reconstructed by Gar Wood Custom Boats in Brandt Lake, New York, and very little of it is original. During reconstruction Davey Jones was re-powered with an original Gar Wood Liberty V-12 and was given her current name.
Cicada joins Snail after a ten year absence. This celebration of both Gar Woods returning to the River is also reflected in our 2019 Boat Show theme. Both boats are slated to splash in mid-summer so please look for them in the McNally Yacht House when you visit!
Couple tips. Go Thursday and go to the Warehouse. It’s packed full of amazing boats. Lots of diverse cool stuff.
There is one real hotel in town and its always booked. On the main highway into town, there are some big chain hotels. new ones. Very nice and easy to get a room. The only issue is parking at the show. But people find parking.
There are a bunch of low down nice diners on the way in for breakfast.
Mooch a ride anyway you can. Where safety glasses cause your eyeballs are gonna pop out of your head.
The Flea Market is great. Get there early cause the really cool obscure stuff goes fast.
On the way into Clayton Antique Boat America is on your left. Easy to spot. Its the huge building with Classic Boats all around it.
If you want to go see a cool island by car, go to Welsley Island and get some ice cream. Its a blast from the past at TI Park. if you want to stay in old school style, the Welsley Inn is a time capsule and very nice, but also always booked.
Bring your Pass Port in case you want to go to Canada.
Alex Bay is a fun place for dinner. old old fun vacationy kind of town
If you are interested in a boat at the auction… Bring an empty trailer. May sound odd, but the real deals are on the boats with no trailers.
St Lawrence Restoration is in Clayton and a fun visit, but call ahead. They may be at the show.
Bottom line, the Museum is the set up and amazing. This is a fantastic weekend to be there. Woohooo!