1973  learning how to use a sextant on the Chesapeake Bay.

We ran this story back in 2012, not sure if anyone remembers it, I can, and do remember every detail of the trips. But thought that since we are waiting on boat show reports to look back. BTW we have reports coming in from Minnesota by Texx! St Michaels from Kent O. Smith, and Hopatcong from Bob kays this week. Enjoy our fathers day. How I wish the old man was still around. And hopefully my sons one day will feel the same, and so on.

Berlin Beauro and I last week.

My younger son at the helm of WECATCHEM

The old story… aren’t they all?
This past week, I had the chance to dig through some old family files. While digging through the old family pictures and old baby  shoes, I came across a box of slides. These slides are dated 1973. I recall the trip very well but never saw the shots.

Little Woody Boater at the helm, 1973 even with the hat!

It was on one of my grandfathers shakedown cruises. ya see my grandfather was a retired 2 star Admiral.  He was in mapping and that sort of thing, created some of the first Submarine maps.. It goes on and on.. I used to spend a great deal of time with him, for some reason we connected. In his retirement, he did lots of cool fancy things on all sorts of boards, RAND corporation, etc. But to a 14 year old, the coolest times were spent on his shakedown cruises for a local charter service. They would call him and give us a big yacht and say, “take it out for a week and beat the crap out of it” then they would charter them for the summer. This time I recall it was a 45 foot River Queen.. OK, not so glamorous, but fun as hell…

The River Queen, this thing would do 30 knots. It was a beast! LOVED THE GAS I recall..

Me, 1973 with a sextant, taking the noon sighting .

On those trips, I learned navigation, and basic seamanship. Lessons I have never forgotten. In fact to this day I can’t tie certain knots without closing my eyes. He used to make me do that so if we ever were in a storm or it was dark I could do it from memory. He was right.. He would wake me up at 2 AM and we would adjust the anchor.. And the best was. I got to take the helm. Twin 440 Super bee engines. 45 ft of metal, pounding down the Potomac. To a 14 year old, that trust, that sharing of information was priceless. That feeling of freedom was first found behind the wheel of a boat. And to this day, I can trace my need to escape back to that time. I can still smell the Dinty More stew my grandmother was making in the galley.. Funny how certain things stay with you..

Sitting with my father. And yes, to be honest, I was board much of the time.  I would give the world to be board like that again with my father and grandfather.

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17 Responses to “Father’s Day 2021, Looking Back 10 Years, and 50 Years.”
  1. Greg Lewandowski

    I remember that original story because it was a great one. Happy Fathers Day to all the WoodyBoater fathers out there. Have a great day on the water!

  2. John Bailey

    River Queens were built down the road from me in the Miller section of Gary, IN. One of the only houseboats which could survive outings on Lake Michigan if the wind and waves came up—and the lake can go from placid to 6 foot waves in 20 minutes! There were a bunch of them we would see every weekend. All steel, built like tanks and a scow bow-but hardly a bit of wood to be found! The owner Pete Peterson lived in our town.

    Thanks for that memory!

  3. Michael L Watson

    My parents had one in Algonac. Fun boat for playing around in The Flats. Don’t think I would care for it in Lake MI on a rough day. They were tanks. The sold it to by another houseboat, mom said it was a yacht because of its size, to a person down the canal. All we ever heard was how they didn’t take care of it. Then one day the muskrats got to the outdrive boots and down she went into the mud at the dock. They are beasts of a boat. Looking at one just like it right now on the wall in Grand Haven.

  4. m-fine

    Happy Fathers Day to all. And yes, I remember that story as well! 2012? Yikes we are all getting old!

  5. KW

    Was Pete R. J . Father because the had a marina up here in Saugatuck and I believe they built some here also

  6. Troy in ANE

    I probably used this pic for Mothers day or maybe Fathers day last year, but here are Mom and Dad on the Sea Clam circa 1947.

    Happy Fathers Day All!!!

  7. BT

    My dad bought us a big ass old wood row boat with 2 sets of oar locks and a 2 1/2 hp. Scott Atwater. If the motor didn’t start, then 4 of us 10 year olds would row to Sunset Beach Resort with older buddy Mike in the bow counting cadence.

  8. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P)

    Great story Matt. I came across this gem the other day. Dad with Mom enjoying a homemade skiff on a nearby gravel pit. They weren’t supposed to be in there, but no one was going to to tell Dad he couldn’t enjoy a body of water. I still have the Elto Ace on the back of it. Dad gave the boat away in the late 60s. Happy Fathers Day to all.

  9. Captain Nemo

    Happy Father’s Day!
    Miss my dad, been gone for for some time now.
    This pic is of him @ our family’s boatyard in the ‘70’s.

  10. Dennis Mykols

    Missing my dad, the one who never learned to swim, but started us boating in 1949. He trained my brother and I in boat handling skills and started what has become a three-generation love of all things nautical,
    In this picture, my Dad took the helm of my son Dan’s SeaRay while we were cruising the Metro Beach canals.
    He lived till the age of 95.

  11. Rich Hamilton

    Happy Father’s Day to all. This photo taken in 1959 or ‘60 shows my dad, my grandfather and me (at 7 or 8) – on our 1959 16 foot Cruiser, INC with 35 hp Johnson. Made me a lifelong lover of wooden boats. Really enjoy Woodyboater. Only can’t own one – living along the intracoastal in NC.

  12. floyd r turbo

    My dad, who was more into planes from getting his wings at El Toro in the Marines, sitting on my uncles mahogany strip planked Larson . I spent more time on the water with grandparents and uncles driving or tinkering with boats which interested me more. Planes just seemed more expensive and of limited use. Happy Dad’s day to all.

  13. Kelly Wittenauer

    Love all the stories & old photos. On the road home from the races, so no access to my old pics.

    Happy Fathers’ DAY to all the dads here in Woodyboaterville!

  14. Steve Anderson from Michigan

    Happy Father’s day. Today was great, started it off playing golf with my dad and 2 sons. Then had the extended family over for a great backyard cookout. No boats in the water yet this year, but it’s a priority for next weekend. My dad never had boats growing up, but his dad did and he grew up on the water.