A Grain Of Thought – Should We Reconsider Judging Rules?

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Red in the grain under the fiberglass.

First, isn’t it great that we are arguing about boats again, and not vaccines and masks? Yes! Like a good family squabble. And I thank all the folks that teamed up to make the Red Cobra Red again. Now, let’s get a little deeper into the grain of it all today. As in the Grain of the Red Cobra, and how this grain may cause some deep thought on judging rules.

Thats not bilge red

Second, the judging rules are self imposed here, and possibly a little archaic, since the way we all research details and new information, makes it rather simple. NOW NOW NOW, hold on here. The purpose of the current rules is to not making the judging subjective and foggy. Thus creating more drama.

The line in the sand..ing?

Third. Maybe there is some sort of Subjective Points in a positive way to reward the deep thought put into the research. A way to counter the if its not on the hull card stuff.

Do you judge it as a Factory Cobra, or the Street design?

Why? Well, here are some examples, and thoughts on the subject.

The tackle box on WECATCHEM, delivered to owner new, made at factory, not on hull card.. ONE OWNER!

The shade of blue and the grain? Who makes the call?

So yo are judging THAYER IV and how do you judge it? As it was original, or from the film? Whats more valuable? Whats more important for history? What are you judging? It was crystal clear in our choice. But to a judge, would have points deducted.

This is why I love this small little classic boat universe. It has a subjective element that always keeps it a challenge.

AHHHH 7 Days

16 replies
  1. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Your countdown clock is worrisome. 7 days from today and the show will be over. You need to be packing up now and departing within the next 48 to 72 hours!

  2. Jon
    Jon says:

    I have no dog in this fight but I’ll make some observations and offer some thoughts. There is also clearly blue in the grain too. Why is no one discussing that as a possible original color? The red appears in a stripe-like area only, on the board surface, not just in between planks. If the bottom was painted red why would it not be seen over much larger areas? For that matter, if it was painted copper, why don’t we see any copper paint anywhere? As a scientist, I’m loathe to draw any definitive conclusions – at least from what we have been presented.

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      It looks to me like the wood was stripped before it was painted red. Or maybe it was painted on new wood? Was that done at the factory, at the dealer, or after the first bottom job?

      People are going to see what they want to see, not what the real history is.

      The first question for me would be what kind of paint is that? It doesn’t look like a mid 50’s paint to me, at least not the kind used in cars a guitars of the era. If the paint wasn’t available until the 1960’s for example, that would provide a definitive answer that we don’t know anything (because it could have replaced the original red gold or blue or ??? paint).

  3. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    The problem with judging boats is you need a strict standard to keep the rules fair. Except there isn’t perfect information available, and what is available is not consistent, so the rules are not fair.

    So, why do we judge boats? What are the rules and standards supposed to accomplish? How well have they been working?

  4. Troy in FLA
    Troy in FLA says:

    This is the very reason I LOVE DORA!!!!!

    No Judging, just a whole lot of boating and fun!!!

    Photo credit Hamster

  5. ART A
    ART A says:

    This beggggs the question, what are the judging guidelines on the position of the lifting rings? I noticed that both the RED and BLACK Cobra’s have them side to side.

    Matt, I noticed that the interior upholstery trim of WECATCHEMs front cockpit does not match……..what’s up with that?

    • Randy
      Randy says:

      I immediately noticed the orientation of the lifting rings too. Being side-to-side would protect any scratching/damage to the fiberglass cowling from whatever type of lifting hook was used. If they were fore-and-aft the hook would protrude through the ring, possibly close to the cowl. A ‘careless’ dock kid could easily scratch the cowl if the hook (or whatever was being used) was inserted through from the inside.

      We have the same concerns when we crane launch our restored unlimited hydroplanes here in the Pacific NW — some of the lifting straps are close to the cowlings and the shackles must be set correctly.

  6. Mike K
    Mike K says:

    Hmmmmmmm 7 days til what

    What’s going on in matt’s squirrel cage

    Updated web site?

    We need some hints

  7. Steve Anderson from Michigan
    Steve Anderson from Michigan says:

    Some times when sorting wood they use different colors of spray paint to indicate various things. If this was meant to be covered and painted gold, maybe they didn’t care to much if they got it all off.

  8. rivaguru
    rivaguru says:

    In my opinion, there is enough evidence that red could be correct for this Cobra. There is NO conclusive proof otherwise. The red fin and bottom color being omitted from a hull card does not mean that it is not true. If the hull card says GOLD (or purple for that matter), only then we can say that it cannot be red!

    Build and shipping records are only available for 2 or 3 boat manufacturers, and are written by humans. They should be used as guidance, but not gospel.

    Responsibly judging any boat and it’s originality requires an open mind and not a pontification of one’s preconceived “knowledge”. Rigidly adhering to a rule stating “as factory delivered” is folly and unfair to these boats, their owners, and restorers.

    The Riva Aquarama in the attached photo does not show in any Shipyard ledger or record as built specially with a barrel back (similar to Tritone). When asked during a Boat Show, members of the Riva family denied that it could have been built at the Factory in that configuration. But further diligent inspection and research has now absolutely proven that, indeed, it was originally built that way at the factory.

  9. clay c thompson
    clay c thompson says:

    After seeing the wood, i see no real reason to indicate that is was not red from the start. Judges look for known correctness, and also documented proof of what it really was. considering the photos, judges cannot dispute the red simply because they want to, they must follow that pretty darn good proof. But still need to prove that fin also. My other concern is flame red interior. From Chris Craft, my ’56 capri’s that have had flame red , it was more of a salmon color red, but again, as judges, shade is always a gray area. Still, i would have just done it in the gold and be done. Beautiful boat, though.

  10. Michael Stevens
    Michael Stevens says:

    Personally, I’m thankful I’m not interested in the judging aspect of our collective shows. I’m VERY thankful others restore, renovate, remodel or even remuddle any old boat to keep them around another 100 or so years. Maybe the judges need to have a couple shots of Tequila before any event, so NO ONE gets so damn serious about the judging. NONE of these boats are like they were when shipped from the factory! The antique car folks/judges are finally reducing points for cars that are better than new…………

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