Clayton Boats, Boats And More Boats. Kent O. Smith Jr, Nails It!
Well another Clayton boat show is in the history books. As always, the weekend flew by. Shooting the show is a challenge, trying to balance time between socializing with boat friends, getting up early for better light, uncooperative weather, cocktail parties and after parties, and of course, getting in some boat rides.
Other than some oppressive humidity and one very overcast day, the weather was reasonably good. One thing that is wonderful about the Thousand Islands area is the sunsets. If you have never been there, it’s worth the trip just for those evenings when the colors of the sky do not disappoint. Such is river life (see last photo.)
This year’s show was one of the best, not in terms of boats. While the docks were mostly full, land displays seemed more sparse. But to kind of reinforce what Matt mentioned the other day, the shows aren’t just about boats, they are about friendships and classic boating pals. That’s what made this such a great show.
I have not brought a boat to Clayton in so many years that I’ve lost count. One reason is that my photography takes up a lot of time; there would be many less photos if I brought a boat. Not having a boat doesn’t bother me because I am fortunate to have so many boat pals who kindly offer me boat rides all weekend. And not one show goes by without the opportunity to meet new friends who will take you out for rides.
Passing by the launch ramp, I stopped to look at the amazing raceboat “Scotty” that was about to be launched. I started chatting with Steve, the caretaker for the Lee Anderson collection, and since we both work on old boats, I made a friend in less than two minutes. 20 minutes later, he offered me the thrill of the weekend – a ride on “Scotty!”
Nothing compares to the sound of something like the big Packard lighting off. Anticipation builds as we pull out of the no wake zone and Steve throttles up. I can hardly hear myself think, but I’m grinning ear to ear. Sadly though, once on a plane, the transmission started slipping so we did not get to run at ludicrous speed.
Looking at boats at the docks is fun enough, but, to me, the best sight is watching them move through the water. After all, that’s what John Hacker and all the other designers intended them to do. The parade is okay, but the real fun happens after the parade when people *run* their boats.
If judging by today’s photos you think that Clayton is a mini Gar Wood show, well, you are correct. The Turcotte family are there in force promoting Gar Wood Custom Boats and not only do they take boat friends for rides all weekend long, they really *run* the boats. So at next year’s show, if you want dramatic photos of your boat, come play for my camera like they do.
We did manage to get one brief early morning shoot in to photograph “Emily”, the 1937 Century Thunderbolt running at speed on calm water. Despite a finicky carburetor that, like me, probably didn’t like being up so early, she ran nicely at speed.
It’s a pleasure to go to the annual show at the Antique Boat Museum. It’s a terrific venue. Besides the boats, you see your pals year after year. It’s what Woody Boating is all about.
I would like to thank Rebecca Hopfinger and Gina Wirth at the ABM for their hospitality and access to the campus; Steve Moser and his dad for running “Emily” for the shoot; the entire Turcotte family for the photo ops, rides, and the photo boat for the parade; and of course, Matt Smith for publishing and promoting my work.
And thank all you Woody Boaters out there for the kind comments, I’m very glad you enjoy my images.
Happy Classic Boating!
Wow, more great shots! Thank you for the early mornings and for sharing these with us.
Thanks again Kent and Matt. Today’s story made my morning coffee extremely enjoyable!
Great pictures Kent! Thanks for bringing a camera instead of a boat (and glad you were able to get rides).
Thanks for all the hard work, JR. Sorry we missed the show.
Thanks, guys, very glad you enjoyed the images!
Looks like so much fun, great photos.
Sad, so sad. Sad that my photography will never reach that level, nor a restoration if I can ever get to my own boat, and that I missed the show (again). Time is ticking away.
But at least I can see it through Kent’s lens. Thank you Kent and WB
i found a neglected Century Thunderbolt in Paris Tn. in the late 70’s but damn if I can’t remember where it was now.
Your comment on the registration sticker placement on Bo Muller’s EMILY is right on! Collectively, the various antique boat groups need to petition their various state boat registering agencies to allow us some of the exceptions already allowed for antique vehicles such as leeway in placement of reg stickers and re-assigning dormant early registration numbers (In NYS it would be any reg. number ending in “AA” to “AZ” that hark back to first registration requirements in the 1960s)