Clayton Part Deux – On the River With Kent O. Smith Jr

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As promised, Kent O. Smith Jr has edited a bazillion images he captured while up in Clayton. Kent is in great demand now, and especially through boat show season. Wow, I am so thrilled to be able to bring you all his amazing talent. I cannot emphasize enough how lucky we are to be able to show you this stuff. We are literally watching an artist becoming famous. I LOVE IT!

Clayton Part Deux – On The River.

Boat shows are fun, it’s nice to see the vessels up close, talk to the owners and see classic boating friends each year at Clayton. But for me, the real excitement comes when people actually *run* their boats on the river.
Despite a questionable forecast, we lucked out with the weather, two very nice mornings with great light offered some good photographic opportunities. We got out a couple times during the days as well though the midday light isn’t as magical.
My show report was posted on here on Woody boater about ten days ago, if you missed it, here’s the link: HERE

In today’s Part Deux (as we like to say when we are close to the Canadian border), I will share the action shots that we intentionally held back from the initial report. For this series, I’ll write a little bit about each boat.

First up is a local Clayton boat, “White Knuckles.” She’s a 22’ Gar Wood Speedster built in 2006 and powered by a MerCruiser 420hp. Randy Fletcher is always giving rides to friends. While he’s an excellent pilot, sit up from in the rumble-seat and I’m sure you will have a white knuckles experience!

Bob “Fletch” Fletcher (no relation to Randy, by the way) has a 2007 Gar Wood 28’ named “Razzle Dazzle” that I have photographed often, so you’ve likely seen it. For many years, Fletch would tow that boat between his place in Florida and one in upstate New York. While I won’t divulge his actual age, by ACBS standards, Fletch is solidly in the Antique category. He grew a bit weary towing the boat back and forth so he commissioned a new Gar Wood Streamliner 28’. The name “Perfect Pitch” is a reference to his career managing a number of music centers. His daughter Julie and son in law Jim posed for me last summer running their Chris Craft barrelback at speed with their hands in the air that has become an iconic shot and was made into a banner for the Chris Craft Antique Boat Club. Julie and Jim now bring that fun feeling onboard “Perfect Pitch.”

Dave Strobino came across the plans for “Zephyr,” a 1936 A.A. Apel design for the 135 and 225 cubic in racing classes. The plans were published in Motor Boating magazine in 1940. Dave thought the boat looked very cool so he eventually built one for himself. “Rodeo” is powered by a 3 liter 4 cylinder Marine Power motor. The design may look a bit familiar to you, Apel designed the Ventnor boat line as well. Dave is currently planning his next build, so you could say this little boat was his first rodeo.

Ed Bobowicz found this very original 1971 Chris Craft XK-19 that just needed a lot of TLC. The boat has it’s original LT1 350 cubic inch motor with solid lifters and factory electronic ignition. It produces 320 hp and coupled with the Volvo outdrive, makes a very fun to drive package. His wife Gayle made an excellent model with endless smiles as he buzzed around the photo boat.

The 1937 Century Thunderbolt “Emily” owned by Steve Moser and his father has received a lot of press in the past. Here’s the link to her history as first reported on Woody Boater: Here are a couple shots of her being run by Bo Muller and Steve himself, Steve with the bigger smile.

Named after his restaurant in Cape Coral, Florida, “Rumrunner” is a 37’ commuter style boat build for Will Stout by Hug Saint Custom Boats. Inspired by a 1949 John Hacker triple cockpit design, it was modified into a custom commuter. She’s powered by twin Crusader 8.1L HO motors pushing 425 hp a side and that’s apparent by the way she performs. Will is so gracious, if you are standing on the dock when he fires up the engines, he’ll likely ask you if you want a ride.

Not to be left out of a photo shoot, a couple of Marsdens showed up in an 18’ Greavette Dispro boat named “Scout.” I generally coach the boat owners about what I want them to do in order to try to get better shots. One of those maneuvers is a bank turn which shows the decks and some of the interior of the boat, giving the photo extra depth. Despite yelling “Bank Turn! Bank Turn! Faster!!!” to Syd, this was all I was able to get, LOL. Photography wise, Syd and I go back to the early 1990’s Clayton raceboat regattas where I shot some pics of him running Bill Morgan’s Gold Cup racer “Delphine IV.” Somehow I kept forgetting to send Syd some duplicate prints, and then about 22 years later, handed him those images in digital format. It’s been an ongoing joke, but hey Syd, you only had to wait two weeks for these shots!

It’s always awesome to see the “Pardon Me” running at speed. The 48’ Hacker designed commuter was built my Hutchinson Boat Works and is powered by a 1500 hp Packard PT boat engine that consumes about 100 gallons of high octane fuel per hour. She is part of the Antique Boat Museum’s collection.

“Pullman” is a 1950 Hutchinson 26’ built for George Pullman of the Pullman Palace Rail Car legacy. Now owned by Andrew Robb, the boat has been repowered with a Chrysler M360 330 hp engine and is in preserved condition. She’s enjoyed along the Connecticut coast line these days and at various boat shows.

Carmen DeLeo’s 1964 Chris Craft Holiday 20’ really gets around to many mid Atlantic and upstate New York boat shows. The CC 185hp V8 moves her along just great. Carmen always smiles which makes him and his boat a fantastic subject, even gracing the centerfold of the Brass Bell magazine once. His grandson Austin is enjoying the morning run on “No Way” with him.

“Spindrift II” is a 1929 Elco flat top cruiser built in Bayonne, New Jersey for a local judge. The cedar planked hull and mahogany deckhouse yacht is now powered by twin Perkins diesels. While on the east coast, she survived two sinkings and the infamous hurricane of 1938 while based on Long Island. Today, her home port is Syracuse and she’s owned by Doug Reicher and Camille Tisdel.

“Black Beauty” was saved from the burn pile at Boyd’s Boats by the late great collector Chris Johnson. The restoration was started by Roger Johnson of Cherry Hill Boatworks circa 2006 when I was working there with him. After the wood work was done, the project was side tracked as the owner changed his boat priorities. The hull later came to my shop, Cutwater Boatworks, and I completed the restoration in July 2009. Roger and his wife Maria did the upholstery work and Don Spring restored the Chrysler Crown. The boat was ordered from the factory as a black hull by a pro golfer who had a place on Candlewood Lake, Connecticut. Martin & Cathy Gardiner purchased the boat from the estate and now enjoy it in the Finger Lakes. The 1947 Gar Wood Deluxe Runabout won Best Restored at Clayton this year.

As a man, Phil Bougie always wanted a vintage raceboat. So he decided to build one himself, and 25 years later, “Jubilee” was launched. The 22’ Hacker design was modified by Phil to suit his tastes. Thanks to his friendship with Mark Mason, “Jubilee” has Mark quality gauges, steering wheel and other accents. Phil powered the boat with a new 383 stroker block but he used 283 flywheel forward bolt ons so the motor looks a bit retro and roars when needed. Nice job, Phil! And by the way, he was the originator of the hands up happy shot!

This 1955 Chris Craft Sea Skiff 18’ was modified to be a runabout with a rear facing seat by Scott Ouderkirk, the creator and host of the YouTube Channel “The Wooden Boat Experience.” There is a video on his channel about the restoration and modification. The boat is powered by a 1995 Chevy 181 cubic inch 140 hp 4 cylinder motor. Follow Scott’s channel on YOUTUBE  HERE 

“Liquid Asset” is another boat you see all over from Florida to Clayton and in between. The 1951 Chris Craft Holiday 19’ is powered by a CC KLC 120 hp and is owned by Ed Andrews, who serves at a judge at many shows as well as on the ACBS International Board. Ed has also kindly served as my photo boat platform on many occasions. The boat won Best of Show Preserved at Clayton.

So that completes my On The Water tour of action shots from Clayton, hope you enjoyed the images. The season is *not* over yet – I’ll be at the Lake George show, will hopefully pull off a Gold Cup raceboat shoot after that, then in Burlington, Vermont for the International Show and then back to Lake George to hang out with friends from the Wine Country Chapter that are doing a week long tour there. Hope to see you at a future event. Until then, Happy Woody Boating!

Kent O. Smith, Jr. / KAOS Imagery

19 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Wow, what a WoodyBoater morning!
    Multiple beautiful photos of so many great boats with detailed explanations of what they are and their caretakers. Also such a variety including original restored, contemporary classic and classic glass. This story defines what a great event took place in Clayton. Congrats to the Antique Boat Museum on a great show and thank you Kent O. and Matt for the wonderful report!

  2. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P)
    Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P) says:

    What great way to start the week. Excellent pictures Kent O. Boat Show pics on a Monday morning are always quite nice!

  3. Ian Smith
    Ian Smith says:

    Kent is just a legend of many talents; thank you for all you do for Wooden boats; its a real pleasure to see all your pictures and posts

  4. PhilB
    PhilB says:

    Kent, It was great to see you up in Clayton, thanks for all the photos and write ups. Here is a little more about the engine in Jubilee. The original 283 engine comes from my grandfather’s 1957 CrisCraft Sports Express which I had found/purchased and stored in the hopes of restoring it one day. Unfortunately the storage barn burnt down over the years but the engines were kept in another barn. So the heart my grandfather’s beloved boat (Mink II) kind of lives on in Jubilee.

  5. dreed
    dreed says:

    Why don’t Jim and Julie ever age? I went to high school with Jim, and he looks 30 years younger than me? Julie too! There are three people (that I know of) from our graduating class that own wooden boats.

  6. Troy on Melody heading south.
    Troy on Melody heading south. says:

    GREAT story Matt and Kent!!!

    Love all the info about the boats, owners, and all!

    Thanks for adding pix of Black Beauty in this story. What a beautiful boat, and to think she was on a burn pile.

    Unfortunately we will not be making it to Burlington as planned. We are headed south, see you in Dora.

  7. Kent O.
    Kent O. says:

    Glad everyone enjoyed the imagery and thanks for the nice comments!

    @Greg L – thank you for the kind words.

    @Syd – you’re gonna need a bigger motor LOL!

    @dreed – Agreed, they are timeless. I’m 10 years younger and look 10 years older 🙁

    @Troy – We’ll miss you guys, but keep me posted on your cruising activities!

  8. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    Pure art! I’ll take Black Beauty, please. And 100 gallons an hour to run Pardon Me? That’s like owning a P-51 Mustang.

  9. Julie Fletcher Moore
    Julie Fletcher Moore says:

    The guy with the camera is amazing! Such great shots and fun to be up at Clayton at the show. Perfect weather, beautiful boats and great people. Thank you (once again…) for the great photos JR!

  10. Jim Moore
    Jim Moore says:

    JR, awesome photos of the boats and their owners! As we have discussed, the boats are absolutely beautiful and they lead to many interesting people and stories and great relationships! Thank you for creating greT memories!

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