How Many Golden Pond Boats Are There.


If you look around, chances are you have come across a Golden Pond U22… Or have you? One fellow owns a U22 and advertises it as a “Sportsman, just like the one on Golden Pond”, the next owner uses it and the story gets streamlined to “it’s the Golden Pond Boat”…and so on. The truth is there were three and a half of them. Two were used as shooting boats, these are the ones you see in the movie. One was bought and never used or filmed and sold off at the end of the film to one of the shop guys. And one half of one.. or more like two thirds of one was used in the hitting the rocks scene. That’s it! Of the three and a half boats out there, only one is known for a fact to be around and that is the wrecked one. And it is rumored to have been taken to the dump last year because it was termite infested. It sat outside of a hotel in FLA as an attraction. The were abouts of the one sold to the kid in the shop is not known lost in a broken trail of sales…. That leaves the two shoot boats. The prize… To date there were abouts are unknown. One sold on eBay a while back as we reported, but the sale can not be confirmed or can the boat. The other is with a family… or was years ago. And no one knows its history either.
Enter Pat Curtin of Old School Boat School. Pat was the movie wrangler on the film. He bought them and sold them. He is the sole person that knows how to prove the authenticity of these boats. Him and only him. And to date has not confirmed any of them except for the termite boat in FLA. It’s actually tragic that this is happening. There is a wonderful story to be told if only we could find and confirm one of these. With so many Thayer IV’s out there…The real ones may be lost in a sea of U22’s…..

13 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Matt, Funny you should write about the Thayer in FL. Last month I was in Key Largo FL attending a diving recompression school. One night I went for a walk around the lagoon and stumbled onto a wreck of a boat sitting in a boat lift.

    I knew right away who she was, The African Queen. Armed with a cocktail and my cell phone as a flashlight I took some time trying to examine her with out trespassing,

    Who are we kidding I jumped in and had to touch everything on her.

    After I went inside the hotel, bellied up at the bar, ordered a beer, and asked the bartender about the Queen. His response was “you mean that old wreck outside!!!!” With that remark finished my beer and left.

    Next morning went back to the hotel and asked the manager about her. Who had hardly any clue about the queen? He went on to say there used to be some rotted out old Chris Craft that was from a movie parked next to the Queen. Which was cut up and thrown out a few years ago. He could not add anything more about Thayer, but pointed to the original boiler and a little plague describing the Queen and why she was famous.

    Later that night at a locals bar I was able to find out that Thayer and African Queens’ owner died about 7 years ago and both boats were left to fend for them self’s. This explains why the Chris Craft was just cut up and thrown out. Guess she became an eyesore to the hotel she was parked in front of.

    No one I talked to seemed to take any interest in either boat.

    On a whim and few beers working their magic the dream of owning the Queen came to life. Once again the next morning I asked the manager if the Queen was for sale which he believed she was for around $300,000. Shortest lived fairytale ever.

    The African Queen is still in her slings next to the Holiday Inn on route 1 mile marker 100 Key Largo FL.

    Hope this helps.
    Lucky Levens

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Hull number 1802 is in Minnesota getting restored. All paperwork was confirmed with Pat. When the owner says ok the boat will be revealed.

  3. WoodyBoater
    WoodyBoater says:

    That is fantastic news. Is this the one from eBay. If so. Please check with Pat. I just got off the phone with him to confirm this and he does not recall such a document. That's not saying it doesn't exist. That was a long time ago. But I did see the paper trail on the one from eBay, and there was no paper trail there. Just a series of connect the dots. You can a hold of Pat at the Old School boat school. Apparently there are some tell tell details that he is the only one that knows to confirm.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the interesting article and comments. "Hull number 1802" is being restored?? That is great news and I have yet to hear anyone argue that that specific hull number is not the actual Thayer IV, movie boat. It doesn't sound tragic to me, it sounds like great news. Thanks to all for sharing the info!!!!

  5. WoodyBoater
    WoodyBoater says:

    For the record there is still no official document from Pat stating that any boat is the real boat. Pat has all the documentation with him, and I spoke with him last night and to date has shared it with not one person. He also has many of the artifacts from the movie, like an autographed prop with Hepburn and Fonda signature.. I would strongly urge anyone taking on such a boat to confirm it.

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Mr. Smith,

    The beginning of this year, I was one of the unsuccessful ebay bidders on the Thayer IV, because at that time, the selling price exceeded my budget. Since I lost out, I had not revisited your site, until last week.

    I am looking forward to the boat that was sold on ebay being revealed as I do believe in its authenticity because prior to the closing of the bidding, I spent quite a bit of time doing due diligence regarding its authenticity. I too had seen the documents being e-mailed by the ebay seller but that wasn’t enough for me either. That being said, I did keep track of all of my due diligence notes and I thought you might like me to share.

    I never found any reference by Mr. Curtin to there being 3 or 4 boats named Thayer IV, however, I have read that being inferred on at least 3 different internet sites. The fact is, I found two articles where Mr. Curtin himself made clear that was not the case and they are as follows.

    May 1982 – New Hampshire Business Review
    Article Title: Laconia man provided “Golden Pond” boats

    In this article, Pat Curtin confirms that there were a total of 4 boats. One was the main boat, (the Thayer IV mahogany Chris Craft), a mailboat, and a canoe. Later in the article he confirms that to accommodate the rock-scene crash, required building a replica of the Chris Craft for that scene. Other than the replica (crash boat) he did not mention there being more than one Thayer IV.

    July 31, 1982 – The Laconia Evening Citizen
    Article Title: ‘On Golden Pond’ Boats Revisited

    In this article, Pat Curtin states that the Thayer IV was a beautiful mahogany 22 foot Chris Craft Sportsman, built in 1950. That article also states that other boats used in the film were a U.S. Mail Boat, a canoe, a small outboard and a replica of the Thayer IV used as a prop to smash into the rocks in the film. Once again, other than the replica-prop, Mr. Curtin did not mention there being more than one Thayer IV.

    With the aforementioned in mind, I didn’t and still don’t have any reason to question the credibility of Mr. Curtin or the information he provided those publications.

    Spring Issue 1982 – The Brass Bell
    There is a front page picture of the Thayer IV showing Jim Irwin (CCABC president) and Pat Curtin getting the boat ready to take the “On Golden Pond” 1950-22ft Sportsman to the Boston Boat Show.

    Since the boat was being taken to the show, I thought it was fair for me to assume that it was not the replica-prop boat as a hole in the hull would have been noticed. Once again, I still had no reason to question the credibility of either man in the article.

    Spring Issue 1983 – The Brass Bell
    There is a for-sale add in this issue to sell the “On Golden Pond” boat used in the film. Is shows Mr. Curtin’s business and telephone number as the contact. At the same time, I found a for-sale add in the Wall Street Journal showing the same.

    August 1983 – Laconia Evening Citizen
    Article Title – ‘Golden Pond’ Boat Headed For Key Largo
    This article shows Mr. Curtin and confirms that Mr. Hendricks purchased the Thayer IV movie boat and further investigation showed he also purchased the replica-prop boat for display outside the Largo Holiday Inn.

    Once again, I had no reason to question the integrity of either gentleman and still don’t.

    December 1983 – The Brass Bell
    Article Title – Golden Pond Boat Moves South
    Once again, this article states this is the movie boat.

    October 1985 – The Brass Bell
    An article about Chris Crafts confirmed that the Thayer IV was a 1950 22-foot Chris Craft Sportsman, hull #U22-1802.

    Since I know Mr. Hendricks was a member of the CCABC and Mr. Irwin was also familiar with the movie boat, I had, and still do not have, a reason to question the validity of that hull number being the Thayer IV movie boat.

    continued next post….

  7. WoodyBoater
    WoodyBoater says:

    This is fantastic, and almost identical to the research that I did. To be honest I would have bought the boat.. and tried based on the same info. But, getting a note from Pat would seal the deal, and is priceless. Just think, there you are at Barret jackson and you dont have that paper trail from him…

  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your honesty. In my opinion, Mr. Curtin's picture in publications explaining the boats that were used in the movie, traveling with the Thayer IV movie boat and Mr. Irwin and selling the movie boat to Mr. Hendricks seems like a pretty good paper trail to me. Has anyone involved in those transactions suggested that this published information is not true? While I agree that a note from Mr. Curtin may not hurt, it sure would not have been necessary for me. Thanks again, Mr. Smith.


  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Terrific News. I am from MN and glad to hear the real Thayer IV is here. I cant wait to see it and my hats off to researchers as well.

  10. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I've been watching woodyboater for comment on the THAYER IV and felt I waited long enough. I said I couldn't wait to see the THAYER IV in my last post here and thanks to the Mpls Tribuine, I got to see her last Saturday at Maynard's boat show in Lake Minnetonka. What a wonderful restoration and, if I am not mistaken, it won Peoples Choice and Best Inboard or something similar. I sure am glad someone is finally taking care of this wonderful piece of wood boating history. My hats off to the owner and restorer. GREAT JOB!!!!

  11. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Well thats all great to read all of the EMAIL paper TRAIL on the boats….but cant wait to see whats coming in the next month…WAIT…IS IT THE REAL "THAYER IV" AND "MARIAH"………..

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