Remember Your First Time At The Helm?

Lil Bob Kays

lil’ Bob Kays – Ready to go!

Today we celebrate your youth. That magical time when just getting behind the wheel was a gift from the throttle gods. That feel of freedom and control. The first time you pushed the throttle all the way and felt the leap of power. The smell of water, varnish and exhaust all blending together like a perfect cocktail after a hard’s day work. OK, maybe you weren’t having cocktails. How about that first sip of an ice cold Coke on a summer day. The slushy texture of ice and cola. Ya, thats the magic.

Matt age 12

Me, at the helm of twin Super Bee 440’s. age 14

And it all started when you grabbed the wheel and put on your hat! What a perfect way to warm up a winter day than with wonderful memories. Share, share your moment in the sun!


Fellow Woody Boater Dane Anderson out having fun back in the day.

oldies bmenzel26

Fellow Woody Boater Bob Menzel and family. Bob, ya need water to get the feeling

oldies bullen lucky us 1961

Lil Chris Bullen at the helm.


Yes Chad we saved this image!

27 replies
  1. Sean
    Sean says:

    The picture is dark, and I’m a little old but, I’d never been the Captain of an aircraft carrier before! Thrilling 🙂

  2. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    My first experience in a wood boat was in an early 50’s 19 foot Century Resorter back in the day when I was about 8 years old on Canandaigua Lake in upstate NY. I didn’t get to pilot the boat but riding in it, the sound, the smell of varnish and Graymarine 6 cylinder exhaust were magical. Even then I thought “I gotta get me one of these”. I’m now 60 and am currently restoring my 7th wood boat (still haven’t owned a Resorter). The bug bit me early.

  3. Pappy
    Pappy says:

    Summer of ’55. This is about as close as I got to operating the boat in those days but I do remember spending many happy hours and traveling untold miles in my mind, providing my own sound effects all the way.

  4. Jack Schneiberg
    Jack Schneiberg says:

    My first experience with boating came in the very early ’50’s. We lived on a smallish lake in SE Wisconsin. We did not have a boat. The neighbors (from Chicago) had a ’48-49 Resorter. This boat was only used on weekends. One Saturday, they invited me fishing in the Century. I hated fishing – so – with some misgivings I stayed ashore on the lawn to watch and listen as they motored out from shore. Only they didn’t. As they floated away from the dock all I could hear was the starter grinding away. Then – with the motor box now up – “PFOOF” and 2 guys diving off the side of the boat as it went up in flames. Burned to the water line in minutes. Early lessons learned: Always vent the bilge. Never mount the fire extinguisher on the back of the front seat next to the motor. This, however, did not deter me from a quest for a Century boat. I’ve owned several, and do so now. None of which have burned to the waterline.

  5. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    My buddy and I checking out the cabin accommodations aboard my Uncles first cruiser. 6 year old WoodyBoaters!

  6. Tuobanur
    Tuobanur says:

    My first experience as captain of my on boat would have been at age 11 in a 14′ Jon boat with a 9.5 hp Evinrude, the fun me and my buddies had on the Edisto river in that thing, great times.
    Hard to believe but we even learn to ski behind that boat.

  7. Alex
    Alex says:

    I’m somewhere inside the lifejacket. Aboard my dad’s 1960’s Chis-Craft cruiser. His first was a 35′ or 38′ (I forget which). His second was a 45′.

  8. Rob Lyman
    Rob Lyman says:

    Here I am around 1966 at Hammer Island in the California Delta, in a 15′ redwood skiff built by island resident Harry Marsh. I can still hear my grandma’s admonishment when I was about to fiddle with the fuel mixture settings on the Evinrude, “Don’t you monkey with that motor!”.

  9. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Our son Paul at the helm of “Tango” at 10 months, 25 years ago. We were in Portland, a few days from completing our first ACBS -PNW Odyssey. We cruised the Snake and Columbia rivers from Clarkston, ID to Astoria, OR that week…

  10. Bob Menzel
    Bob Menzel says:

    Yeah we needed water but Dad was so happy with his “new” Chris Craft kit boat that putting us kids in the boat on the trailer was better than nothing. I think that may have been an Easter morning picture taken after getting home after Mass.
    Bob Menzel
    BTW That is me in the back waving!

  11. Captain Nemo
    Captain Nemo says:

    No, I don’t remember my first time at the helm. I would assume I was quite young as my father and grandfather operated a marina in the 60’s. I remember my first woody boat though, my grandfather gave me his 1947 23′ Chris Craft express cruiser that he took in on trade. I was 13 yrs old. Good times indeed.

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Can’t wait to take my first time at the wheel of my own boat this summer! I am 15 and restoring a 1957 Whirlwind

  13. Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude
    Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude says:

    I’m the little one on the far right. When we were only 5 sons. We still have the boat but she’s called “My 6 Sons”

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