A Classic Boat Story To Start Our Week.

From fellow Kiwi Woody Boater, Phil Andrew.

Recently I was honored with an invitation to be a jury member at one of the worlds most respected Advertising shows, D&AD. Judging was to take place in London, 19th – 23rd April so I set of a week earlier taking the opportunity to visit our Agencies in San Francisco and New York on the way up to the UK.

Now it just so happens that Cincinnati and therefore Antique Boat Center sit pretty much on the flight path between these two great cities.

So sneaking a day out of my work schedule I plan to drop in and meet Herb, Lou and Joel at Antique Boat. Be mad not to, right?

The plan all works brilliantly and after a comfortable nights rest at the Cincinnatian Hotel I get a cab out to 5521 Vine street.

There I spent a wonderful few hours talking to the guys about this wooden boat disease we all have. The showroom is crammed full of boats, even a couple of Century’s. Walking through the showroom and the restoration building with Herb is sensory overload for me. I watch a boat being gold leafed, learn about the different techniques for creating the swirls one often sees in the finished result. I pick up tips on varnishing, repairing rotted timber, bottom paint techniques and a bunch of other knowledge that will help me maintain my two Century’s back home. Such a brilliant day.

Even better I’m able to buy three tubes of Mahogany colored 3m 5200 to take home. ( can only get white in NZ! we do have electricity though.)

Even scarier, Herb nearly sells me another boat. God save me from myself.
Now at about this time I’m hearing bits in the news about a volcano in Iceland erupting and it potentially causing flight delays in and out of Europe. Who cares, I’m not going to Europe.

I fly out of Cincinnati and arrive in New York, check into the Mercer and flick on CNN. All flights into and out of Europe and Britain are grounded. Nice.

Now I’m starting to panic, thinking this is my one chance to be part of D&AD and its looking like I’m not going to be able to get to London.

Trying to stay positive I reckon that , well I’ve still got three days before I need to be there so wheres the problem. Hey, I’m in New York with my girlfriend, it’s spring, we have cash, and just look at all those restaurants and shops.

Three days pass and by now the Volcano is getting really mad. So are all the travelers sleeping at airports. Hmmmmmm.

How about flying home? Nope, cant do that either. Oh darn, looks like I need a plan B.

 Now a friend of mine back home had said to me that if I ever got time to go to Lake George he could introduce me to Lyyne who owns the Hacker Boat company up there. Maybe Lyyne would show me through the factory.

Warming to plan B a little quicker than my girlfriend Amelia, I soon had a rental car booked and the next morning we set off for Lake George.

Using my iPhone we are able to search for somewhere to spend the night at the Lake. Amelia finds this cute place right on the Lake called The Boathouse. A quick phone call and we are booked in.

 I cant believe my luck that were going to be staying in a Lake House the likes of which I’ve only seen in books. But wait, it gets better.

On arrival we are welcomed by Joe and Patti the owners of The Boathouse and Joe takes us downstairs into the ‘ Garage ‘ and there nestled into its berth, is a 35’ Hacker just winking at me.

The next morning we are treated to the most fantastic tour of the Lake in ‘ Miss Boathouse ‘ with a fascinating running commentary from Joe. Words cant do the experience justice so I took a million shots.

Next the NZ connection with Lyyne starts to come together and by that afternoon we are pulling into the Hacker Boat company to meet Lyyne.

 Hey, wait a minute. Who’s looking at what here? Sorry Phil.. I had to comment..

Once again we are treated to an all access pass to another extraordinary woody boat facility. There is so much going on and the work is to such a high quality its hard to take it all in.

Lyyne very kindly takes me right through the 3 divisions of Hacker. New boat factory, restorations, storage, everything. Down at Silver Bay gorgeous old and new Hackers are being taken out of winter storage and prepped for the summer.

These boats look so at home on the Lake they seem to sit just right.

Leaving Lyyne and his team making history, my head is spinning, I cant believe the Woody Boater days I have just had. Serious happy place.

As one of my colleagues back at the office said, ” man it sucks to be you.”

So there you go. No ad show for me but I award a Gold Pencil to Lyyne at Hacker, to Joe and Patti at The Boathouse and to Herb, Lou, Joel and the team at Antique Boat Center.

And the Grand Prix goes to…………… Eyjafjallajokull volcano.

10 replies
  1. Rick
    Rick says:

    Classic example of "When life gives you lemons……" Looks like a great trip overall. Also if you ever get here again and your girlfriend needs a place to stay; no wait I'm married now, never mind.

  2. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    Having been boating on Lake George only once there is no place else I would rather be "Stuck"

  3. Texx
    Texx says:

    Great story Phil. If it looks like the volcano may erupt again in Iceland over the summer, plan another business trip….. and join us at a boat show!

  4. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    Now that's what you call making the best with what you're stuck with. Wow! That was a fantastic way to sit out an unexpected delay. Thanks much for sharing.


  5. Amelia
    Amelia says:

    I liked the boats. Honestly. That's a very happy face. Almost as happy as when we were at Balthazar, Bergdorfs, Mercer Kitchen…

    And we can highly recommend staying with Patti and Joe at the Boathouse on Lake George. They are lovely, and so is their Hacker-Craft, Miss Boathouse!

  6. Michael Guthrie
    Michael Guthrie says:

    Really enjoyed your story and the pictures Phil. What a wonderful experience!
    Let us know if you are ever heading over Noosa way. Love to say hello to a woody boating neighbour.
    Cheers, Michael

  7. John H
    John H says:

    Hi Phil (though I know you as Duster). What a great story and a stroke of serendipity to have the leisure time for such exploration. I passed though Lake George a few years ago on my way to the Adirondacks and St Lawrence River, with rowboats in tow. A lovely lake.
    Thanks for showing our Amelia a good time. That shapely transom must be right up there with a Prada bag.

  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Its a tough life 'Duster'….what a great trip…very envious down here in Queenstown New Zealand..time you towed one of those Centurys down to Lake Wakatipu….couple of Hackers down at Lake Hawea.
    You are a bloody legend…well done
    The Aston Villa lot.

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