“Have You Ever Seen A Father And Three Sons Tear Apart A 68 Year Old Outboard’s Carburetor Dockside Over The Open Water?”


The family ‘Brain Trust’ working on the motor over the open water. No screws lost to the Lake!

Longtime fellow Woody Boater Andy in Middletown helped out with a great story. Wow, Kidney Stones is a little extreme to ask for stories, but whatever works I guess. Ugh. many of you know Andy in the comment section, and now.. Here he is, in all his vacation glory! Take it away!

The ladies of The lake

For several years our family has taken a vacation to Deep Creek, Maryland and towed our two 1950’s family 15 footer boats along. They are a 1956 Lyman 15′-0″ Center-Steer and a 1958 Norris Craft 15′-0″ fiberglass boat. The 1956 Lyman runs a 1954 Evinrude Big Twin 25 HP outboard.
The Norris Craft runs a 1958 Johnson 18 HP outboard. This year started out great with a good trouble free trip from the public boat launch to the dock. After tying up and getting everything set, my brother set out in the Lyman with my other brother following in the Norris Craft. As Matt often says, it isn’t a good day of boating without someone needing a tow, and this vacation started with a bang.. or more like a dying whimper, with the Norris Craft returning to the dock with the Lyman in tow about 45 minutes after they had left. My brother attested that the engine just started losing power and then died out.

The culprit, the dislodged cam follower now replaced and crimped in.

Out came the tools, and an afternoon of mechanical diagnosis. Compounding this was the cowling design for the 1954 Big Twin that is more frustrating than a Rubik’s cube to get on an off as I am sure any seasoned OMC mechanic can attest to. Let me assure you, the mechanic-ing was engineered with surgical precision and not a screw, or needle valve was lost! Cutting to the chase, the culprit ended up being the little rubber cam-follower wheel that opens the throttle as you advance the spark. The little pin that holds that wheel vibrated out and fell with the wheel to the base of the powerhead, not to be found until about 2 hours into the ordeal of ‘fixing it’. How it didn’t vibrate a little further and fall into the water, we will never know. The lady of the lake must have been looking out for us!

1956 Lyman Center Steer runabout

After that event, the remainder of the vacation has been great! The motor is now running like a top and we are all taking turns cruising the Lyman up and down the lake. Boy, a 25 HP motor is PERFECT for this boat and puts her up on plane nicely. As long as it’s not too choppy, the ride is smooth and feels faster than I am sure it really is.

A shot of the Lyman Interior in all its lapstrake glory. That’s George Kirby Jr. paint on the hull and the proper Lyman filler stain on the mahogany.

Here’s a view of the varnished mahogany, golden in the setting sun.

Summers and Summers of family fun are shown on this well-worn steering wheel. The boat was well-used before we got it and brought her back to life.

Another shot of the motor, now running like a top. It looks well used, but the internals have been fully gone through in our home shop.

Me, enjoying a sunset cruise. So much fun to be out on the water after most of the other boats have been docked for the day.

Nothing like looking down the bow, with a blue sky and open water ahead.

The 1958 Norris Craft, an early fiberglassic. Norris Craft makes sport boats to this day.

It’s so rewarding to have fun with these vintage family boats, on a nice big open lake, as… a family. Whether it be a big Chris Craft inboard, or a dinky little 15 foot outboard, I think that’s what woody boating might be about. Fun, family times on the water, cruising in style. Hope you guys enjoy the photos and get your own hulls on the water!

Both runabouts, tucked in and ready for another day of cruising tomorrow!

Signed, “Andy in Middletown”


23 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Great story and two great boats, but that Lyman is my favorite. Thanks for sharing.

  2. NR
    NR says:

    As we all can attest, there are wants and needs. I don’t need the the Lyman Center Steer with the walk through but I dearly want one. Someday I’ll come across one. Hopefully as nice as this one.

    • Troy in ANE
      Troy in ANE says:


      I had a 1953 25 HP Johnson on my first wood boat. The crazy part is that I had the engine before the boat and my parents let me put it on a 12′ Gamefisher that was over-rated to 15hp max.

      I know I shared this pic a week or so ago, but it is soooo appropriate for today that I have to share it again.

      NR (aka: Scott Hamilton)(he thinks he looks like Bruce Willis, Ha) actually sent it to me, but he is to chicken sh** to post it himself.

  3. Bill
    Bill says:

    great to see your still enjoying the old Big Twin and 18 Johnson great motors. some people are so wrapped up in correctness that they have to even have the correct zipper pulls and next thing you know they are painting japan motors to look like the old American outboards. how period correct is that

    • Andy in Middletown
      Andy in Middletown says:

      We all get out woody joy in different ways… the old motors are cool, but sure wear your arm out when trying to get started! haha. I can see value in a more modern motor when living on the water.

  4. John F Rothert
    John F Rothert says:

    Nice report, love the Lyman. I am Going Boating today…first to warm the oil for pumping out…then taking the upside down filter off the Perkins….who designed THAT? Got half a dozen old tee shirt to place in the bilge…none being Woodyboater shirts for sure.
    John in Va.

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

    What a great story Andy !!! Very relatable, I have worked on carburetors at the dock. It is nice when you get them going again. I can’t think of 2 better old outboards than an 18 Johnson and a 25 Big Twin Evinrude. Cranking that Big Twin will make a man out of you as my Dad used to say. I loved your quote of what woody boating might be all about. Really liked the bow lake shot also, Lyman Love ! By the way if your interested I have a 14′ tiller steer Lyman project boat with a 1959 18 Johnson . I would let go very reasonable, if your interested. Mabie a Daisy chain could be in order.

    • Andy in Middletown
      Andy in Middletown says:

      Mark, you got me nibbling on the hook. Would love to see a photo of the interior and maybe hear a bit more. I’ll email Matt to ask for your email address if you don’t mind.

  6. Andy in Middletown
    Andy in Middletown says:

    Thank you all for the kind comments on the Lyman. Here is a photo of what it looked like before restoration. Photo is from about 25 years ago… ha. The restoration is a good story too… and I got plenty of photos!

    • floyd r turbo
      floyd r turbo says:

      Looks like you’ve had a lot of experience finding parts on the bottom Chug. I remember when my stepfather’s false teeth fell out of his coat pocket into the drink getting in a triple Hacker for a ride. We all thought there’d be a big bass with a toothy grin in some fisherman’s livewell some day. When he found out about our predicament, a youngster went diving for the set of choppers and came up a winner.

      • Chug-A-Lug
        Chug-A-Lug says:

        Nice thing about it is the infared setting so can see in dark.Suppose the feds will require a permit if I extend for underwater salvage(props and lower units around reefs)

  7. gesfour
    gesfour says:

    Absolutely beautiful boats Seeing the PA registrations, I wonder if that is Middletown, PA? If so, as a fellow Central Pennsylvanian, I can commiserate with our lack of navigable water for old wood and fiberglass boats. I’ve heard Deep Creek Lake is beautiful. We head north to Canandaigua Lake to find deep (not river) water!

  8. scott knight
    scott knight says:

    We’ve stayed at Deep Creek Lake a couple times at the Lake Pointe Inn B&B in McHenry. Nice place and nice lake!!

  9. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Nice boats, Andy! I vote you give Matt another day off & tell us about restoring that Lyman & Gator.

    Haven’t been there since we moved WV to TN in ’98, but remember Deep Creek as a beautiful lake. Kept our boat docked there in ’93 & ’94.

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

    Came across this Coozie in my garage. It was given to me sometime ago. I didn’t know anything about Deep Creek until this article. It looks like a nice lake. I will now have good thoughts when I enjoy beverages from this Coozie🍺😃

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