It’s Summer In Hessel. Tomorrow, It’s Fall. Sorry You Missed It.


First Breath run. In a perfectly imperfect original unrestored 19' Commander Super Sport with it's original 327 QA 554-hour engine. Life begins again For Alex

Fellow Woody Boater Alex Watson yesterday started putting his boats in the water up in Hessel Michigan. And wanted to see if any other Woody Boater had done the same. I did not have the heart to tell him that its already summer here. We’re having boat shows and wieners on the grill. Peoples boats are sinking, engines blowing,  seams wicking…planks popping, bungs popping… the usual hi jinks. BUT… I gotta say, there is something about that one week of summer up in Michigan. First, it may only be a short time, but its daylight for 20 of the hrs in the day. So.. I suppose if you add up the hrs it’s about the same.

A drive by Dollar Island.. Dang, thats cool.. Cool as is nice, not cold cool.

To be honest, on one of those southern days where the humidity is 150% and its 95 in the shade, that aint great boating. Spending the day in air conditioning is not for me. And we all look forward to October when its all over so we can just tuck our boats away. And then wonder if in December on one of those 65 degree days .. Should we go boating? At least up there on the North Pole, you know that you have 9 months to work on your boat without temptation. I suppose, each of our locations has its ups and downs for us Woody Boaters.

Here is the boat being used. Dang, these boats are so cool.

Ya we all shoot this shot. But i suppose after a long winter, a shot that has to be taken.

12 replies
  1. Chris
    Chris says:

    42 Degrees this morning and that is in the lower tropics down in Traverse City!! He may still have to dodge an iceberg or two floating down from Cedarville….

  2. Rick Bohn
    Rick Bohn says:

    I live on a inland lake in southern MI. Although this spring has not been a chamber of commerce one I still had my boat in the second week of April and won’t take it out until the end of October. I know all you southerners think we all live in igloos year around but when it is a bueatiful 80 degree day in August I’ll be thinking of you’all down there!

  3. matt
    matt says:

    Wait, you don’t live in igloos? What the? Next your going to tell us here that these classic boats were actually created up there.. HA!

  4. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    I put some in this past weekend – a long weekend up here. I guess we got about 4 or 5 hours in on the water. Weather decent, water mid 50’s or so. Lots of floating debris in Shuswap Lake, due to the annual runoff from the surrounding mountains. Very late spring in Western Canada, and the runoff season will be short but fairly intense. Not perfect, but never the less a start to the season.

    • Dennis
      Dennis says:

      I have not only had to deal with the late spring but also the high water coming down the rivers that feed my Lake. We have had so much water this year they are releasing water in to Tobin and out of Tobin lake so lots of dead heads floating around, I dare not put my Skiff in. I did get to put my new(er) boat in a 1976 Starcraft and I did hear a few thunps on the hull. They say it will be another 2 weeks before the water slows down. @#$@#$. Right now I would take the humity over a dead heads.

  5. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Our boats are much nicer in the northern states. First of all, for 9 months out of the year the outside temps approach absolute zero and rot and decay stops. Second, when the lakes are hard we have what is called the resotaration season. If you boat 12 months a year nothing gets fixed, where as up here everything gets fixed and nothing gets worn. Finally, I hear you guys have this big yellow thing in the sky that gives off UV rays that attack your varnish and vinyl. Up here we are protected by a thick layer of cloud cover.

    Yes the boating season is short even if you start in spring and carry it well into fall, but we have had good luck here in Western NY and for the past several years summer has fallen on a weekend. Can’t beat that!

  6. Alex
    Alex says:

    It was in the 30s here this morning. And the long range forecast for June 1, 2, and 3 calls for lows in the “upper” 40s. Wow, I’ll save a fortune on my AC bill this season!

    After such a long winter, Michiganders try our darndest to spin all weather to the positive.

    True, we’re known for “clinging” to more than our fair share of guns. But we also cling together. You know, shared bodily warmth. The Beach Boys weren’t just blowing smoke when they sang:

    “And the northern girls, with the way they kiss
    They keep their boyfriends warm at night.”

    You gotta be from these parts to understand why we value the kissing and the warmth bit on the same scale.

    • mark Edmonson
      mark Edmonson says:

      Here in southern Lake Huron the boat has been in for three weeks, This weekends forcast is pt sunny and a high of 72. Today I was going to work on the boat but it’s 47 and rain. Summer might get here…

  7. Tom Mertaugh
    Tom Mertaugh says:

    We are launching boats left and right now here in Hessel, some wood, glass and aluminum. One advantage to these cold nights is our bungs freeze in and we have good tight hulls!! This weather does seem to be the best climate for a wood boat. Many of the boats my Grandfather sold here in the late 20’s and thirties are still on their original bottoms, and all original hulls. These boats that have never left the Les Cheneaux Islands are still some of the best unrestored boats left. We take care of a 1930 26′ Upswept that does not leak a cup of water on first launch. It was a boat house kept boat in the area all of its life. Several more like it. Climate, good craftsmen, protected waters, and good boats make for a long lived boat. Several of these boats are still used daily in the same families that purchased them from my Grand Father. It is a great business to be in, and with many rewards.

    • Mike M
      Mike M says:

      Wow…that’s a great story. I always hate it when people say that every boat always needs a bottom, or all frames or anything else that is so broad and overbearing. There are a lot of great, safe boats providing pleasure on original bottoms, original wiring and original power. That’s definitely not the case for the majority of the boats but it is possible. I personally like the look of a well aged boat, possibly more than the look of a stunning restoration. I guess I’m funny like that…

  8. Tom Mertaugh
    Tom Mertaugh says:

    Totally agree Mike…. Out of the 150 wood boats we store and service over a year, half are floating on their original bottoms…. I agree it is fun to have a 50+ year old boat that is original and usable. We took a 22 Sedan about a ’53 apart this winter to do a bottom, it looked really good, and it was real sound, but 75% of the bolts were broken in the chines, and a few in the stringers. We only had to replace a frame or two. So not all are bad, totally agree. This 26 I spoke about above is on a 1950’s stripping job, and still is one of the most iconic boats in the Les Cheneaux Islands. Not perfect, but way cool.

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