Live – ish from Tides Tavern Classic Boat Show In Historic Gig Harbor, Washington State.


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Thanks to fellow Woody Boater Randy Mueller for sending us in this live-ish report from this past weekends gathering in Gig Harbor… take it away Randy..

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Thanks Matt & Texx, here is a report from our just concluded 2nd annual Tides Tavern Classic Boat Show this past weekend in historic Gig Harbor, Washington.  I organized the first show last year and it was met with such enthusiasm that the Tides management asked me to continue the event.  I had enough room last year to bring my MATTHEWS Martinique down to exhibit, but the show met with so much popularity that I did not have enough dock space to include it this year.  Even the ‘organizer’ does not always have the ‘pull’ to get his own boat into this now popular ‘invitational’ event!

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Most Pacific Northwest cruisers are familiar with stopping at the famous Tide’s Tavern docks here on the bay in Gig Harbor.  During the 1st Classic Boat Show on their docks in 2013 they celebrated their 40th Anniversary of “Cheers and Beers”.
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This year nine classics filled the docks, ranging in size from 12 to 85-feet.  The ‘Queen’ of the show this year was the 1929 Custom Fantail Motoryacht “Deerleap”, evoking memories from the Great Gadsby era.  We also had a Hollywood movie star in attendance — the 1939 54-foot Elco Motoryacht “Riptide” which was featured in the 1980’s television show of the same name.

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Our totally ‘green’ entry was the 35-foot Owens “Hammer P” which is powered by twin electric motors.  And to round out examples in the unusual watercraft category, our special ‘parking lot’ entry this year was the iconic 1968 unlimited hydroplane Miss Budweiser.

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This event is free to the public to enjoy, with spectators and boatowners alike having an enjoyable time touring the varied examples of
brightly varnished mahogany and gleaming chrome of a bygone era of boating.

A By gone era and someones jean pockets!

A By gone era and someones jean pockets!

A fun group for sure.. And someone blinking!

A fun group for sure.. And someone blinking!

One interesting historical fact was that two of the vessels docked together at this show were also exhibited near each other in the 1940 New York Boat Show — the 1939 40-foot Matthews “Pied Piper” and the 1939 54-foot ELCO “Riptide” were reunited again after 74 years!!!!!!!!!!!

Not sure if these are the two boats mentioned. But they are cool

Not sure if these are the two boats mentioned. But they are cool

The entry list included:

1928 31-foot Vic Franck “MIRACLE”

1928 44-foot Lake Union Dreamboat “TURNING POINT”
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1929 85-foot Custom Fantail Motoryacht “DEERLEAP”

1939 54-foot ELCO Motoryacht “RIP TIDE”

1939 40-foot Matthews Sedan “PIED PIPER”

1963 43-foot Matthews Sedan “ENDEAVOR”
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1965 30-foot Grandy “JONTA”

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1966 35-foot Owens “HAMMER P”

2006 12-foot Glen L Squirt, built to a 1955 design

20 replies
  1. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Impressive array of boats in a very idillac spot. Would have loved to have joined that group for a beer….as well as a walk on the dock.

  2. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    Wilson, you’re not alone with those thoughts. It’s hard to imagine there actually is a place such as the Pacific Northwest where so many large historic cruisers still exist. It’s amazing! A visit to the area still remains (in high priority) on my Bucket List.

  3. Cobourg Kid
    Cobourg Kid says:

    Randy that header photo is absolutely stunning, so much to look at ! Seems like it was an incredible day at Gig Harbour. The entry’s ( with the exception of the Glenn L ) are certainly a world apart from the smaller fry we commonly see in the Great Lakes basin.

    All of which got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a classic yacht show on the Great Lakes…. I mean there has to be some large classic yachts still plying the inland waterway?

    On a related matter,Randy do you know whether “Top Notch” made an appearance at this years Gig Harbour show? I understand that she is the only remaining USCG ” Six Bitter” (one of many 75-foot patrol boats built in the mid 1920s to intercept primarily Canadian rumrunners and their cargos of illicit beer and whisky .

    • Randy
      Randy says:

      Hi CK,
      I am not familiar with, nor have I seen a vintage ex-CG vessel by that name. I have seen one of the old 75′ cutters around (built in the late 1950’s), which has pulled into Gig Harbor on several occasions, but not with that name. I must admit that a ‘cruiser’ like that would be a ‘challenging’ project to restore/maintain. But hey, if that’s your passion — GO FOR IT!!!!!!!!

    • Greg Lewandowski
      Greg Lewandowski says:

      CK, Take a weekend trip to our Michigan Chapter show in St. Clair on June 20 -22 and you can get a hit of large classic cruisers.

    • cobourg-Kid
      cobourg-Kid says:

      Here’s a photo of Top Notch. I’m not at all sure how long ago the photo was taken .

      Restored she wood be an essential ingredient in any movie or series focused on the Rum War that was fought on the Lower Great Lakes (and elsewhere) during the 1920s and early 1930s.

      What’s that all about? Speedboats, armed coast guard vessels, boat chases, tracer fire ripping through hulls, crazy nighttime runs across half frozen water or through monstrous surf , wrecks, casualties….you could not ask for more drama.

      Sound phantasmagorical? Check out (at the library of course) C.W Hunt’s “Booze Boats and Billions” its an interesting read about a little known aspect of prohibition.

  4. Randy
    Randy says:

    … oh, the two boats displayed together at the 1940 New York Boat Show are visible in the header shot. The 1939 40-foot MATTHEWS “Pied Piper” is on the inboard side of the 85′ Fantail Motoryacht, and the 1939 ELCO 54-foot Motoryacht “Riptide” is just forward of the Fantail.

    • cobourg-Kid
      cobourg-Kid says:

      This is what Top Notch would have looked like before being modified for civilian use. Photo Courtesy of the USCG Archives

  5. matt
    matt says:

    The header shot is actual two shots put together, part of the fun of art I suppose. All it was , was two shots of the same thing, but neither was large enough to show the entire thing..

    • Randy
      Randy says:


      You are truly a computer photo-artist with what you did with my (2) semi-panoramic pictures!!!!!!

      My simple little 1990’s Fuji camera just will not take any wide angle views, but that is what I have you for!!!!!

      Thanks — what you have produced is a framing quality picture!

    • Randy
      Randy says:

      Hi Ron,

      Miss M is still in covered storage awaiting $$$’s. Maybe someone will ‘fall in love’ with the Martinique someday and make me an offer I can’t refuse (you know, like your situation).

      • cobourg-Kid
        cobourg-Kid says:

        Hmmm I’m thinking that the “ode to Martinique” so ardently penned by none other than our own Mr. Watson this am ( see above) exposes a plainly love struck suitor eager to whisk Starlight away to the UP

  6. Peter E. Riess
    Peter E. Riess says:

    Hello all, the owner of Riptide here. Top Notch is at Port Orchard Railway Marina. She sank last year and is looking sad. If you search Trumpy on YachtWorld you will find her listed for $49k. Yes, she is a Vineyard, but was designed by Trumpy. For more on Deerleap, go to, her own website.

    Many thanks to Randy for putting together a great weekend.

  7. cobourg-Kid
    cobourg-Kid says:

    Thanks for this, update Peter. I agree with your assessment Top Notch does look very sad indeed and will obviously need a considerable amount of time , love and money invested to bring her back from the edge .

    As for the price .. well to me it seems a tad high for such a big project.

    Considering that she is more than likely the very last of the 75 foot prohibition “six bitters” I’m thinking that the owners should try donating her to the US Coast Guard or the Smithsonian (or even the ACBM), for restoration to her original configuration, in exchange for accumulated marina fees.

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