2015 Lake Chatuge Rendezvous – True Southern Hospitality At Its Very Best

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The Good Life 1940 GarWood 151 Special Utility

Jerri Nowlen looks back from her perch in “The Good Life” – her and husband Terry Harbin’s 1940 GarWood 151 Special Utility. Nowlen, Harbin and Scott and Sandy Sneddon were the principal organizers of the Rendezvous, which has grown into being the Blue Ridge Chapter’s largest gathering.

TODAY WE TRAVEL DOWN-SOUTH to beautiful Lake Chatuge, Georgia with contributor Kentucky Wonder for some True Southern Hospitality, courtesy of the Blue Ridge Chapter ACBS. Another great report which captures the essence of the hobby. – Texx

2015 Lake Chatuge Rendezvous
Story & Photos by Kentucky Wonder

Hello! Kentucky Wonder reporting in from… outside Kentucky. This time, we revisited the site of our first boat show, gathering, rendezvous, whatever you want to call it. Two years ago, we showed up as total newbies to the Blue Ridge Chapter ACBS Lake Chatuge Rendezvous. It was the first time we took our boat to any kind of organized event. Turns out that showing up at Chatuge that year was one of the best decisions we have made since purchasing the boat itself.

From the moment we arrived at registration, through launching, docking and then through the entire weekend, people greeted us, helped us, gave us valuable tips (when asked), and welcomed us into the classic boating family that is the Blue Ridge Chapter. Which brings us to this past weekend…

1955 Chris-Craft Continental - Oh Baby II.

Jim Swartz, left, and his brother Steve enjoy their time out on the lake Saturday afternoon. Jim’s boat is a 22′ 1955 Chris-Craft Continental named “Oh Baby II”.

Because of family vacation time attached to the back end of the Rendezvous dates, and the relative difficulty in either towing a boat around the Southeast, or returning to the North Georgia mountains to retrieve it, we decided to attend the 2015 Chatuge Rendezvous boatless. We expected to feel out of place, but the exact opposite happened.

(L-R) Tom Neff, Sandy Sneddon, Mark and Kim Neff and their coconuts pose for a group photo during Friday night’s luau. The coconuts have become an annual tradition since being modeled by Carla Gernhofer at last year’s event.

The event went pretty much as planned by the Blue Ridge Chapter team of Jerri Nowlen, Terry Harbin and Sandy and Scott Sneddon. The weather was perfect, sunny and pleasantly warm.

24' 1928 Chris-Craft Triple

Paul and Kathy Crisp pilot their 24′ 1928 Chris-Craft Triple “Bumblebee” through the wake of other boats during the Friday afternoon tour of Lake Chatuge.

Aristocraft Holiday 25

Owen Turner keeps lookout from the bow of his family’s Aristocraft Holiday 25 during Saturday afternoon’s Boat to the Bridge parade. Parents Scott and Jenna look on from the helm.

There were lots of boats that we had not seen before, and new people to meet. Which brings me to the best part of the classic boating hobby, and why we felt right at home.

The Friendships. The people who smile and hug you when you arrive, when they see you the next day and again when you are about to depart. The warmth of the people on the docks and around the tables. The stories that are told about times past, which seem to strengthen the relationships into the future.

1957 Chris-Craft Sea Skiff on Lake Chatuge, GA.

Alan and Faye Smith maneuver “SmithSkiff” their 1957 Chris-Craft Sea Skiff ahead of the trailing boats during a tour of Lake Chatuge on Friday afternoon.

Classic 16' Barbour Silver Clipper.

Ed and Bridget Arrington enjoy a leisurely cruise in their 16′ Barbour Silver Clipper. (When is the last time you remember seeing a Barbour Silver Clipper anywhere? Very cool. – Texx)

1945 17' Century Deluxe Utility on Lake Chatuge.

“Winter’s Work” – a 1945 17′ Century Deluxe Utility pushes a wake under acceleration Saturday afternoon at Lake Chatuge. This exceptional boat is owned by Will Hart.

You know, maybe our friendships in this hobby are like our boats – they are built solidly, in timeless fashion, and are beautiful to experience. Of course, they require occasional maintenance, and some quirks are overlooked with a knowing smile. But what a great family to adopt, and in which to belong.

Kentucky Wonder

Lake Chatuge cardboard boat.

Scott Turner gets a celebratory kiss from daughter Ella after they finished crossing the water in their cardboard boat. Most of this year’s participants completed the course with boats intact.

Some fast facts from the Blue Ridge Chapter ACBS – 2015 Lake Chatuge Rendezvous Principal Co-Organizer Jerri Nowlen:

– We had 47 registered boats in the water, 4 on land plus I think about 5 canoes. (The biggest Chatuge has ever had)

– 16 new members attending (they were WONDERFUL!!!!!) and we had 5 join at the show.

– Diane Mistele won the guessing the boat contest (which was a REAL hit).

I have heard how “upbeat” the gathering was, and in my opinion that was not just because of the volunteers. The success of the gathering was because of the participants.

1) Owen Turner won shiniest boat.
2) Best Lapstrake: “Jaw Jaw” (Georgia) Lee & Teresa Mapp.
3) Best Outboard: “Full Circle” Aristocraft Compass Bill & Gail Turner.
4) Looks Damn Expensive: “Le Chat Noir” Jack & Lee Francisco.
5) Ben & Myrna Huizinga won the broken rudder award.
6) Shining Star (Youth award): Owen Turner, who not only made a cardboard boat(outboard) – but a trailer to put it on.
7) Nancy Hampton Memorial “Best First Mate”: Alice Forbis.
8) People’s Choice: “Bumblebee” Paul & Kathy Crisp.
9) Captain’s Choice (to represent the Blue Ridge Chapter in the ACBS Directory): “Brown Eyed Girl” – Craig & Beth Miller
10) ACBS annual award for Best non-wood: “Knot Another,” Dave & Cindy Cowert

We already have plans for 2016: A great party for Friday night. Thursday welcome gathering hosted by the Jon Walters and the amazing chef Patricia Walters.

Principal Co-Organizer Jerri Nowlen

Spectator photgraphs the 1958 Chris-Craft Capri.

A spectator photographs Art and Joel Hampton’s 1958 Chris-Craft Capri. Boater participation was at an all-time high for the event, with more than 50 boats registered and shown.

Lake Chatuge Classic Boat Rendezvous

Two Chris-Craft sedans highlight the group of boaters taking a tour of Lake Chatuge Friday afternoon. The perfect weather allowed lots of play time for boaters wanting to escape the docks.

Detail of a 1928 Chris-Craft Triple Cockpit Runabout.

Detail of the foredeck of “Bumblebee,” the 1928 Chris-Craft Triple owned by Paul and Kathy Crisp.

Special thanks to Kentucky Wonder for sharing this great story with us today. The organizers and volunteers at the Blue Ridge Chapter ACBS continue to set the standard for regional boat shows in the southeast. You can learn more about the Blue Ridge Chapter on their website Here.


14 replies
  1. Bill Hammond
    Bill Hammond says:

    What a spectacular group of Boats! Looks like a well planned event with lots to do besides ogling!! Thanks Kentucky Wonder for sharing!!

  2. Cobourg Kid
    Cobourg Kid says:

    You have to love any boat event that has a prize for shiniest boat , as always great photo and story Kentucky

  3. Jerri Nowlen
    Jerri Nowlen says:

    Thank you so much Kentucky Wonder, for the great photos of our event. The weekend was perfect! Great weather, great friends, great boats. We consider ourselves (The Blue Ridge Chapter) a pretty friendly bunch and the boaters at this year’s events were the best of the best! They made it a joy for the volunteers!

  4. Richard Askins
    Richard Askins says:

    Anyone who attended the Beaufort N C Wooden boat show would have seen 7 Barbours. Out of 49 boats a Barbour was “Best in Show” and another “Best Classic Outboard”. We have a face book page to support our efforts to preserve Barbour Boats.

  5. Paul Berrey
    Paul Berrey says:

    WE had some bad info on the times of the event! Arrived Sunday AM to find most of the boats departed! Only a few remained so we walked around them, admired them and wish to be earlier next year! Did see one of the Jerri and Terry Gar Woods though! And a couple of others….

  6. Reddog
    Reddog says:

    The aristocraft is a odd looking yet intriguing looking boat. Is it possible to get a side shot of that boat and maybe some more info. (length, and size of outboard, any interior pictures)? Thanks

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Kentucky Wonder mentioned that he had lots of photos from this years Lake Chatuge show, so hopefully he has a few more shots of Scott Turners Aristocraft Holiday 25 that he can post here. – Texx

      • Reddog
        Reddog says:

        Darn Texx don’t you or Matt ever go to sleep (its 1:00 am) I ve replied at other early mornining times and have gotten quick replies also. Anyway. I just typed in Aristocraft boats holiday 25ft. and got a real nice write up about this boat. VERY NICE interior and exterior. Although the boat I seen had different engine on back but still a really nice equipped boat. Anyone else interested should check it out I have seen the “newer” fiberglass Aristocraft boats with the sliding hardtop and didn’t realize it was the same company.

  7. Texx
    Texx says:

    Reddog – Glad to see you found the info on the Aristocraft, it’s a unique boat.

    As you know, Woody Boater is a 24/7 website – I usually take the night shift and Matt covers the day shift.

    Always something going on behind the scenes at WB. We are currently trying to determine the make / model of an interesting 1930’s triple cockpit runabout located in France, where it’s 9:00 AM there. – Texx

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