37th Portage Lakes Show – From Rich Marschner, North Coast Ohio Chapter, ACBS

photo by Julie Maringer

Reporting in from Ohio! Home of our pals at Antique Boat Center fellow Woody Boater Rich Marschner gives us a full and nice report of the Portage lakes Show! Take it away Rich..

Northern Ohio has been in a deep drought for months.  So what happens at Portage Lakes in Akron on the morning of the 37th North Coast Ohio ACBS boat show?  An angry, grey dawn with threats of thundershowers.  We all gather at the appointed hour and place.  Light sprinkles continue to speckle the decks for the first hour of the show, but then the sun breaks break out, temps soar to 90 – and all is well.

This year’s focus is on Chris-Craft Custom Runabouts.  And we have a bunch of ‘em…nearly a dozen from the ‘30s and ‘40s, plus about 40 more woody craft to round out the show.
Oh, and one Amphicar.

But on to the runabouts.  Like a gaggle of Canada geese, blond-decked Customs that had cavorted on the lake in the early morning fog have now settled in along the docks at Hook, Line and Drinkers and the Olde Harbor Inn, where the restaurants’ 55 slips are just enough to hold all the woodies.

Three at sea) Credit: Julie Maringer

Blondies at the docks) Credit: Julie Maringer

A first-time entry to our show is also a big crowd favorite – a 1983 20-foot Marinacci Torpedo, a teardrop-shaped fantasy creation in mahogany by Julius Marinacci of Tacoma, WA.  He had worked for Western Boat Building Co. there in Tacoma, where he was very much involved in the building of their “Torpedo Flyer” 17’ runabouts introduced in 1948.  Total production is estimated at 31.

Diamond Girl) Credit: Julie Maringer

On a whim, long after his retirement, Marinacci “scaled up” an original 17’ Flyer by 120% to this one-off 20’ version you see here. It is powered by a Mercruiser 350, producing 285 hp.  Top speed is 50-plus.

Credit: photosbycommodore-Don.com

Owner Clint Berkfield stumbled on the boat while looking on eBay for a Chris-Craft barrel-back.  “I loved the Art Deco look with the “hot rod” influences.  That day, I was on a plane to New Hampshire,” where the Marinacci had been shipped for restoration.  “My wife Krista is no longer surprised by my quick decision-making.  I bought her a Marquise diamond, which matches the shape of the boat.”
Which also may have something to do with the name on that shapely torpedo stern.

Credit: photosbycommodore-don.com

From Zanesville, Ohio, “Diamond Girl” takes the People’s Choice award, by a wide margin.
You can read more about Western Boat Building Co. and the Marinacci Torpedo in “The Real Runabouts, Vol. 5,” including an interview with Julius Marinacci by the author.

The judges’ first-place awards for our featured Chris-Craft runabouts are:
1. Classics under 20’:  1948 Chris-Craft Deluxe, “E-Z Money,” Joe Nemes, Akron, OH

EZ Money – Credit: photosbycommodore-don.com

Two other ‘48s finished 2nd and 3rd – and two of these three boats have consecutive hull numbers.
2. Classics, 20’ and over:  1948 Chris-Craft Custom, “Sea Three,” Mark McCarthy, Cincinnati, OH

Sea Three) Credit: photosbycommodore-don.com

3. Antiques, under 20’: 1941 Chris-Craft Custom, “Talaria,” Rich Marschner and Wiley Cornell, Cleveland, OH

Talaria transom – GO SYLVIA!

The judges’ first-place awards in other classes include:
1. Fiberclassic:  1969 Chris-Craft Commander, “Afishinado,” Dick and Karen DeFazio, Bemus Point, NY

Afishinado –  Credit: photosbycommodore-don.com GOTTA LOVE THAT PLASTIC CLASSIC! STAY TUNED FOR PLASTIC CLASSIC WEEK.. Sorry Rich, I had to plug some stuff.. back to Rich…

2. Early Contemporary Classic:  1983 Marinacci Torpedo, “Diamond Girl,” Clint Berkfield, Zanesville, OH
3. Most Original Preserved Boat:  1959 Chris-Craft Sportsman, “Cemack,” Bill and Carol Mack, Lima, OH
How original is it?  Bill even has the spare spark plug — and the original, unwrapped roll of TP — that Chris-Craft included with the boat!
4. Classic Utilities Under 20’:  1968 Lyman, Bill and Lucy Hunter, Akron, OH
5. Classic Utilities 20’ and Over:  1963 Chris-Craft Holiday, “GiGi,” Sandy Neidert, Akron, OH
Lovely.  All absolutely lovely, these boats.  
As is the sunset.

17 replies
  1. John Kadimik
    John Kadimik says:

    Thanks Rich for the great coverage of the Portage Lakes Show. it’s nice to see something different!

  2. Gary
    Gary says:

    Other than the show itself being outstanding, an interesting event occured. Two well known 20′ Customs, “Legend” serial number 257, owned by Gil Maringer, and “Waterlogged” serial number 258, owned by Gary Gondek were together for the first time since being assembled next to each other at the plant, sixty four years ago. They are the first two boats in the lead picture to the story. I don’t know how often that happens, but it was truly a special moment.

  3. Rich Marschner
    Rich Marschner says:

    Glad you liked it, John and Rick. It’s all about the quality of the photography, and we had two pros working all day, Julie Maringer and Don Emery. Couldn’t have done it w/o them!

  4. John Vorhies
    John Vorhies says:

    Thanks for the article and getting the pictures to WoodyBoater. Great picture of Talaria (ex Sylvia).

  5. Chad
    Chad says:

    Great looking gathering of boats. Sure wish I could zoom in on that classic plastic Commander.

  6. Clint Berkfield
    Clint Berkfield says:

    Great job on our boat! Diamond Girl looks nice on line… We will be back to the Portage Lakes.

  7. Rich Marschner
    Rich Marschner says:

    Glad you like the coverage of your fine boat, Clint and Krysta…you’re more than welcome back, except you can’t have the “People’s Choice” more than once! Or can you?

  8. Krysta Berkfield
    Krysta Berkfield says:

    We will see!!!! this was our 3rd show and 3rd Peoples choice award you never know!!!
    Diamond Girl

  9. Bud Long
    Bud Long says:

    Rich! Again thanks. Great article and photos. Hard to outdo this years show. The boats , people, all great.

    2012 Chairman

  10. Doris O Delaney
    Doris O Delaney says:

    Hey, Rich, I found you! My hotmail has been hijacked and I don’t have your e-mail address (nor anyone else’s.) Please send.
    Congrats on the article and the prize!’ Hi to Wiley,

Comments are closed.