Clayton New York Antique Boat Show 2013: Chapter Three, River Boat Fantasy! (Part 2)

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You never know what you will run in to at Clayton – As I make my way to the dry land display, I spot a rare 1937 Century Thunderbolt sitting on its original shipping cradle. Complete with factory installed Gray Marine Phantom four, the boat was acquired in 1983 from a backyard outside Williamsport, Pennsylvania. For, get this, $300.00!

Today in Part 2 of his River Boat Fantasy story from Clayton, Cobourg Kid takes us through the impressive dry land display on the grounds of the Antique Boat Museum, checks out a team of judges responsible for the Skiff Class, and we visit the area of the show known West Harbor Basin. It’s as if the classic boats just Keep on Comin’… – Texx

Clayton New York Antique Boat Show 2013:
Chapter Three, River Boat Fantasy! (Part 2)
Story & Photos by Cobourg Kid

Continuing my tour of the massive Antique Boat Museum property, from the west side of the yacht house basin, drifting further westward I found a number of interesting boats in dry land displays, like the grey 1937 Century Thunderbolt above, and much more:


A beautifully restored 1956, 15 foot Lyman walk through runabout, with an almost factory pristine 1956 Johnson 30 hp outboard. This boat appeared on the cover of Clinker magazine (The Lyman Owner’s Club publication) last spring and earned the award for best restored outboard boat and motor for owners, Steve and Diane Rutigliano.


Back in the 1970s this wonderfully preserved 18’ 1934 Old-Town Guide model was literally plucked from a burn pile full of canoes that were to be reduce to ashes at a Boy Scout Camp. It was subsequently restored by the Marsden Family of Waldwick, NJ who have used it for many years.

Image-34-Johnson OBCollection

This assemblage of cool old Johnson outboards spans the decades from the 1920s to the mid-1950s.


Another very cool little antique outboard. This one is a 13, foot 1939 Century Imperial Sportsman named “Sparks”. She is kitted out with an even cooler four cylinder Elto built in 1930 this rare quad electric 315 model puts out 30 HP. The Krzyzanowski family of Gloucester, Ontario acquired the boat at the annual ABM auction and the Elto, well it turned up at a flea market in the hamlet of Elgin, Ontario.


A close up of Sparks engine—Fantastic!


“Life Long Dream” is a 14’ 1955 Penn Yann Swift with matching 1955 Johnson Sea Horse. Both boat and motor have been restored beautifully by Lee able of Hemlock, NY.


Look! Its flashing us the peace sign… gotta love those little Swifts!


“Bluff” was built in the first decade of the last century by a Mr. Lane who lived in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Image-40-Bluff 2

The really interesting thing about “Bluff” is that she is powered by an REO lawnmower engine from the 1930’s.


Manufactured a century ago in Port Clinton Ohio, “Golden Years” (originally named “Skanendowa”) is a 1913, 26 foot Matthews Launch, that was custom built for Toledo, Ohio industrialist Marshall Sheppy. Sheepy was known to have political ties and was a personal friend to Theodore Roosevelt, Warren G Harding and Calvin Coolidge, all of whom were likely to have visited Sheepy’s Adirondack camp on Tupper Lake where the launch was used. As the camp was not accessible by road it’s almost certain that three presidents enjoyed cruising to and from the camp on Golden Years.
Many years later in 1985 the Sheepy family decided that the launch needed a new home and the Matthews was subsequently conveyed to the owner of a camp on nearby Upper Saranac Lake. Present owners Sam and Jerrie Hoagland noticed he boat cruising by while on an Adirondack vacation in 2004 and were hooked. They purchased her in 2006.
Spenser Boatworks was given the job or restoring the vessel. Remarkably, very little of “Golden Years” original woodwork or hardware needed replacement, only the stem, transom and a few ribs needed removal and refitting. “Golden Years” also retains her original motive power, a four cylinder Scripps engine that came with an extra block, purchased long ago by the Sheepy’s. After all, you always need to be prepared for all eventualities when you spend the summer in the wilderness!

Image-42- Matthews-Launch-1913

“Golden Years” twin, “Otsego”, as depicted in a vintage 1913 Mathews Craft advertisement.

With the dry land displays out of the way let’s have a quick look at judging of Skiffs. Now mind you to outsiders this is a pretty mysterious process, but watching the procedure was definitely entertaining.

Jim Grant undergoes Judging of “Victoria” his Matheson Skiff built sometime after 1908 by John Matheson a noted Muskoka boat builder.


Jim gets a little excited about the judge’s criticism of the use of square head Robertson Screws. He’s done his research though and knows they were in use as early as 1908.


The judges (darned Yankees!) aren’t buying the square head argument and want to do some research.


The Judge’s conclusion, “very nice, historically authentic skiff, but, well, we’re going to have to check out that screw thing”…. “Harrumph!” says Jim.

The outcome? Jim Grand’s skiff  is ultimately selected as co-winner of the Blair Cook Memorial Best of Show Preserved Non-Power Category.

Jim shares his award (it was a dead heat) with Richard Fetridge who had entered his 1895 Dwight Grant Adirondack Guideboat “Evelynn” in the same category.

Moving on I head on down to the west harbor basin to see the entries moored at dockside there.

Built in 1947 “Eulipion” is a 25 foot Chis-Craft Red & White Express Cruiser that was found in the woods near Mattituck, NY in the late 1990s. Acquired by YNOT YACHTS of Pittsburgh Pa,. in 2002 hull 206 was subsequently painstakingly dissembled and totally rebuilt using new materials and all salvageable components. Its name? Apparently “Eulipion” signifies “Sound that embodies the life-force and evokes visceral sensations.”


“Julia VII” is a 22 foot utility manufactured by the Shepherd Boat Company of Niagara on the Lake, Ontario in 1952. She underwent major restoration and engine replacement in 1990. Her current engine is a 283 Chevrolet racing block that was marinized by the (then still operating) F.L. Buchanan (Marine Engine)Company of Orillia, Ontario. She is proudly owned by Don Swain a member of the ACBS Champlain chapter.


“Whitecaps” is an exquisite (and I mean it!) 1947 22 foot Chris-Craft Sportsman Utility owned by Marselis Parsons, who is also a member of the ACBS Champlain chapter. “Whitecaps” story is outlined in the next image.


The story of “Whitecaps”

Image-52-Miss-Florida-Miss Ruby

In the late 1930’s the Chris-Craft Corporation built a number of 19 foot racing runabouts. “Miss Florida” is one that actually raced. According to her owners, the Williams Clan of Versailles, Kentucky, “Miss Florida” was purchased from the factory in 1937 by the Morrow Brothers, who briefly raced her in “E Class” races in the sunshine state before peddling her to Caleb Bragg’s (of Baby Bootlegger fame) nephew Langdon Lows.
Later, Lows allegedly set a one mile straightway record with Miss Florida on Biscayne Bay, only to see it snatched away a few days later by a challenger . Consequently there is no record of the record run in APBA archives.


“Miss Florida’s” lovely 4HES six cylinder Lycoming power plant spits out 175 hp.


A replica of a 23 foot 1936 Ventnor Slipper Stern Hydroplane “Patriot” is powered by a 454 Chevrolet. While the boat was absolutely mesmerizing, the owner should have received the award for providing the least amount of information on his ACBS show card. In my opinion all sanctioned public ACBS shows should require mandatory story boards and a full time boat ambassador on board to answer questions from the press and public.

Image-55-Sea-n-Isle 24 Lyman

“Sea ‘N’ Isle” is a 24 foot 19 40 Lyman sedan. She was originally delivered to Dr. Bickley of Henderson Harbor, NY (situated on Lake Ontario). The current owners purchased “Sea ‘N’ Isle” at the ABM annual auction in 1990 and she subsequently spent two years undergoing a thorough restoration. Powered by a GrayMarine six cylinder, putting out a little more than 100 hp, she is unusual for a Lyman in that she has never been painted. Well maintained “Sea ‘N’ Isle” has safely conveyed her owners, the Trumpore family, on many adventures including a journey all the way to Quebec City.

Image-56- Sandpiper

Owned by Jeff and Diane Krueger “Sandpiper” is a wonderfully restored 15 foot 1950 Lyman equipped with a restored 1959 35 hp Johnson Super Sea Horse Outboard.

And finally our final selection:

“Steele’s Baby” is a replica of a 16 foot 1950 Chris Craft gentleman’s outboard racer. She is equipped with a new four stroke Yamaha outboard putting out 40 HP at the prop. Built and owned by Steele and Bobbet Reader of Clayton this boat has an interesting story.
On his boat ID card Steele wrote “I was a participant in the Clayton Auction and lost the bid on a boat I wanted. A wounded man I proceeded to the rest of the show where I saw a display by James Craft for a CC kid’s boat and in my weakened state they convinced me to buy a kit. After five years I have finished the Boat”. Good work Steele!

With the show almost ready to close I raced to check out the Field of Dreams situated across the road from the main entrance to the museum. The following is but a small section of the eclectic stuff I found on offer:

Ross Brothers had a fine assortment of Marine exotica. Hey there’s Emmet Smith (ABM Curator) searching for more obscure engine parts!


Anyone want to by a boat-a wagon?


…or a reproduction Adirondack Guideboat, we’ve got lots of them!


How about a 16 foot 1949 Penn Yan Clipper Aristocrat Inboard equipped with a 45 hp GrayMarine Phantom Four? Mind you it does have a wacky factory made bronze external propeller and rudder setup that extends waaaay past he stern.

With the sun starting to dip westward and the ABM loudspeakers declaring that the show was now closing, I made one last trip down to the shore to look things over before departing, and there at the shore I noticed Emmett Smith (ABM Curator) and his dad, Everett Smith (renowned Boat builder, raconteur and banjo player) quietly surveying the now deserted waterfront.

Snapping a picture I left them to their contemplation and headed homeward.

Image-62-Everett and Emmett

Emmett and Everett Smith contemplate the end of the Second Day of the 49th edition of the Antique Boat Museum’s annual Clayton Antique Boat Show and Auction.

Cobourg Kid

In case you missed The first two Chapters of Cobourg Kid’s story from Clayton, here are the links to the earlier chapters.

Clayton New York Antique Boat Show 2013: Chapter One, the Magical Mystery Tour

Clayton New York Antique Boat Show 2013: Chapter Two, Champlainers Discover the St. Lawrence!

Clayton New York Antique Boat Show 2013: Chapter Three, River Boat Fantasy! (Part 1)

Special thanks to Cobourg Kid for the coverage and stories from Clayton, New York – we truly appreciate the time and effort that went in to preparing this informative Three Chapter report for Woody Boater. It was really great!

Also thanks to Michael Folsom and the crew at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, NY for your hospitality during the show.  If you are ever in the area, take an opportunity stop by and visit the museum – it’s wooden boat paradise!


8 replies
  1. Phillip Jones
    Phillip Jones says:

    Love the header, I’ve got a 1957 barrel stern just like her upside down now installing a complete new bottom. What a classy look for a mid 50’s boat.

  2. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    I’ve heard stories about the Century Thunderbolt as I’m from Williamsport, Pa. It was sold before I was even born unfortunately. Kind of makes me want to run an ad in the paper and see if there is any other boats out there.

  3. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Is this chapter 4 or the second half of chapter 3. I am so confused!

    BTW, The Kid is one dedicated reporter. I would have forgotten the camera after 3-4 photos and just gotten absorbed in all there is to enjoy in Clayton.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      m-fine – We had to break down Chapter 3 (the final report from the boat show grounds) in to two individual stories (Part 1 & Part 2) because it was too big for one story.

      Clayton just has too much cool stuff as you know.


  4. charley quimby
    charley quimby says:

    Phillip Jones… I once owned a ’57 De Luxe like the one in the header. It was headed to the burn pile when I got it and did a reconstruction with some slight mods. With a blueprinted 350 Flagship set-up it was a real white-knuckle ride. D-17-2046, “Hot Tuna” was eventually sold to a long-ago ACBS member from the Southern Virginia area. Following his untimely death, I lost track of the boat. This model is one of the nicest-looking decked runabouts from the Chris-Craft stable in the mid fifties. Great balance and handling with the SBC. Charley Q.

  5. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Thanks for the thorough coverage, ABM show is one of the longest continuous running and has so much local history there that was well covered by CK. Having been there several times years ago, I felt like I was in and around the boats. Should have opened a can a varnish nearby to give the full effect.

    Miss the salt potatoes that are served up there. I make them here in Ga as they are a good source of carbs while running half marathons or on a century (as in 100 mile, not the boat) bike rides.

  6. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    At one time I think ABM broke out the non-power show separate from the “regular” show if I recall and i’m glad they “got their mind right” as the Cap’n use to say on “Cool Hand Luke”. Great skiff coverage and photo sequence on Jim Grands “spanish inquisition”.

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