Classic Archive Look Back – Cruisin’ To The Old Club Of Harsens Island


Today we are rerunning a story from 2012 in Algonac when we made the annual run to the Old Club as a reminder of how special it is to the classic boat community. Note that there are 16 comments from then, and yes Greg is there at 6:25 AM —-the internet remembers it all Greg Here is the story written by Texx.

Sunday marked the final day on the busy schedule for the 2012 Algonac Boat Show, the Michigan ACBS Chapter’s premier boat show. With the static boat show successfully wrapped up late Saturday, the particpants of the show were ready, willing and able to get back out on the beautiful Michigan waters to exercise (and enjoy) their classic boats just the way they were meant to be used.

With smiling faces all around, at 8:00 AM on Sunday morning a gaggle of classic boats left the Algonac Harbor Club Marina for a fun cruise over to the historical 140 year-old facility simply named “The Old Club of Harsens Island” for Sunday brunch.

Almost every type of antique & classic boat could be seen joining in the cruise, from big cruisers, to pre-war runabouts, mighty lapstrakes to smaller outboards… it was very cool to be involved in this event and experience the camaraderie of all the fellow boaters at the show.

Matt hitched a ride over to the The Old Club with fellow Woody Boater Pete Beauregard in his 1955 Cobra and I had the pleasure of riding over to Harsens Island (joined by Richard & Kathy Gambino) on board Todd Eib’s gorgeous 1967 42′ Chris-Craft Commander, which can usually be found at the Detroit Yacht Club. (My first ever ride on a big Commander and it was fantastic – Thanks Todd!) We got the grand tour of this big cruiser on Saturday during the show, stay tuned for that story… She has a remarkable history being from Detroit.

Dennis Myklos doing his pre-flight check near the harbor (checking e-mails) aboard “Old School” his 1998 22′ Hacker Craft Gentlemen’s Racer…

And part of everyones pre-flight routine is knowing where the “Salty’s” and “Lakers” are along the St. Clair River. These things seem to sneak up on you if your not paying attention… The local boaters take them in stride as they all share the local water ways, but as this is my first time to Algonac, the sheer size of these giant freighters is a bit intimidating… (Thanks Carl for the clarification between the “Salty’s & the “Lakers”)

Another historical landmark along the shores of Harsens Island is the “Idle Hour Yacht Club” once known as the “Riverside Club” – Local folklore is that this is where Gar Wood (among other famous boat builders) would like to visit on occasion when he needed to get way from it all for a while…

It’s boats like this that make this show so unique… This is a beautiful 1975 John’s Bay Boat Co. Lobster Boat owned by Peter & Leeann Wickens, en route to the brunch at The Old Club.

The Old Club is an exclusive island community surrounded by the pristine, fresh water of the Great Lakes delta known as the St. Clair Flats. It boasts 50 summer residences, a 24 room historic hotel, a nine-hole golf course, three tennis courts, a trap shooting range, harbors that accommodate small vessels to grand yachts, an Olympic size pool and a clubhouse that offers gourmet dining and top level entertainment throughout the summer months. A country club for boaters that’s celebrating it’s 140th birthday… A very cool place for sure. You can learn more about The Old Club at Harsens Island by clicking here.

The manicured grounds and facilities at The Old Club are a perfect setting for a Sunday gathering of classic boats in Michigan.

A good opportunity to get one more shot of my new favorite boat, “Sea Flow II” an amazing 1938 28′ Hackercraft Triple powered by a big Scripps V-12… Dave Bortner from Freedom Boat Service in Minnesota invited us to join him for the ride back to Algonac, to shoot some photos and Dave graciously offered to let old Texx take the controls for a while on the return trip, which was big fun… (Thanks Dave)

After brunch Matt gave a great presentation to the folks from the Michigan Chapter ACBS and show participants, and we all shared a few laughs…

Then our friend Chris-Smith shared some great stories about the history of Chris-Craft and the Smith family back from in the day, which fit so well with the event in Algonac. Chris Smith will be celebrating his 85th birthday on July 4th next week over in nearby Holland, Michigan… When Chris was a young boy he thought that the fireworks on the 4th of July were for him on his birthday, which we chuckled about on Friday during the cruise aborad his Sea Skiff with daughter Joy.

And after brunch, everyone went back out to play in their boats – including Dennis, as we began to make our way back to Algonac.

Some folks on the tourboat “Clinton” also had an opportunity to enjoy the classic boats along side…

Our hosts Greg & Marianne Lewandowski pulling out of The Old Club channel aboard “Water Lily” their perfect 1947 Chris-Craft Deluxe Runabout. They made us feel right at home all weekend and we appreciate that very much.

Pete out exercising his new blue finned 21′ Cobra at 50 MPH – It sounded just great as it flew across the water…

Pat Chaps and crew aboard “Moxie” a 1957 26′ Chris-Craft Sports Express on a leisurely cruise back to Algonac.

Fellow Woody Boaters Bob & Ann Guldemond in thier recently completed Chris-Craft Kit Boat, cruisin’ back to the marina. Art & Mary Jane Armstrong from Harsens Island also had a very cool CC Kit Boat 1950 Chris-Craft Kit Boat at the show, and on Sunday they came over to The Old Club in “Molly O” their 1939 Deluxe Utility. We joined them for brunch and shared some fun stories together…

What can you say about “Black Beauty” that hasn’t already been said? This boat is truly remarkable inside and out, stay tuned for more images of this very cool 1957 33′ Chris-Craft Futura owned by Rick Laenen, one of ten Futuras known to exist today.

Another fantastic day in Michigan.


21 replies
  1. Carl Garmhaus
    Carl Garmhaus says:

    3 of the remaining 10 Futura’s were in the Algonac Show this past weekend, and all were stunning!

  2. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Thanks for the great story and photos of our Old Club event. One small correction. Although Art Armstrong does have a great CC Kit boat, the one in the photo in today’s story is recently completed by Bob Guldemond, with he at the outboard tiller, and his wife Ann in the bow.

  3. Carl Garmhaus
    Carl Garmhaus says:

    We are going to have to get Matt back here again so we can teach him the difference between “Lakers” and “Saltys”. Looking forward to the opportunity.

  4. Rick
    Rick says:

    Watching Greg and Mariann running next to us on the way back to the marina was one of the many high points of the weekend. I’m sure they saw my dumb constant smile, just being in that triple would have done it for me.

    Back to work and reality today. 🙁

  5. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    Great story thanks Texx. What a great meeting. Just looking at the colour of the water makes me smile.

  6. Carl Garmhaus
    Carl Garmhaus says:

    Well Rick, You could always set up practice here. Then you would know all about the small town parades and road construction schedules. i wish I would have known your return schedule, I could have helped you avoid the site seeing journey. We would love to have you back.

    • Rick
      Rick says:

      All part of the traveling experience and makes for good stories latter Carl. MI is definitely on my “To Do Again” list. I didn’t meet even one person who did not go out of their way to make me feel welcome and part of the MI chapter family.

  7. don vogt
    don vogt says:

    Sounds like a great week end. we missed you yesterday but I can see why–no doubt recovering from way too much fun for any one person to have.

  8. Rich Marschner
    Rich Marschner says:

    Thanks much, Matt and Texx, for all the great follow-on shots from the weekend…hope there will be many more this week.

    All those cruisers — wun-a-full, wun-a-full!

  9. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Nice to finally see “SeaFlow II” in such nice restored condition- formerly a Seattle boat, owned by Stan Sayres and the official tow boat for the Slo-Motion hydroplanes (along with “Tango”, my old Red & White express) when they were active under Stan’s ownership!

    We need to get her to Chelan for Mahogany and Merlot one of these days… Maybe when Dan and Carol put “Tango” back on the water – that would be fun! 🙂

  10. glen petersimes
    glen petersimes says:

    counting my own I can accout for the ware abouts of 18 Futuras Some not so pretty but they are still around

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thanks Glen – Those classic Futura’s have a beautiful, distinctive look, that certainly sets them apart from any other cruiser.

  11. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    The Old Club brunch is always the highlight of the Michigan chapter show. Texx did a great story, and it was a great event for the Michigan gang, including having Texx and Matt be part of it. It is also now somewhat melancholy since some of those featured in the story are no longer with us.
    Several of the cottages along the boardwalk in the second photo of the Old Club from the channel are what burned. My understanding is that the club house and rest of the grounds survived the fire.

  12. DAN IN MI
    DAN IN MI says:

    Someday I hope to get my 1961 Cruisers Inc Commander back in the water to have some fun like this! It just seems that “life” just keeps getting in the way of working on it. Thanks for the great story and incredible photos.

  13. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Great photographic coverage. Checked WB this morning on the phone while I had a minute but it doesn’t do justice to seeing it on my desktop 24″ screen. Its a whole different story visually. These damn phones ruin so many things in so many different ways.

  14. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Ok, again @10PM, I’m reviewing a beautiful bunch of boats, “Seaflow” an awesome Hacker, and wait, is that a wrap-around-windshield on the barrel back “Likety Split? well it is his boat – do what floats your boat. And that Commander, dayum that’s nice – could have done a whole story on that boat. And Greg’s Deluxe Runabout “Water Lily” – perfect shape. And the CC Kit Boat was well done – great coverage Texx – miss those stories. And Dennis – why in the hell did you sell your Hacker Gentleman’s Racer – guess we all want something sporty for a while and then we switch to practical. Like trading in your hot 21 year old girlfriend for one more practical at 42. Lol.

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