Live-ish Sunday From The South Tahoe Wooden Boat Classic – A Fun Day On The Water


The 2011 South Tahoe Wooden Boat Classic presented by the Antique & Classic Boat Society – Northern Calfornia / Lake Tahoe Chapter wrapped up with fun day on the water and a picnic at the historic Sugar Pine Point State Park. Above Jim Robello aboard “Miss Jamie” in the pristine, clear water of beautiful Lake Tahoe. “Miss Jamie” one of the show winners this year, is a very nice 1961 Chris-Craft 19′ Continental.

Sunday after the boat show is dedicated to the participants, chapter members and volunteers who make this big event successful. In the morning the boats leave the Tahoe Keys Marina and run up Lake Tahoe for a picnic and the awards ceremony which is held on the amazing grounds of the former Ehrman Estate. In 1897, San Francisco businessman I. W. Hellman began buying property at Sugar Pine Point and by 1913 had acquired nearly 2000 acres. His grand but informal summer home, called Pine Lodge, was completed in 1903 and was considered to be one of the finest in the high Sierra. His daughter, Florence Hellman Ehrman inherited the estate and she and her husband Sydney spent many summers there entertaining family and friends. The estate is located along the shores of Lake Tahoe which offers some spectacular views of the lake.

In 1965 the house and 1,975 acres of the estate were acquired by the California State Park System. Today the house is maintained as a house museum and as an example of the opulent tradition in Tahoe summer homes. We have a cool story about the Sugar Pine Point Estate and one of the original wooden boats that remains on the property, but that’s for another day, later this week.

We were invited to join Lee Chase aboard “Mountain Lyon” for the run up the lake to the picnic. “Mountain Lyon” is a spectacular 1932 28′ Sea Lyon Triple Cockpit Runabout powered by a 325 HP Lycoming V-12 which runs like a Swiss watch.

As the parade of wooden boats made their way up the lake, it was a perfect opportunity to see the boats on the water and grab a few shots from the aft cockpit. We were also joined by a photographer who was gathering images of the event throughout the day, and as you can see he had some serious camera equipment. The Northern California / Lake Tahoe Chapter offers a series of photos from the entire weekend on a CD for all the participants, which is organized by Sandy Chase, Lee’s wife – which is a great idea.

Terry & Carol Clapham from Jamestown, CA own “Bootlegger” a beautiful 1937 24′ Hackercraft Triple Cockpit powered by a Model 152 Scripps 159HP. It is reported that there were only 3, 24′ Hackers built in 1937 and “Bootlegger” is the only known survivor.

Here’s “Miss LuLu II” a multi award winning 1956 21′ Chris-Craft Capri owned by the Hein Family from Hillsborough, Calfornia. She’s an original Lake Tahoe boat which was shipped from the Chris-Craft factory in Algonac to nearby Truckee, Calfornia in 1956. “Miss LuLu II” sports a 250HP Chrysler Hemi – Very cool…

Roy Dryer III is the talented artist that created the boat show logo and the beautiful painting of “White Smoke” which was used for this years South Tahoe poster, as shown below. Roy is very active with both the South Tahoe event as well as the Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance which is held up the lake at Sierra Boat in Carnelian Bay in a few weeks.

For the last 29 years, Roy has created the art work for every Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance poster, which are displayed at Sierra Boat Company. Roy has invited Matt & I to join him at his lake house in nearby Homewood during this years Concours, which will certainly make for an interesting story on Woody Boater. Here’s Roy in “Friva” his 1966 18′ Junior Riva, which he is known to steer with his legs while shooting with his camera… Notice in the image that his camera is within arms reach. The photographer will do almost anything to capture that one perfect image.

“Lady Barbara” is a very nice 1941 19′ Gar Wood Deluxe Runabout which is owned by Art & Barbara Haworth from nearby Incline Village, Nevada.

Approximately 250 people attended the Sunday picnic and awards presentation at Sugar Pine Point, and the individual awards were on display prior to the ceremony.

One of the sponsors of this years South Tahoe Wooden Boat Classic is Korbel & Woodford Reserve who provided the Korbel California Champagne for all the award winners. Here’s Ryan Barella (Korbel Market Brand Manager) and his lovely wife who were on hand for the awards ceremony.

The historic Sugar Pine Point grounds is just a perfect venue for the picnic and awards presentation, the property is almost like a small amphitheatre offering spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and the wooden boats while enjoying the catered picnic lunch.

The awards were presented by fellow Woody Boater Dave Lyon and the team from the Northern California / Lake Tahoe Chapter, and they did a great job for sure.

Harold Orchard (known as HO – middle) received a few awards for “Tango” his ultra-rare 1930 Dodge 28′ Runabout powered by a 1930 325HP – 1,010 cubic inch Lycombing V-12. Here’s Harold receiving the award for “Most Unique Boat of Show” which is sponsored by the Thunderbird Crew. Fellow Woody Boaters Dave Triano and his son Andrew presented the award on behalf of the Thunderbird Crew. The entire picnic and awards presentation was simply a great experience, and very well organized by the chapter and the countless volunteers – Thanks to everyone for a fun, memorable day.

After a wonderful day at Sugar Pine Point it was time to cruise back to South Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Keys Marina, this time aboard “Nautical” Preston & Joy Smith’s beautiful big 1956 23′ Chris-Craft Continental. We were also joined by fellow Woody Boater and Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club Director Brian Robinson.

Preston found (rescued) the 1956 Continental in Norfolk, Virginia and shipped her to California where she would eventually receive what Preston refers to as “An Extreme Makeover” in 2001 by Dave & Rudy at Northwest Classic Boats in Auburn, California. She was then re-named “Nautical” after a famous international jumping horse from the late 1950’s & early 1960’s.

Greg (Rudy) and Jennifer Rudloff and family from Auburn, California cruised down the lake with us with “Swan Song” their awesome 1934 23′ Hacker Deluxe Runabout. The Rudloff’s use their boat every chance they get, and have logged over 1,100 hours on her over the last 19 years, for everyting from water skiing, tubing, wake boarding and evening dinner cruises which is great to see. And I can tell you first hand that Rudy is not afraid to “Excercise” the boat with it’s modern 475HP Ford V-8. Rudy is with Northwest Classic Boats, the folks who recently completed the remarkable restoration on Don Ayers Riva Ariston. You can see that story on Woody Boater by clicking here.

Smiles all around for the family enjoying their classic wooden boat on one of the most beautiful lakes on the planet.

Special thanks go out to everyone from the Northern California / Lake Tahoe Chapter ACBS for your kind hospitality throughout the weekend, and for making Woody Boater feel right at home.  You can click here to go directly to the Chapter’s impressive web site.  Thanks to Lee & Sandy Chase and Preston & Joy Smith for sharing your boats with us, and to Dave Lyon for all your help.

We look forward to seeing everyone again in a few weeks at the Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance, and bringing you more stories about antique & classic boats and the nice folks who own and maintain them.


4 replies
  1. ARRRGH!
    ARRRGH! says:

    WOW, Texx! What an exhaustive report of an obviously fabulous show. Wish I coulda been there. Great job!

  2. Chris Wise
    Chris Wise says:


    This story and your reporting of the event are how dreams are created!

    I would love to cut the waters of that beautiful, high mountain lake with my boat, Cherup.

    Come to think of it, I just dream to, someday, get her in the water!

    Keep up the great work!

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