Look closer!

Yesterdays weather was amazing, simply amazing, and as boating days go, might have been one of the best boating days I have ever had in my life. Perfect water and just amazing. Now of course, to me a perfect boating day involves some sort of drama. And our pal Art, delivered in spades. So, I will let the pictures tell the story. Molly O boy!

Molly O doing her thing

Owen Bob Shaptons new find. OWEN SMITHS personal boat pulled out of Harsons Island

We set out around 11 for the picnic ride with Molly O and OWEN. We were in Stinky. All was great. We kinda were near to the shore, its flatter there and there was a ton of boat traffic.

OKAY! One second we are next too Molly O and all of a sudden a large wake grabs us all and just lifts Molly O and takes her and crew into the reeds. Art, did the right thing and kept calm and rode right in there. It was surreal to be honest. And if I had not seen it all unfold would never have believed it, or would anyone had known they were in there? Like Poof gone.

Are you in there? YES? Is everyone Okay? Yes?  Okay, so we can make fun of you now? NO! Too soon? YES!

OWN and Stinky had tried like little engines that could to pull them out. Not enough power. So we flagged down the Sherif.

You okay? Yes! Can we make fun of you yet? NO! Actually the Sherif was amazing. Very helpful and kept it all working forward in a positive way. Handed Art water.

Oh ya, they are in there

We were able to get all the passengers off Molly O. Art, the captain that he is, Stayed with the boat.

The Sherifs boat got her moved about 10 feet until it broke of one of the cleats on the Sherifs boat! And then POP, ping same with a part of Molly O.

At this point, TOW BOAT was called, and the crew from Molly O was on Owen and needed to get to land. We stayed behind and hung out with ARt. Okay we made kept it fun and just hung out. Art was in there with very little breeze and sweating, so water was delivered and the occasional joke.

Steve Lapkin came for a photo op, and had no idea this was all unfolding.

Yes Art you look great for the camera. Art cracks me up. Here he is in the reeds and kept it all going. Thats true woody boating. no one was hurt.

A small window of air

There is Art

The Tow Boat guys, had the juice and correct towing stuff.

Here she comes

BAM there she is

Clearing off the reeds

One light and a chock gone. But all good

Molly O, just enjoying another day in her long history

Some of the damage

Clearing out the reeds

Personally I would have saved some of those and framed them!

And just like that, VROOM, she started up and we proceeded together to the picnic. About 2 hrs late, but better for it all, and I had a much higher respect for ART and his boating skills. He did everything one could do in a tough situation.

OWEN brought some of the crew back to the show.

Now, this is where you may get some sort of chill. At least George and I did.

Ready. MOLLY O was sold to Art’s grand dad by his buddy OWEN. Yes, the same OWEN that owned the above boat. Both were special ordered boats, and Owen Smith and Art’s Grandfather were pals. And here we are at the 100 year celebration of Chris Craft, and for sure, 100% Owen is here with Art’s Grandfather all going boating with us! Yes, kinda cool, in an open yourself to the universe kinda way. When you are in a Woody Boat, you are never alone, and yesterdays adventure is proof. STAY TUNED!

22 replies
  1. mahoganymadness
    mahoganymadness says:

    Well It is Jobbie nooner out there. I always expect to see one boat in the weeds….But a woodie well was expecting that

  2. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Well Art and Molly O have been a Michigan gang legend. Now rhey are a Woodyboater legend. Thank God no one was Hurt!
    We are at the Harbour Club waiting for the big show to crank up.

  3. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Glad no one was hurt. Hope the damage to Molly O is minor. And hope to meet the WoodyBoater crew in a couple hours, at the big show.

  4. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:


    Nice job Art keeping everyone safe and sacrificing a few minor items on Molly – O for the well being of your passengers.

    I never would have believed that she was hiding in those reeds.

    Maybe this place should be called Reedville?

    • Frank@Falmouth
      Frank@Falmouth says:

      Reedville ! Good one!….

      Always sorry to see boat damage, but glad everyone is ok.

      Musta been surreal being lifted on a boat wake and dumped in the reeds….

  5. Steve Anderson from Michigan
    Steve Anderson from Michigan says:

    An amazing story, glad everyone was OK. Those reeds are very thick and choke out everything, but were probably a soft spot to land (versus the land). Sorry to hear about the trouble with the wake.

    My day was great, and I am so sad I didn’t get registered for the show in time. Jack and Pat were a huge help at the boat launch, once I got gas to the carb she fired up and ran great for the first time in over 30 years! We went down to walker’s landing and out in Muckamoot Bay around noon. What a great time! She’s now tucked into the boat storage barn at harbor club, sitting in the dark on her trailer.

  6. Syd
    Syd says:

    Maybe it was Molly O’s doing. She was remembering her early days of duck hunting and got carried away

  7. Syd
    Syd says:

    Sorry if this ends up being a repost but my original is not appearing

    Maybe it was Molly O’s doing. She was remembering her early days of duck hunting and just got carried away

  8. Mark in Algonac
    Mark in Algonac says:

    Damn Art that’s awful. I’m glad no one was hurt. Molly O came out fairly well. Makes for a good story. Taking a break in the Port O Call restaurant right now. Hope to run into some of you guys this afternoon. Also see more beautiful boats😃

  9. thomas d
    thomas d says:

    what kind of boat could make a wave big enough to throw Molly O that far? that front bow chock is hard to find, took me 10 years to find a pair for my Clipper.

  10. ART
    ART says:

    I talked to Hagerty and that process is started, talked to Joe and he probably has a bow light. Talked to Rob S and he has a chalk.
    Talked to Allan and he can start the repair shortly after the 4th .
    Now if I could only get the stink out of the boat………Maybe will have to rename her Stinky II or would it be Stinky Also.


    As a passenger in the Molly-O, on her shortcut through the phragmites, I would like to thank some woody boaters for their amazing help:

    Bob Shepton for taking me and other fellow passengers aboard Owen so the load on the Molly-O would be lightened.

    Art’s nephew, my son, Jeff Armstrong for changing into his bathing suit and going overboard, into the muck, to help us disembark from the Molly-O.

    Kevin, Art’s neighbor, for providing another boat (even though it was aluminum) to haul some passengers. He was a super help.

    Last, but not least, a fellow named Mat Smyth, or something like that, for staying with Art until the Molly-O was freed from it’s prison. What you did is very much appreciated.

    The unquestioned help for boaters in distress is a testament to the woody boater people, and to boaters in general. THANKS!

    • Bob Shapton
      Bob Shapton says:

      We’ll it’s hard to describe to land lubbers what we all witnessed this weekend for the 100th and that’s especially true for Owen and I. The shot I wished we had was Stinky and Owen, side by side roaring away to no avail, but we tried. So happy to have been there and to help. Art, you hang with some nice people and well mannered passengers. Owen is tucked away home safe as I hope is true with you fine folks. I want to thank everyone for the fabulous hospitality. Many firsts here for me, but not for Owen. So happy to see Matt, Wayne and George in person, love those guys!!! This needs to happen more. ‘23 Bayharbor baby!!! Special thanks to Greg and Tiger Lily for providing a platform for my new friend Mr Lapkin and very much enjoyed our conversations, look forward to the images and your expressed interest in the boat durning your presentation at the Old Club. I must say I got a little emotional seeing what you captured. Gave Miss X a big kiss and a great meeting with Mr Mistle. Another special thanks to Joyce and David Irvine for helping me through the weekend in unfamiliar waters and a fantastic cruise thru the many channels of Russel and Harsens Islands Saturday night, that was a highlight! The poly propylene animals along the shores were…haunting. Kinda like a f’ed up Disney Jungle Cruise. This could have real potential for future rendezvous for the Michigan Chapter. Oh, better yet light them! Damn that’s good!
      My daughter Reagan and Griffin (first apprentice) loved that and used the rear steering through most of it.
      Whew, I’m tired, good night! Many Thanks from Grand Rapids!
      Looking forward to seeing you all again! Talk soon.

  12. Jack Jensen
    Jack Jensen says:

    Steve Anderson, pat and i were glad to help you launch your Continental for the very first time since she was restored. She is a real beauty!

    The Algona show was fantastic. I only wish I could have walked the docks more and taken more of the sites in. The boat show committee/team was certainly busy at the show.

    Glad Art and his “gang” were ok! Molly O will be fine!

  13. David Irvine
    David Irvine says:

    I would have to say that those Friday picnics are one of my favorite boating experiences. I shared some photos with you three or four years ago (Matt Smith) which you kindly posted. I came up behind and I was the one in our Cuthbertson craft “The Big Dipper” to make sure you were OK right around the time of the “incident.” In true Art Armstrong fashion, after Steve Lapkin‘s lecture and the mention of the “incident“, Art came up with the mic to explain it in his own words. So thankful nobody was hurt in the injuries to the boat were relatively minor.

    By the way, on Saturday night we were going for a sunset cruise and I saw a woody leaving the harbor club and going a little bit too close to the boys club on Harsens Island where there is a sunken vessel. Not close enough to be a problem but close enough to give me a reason to go see who it was. Of course it was Bob in OWEN, his daughter Reagan, and her boyfriend Griffin. I introduced them to some old “Algonacians” (you taught me “Algonacness”) who were on the boat with Joyce and I, scrapped our idea of doing a sunset ride and I took them through some canals by Art‘s house and through the Russell island cuts. Had a nice chat about it with Bob and his crew at brunch the next day. The pleasure was all ours. Joyce and I had a lot of fun hanging out with our fellow Chris Craft Land Cruiser owners, Mike Teusink/Kirk Wingard, Mike and Nancy McBride, Jerome and Lynn Chandler, and adoptees Brian Mortimore (Who had his own boat issues, and I got to tell him back to the DNR launch) and Peter Cross.

    • David Irvine
      David Irvine says:

      I got to “tow” Brian and his beautiful 1947 17’6” Century Sea Maid “Spirit of Mackinac”. Note to Matt Smith… would be great to allow the option of editing contributors comments on your website 🙂

      A conversation from last summer….

      Hey Brian what does your century have in it, a four or a six cylinder?

      It’s got a 289 V8 Ford interceptor, wanna hear it?

      Joyce: Oh my God where are the lifejackets?

  14. Brian Mortimore
    Brian Mortimore says:

    Such a great story Matt, the irony of those two boats on that scene – you can’t write that stuff, well, you did write it but only because it’s true. And David should be dubbed “Mr. Hospitality” given his graciousness. If you’d like to have a story on my own breakdown let me know. It’s not as exciting but lessons were learned.

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