Moonlight Bay Always Shines, Even When I Don’t.


Beautiful greetings from the docks.

First an apology, I had some mental issues yesterday morning. New software, Dog poop that pissed off the Boatress, PDF’s that would not cooperate, and well. SHIP HAPPENS as Lee said. HA, BUT  A huge thanks to fellow Woody Boaters Lee Wangstad and Dane Anderson for sending us in this almost poetic report from The Whitefish Chain Classic Boat Show. But then again, anything reported from Moonlight Bay would be lyrical.

Fabulous 1946 Chris-Craft Custom owned by Dave Fleck.

Okay, so I’ve done this many times before, you know, driven up to the Whitefish Chain Classic Boat Show, but the drive up there never fails to mesmerize me with its winding asphalt ribbon cutting though the lakes and woods to the fabulous Moonlight Bay Bar & Grill.

n case the first set didn’t blow you away.

This show is always full of surprises, you never know until you get there just what you’ll see. And for once, I’m going to be there early. At least early for me, I’m talking about 9:30, maybe 10:00. Way ahead of my usual “begin to function” starting time. Ahhh, retirement, such a blessing. But it took me a long time to get here, right?

1957 Crestliner, ’57 Johnson Javelin, and a ‘57 Tee Nee trailer.

Anyway, upon arrival, while I’m in the parking lot, it’s time to talk to old friends who have gathered here among the boats that are trailered in and have chosen to leave them pinned to their wheels. Sometimes I feel that this is where some of these outboard boats are better viewed. You can get up close and personal with them, stand next to them, and really get the feel of what they are all about. And more importantly, get the real story from their owners. Just my opinion, of course, but I enjoy the conversation and the history lesson.

Lee Anderson’s magnificent Gar Wood.

On the stairway to the docks, I enjoy the chance encounters with so many friends and make my way to the docks. Now, I know that the trend is towards running your boats, and all the boats at the docks did have to run to get here, but the annual “fly-by” wouldn’t happen this year due to rain, another event that occasionally seems to go hand-in-hand with this show. But it is always intermittent, never a disaster. And it really didn’t happen until later in the day.

The clouds that produced the rain that killed the fly-by.

But the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the boat owners, nor the spectators. The morning was sunny and bright into the early afternoon with not much to worry about.

The photographs are, of course, dock shots, so if you aren’t into that you’ll have to look elsewhere for action shots, like the views from Kent O. Smith last Friday. Who can match that?

Mighty V-12 Curtis.

Of particular interest was Lee Anderson’s Griffin, a 1935 28’ single-step triple cockpit Gar Wood, a gargantuan boat with a massive 375hp Curtis D-12 V-12 cylinder engine. This one gives a sweet listen when it fires up.

Charlie Underbrink’s phenomenal Brainard Robbins.

Another larger than life boat was Charlie Underbrink’s 1922 Brainard Robbins 30’ runabout complete with its original Kroh folding top. Recently having undergone a complete refurbishment retaining as much original wood as possible, it looked fantastic. Charlie is well known for bringing some of the most unusual one-of-a-kind boats to this show. I would have to underscore unusual.

Would this actually count as 3 Century Sea Maids?

There were not one, but two Century Sea Maids present, both with their blond accents signaling a shift in styling at the turn of the mid-century mark. No pun intended, sorry.

Fancy leatherwork from Mike Bray.

Another boat was a hand-tooled leather covered Crestliner police tribute boat. If there is another one of these at any other show, I’d like to see it. Mike Bray performed some incredible leather work on this one. Check out the Johnson! Did someone say “original”? Who cares. Pretty neat boat. Definitely one of a kind.

Glastron/Carlson was well represented.

Also in attendance were a pair of Glastron/Carlson go-fast boats. A silver metal flake 1978 CVX-20 owned by Dave Rocca as well as a two-toned gold 1981 CVX-20 Intimidator brought by Mike Lind. Are these boats really over 40 years old? Advanced for their time, they still look advanced today. The genius of Art Carlson at his best! The Intimidator was as good as it got in 1981.

It was another great show. With all the boats, the people, the atmosphere, the Minnesota weather just wouldn’t cooperate. Moonlight Bay was the perfect host, serving up great food, great refreshments, and the ambiance to bring us back again next year.

Rabbit reports in. Stay tuned

Thanks again Lee and Dane, OKAY, there I did it, I got the story done! I think, I know many are thinking, what the heck? So am I, just stalled, and the story got finished around 6:30 last night. STAY tuned we have a report from Rabbit and the Riva Museum, Some of Lapkins prime choice filet from Algonac and a ticket to his special Library of insane images.

14 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    The Minnesota boats never cease to amaze me. What a collection. I am still drooling over that black hulled GarWood with the V-12 Curtis!
    Thanks for the great report.

  2. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    It was worth the wait.

    I hope the custom leather boat got pulled and covered before the rain hit!

  3. Royce Humphreys
    Royce Humphreys says:

    The Minnesota contingent of antique and classic boaters are nothing short of amazing! The shows in Minnesota are all in beautiful venues hosted by great people! I highly recommend attending them. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Don vogt
    Don vogt says:

    Thanks, Matt. Have any other photos of the ‘35 gar wood instrument panel? Haven’t seen that one before.

  5. BT
    BT says:

    A big thanks to Dane and Lee and all of the Fabulous Boat Captains who attended this year’s show (55 boats in all). The glass boats stir memories in all of us and particularly with the under 60 crowd (a great thing). And how about Larry Storck’s little 12′ Crestliner with it’s Evinrude. Larry lives on the south end of Cross Lake and took 1 1/2 hours to make the trip to the show (and a very wet ride home). Please mark your calendars for June 17th, 2023 when we do it all again – and at this point the weather report looks dry!!

  6. Richard Daley
    Richard Daley says:

    Got to love those Glastron-Carlsons
    Any body have a CVX 20 for sale
    I am in the market for one

    • Dane
      Dane says:


      We have an active group in Minnesota, The Classic Glastron Owners Assoc of MN. There is a member who searches Craigslist, Ebay, and Facebook marketplace daily and posts recaps in a “Glastron Carlson of the Day” thread. He includes boats from all over the country and Canada.

  7. tom
    tom says:

    I think the ’46 custom has about the nicest lines on any Chris Craft I ever saw. I’d have to say the same for the Seamaids by Century. Love the Curtis in the Garwood, as well as the bilge color.

  8. tom
    tom says:

    Forget to mention those creepy looking clouds, looks like they’re out of a horror picture.

    • Dane
      Dane says:

      Sorry Don, I don’t know about the panel, but you could probably reach out to Dave Bortner at Freedom Boat Service.

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