Thursday Was “One Of Those Epic Days” On Gull Lake

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“Marjorie” Mike Favilla’s rare 1936 19-foot Chris-Craft Special Race Boat powered by a 120 HP Grey Phantom.

DATELINE THURSDAY – 2015 WOODS AND WATER AT GULL LAKE, MINNESOTA: The day started out slow due to drizzle in the morning, that was suppose to end but didn’t. Over 100 people travelled to the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum in Alexandria for a tour of the amazing museum and were treated to guest speakers Tony Mollica & Chris Smith – so there wasn’t much going on at the boat show site.

As many of you know – there is nothing we would rather do than get out on the water during a boat show and shoot some photos that we can share with our loyal viewers. That’s what we love to do.

We decided to ignore the drizzle and made our way out on the water to see what was what – and as we were passing by the launch ramp we heard the growl of the Mike Favilla’s 120 HP Grey Phantom as it came to life.

As they pulled away from the dock to drive across the channel to the docks at Bar Harbor, we waved to Mike and yelled “Hey Mike – can we make a few laps out on the big lake before you go to the show dock?”

Mike immediately changed direction and pointed the 1936 Chris-Craft Special Race Boat towards Gull Lake – and we fired up our cameras. Dane, Matt and I were shooting and Jimmy Scott was driving the shoot boat.

woods-1 Marjorie

Calm water, the fall colors on the shore of Gull Lake and the sound of classic power is what we were looking for – and we found it. Thanks Mike!

And from that point on, it just kept getting better. The drizzle finally ended and the sun slowly popped out of the clouds.  Not only did the classic boats start appearing on the lake, they were offering to take us for rides in their boats while we were shooting – a perfect world…

Woods Bullen Dane Head on

Chris-Bullen offered to take Dane Anderson for a fun-filled ride in “Riot” – Chris & Julies 25-foot Clarion Gold Cup Raceboat. And Matt was in the right place at the right time to capture the action.

Woods Bullen

Woods Bullen 2

After the ride – Smiles all around as Chris & his co-pilot Norm Kitching share the high performance boat ride experience in “Riot” with Dane Anderson. An “epic” boat ride.

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A pre-war 17-foot Chris-Craft Barrelback made a fly-by for Matt.

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Another cool Chris-Craft runabout appeared out of nowhere and Matt had his finger on the trigger to capture a great shot.

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Our friend Dave Bortner from Freedom Boat Service provided a V-8 powered fiberglass Century for rescue service during the boat show, and let us also use the boat as a go-to shoot boat when it wasn’t being used for rescue. Dane Anderson flat-out chasing somebody for a quick photo. At this point, I don’t even know what boat Matt was shooting from to grab a shot of the shoot boat… But it didn’t matter. we were doing exactly what we were hoping to do.

None of this stuff was pre-planned, it just happened naturally – that’s what makes it so special.

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Here Dane & I were back in the Freedom Boat Service rescue / shoot boat doing our best to capture some “dynamic” shots of the classic boats, as we closed up on the subject boat from behind.


We took a break from shooting when we were called into service to assist Rich Lepping who needed a tow to the launch ramp for a minor repair to his 1955 Century Palomino.

Woods Lepping break down

A quick jump start fixed the problem and he was back under way.

Woods Wooden Runabout

Matt then snapped this great shot of our friend Kirk Wingard from the Wooden Runabout Company in their newly built 19-foot wooden runabout.

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I offered to help Dave Bortner deliver “Seaflow II” from the launch ramp to the show docks and had the pleasure of taking her for a ride around Gull Lake before arriving at the dock. This amazing and historic 1938 28-foot Hackercraft is an absolute thrill to drive with her 300 HP Scripps V-12. Any time someone offers to let you drive (or even ride in) a big Hacker triple – don’t hesitate, just say “Yes!” It’s best described as “like riding on a cloud.”

So of course we had to go out and tease Matt, Dane & Jimmy in the Century shoot boat, adjusting the throttle just fast enough that they had to work hard to catch us in the big Hacker. We finally let them catch up so we could shoot some photos on the perfectly calm water.

woods Hacker reg

Then we felt bad for them in the Century shoot boat, so Dave offered to take Matt & Jimmy in the Hacker, and I jumped in to the shoot boat with Dane in the middle of Gull Lake. They both had the opportunity to experience driving the big Hacker while Dane and I tried to keep up in the shoot boat.

Hackercraft Seaflow

Over the Top

Then Karen Harrison came out on the lake to join in the fun in her and Paul’s 1961 Chris-Craft 21-foot Continental. The beautiful boat just left Mike Green’s restoration shop Maritime Classics in Traverse City, Michigan and arrived at Gull Lake for the big show.

Woods Harrison Cont

“Over-the-Top” looks fantastic on the water.

Thursday was “one of those epic days” on Gull Lake. Then to top it all off, that evening we joined our host John Allen to celebrate the opening of his spectacular new boat house just down the road from the Bar Harbor Supper Club – site of the 2015 Woods and Water show which runs Friday and Saturday here in Minnesota. The weather forecast is great for the next few days, so stay tuned to Woody Boater for more daily updates from the boat show.

A day we will always remember here at Woody Boater.


14 replies
  1. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Looks like the rain God’s have let Matt off the hook for a bit.

    Wonderful coverage! THANKS!

    “Over the Top” looks FANTASTIC! (Great name BTW)

  2. Ron-Seattle- Gull Lake
    Ron-Seattle- Gull Lake says:

    Texx, nice pix! Thanks for these, Rob and I spent the day in Alexandria at the Martime Museum, listening to the two featured speakers Lee Wangstad (huge depth of knowledge) and Tony Molica. Chris Smith was in the audience listening and made some great points of interest during Tony’s talk.
    But see you were in those darn boats all day!
    BTW. That museum is first class! I encourage all WB readers to put that place on your bucket list. Amazing quality of displays, high level of interesting stuff! Very well done, rotating displays, the level of restoration of the boats is award winning.
    Nice dinner at Madden’s Resort after that, with comedy and a magician.
    See you today for more magic on the water!

  3. don vogt
    don vogt says:

    Very nice report, Texx. Over the Top really turned out nicely. Great job by MIke Green. And Paul and Karen are to be thanked for bringing it back to its former glory.

  4. Ed F
    Ed F says:

    The prewar runabout that did the flyby is actually Joe Whitsett’s 1939 19′ Custom Cask-Away. Joe had some business to attend to and cut his ride a little short while his cousin Bob and I continued the ride. It was a great ride up through the Gull Lake Chain and then out onto Gull lake itself.

  5. Norm Kitching
    Norm Kitching says:

    Riot is a true true “Throughbred” in the world of boats. Comfy, fast, good handling, good looking, smooth, a joy to ride in !

    • Tom
      Tom says:

      I agree 100%. After having the privilege of riding with Chris at Lake George last weekend, I have a great appreciation for the quality of the Clarion boats.

      Looking forward to more pictures and stories from Gull Lake.

  6. John Baas
    John Baas says:

    The look on Rich’s face while being towed is priceless!
    Love all the photos and reporting. Super love Marjorie!
    Most of us are at work while you guys are having so much fun.

Comments are closed.