Live-ish From Lake Chelan – Mahogany & Merlot Vintage Boat Show 2014

, ,

Captain Curt Erickson

“Hokey Pokey” Captain and fellow Woody Boater Curt Erickson leads the fleet of classic boats up Lake Chelan on Friday – Curt is in his “Happy Place”…

The prolific Pacific Northwest ACBS Chapter is at it again, this weekend reporting in from Lake Chelan, Washington as they team up with the nice folks from the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum for a weekend of classic boating & vintage race boating, surrounded by Chelan’s emerging wine industry with over 200 acres of wine grapes and over 20 local wineries. Thus the name Mahogany & Merlot Vintage Boat Show.

Shepard Junior

Maurizio, Cecilia, and Jacqueline enjoying the perfect water in their 1957 16′ Shepherd Junior.

It’s becoming an annual tradition for many PNW Chapter members to arrive early and make the day-trip up Lake Chelan towards the Cascade mountains, in what they now refer to as the “Kookie Kokanee Kruise.” And that’s where Ron Stevenson starts his report today. – Texx

Live-ish from Lake Chelan, Washington
5th Annual Mahogany & Merlot Vintage Boat Show
Kookie Kokanee Kruise, or AKA Drink Like a Fish?
Story & Photos by Ron Stevenson

Kokanee is a land locked salmon and a popular beer in British Columbia, Canada. So we thought we would head up Lake Chelan, about thirty miles up the 55 mile long lake, to Safety Harbor and see the Kokanee (fish) spawning and drink beer! Sound familiar? We did this last year, too. Remember fish sex? This year we made it there by around lunch time, to drink some beer with lunch – And watch fish. (Classic boaters will find any excuse to use their boats – Texx)

Amazing Lake Chelan, Washington - David Ansley photo

Amazing Lake Chelan, Washington which, at the far end, is only 30 miles from the Canadian border. – David Ansley photo

Last year we did all 55 miles up the lake to Stehekin – And 55 miles back. And Chapter member Ike Kielgass did go to Stehekin in his 1948 Chris-Craft 20′ Custom, along with several boats again this year too. Two different but the same… oh never mind… Their gonna stop on their way back and watch fish sex too!


The docks at Chelan Waterfront Park & Lakeside Marina (the venue for the Mahogany & Merlot Vintage Boat Show) are quiet this time of year, but filled up with over 40 classic boats on the weekend for the show.

This is the day before the Pacific Northwest ACBS Chapters version of a boat show. Non-judged, and not very many people in Lake Chelan to come to the show to see boats. Are they all up the lake watching fish? Anyway, we share the event with HARM. No harm really, but the Hydroplane And Raceboat Museum. We get to watch vintage unlimited hydros! A great organization headed by David Williams, you can check out their website by Clicking Here.

I bet you are asking. Why do we go all the way to Eastern Washington to Lake Chelan? Especially when Seattle and the areas around Seattle are the “Boating Capital of the Pacific Northwest?” I can see a separate story there, how many boating CAPITALS are there? Well, there is not really any spot in the “boating capital of whatever” to have a show. In the Seattle area, all of our docks are full of boats! So here we are! Besides, it is 20 degrees warmer over here, and dryer. And beautiful. And no big cities…

I am riding in Curt & Marsha Erickson’s “Hokey Pokey” a rare 1948 24′ Hackercraft as I try to press the right buttons on my iPhone. Nice smooth water and smooth ride. Smooth folks!

From Hokey Pokey Erickson's boat.

From the cockpit of “Hokey Pokey” as we head off into the wild blue yonder. This is what it looks like and where we are headed. Do we have enough fuel? Will we break down? What if we need to make a pit stop? Will those wicked winds kick up on the lake? Do we have the beer cooler?

Besides “Hokey Pokey” we’ve got Al McEwan and Sandi in “Jezebel” (a 1955 24′ Greavette hull number 1, could be the only 24′ one built), Rob and Susan DaPron in “Red Head II” (a 1928 24ft Chris-Craft Model 3 triple), Tom and Janet Cathcart in “Huckledybuck” (their 1953 22′ Shepherd 110-S), some members from Quebec, Canada who just joined us from the Thousand Islands ACBS Chapter, Maurizio, Cecilia, and Jacqueline. They have a 1957 16′ Shepherd Junior outboard. Plus, Dick and Kathy Dow in “Sinbad”, and Kirk Knapp in “Longshot” (a 1927 Hackercraft 28′ Dolphine DX).

From Foreground

We are underway, about 5 miles out….

Uh, oh…. “Huckledybuck”, Cathcart’s Shepherd, is dead in the water! Engine quit. Water in the oil. Anyone have duct tape? Nope. The Dows will tow them back. Two boats down, still four left. It’s OK, Dick & Kathy have seen fish sex before. Tom & Janet have to help the Show Organizers Chris & Jon Courtright this PM anyway. The Courtright’s do an amazing job, any money earned goes directly to the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum. No administrative costs. So lots of volunteer help too.

Dead Cathcart Shepherd.

Shepherd rescue being organized by Dick & Kathy Dow.

On our way again!


Al McEwan and Sandi in “Jezebel” – the Greavette happily gliding across Lake Chelan.


Kirk Knapp and crew in “Longshot” – the 1927 Hackercraft 28′ Dolphine DX.

Safety Harbor. Again

The remaining four classic boats arrive at Safety Harbor. (Lake Chelan has a reputation for rapidly changing surface conditions when the wind kicks up due to the long narrow shape and geographical location of the lake between the mountains. I am guessing “Safety Harbor” probably has that name for a reason… – Texx)

We are now at our destination in Safety Harbor, a small little campground, part of the National Park system. Looking for spawning Kokanee…

What!!!  NO FISH!!!

Pacific Northwest Chapter President Robert DaPron checking the stream for spawning Kokanee (fish). What!!! NO FISH!!??

Hmmm, no fish… NO FISH? What? NO FISH SEX?

Humph, guess we have to drink beer! Uh oh, Rob is the only one with beer? He is even drinking a beer looking for fish! Wait Greg Price has beer! Never mind – Turns out nobody really wanted any beer really. They all want to watch fish sex though! OK – guess I have call this story something else. But sex sells!

Hey, I know, see last years story for pictures of fish!

Just so you know I’m not going crazy, here is a link to Last Years Story,

Regardless, we had a yummy mostly beerless lunch, with four boat loads of people, at a wonderful spot, a beautiful, warm day….. Hey, what are the rich people doing today?

Author waiting at a WoodyBoater out station.

Reporter Ron Stevenson waiting at the Woody Boater out-station sporting his Sons of Varnish tee shirt. Or is this really why they call it “Safety Harbor?” – Texx

After a great picnic lunch at Safety Harbor, it’s time to pull up anchor and begin the 30 mile trip return trip back to Chelan.

Jezebel leaving safety harbor.

Shepard Junior leaving Safety Harbor.
Tomorrow, Boat Show! Car Show! Sorry, no fish show….

Fast forward to Saturday back at the event in Chelan, and we are now at Mahogany Row presented by Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. The docks at Chelan Waterfront Park & Lakeside Marina are lined with classic boats and the scent of varnish is in the air.

39 boats signed up.

Mahogany Row

Here are few examples of boats entered at this years Mahogany & Merlot.


“Malibu” – Tom & Marianne Carlin’s 1940 Chris-Craft 19′ Custom Barrelback, from Woodville, WA. (Great name for a Woody Boater to live – Texx)


Here is a great looking 1960 Higgins 18′ Mandelay powered by a 210 HP Ford V-8. “Higgins” is owned by Marc & Rosalie Aikin from North Bend, WA. (Note the pink outboard in the back ground – See awards below)


“Wildwood” – Presented by Don & Emily Robson from Sandpoint, Idaho is a 1964 Century 17′ Resorter. Love the sliding top…

Cruising Chris

Big Chris-Craft Continentals are cool and are great party barges too… “Crusin Chris” is a 23′ model owned by Dave & Chris Weiseth out of Sammamish, WA. (Good thing it’s not owned by “Sammy from Sammamish” – say that 5 times fast…)

Campbell’s Resort is the host hotel for the annual Mahogany & Merlot Vintage Boat Show and is a fabulous, comfortable facility.

As we were preparing todays story, we received a few more late night e-mails from Ron Stevenson (armed with his iPhone camera) who was at the popular awards banquet, which is also held at Campbell’s Resort.

David Williams

David Williams – Director of Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum.

At the awards dinner tonight, David Williams announced that Campbell’s Resort was nominated as one of the Northwest Best Places by KING 5 TVs Evening Magazine.

Master of Ceremonies Dick Dow

Master of Ceremonies Dick Dow

Our friend and fellow Woody Boater Dick Dow was the Master of Ceremonies this year. The Mahogany & Merlot Vintage Boat Show is a non judged event, much more fun!

But of course we have a few awards to present:

People’s Choice
“Hokey Pokey” 1948 Hakcercraft owned by Curt & Marsha Erickson

Ladies Choice
“Jezebel” 1955 Greavette owned by Al & Sandi McEwan

Skippers Choice
“Longshot” 1927 Hackercraft owned by Kirk Knapp

Kids Choice
“Lipstick” The Awesome Pink Fiberglass Outboard

Best Regards, Ron Stevenson

Special thanks to Ron Stevenson for preparing this great report from Lake Chelan this weekend, and also to the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum, and all the dedicated volunteers that make this fun event possible. We are hanging on to every day of boating right now, and this sure helps. I noticed on Facebook last night that someone said it was snowing somewhere in Wisconsin – Ugh.


25 replies
  1. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    All this talk of salmon and no bagels?

    That looks like a Great Lake and a very nice collection of boats. Thanks for the story and photos.

  2. Ron
    Ron says:

    Thanks Texx, for your great editing skills!
    Readers, he puts in a lot of time putting my story together piece by piece.
    Also thanks to the Classic Car Club, we had an amazing collection of vintage autos here too.
    Everyone donate today to raise money to get Texx out here next year!
    PS Happy face Curt wants to thank you too!

  3. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Those lakes with big hills and mountains on their shore fascinate me.

    I would Love to boat those waters one day.

    • Kentucky Wonder
      Kentucky Wonder says:

      Lake Cumberland here in KY look very similar, but Lake Chatuge in GA/NC is a lake in the Blue Ridge mountains. Especially in the foggy mornings, you feel like you are floating among the mountain tops. Very beautiful and picturesque.

  4. Brian Flaherty
    Brian Flaherty says:

    Just for you folks in woodyboaterville… We put a special name on our ’69 Chris Craft Cavalier ski boat (all fiberglass).

      • Brian Flaherty
        Brian Flaherty says:

        Texx, I’m afraid we were either too late on our arrival or simply lost in the shuffle of it all. Ron had A LOT of boats to cover and he obviously wanted to be able to enjoy the show without looking at his phone the whole day… The excitement of this event is that there is a whole lot going on!
        Here is the kid’s choice winner! A very unique boat!!

        • Texx
          Texx says:

          Thanks Brian – Wow, nice shot! Do you know what manufacturer or model that is – so I can list it in the awards please?

          • Brian Flaherty
            Brian Flaherty says:

            Unfortunately I didn’t get a shot of their info card. I believe Ron and another member (Jerry) took shots of all boats and their respective info cards, always a good idea since our memories seem to be fading…

  5. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    Question about Greavette Streamliners…what is the driving/riding experience like? I have heard about non-pounding hull design, does that really work? How about water splash/spray? Are they “wet” boats?

    • Brian Flaherty
      Brian Flaherty says:

      A few years ago the PNW chapter took an odyssey down the snake river and “Jezebel” came along. Seemed like the perfect boat as it is 24′ long!! However of all the boats on trip the poor folks aboard her where BY FAR the wettest of all event participants! Even wetter than my wife and I in our little 17′ Ski Boat!!
      The streamliners are BEAUTIFUL and look they ride great in smooth to light chop but once the waves start touching the upper curve of the bow, everything onboard gets wet!

  6. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Another great weekend at one of the most unique and wonderful events (and venue) for the hobby we all enjoy. Three hours from Seattle and we are in a 1400 ft deep freshwater fjord, with a long-established, fully served vacation town at one end and an equally long established isolated “hamlet” at the other end, albeit with a wonderful bakery and really top-notch National Park Service resort to keep everyone comfortable. Once you leave the 25 mile mark, you may as well be an explorer in a new world – it’s not hard to imagine that you are the first to be there as you run up the lake between the mountains. We hope this event will expand in the future to include an overnight in Stehekin for the early adventurers – an odyssey of sorts, ending in a boat show. Stay tuned – it may happen!

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thanks Dick – An overnight trip up the lake would be a fabulous experience in a classic boat.

      Do you know the story behind the name “Safety Harbor?”

  7. Scott Mason
    Scott Mason says:


    Thank you for the great report. Still can’t believe we planned a trip to Peru during Mahogany and Merlot. Today we head for the Amazon…perhaps I will see a wood boat there. Perhaps the dates have already been set for next year so I can keep my priorities straight.

  8. Jim Cooper
    Jim Cooper says:

    Here`s a shot of “Oh Boy Oberto”, “Miss Wahoo”, and” My Sweetie John Francis” prepping for their runs. Way Cool!

  9. Jim Cooper
    Jim Cooper says:

    And here`s one of my 1924 Dodge Watercar along side Horace Dodge Jrs “My Sweetie John Francis”. I couldn`t resist parking there.

Comments are closed.