Why You Should Have Your Boat Judged.


I love winning, and love loosing even more. Wait, no, winning is more fun

I know many of you may think I am opposed to boat judging. Nothing could be further than the truth. I think its a critical part of the future of our passion and the history of our boats. Hey, no one likes to be judged, unless you win all the time. Its like a test in a way. Where you able to restore, or preserve your boat in such a way that helps your boat and possibly others be saved for generations?

We made 6 of these. Only one left.

Part of the issue is for some, your personal wants over power the passion to truly restore your boat to its build. That is what restore means. Different strokes for different folks.

Whats the thread count on that flag? Is that the right factory style hook?

I love the smallest of the smallest details. The more obscure the more fun it is. Like original zipper manufacturers. Stitch count on original cushions. Little scribbles on the wood under the dash. All of that is so cool. The research, the search, and the find are all part of the joy. And yes, finding a NOS part can evoke the same emotion of finding a Playboy at age 12 in the trash. Ya.. You all know what I am talking about. That KOOL cigarette ad on the back of that thick magazine could only mean one thing. GOLD. Okay, okay.. I digress.

We are one!

The social aspect of boat shows is amazing. I used to attend many events, and guess what. So do many others and I have made friends from all this. Okay, they may not consider me a friend. But I do. You can literally travel across the world in some cases and go to a boat show and you are not alone. And having a boat judged around the country can be fun, and rewarding.

In Michigan.

Have your boat pre judged. I did that with Don Ayers with Sylvia. It was eye opening, and fun in a none judgmental way. I wanted to learn more and did.


We are always watching

Competition is the fuel of growth. Yes its no fun to loose, but not winning is learning if you see it through a positive filter. Hey, you didn’t get your PHD in the 1st grade. Look at it that way. Its school and keeps things interesting.

All part of the fun

Become a judge. I have been there, and it can be a HUGE. Some learn by teaching. I personally do not have the personality to be a judge since I can see almost every argument as valid. But there are people that we all know and love AND NEED as part of the glue that holds all of this community together that are perfect judges.

Time is a wonderful thing if you can learn to slow it down

Judging is a serious time suck, and done on a volunteer bases. So know that when there is a team of them judging your boat, they are NOT judging you, or your boat. But judging the accuracy of history. And isnt that what we all love about our boats. The history, the continuum of time? Maybe we call judges, Curators? Quality Control? Final Inspectors? After all the boats were not judged when they left the factory? Right. Maybe we get a team to sign off on a new hull card. A sticker added to your Hull card that its still ready for delivery?

Texx judging Rivas on Lake Tahoe. The Tahoe gang is an amazing group and in many ways Tahoe is the Pebble Beach of our community.

Either way, Judged events are more fun, even if there is 10 year olds judging your boat. It is fun to know your efforts in preservation are appreciated by your friends.

I finally have a space to put some of the great awards. I won the Utzs Potato Chip award from the local Diner for buying so many Tuna Sandwiches.

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

    Let me see if I have this correct.

    Have your boat judged, “I love winning, ………”

    Wasn’t this picture taken at Dora, where there are no Judges?
    Participation award?

    I LOVE Dora, almost everyone gets some sort of award there.

  2. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Great photo of the ladies from the Michigan gang. We still consider you our friend and hope you will join us at our June party in Algonac!

  3. MikeS
    MikeS says:

    Competition and judging have certainly raised the bar in the quality and accuracy of restorations over the years. Most of the time it works out well and the best boat receives the top award. Sometimes the judges don’t get it right and people are unhappy. We need to realize that no one knows it all. We should put ego aside and admit what we don’t know and find the ones who do. This can only help the hobby for those interested in historical accuracy.
    For the rest of us, it’s time to hit the water!

  4. Mike D
    Mike D says:

    Hmmm, how ironic, old boats looking like new being shown by old men who look old. How about points for looking like a 25 year old or maybe being as young as you think you look?

  5. Rick
    Rick says:

    During the pandemic when all shows were cacelled and I was feeling down I decided to have my own show in the backyard. Panther was the only boat there and so was awarded Best in Show, Furthest traveled and everything inbetween. Bittersweet since the judge (me) was totally uninformed or qualified. Disaapointed that I was the only one to show up for the awards ceremony as my wife’s excuse was that her nails weren’t dry enough to risk bugs sticking to them. The awards dinner featured chicken on a stick (kabobs).

  6. Tparsons56
    Tparsons56 says:

    All the shows I have entered ask during the registration if you want to be judged so if you don’t want to be judged you don’t have to. I always get my boat judged because it looks and runs better than I do which is really not much of a challenge.

    The boat shows are fun – just don’t take them too seriously.

  7. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P)
    Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P) says:

    Looks like your not the only one milking it today Matt. Your right tparson don’t take it too serious.

    • Mark again
      Mark again says:

      Oh well I give up on the picture. Like was said earlier “don’t take it too seriously”

  8. John
    John says:

    I like the question about having 10 year olds Judging – The 10 year old will ask very insightful questions like

    “Why do I have two eyes if I only see one boat?”
    “How did people make the first tools if they didn’t have any tools?”
    “Why do we have to be born young and grow old, why can’t we be born old and get young?”
    “Can trees choose what kind of boat they want to be?”

  9. Murdock
    Murdock says:

    These days, being a fat, old white guy with an attitude and an opinion, I get judged enough already.
    And since I’ve somehow now lost most of my “filters”…….
    It’s OK, I’ve got broad shoulders. In the eyes of many (at least according to the media), it’s all my fault anyway.
    My boats float, my cars drive, I’m blessed to have two feet hit the floor early each day because success doesn’t come unless you earn it, I’ve got a large number of very good people who work for/with me and I’ve loved one woman for 40+ years.
    All the crap I’ve accumulated in my life will make for a great three day, three ring auction, so come early and buy a lot. (Patti will then go on a long world cruise….).
    I’m sure there’s something there for everyone to restore and win a trophy! 😊

  10. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    A little over 25 years ago a friend/customer acquired an unrestored 1924 Hacker triple, hull #6 documented on a number of seat parts and the dashboard within the boat. A show worthy restoration was planned which included months of research obtaining hundreds of pages of every nautical publication from the Library of Congress at the time (University privilege) from year 1923 to 1925 to insure every article or advertisement was reviewed that mentioned or pictured this model. Advertising copy noted upholstery color, hardware/plating, engine model, seating configuration, gauges, etc and even seat spring construction and bilge paint color. All these features were incorporated into the restoration including staining the boat 3 different times before getting it to the satisfaction of the owner and then many, many coats of varnish. After many days of water testing and shakedown cruises, the boat was entered into a judged show (St Michael’s) and came in 2nd or 3rd behind other boats that have long been forgotten. This boat had been “dinged” for upholstery color and the original hatch cover divider strip that was aluminum (original to the boat) but “should have been chrome” according to judge. By the way chrome was not employed in ’24, all the hardware was nickle plated or commonly referred to as “German Silver” at the time or highly polished aluminum castings that Hacker used in some instances mixed with the nickel plated bronze castings. And you don’t want people to take it seriously, LOL. We certainly don’t anymore.

    • floyd r turbo
      floyd r turbo says:

      The owner never intended to “show” this restored boat around the country to compete in different shows but to do a restoration worthy of an early production boat and preserve it for regular use, not make it a trailer queen.

  11. km
    km says:

    Because of its rarity I felt it to be good experience for the judges to judge my boat. Judging results not important! Like many of you, I knew the issues…

  12. briant
    briant says:

    A one off custom boat made in 1929 in a warehouse by two brothers, then launched on the local lake where it remained from 1930 to 1998 (only being in the boathouse and never even having had a trailer) having provided two families with decades of memories, will never win any award against a CC.

    Trust me, I know this. It is just what it is.

    Thus, No judging for me.

  13. Steve Anderson from Michigan
    Steve Anderson from Michigan says:

    I will hopefully be able to get my Continental judged this summer. It is far from perfect, but close enough at 40mph and 40′.
    Where do we sit on a 5200 bottom job? Big deduction, or none?

      • Steve Anderson from Michigan
        Steve Anderson from Michigan says:

        Oh, it will definitely be used all summer! I don’t need a trailer queen.

        • Dennis Spillane
          Dennis Spillane says:

          I saw the excitement go out of my youngest son’s eyes when an old coot, self righteous judge said something smart ass to him about a simple ‘48 U -18 we restored with his brother and named after his Grandpa. So it wasn’t an upswept triple!! You know what. Use the boat the way you want to and how you want to. Have fun. As my wife says” fun is fun as fun is fun and nobody owns it”. Being on a power trip on a dong measuring contest being a judge does this hobby no good. If you get a loan you can buy a show winner and use it for 3 months until it’s repossessed. Have a great Mother’s Day and spend it with the ladies who put up with all of us and our obsession.

  14. Bo Muller
    Bo Muller says:

    When owners decide to have their boat judged the reality is that the boat gets improved before the show. Whether it is judged fairly or not the boat is improved. History wins!

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