A Wood Trawler For Christmas Dear… Dear.. Honey.. Sweety Pie… Dear.. Hello.. Wait, Come Back..

Pray for me!

In what has to be the boldest WoodyBoater move of all time, I just gave the Boatress a wood 40 ft boat for Christmas / Anniversary. Yes, I did. I did that, uh huh, yup. I went there and went all in. Jewelry? HA, that’s for rookies. We even have gone beyond the new car/phone/puppy stage. Or even that year when I got her a sewing machine. HEY, she asked for one.. Or the year of “don’t get me anything and I wont get you anything”..  Won’t make those mistakes again. So this year. A 1968 Trawler.  The gift that keeps on taking! Isn’t 31 years the Wood Years? No? Diesel year?

1968 Rice 40 ft Trawler Tug Design

Think of all the time we can spend on it dear.. Going one mile. She clocks in at 8 knots..

She actually is in great shape but needs her annual paint

She has been pulled up and professionally painted every year. And is being sanded now

I love this discontinued color, but we will be changing colors.

Chesapeake green

Has AC! See its been modernized-ish. She has been Dark Green, Light Green, Yellow, Blue.. Let’s just say she has “A colorful history”!

Here is the cool part. She was built right here in Reedville.. Wait it gets better.

She has two heads and very roomy.

A rebuilt Perkins Diesel Engine with 700 hrs on it.

Clean and well maintained by a passionate owner

She is part of the history here in Reedville, and part of our family history. The Boatress’s family, Great Uncles and Grandfather built the boat at Rice Marine Railway in Reedville when they built boats there. Yes, her family.

Oreo approves.

She has been maintained right here in Reedville for years by a fantastic group of boat builders and a group of great guys at the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum. We are keeping her home where she belongs. There are a bunch of wood work boats here. This is a VERY rare pleasure boat built here.

History is a wonderful thing. We all are part of the circle of life.

We have an extra dock at our house with power and water.  “Kelsey’s Dock” She will also be a guest house for folks that visit.

Sunsets from “Kelsey’s Dock”

The boathouse as seen from “Kelseys Dock”, for WECATCHEM and boat lift for Stinky. We have two more slips on Kelseys Dock as well. Nature deplores a vacuum.. Just say’n

The forward cabin.. has its own head.. Note to self. I may be living in this room if I keep buying boats.

With Oreo!

She was designed by a very well respected Navel Architect Charles Wittholz “cruiser/tug” was built by Rice Marine in Reedville, Virginia in 1968. She has had a number of owners since launching including the late Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. She weighs 25,000 lbs and has alot of modern upgrades. Wood is all solid and tight as a tick! I have already started color studies and will update as we go. The fleet grows.

59 replies
  1. 72Hornet
    72Hornet says:

    So glad she now in greater hands! I love the lines….I have a brother who needs something like this! Gary, ate you reading? This will give you something to dream about on your drive back to SC! Congrats boatress, and you too Matt!

    • Rob Attfield
      Rob Attfield says:

      Congratulations Matt. What a beautiful boat. Wonderful classic lines and a stunning interior. Fortunately, you won’t have a huge restoration job in front of you. The diesel engine is a huge plus, as well.
      I hope that “she” gives you and the boatress much pleasure in the years ahead.

  2. Matt
    Matt says:

    The color is a love hate thing, but i think it adds to her funky history. I am playing with colors today and where they go. Lots of painted teak that may want to be stripped. The boat was very well taken car of and shows it under this paint. They used to travel alot in it around the bay. She can take a rough pounding for sure.

  3. steve in the woods
    steve in the woods says:

    Good for yall! At your age, you need to slow down and stay close to a head…no more loud, bouncy squirt boats.

  4. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Wow, it’s not April 1 so you may be serious. This is quite a step up from Stinky. I thought you might pull the trigger on a CC cruiser some day, but this is in a whole different league. These traulers really make a statement. I knew a guy that kept one at the DYC and used it as his law office. Congrats to you and Suzy on entering the “big boat” world!

  5. Matt
    Matt says:

    Like the children, we love them all the same. Stinky is for fun zipping around, WECATCHEM for feeling the mahogany magic.

  6. Capt. Cranky
    Capt. Cranky says:

    Hats off to you for the bold move…and congrats to the Boatress. Family is important – as is family history! BTW….what did she get you?????

  7. Dan T
    Dan T says:

    That is AWSOME! Beautiful boat with great family connections. It doesn’t get any better than that. Looks to be in great shape and very well made. Can’t wait to hear more about her and how she’s constructed. Kirby Paints in New Bedford, Mass. has the best selection of old wooden boat colors. Congratulations and happy cruising to you and you family!

  8. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    LOVE IT!

    Glad you pulled the trigger on this one! Great memories to be made for sure.

    I am thinking to fill that vacuum on Kelsey’s should be, let’s see, maybe a Sea Skiff and a Cavalier. Maybe you should leave one spot open for company? Nah, company can raft off or anchor out and dinghy in.

      • Wilson
        Wilson says:


        They had a classic cruiser at the Mission Inn for a while. I think her name was Lorena. Nobody there now seems to know anything about her but I’d guess she was 30+ feet long. I remember once they had to do some restoration work on her at a marina near Jacksonville. I’d think if they could get that boat through the creeks and canals to the St. Johns, you could get yours to Tavares.

  9. Bill
    Bill says:

    Cant wait to see the pics. of jimmy sanding and painting while you hold the camera. whens he gona get started on it.

  10. Rick
    Rick says:

    You’re going to need a bigger rig to trailer her. Does this mean Texx can stop sleeping on pontoon boats? Congratulations and if it’s Suzy’s present I think she gets to pick the color? Wish I knew how to Photoshop the boat with pink. LOL.

  11. Mark Edmonson
    Mark Edmonson says:

    Nice lines great interior. Debbie & I sure miss having Storm Duty, it was our floating condo that we used on Lake Huron. You guys will love it

  12. William Patterson
    William Patterson says:

    Welcome to the Woody Tug Club! Katie was built in 1915 in Crittenden VA. Was a Bum boat/tug. Served in WWI as a sector patrol boat, SP660. She was in the fire at Richmond Yacht Basin on 12/9/17. I got her out, but now have a bigger restoration project than I started with.

  13. Frank of Falmouth
    Frank of Falmouth says:

    Very Cool! and with family “history” how could you not acquire it! Im glad you got it and will ensure its preservation. First dibbs if you decide to sell! I have an empty spot at my dock down in Southern Maryland…

    Ive found the secret to boat acceptance, name the nicest boat after the GF, SO, wife… “Christina” it then becomes “her” boat and all the praise for it goes her.. and takes the focus off the other (redacted) number of boats.. …(almost slipped up there…)
    (PS… dont put it in her name tho,….or it might morp into an very nice piece of jewelry ..lol )

    Matt, when are you going to get a Chesapeake Bay Deadrise? One belongs at the dock as well!

  14. bryguy
    bryguy says:

    That lovely big trawler is pure Looper. When you pass thru the Trent System we will take you out for dinner and a boat ride.

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      That boat would be HELLA FUN to take up the Hudson, across the Erie Canal and on to Port Huron!!!!

      Stop at the Port of Pittsford and I will take you out to dinner and to Wegmans/Costco for resupply.

      One thing though, don’t forget to take the mast down first! You want to be under about 15 feet above the waterline for bridge clearances.

  15. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    WELL… I have known the boat for years.
    ahhhh? I asked George about that boat this past fall and the first words out of his mouth were….”do you want to buy her?”
    She was at the Mathews (va) yacht club years ago when I had my CC there….passed on buying her then too. Those are really great trawlers with a great local story/heritage. Glad you stepped up…..and the Boatress can now step out in style.
    Get to scraping and painting…..let Jimmy off for this one.
    John in Va.

  16. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    further: Mr. Patterson’s boat Katie (pictured above) is, I am pretty sure, the oldest registered boat in Virginia. She made it from the upper James to the Reedville cruiser show some years ago…survived an horrific marina fire and, when last I saw her from the water, needs some TLC. A big responsibility and a true classic…..

    John in Va

  17. Ron In Seattle and the Salish Sea
    Ron In Seattle and the Salish Sea says:

    How did she survey? You did get a survey didn’t you? You have a boat now, congratulations! BTW you know that Boat stands for “ Bring Over Another Thousand “? Except now days it is “bring over another 10,000!”
    After I sold “ITCHIN” I immediately stepped up to the trawler world, 8 kn is nice, one gallon and a half per hour, plus I can make a sandwich next to the helm station!

  18. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Welcome to the club! A bunch of us are need to plan a “Great Loop Adventure” – with all the friends and opportunities we have along the route – it’s one of the things on the bucket list after I retire. 🙂 Great boat Matt and Suzy!

    • Troy in ANE
      Troy in ANE says:

      Dick: Would you bring your boat, or buy one just to do the loop.

      Anyone who is serious about it should join the AGLCA (America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association). The information is well worth the price of admission.

  19. Wilson
    Wilson says:


    Congratulations…Sounds like the perfect Christmas gift. See reply note above about creeks and canals….We look forward to seeing her at Tavares one year.

  20. Floyd r turbo
    Floyd r turbo says:

    Very seaworthy looking and great local build history. Other than that what was she originally used for? What’s the hull planking and rib material?

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      She is one of the rare pleasure boats built in the area. Rice Marine Railway was a well known boat builder in the area and built these for Charles Whithotz.
      Hull is 2 inch Atlantic White Cedar, Chesapeake style cross
      planked to chine. Keel is either long leaf pine or Douglas Fir, not

  21. Cameron
    Cameron says:

    Congratulations, Matt. It’s a totally different story at 8 knots; so much more to plan for and enjoy.
    We’re still waiting for her name?

  22. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da UP)
    Mark in Ohio (sometimes da UP) says:

    Great Boat!! You all know I have a love for the “big ones”. Two questions 1 will it fit in Jimmys barn? 2 are Sons of Paint shirts available? Enjoy it.

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