Are We Being Fiberglassingly Insensitive!?

Big moose lake woody, really_1

photo Julie Bullen at Moose Lake, NY

The other day, I published a cool link to a very cool time capsule Chris-Craft Lancer for sale on ebay. As usual, we did get a couple comments regarding featuring fiberglass boats on a website called Woody Boater. And to be fair, we do enjoy the debate between wood and fiberglass. But someone made a great observation that all this “fun” may be one sided. It made Texx and I take pause. Are we being rude, not respectful or inclusive? Are we?

Craig J

Here is the comment from the other day!

Maybe it’s because we know that Fiberglass makes sense and clearly a better material for a boat. There I said it. Sure I love the workability and ride of wood, and without question the visual appeal is superior. But are we defensive about it?

Correct Craft 1967

This very cool Correct craft at the Lake Hopatcong show was welcomed with open arms. For me it was excitement seeing something different.

Maybe it’s because we as wood boat lovers are feeling the pressure of time. The inevitable growth of Fiberglass as a classic boat now. We have seen emails and letters behind the scenes that are not happy about the inclusion of Fiberglass as part of the ACBS.

We can co exist. Hessle Michigan, home of Wooden boat spender.

Is there an undertone of “if we don’t include fiberglass we will die away” or is it an honest observation that many of these boats are cool as hell. Donzi’s, Lancers, XK’s and the list expands. Carlsons, Correct Crafts, Glastrons… they are cool, regardless of the material they are made of. So today we ask. Are we scared? Or are we blending all fiberglass boats together. After all there are plenty of boring wood boats? Many of our sponsors are seeing more and more fiberglass boats and its good business. The results are fantastic by the way. We are all in this together – as classic boaters… the material the boats are made from are part of the fun and diversity.

Now, as we said we do enjoy the banter, and I would hope the Fiberglass folks would take shots. Maybe they do. OR maybe they don’t out of respect for age? OUCH!

63 replies
  1. Mark
    Mark says:

    I would rather ride off into the sunset and tell tales of wood past than switch to fiberglass.

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I grew up with and learned to boat in what is now classic glass. Wood is the new thing for me, and they coexist perfectly well.

    My understanding is that there has always been some snobbery in the hobby with launch guys looking down on runabouts and runabout guys looking down on utilities and now wood guys looking down on glass. It is silly.

    • Ed F.
      Ed F. says:

      All interests, hobbies and sports have this conflict and prejudice. If this site were named classicboater, which I certainly don’t want to suggest, I dont think the opinions would be as harsh. Go to a Harley web site and try to talk about your favorite Gold Wing and see what happens. But go to a motorcycle touring forum and Road Kings and Gold Wings will coexist. Is it about the machine or is it about the experience? While on my bike I wave to all riders on motorized two wheel machines. While on the water we wave to any boater, especially if they wave first. It wasn’t always this way. Like M-fine I grew up in fiberglass boats, outboard fiberglass at that. We did not wave to the snobby inboard people, nor did they wave at us lowly outboard guys. My brothers think Iam a traitor because of having inboard boats around now. There are Classic Boat Shows, Antique Boat Shows and Wood Boat Shows. Even some of the iconic Wood Boat Shows, like Hessel have included if not embraced classic fiberglass. Does anyone know of a Classic Fiberglass Boat Show that does not allow wood boats? My interest tends to be boats in general. I have seen a lot of scoffing on this site about pontoon boats and yet one of my favorite boats of all times is our 22′ Bennington triple pontoon with 250hp Verado. Iam not offended by this scoffing because I know that these people have no knowledge or experience about just how versatile, practicle and enjoyable that boat is. Each to his own as they say. I enjoy this site every morning because of the topic of classic wood boats. I don’t mind discussions of other materials used in boat building just as I dont mind discussions about the people of the boating world or other topics presented for discussion. I know in the end we will get back to the subject at hand….wood boats. How boring would this site be if everyone shared the same interests, opinions and ideas all the time. We have a common interest that has drawn us together and drawing other people into our group is great with me even if they own a fiberglass boat, or God forbid, an aluminum boat or even worse no boat at all. Who among us hasn’t paused to admire the tumblehome on a mirror polished Feathercraft? Our dear friends who own a classic glass boat feel the prejudice at every show and tolerate comments about Tupperware and the like. And as said earlier I have never heard then utter a negative word about mahogany or white cedar. Someone please tell me what is wrong about this picture.

      • Alex
        Alex says:

        Very nicely said, Ed F.

        My apologies for mocking ‘toons. I know they have their place. The mockery is almost entirely in jest. (The part that’s not in jest is because, well, they’re pontoons.) But, they ARE boats. And they provide countless families great fun on the water. I get that.

        I similarly mock my older friends for their age, my teen daughter for her angst, my middle child for his ADDishness (which he gets from me), my wife for her epic Irish stubbornness, and my younger running buddy for his inexperience.

        Oh, and Mayer for many, many reasons, including his ownership of an Arabian.

        I’m also pretty self-deprecating. There’s great sport and healing and humility in laughing at oneself.

        Distain for Classic Glass is turing one’s back on some of the great designs and advances in boating of the last century, making it not really a matter of taste, but more so an unfortunate case of blindness.

        Oh well, more boats for the rest of us.

        Power to the plastic!

  3. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    If it floats, then it boats. No harm no foul. You can’t make everyone happy. Cool is cool. Take what you like and leave the rest. Everyone has their idea of what is best.

  4. Cliff
    Cliff says:

    I think fiberglass boats are awesome! I love the “Comander Styled in Fiberglass” series and I think they compliment the wood world. I never understood the people who bib not embrace the fiberglass boats from the 1960’s and on especially the larger inboards. The fiberglass market along with the ravages of time probably should be credited with starting the wooden boat hobby. Think about it the fact that there are not that many 1950ish 25′ spportsman out there helps to make it stand out. We love Alex’s boat but how many really understand what the cost, time, effort , and commitment goes into taking care of one of these. I love fiberglass and I’m damn glat to say it and so should you.

  5. mike S
    mike S says:

    It’s good to see classic glass at the shows and just on the water in general. Most shows have a core group of members who bring the same boats to display every year, I’m one of ’em. Not enough money for my own Navy, so I only have one that runs. I have several “someday” boats but…… We are always thankful for those who can change things up a little from year to year.
    Classic glass usually means new and younger members and breaks up the monotony of a sea of brown boats. Never thought I’d say that but the variety is nice. 1975 would be a good cut off year. No Bayliners please, that would mean I’m becoming a “classic”.

  6. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    I certainly can’t throw any stones as I own one of each. There is a place for classic glass in boating history. Great design is great design, wood or fiberglass. And what about those pesky aluminum boats?

  7. Paul F.
    Paul F. says:

    Ed F. NAILED IT. Thanks Ed. Look at the picture we posted when Karen and I did our last gasp story in September – our Gar beside a Glastron and a cool Bayliner, beached on our lake. I agree 100%.

    I am a boat guy and I own boats of almost all remotely common hull materials, style and purpose, including a pontoon, a Feathercraft and a SeaDoo. I like them all. I ride BMW motorcycles but I wave at all other riders – I don’t care what it is. I think vintage Vespa’s and Lambretta’s are cool, and I rode Japanese bikes when younger – also cool and nostalgic now.

    I have said that while I don’t like or covet every “old” boat out there and I find many are quite ghastly to my eye. However we (Karen and I), certainly welcome and respect any boat in which an owner takes personal pride and gains enjoyment from at the show we organize. That is a fairly safe line of demarcation. A guy that owns an old beater boat doesn’t usually take pride in it – a guy that owns an old glass or metal boat and maintains it, polishes it and uses it probably does. He is always welcome at our show.

    Craig J. also nailed it right on – thanks for that comment Craig. Why do wooden boat owners feel threatened? In my several years of dealing with the issue as a member of the ACBS BOD, no one has ever explained it to me, and few have even admitted it, but it certainly seems to be there. It is diminishing rapidly though and I am glad to see it.

    Memories and resonant, formative experiences seem to drive our later hobbies and activities – cars, boats – who knows what else. The era of the guy that “grew up” with wood boats and is entering this hobby is over. All such people are well over 50 years old, and some much more so. If we haven’t got them now, we won’t be getting them. Those younger grew up with glass – get used to it. Those people will probably like and respect wood, but they will remember and be drawn to glass – the same way a 60 year old today might be drawn to a U22 or an Arabian but not a 1920’s launch – he may respect the launch and think it is cool, but I bet it is not what he grew up with. He probably won’t own one unless he becomes a collector.

    In my opinion, the debate is over – time to hit the water and have fun with what you brung.

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      Paul posts thoughtful 1500 word disertation on the subject, yet he can’t spell his last initial correctly!

      • Paul H.
        Paul H. says:

        Mr. M-fine – I must inform you that t was spelled correctly – “run what you brung” was/is a colloquial saying from auto racing where hobby racers showed up and ran whatever they happened to own, with few rules or classes. People showed up to race and have fun. Same theory can apply to the non-race aspects of our hobby.

        • Troy in ANE
          Troy in ANE says:

          I think M-Fine was referring to the fact that you signed in as Paul F not Paul H in your first post.

      • Ed F.
        Ed F. says:

        Paul, I remember that picture on your last gasp story and while the Bayliner didn’t give me goose bumps I can appreciate the care and attention it received from its owners. One of my sons has restored a 1984 Switzer 20 SS B just like we had when he was growing up. Another son is restoring a Cruiser’s Inc 18′ outboard which my Dad drooled over back in the day but never owned. I think some of the boats we obtain are about the boat, some are about the story, some are just circumstances that bring us and the boat together. Iam just extremely thankful that my boys enjoyed their childhood enough to get involved in loving and enjoying old boats. No matter the flavor. Thanks for your response Paul and welcome to the F’s Ha!

        • Ed F.
          Ed F. says:

          Here is a pic of the Cruiser’s enjoying the Shore Station which we gladly share with boats of fiberglass, aluminum, wood and anything else you can build a boat out of

  8. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    I own both and they coexist just fine. Love the ride and attention of Mahogany, but if the seas are going to be rough and I want to get somewhere the Formula is the go to. She takes chop like nothing I have ever ridden in (or maybe flown as the case may be). Than Mike M sends over a picture of an Aluminum Roamer this weekend and I am in love all over again.

    Thanks for the Header Matt: I have looked at that view all my life and never get tired of it. Those two moorings have hosted a number of different boats over the decades and even a couple of sea-planes.

    • Rory
      Rory says:

      This view never gets old! Refreshing on this cold/snowy March day. Can’t wait to see the two Continentals side by side. We are still shooting for June however we have a long ways to go.

  9. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    Time flies when you’re having fun. And that does apply in this wonderful avocation as well. When the society that represented antique and Classic boats came together the oldest examples of fiberglass boats were only about 20 years old. But compare that age to the year 1942, only 12 years earlier than the fiberglass age began.

    Fast forward 40 years and now there’s still only 12 years between the two. One being considered an antique and the other, now over 60 years old, certainly should be considered as deserving recognition today in the same society.

    • Paul Harrison
      Paul Harrison says:

      Carl – What you are saying is that the 40 year old guy (born in the cut off year you suggest) who grew up tubing and skiing on the lake behind his Dad’s 1975-’85 boat can’t bring what is important to him to the show? Why? Because somebody doesn’t think it is cool, or a group of guys likely much older than he decided it is not a classic? I am 50 and am in that group that is “older” than he is.

      The guy that turned 40 in 1985, 1995 or 2005 can bring the boats that were important to him in his childhood or youth, no matter what they are made of, but the 40 year old today cannot? How is this explicable? I don’t believe it is and I would never impose my personal taste, bias or preference on anyone who wished to share his enjoyment for our hobby.

      Would you be here today if the founders of this hobby 40-50 years ago enacted such a cut off? What if the rule was passed in 1975 and nothing newer than 1935 was allowed? That probably strikes you a ridiculous, but it is a mirror of what you are suggesting. It might have made sense to some then, but for how long? As it was, when the ACBS was founded in 1975, nothing post-war was really included (irrespective of hull material, it was just an old boat), unless it was singularly unique – think of everything that is revered today but was excluded then. Time marches on and what was acceptable changed and tastes gave way – because the guys who came into the hobby later than 1975 grew up with stuff different and newer than the founders had. It is painfully clear to most and this process fortunately continues.

      We cannot accept that the memories and important experiences of a 40 year today which form his preference in classic boats, cars or anything else are less valid than those of the 40 year olds who preceded him 10, 20 or more years ago. It is just not logical and the idea that we can or should seems to be linked to personal biases – themselves likely formed by the memories or resonant experiences of the beholder. Not much else can explain it and it does not seem to be a well anchored position at all.

      The ACBS and WoodyBoater are decisively and clearly going for inclusivity and so they should. Those that went before us did so in their own way, and that trend continues. People age, preferences, style and experiences change and what is important to people also changes. All hobbies, hobbyist organizations and clubs must adapt and change, or they will soon cease to exist or at least shrink to a small shadow of their former selves.

  10. KB
    KB says:

    I thought this was “Woodyboater” and not “Anyboater”?!?
    This is the first place where I have seen “Bayliner” and “Cool” used in the same sentence.
    Sorry, but if you are going to feature a Tupperware boat, please make it ultra-rare, or super-gorgeous!
    Bring me the Commanders, Lancers, Correct Crafts, Hydrodynes, Caddilac-Finned, Bug-eyed, plastic beauties all day long. But those cookie-cutter boats that look like they were pulled out of an “asteroids” game just don’t cut it.
    Point of interest.. have you noticed that the newest boats over the last 10-20 years are starting to get “curves” again? I think people are starting to desire good looking water craft again…

  11. charley quimby
    charley quimby says:

    Well, things do change. I go to a street rod/custom show in Annapolis every year. Rules have always stated: Must be an American marque, and nothing past ’63. The show is always packed, and the rules are strictly enforced. So there is a cut-off date for ‘glass boats at some shows. I predict that this rule will slip as time passes, just as the Spring and Fall Carlisle swap meet has devolved into kitch with lawn ornaments and jewelry sales. As for some folks putting down glass, I’d like to have a nickel for every time I heard someone say, “Too much work, all that wood and chrome…” I like glass and I like wood, as long as there is eye appeal. Strictly a subjective matter. But there needs to be strict limitations when it comes to what is acceptable for shows. A cruise-in is a different animal. CQ

  12. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    When I managed the Chris Craft Antique Boat Club I switched from a 19′ Chris Craft Racer to a fiberglass 17′ Chris Corsair so I wouldn’t get bent out of joint when my grandchildren slammed it into a dock. The Corsair won a prize at Mt. Dora even before fiberglass boats were really accepted…..and with Florida flag flying theat glass boat was even chosen to lead the parade thru the Dora canal to the picnic one year….Wood is pretty but glass also has its classic lines.
    ..and for Troy, speaking of Formulas, I,m told hull #1 will be at Tavares this year

  13. Dave Nau
    Dave Nau says:

    I like them all. I particularly like attending and participating in shows with a wide variety of boats.

    I grew up with fiberglass. In 1963, when I was 10, my dad decided to get his first boat and was wrestling in his mind whether to get a Lyman or an MFG. He liked the lapstrake look (me, too) but finally decided he did not have “varnish in his blood” and just wanted to boat. We bought a new 1963 MFG Westfield with a 40hp Evinrude outboard and a Tee-Nee trailer. Over the years, he got three additional MFGs and never looked back. All were outboards. Yet, whenever our family was on the water, we all “oo’ed and ah’ed” over a Lyman when one came along.

    But, fiberglass is what I grew up with. As an adult, I had four different contemporary fiberglass bow-riders, a tiny ABS plastic boat, and even a Styrofoam Sea Snark sailboat, before getting bit with the classic powerboat bug. Again, like my dad years ago, I was trying to decide between wood and fiberglass of the 60’s vintage. Like my dad years earlier, I finally decided I did not have varnish in my blood, so back to a lapstrake-style MFG, preferably a good, unrestored model. Took a year, but I finally found one.

    Some day, I do plan to get an 1955-1960 MFG with a wood deck, just to show the transition from wood to fiberglass. I was really excited to essentially do that when I took “Little Blue” to the ACBS show at Portage Lakes, Ohio, and one of those wood deck MFGs was docked next to me.

    Yet, I completely enjoyed seeing all the boats shown, and we had a wide variety there. Bottom line, it’s all good, and a warm sunny day on the water is better than a day at work any time, no mater what material the boat is made of.

  14. R Daley
    R Daley says:

    I think the discussion is useful in the sense that it helps the process of acceptance.Their will continue to be two sides of this debate, but as time goes on their will be more and more acceptance of classic glass. This has to happen if the hobby is to continue to grow and attract more younger members.
    Many of us started with classic glass and then moved on to Woodies. It is by this process that their will continue to be buyers for for our wood boats down the road. Think of it as the Apprenticeship process. In order to maintain and grow this hobby we have to interduce more young people to it,they will have come from a fiberglass background but hopefully will get the wood bug,thus providing a market for our wood boats down the road.

  15. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    I think our Michigan chapter show in St. Clair last year proved that Classic Glass is a real part of our hobby. When we made them the feature boat of the show, there were a few raised eyebrows and negative comments. However, the fiberglass boats were a wonderful part of the show and the wood captains were very impressed with the knoledge and passion the glass captains had about and for their watercraft. I lot of new friends were made and we hope to have another great turn out of glass boats for our 2015 Algonac show.

  16. Lee Wangstad
    Lee Wangstad says:

    This is an interesting point. And of course, one with many sides. I’ve been taking my 1957 Larson Thunderhawk Jr. to wood boat shows since 1991. At that time, wood boat shows were all we had, but I felt that my boat was as much of a classic as any of their wood boats. I had restored this boat myself (hands on) to be identical to the boat that my father bought new in 1958.

    Let me tell you this: the mood has changed dramatically in the last 23 years! In the early years of this millennium there were a few shows geared for the fiberglass boats, but they tended to only draw the dedicated few willing to travel with their boats over somewhat short distances to get there. They weren’t planned to draw the general public to view the boats, but were great as get-together points for a group of people with a similar interest. But that is as far as they went.

    The ACBS shows are the opposite. They tend to produce a lot of public interest. The local chapters knew how to generate that “destination” show that brought people of many backgrounds and interests to view their boats. I brought my boat to those shows and grew a thick skin. While I heard comments that weren’t very flattering from some of the skippers, I got a different reaction from the spectators. And that is what kept me coming back.

    The general viewing public loved the boat. They could relate to it. Their parents had one. Their uncle Moe had one just like it and they learned to ski behind it. There were a couple of seriously hot girls across the lake that had a similar boat that they would watch all summer long. It would jog some kind of reaction in their memory, and they would relate that story to me. It is great just hearing these anecdotes about their lives. They smile as they tell you about their past. It is a good memory. And you listen to these stories all day long. You tell them of the similar stories from your past. There is an instant bond. And with a huge body of people.

    That is what kept me coming back, showing a plastic boat at wood boat shows. Did I feel self-conscious? Sure I did, at first. I traveled to other areas with my fiberglass boat. The Indiana Chapter was especially welcoming. I always took the term plastic to be derogatory. Today, I don’t care. Thicker skin.

    What about wood boats? I’ve always loved wood boats. I’ve had an interest in all kinds of boats. Do I need one to show? Perhaps not. Does that make me a bad person? I hope not. Am I into the WoodyBoater lifestyle? Sure. I do see wood boats that I want, I even have a couple of them. They’re great. I love ‘em. They are not the driving force behind my collecting or interest. They do not define my boating interests. They are a part, an important part, but they share their dominance with their fiberglass counterparts. Please don’t get me started on aluminum boats either. There are some really cool aluminum boats out there, but I don’t have the need to get too deep into them either. For me there is no either/or. Cool boats are cool boats. Plain and simple.

    Everyone has their own definition of cool. Make room for the views of others. And no, this is not sensitivity training, and my friends will tell you that I’m not a sensitive guy. I just get tired of narrow minded views when it comes to something that I’m passionate about: antique and classic boating. I’ve been down that road, I’ve been back, and I’ve been down that road again…………and so on.

  17. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    It’s all the same sickness… Wood, ‘glass, aluminum, steel or plywood – doesn’t matter. Paraphrasing what many above have said; “It’s only worth something if you use it!” And enjoy it. There have been stunning boats built of every material.

    I am in no position to judge why/how someone else could possibly be seen in “one of those” but am always curious what the attraction is. Ask and you’ll hear some amazing stories and usually find a pretty cool person behind the telling.

    Keep ’em coming Matt & Texx! 🙂

  18. Ron Stevenson
    Ron Stevenson says:

    Hard to add anything to the great comments above. People will always have their opinions. In the early eighty’s my not-so-well-known 18′ Reinell outboard was somewhat ostracized, with its painted white hull and my god, an outboard. But a funny thing happened at the local boat show, it drew more people than the mahogany inboards. People related to that “blue collar” boat, there were hundreds of them at various boat liveries on Puget Sound being rented for fishing and a day on the water. They were affordable, everybodys Uncle or brother had one if they didn’t have one themselves. Like Lee says, there were many stories about someones past. Fast forward, while always having at least one woody, I was drawn to the tail fin era of glassic boats, found and had Rob Dapron restore a Bell Buoy Banshee. Much fun, but another case of someone wanting that boat more than me.
    One of the best things that has happened in my life recently, a wonderful Father’s Day gift a few years ago. A call from my only child daughter, and during that call, “Dad, guess what? I boat a boat!!! It’s a 15′ Dorsett Belmont, designed by Raymond Loewy, one of my fav Industrial Designers!!!” (which she is) That really hit home, my love of boats (any boat) rubbed onto my kid, and, she was finally able to use extra money she had earned and saved, for this her first frivolous purchase. “It only needs a transom, stringers and a floor! Oh, and a windshield!”
    Hmm, what have I created? Geez, I need a Kleenex….

  19. Flash
    Flash says:

    You all know where I stand…I love my glass boat and it brings lots of compliments on land and at sea. I love the wood as well, just not quite ready for that yet. When I get there, I still won’t care if you have wood or fiberglass, rich or poor, black or white, its just not in me to worry about you.

    As others have said, this kind of animosity exists in all hobbies. I remember the days at Car Shows where Muscle Car and Street Rod guys never really got along, and don’t even get me started on the Corvette guys (no offense Don A.). The fact is, it’s all pretty silly if you think about it.

    • Max Mueller
      Max Mueller says:

      Sitting on the shore, Wife and Me no Boat.

      We own a 1970 CC Ski-boat, also. About 20 years ago we ended up pulling out eight skiers (all two skis and bent the ski tow pole) to win the pull contest on our shore on Marble Lake Michigan. The boat came about as a result of the 1950 Century Vagabond that the Miklos’ own now. Years before the “Red” boat we were sitting on the shore, no boat. Found J5026 on cement blocks and paid $400 for her. Took care of her myself for years until Bruce Bone told me about this guy in Cadillac Michigan who “restored” boats. He absolutely ruined both Bruce’s 1964 Resorter and my Vagabond. Bruce had the money to have the damage un-done, We didn’t. You can see the restoration on the Miklos’ web site. Yes, I would love to have it back but that’s not in the budget and they were kind enough to bring it to Marble lake and put it in the water for me to drive, after the restoration.
      Sitting on the shore, no boat, again. Friend told me about a boat in the free ads, a divorce forced sale was the “Red” Boat a bargain! On the lake again in a Chris Craft Shaft Drive boat. Restored 10 years later and sitting on the sandbar, turned down $15,000 for her. Signing the title over to our Son this Friday.

  20. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    I have one measure. Is it a cool boat? I have a few wooden boats but I’d love a classic fiberglass boat. I’d love a Century Sabre and they’re half and half. There was a very cool aluminum boat featured on WB a while back, that was super cool. Then theres Thunderbird, she’s half wood half aluminum. They’re both super cool.
    Id really love a Blue/Grey Arabian and they’re wood but look like glass. Just a cool boat. Im sticking with Cool.

  21. Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude
    Mr. Andreas Jordahl Rhude says:

    I love fiberglass boats just as much as I love woody boats. I don’t even care if its old or newish, just so I am out on the water in a boat.

    I got all sorts of attitude for bringing a painted wooden boat that had an outboard motor on her transom to the first antique and classic boat shows I attended. I stuck it out. I became active in the group. I witnessed and was part of a monsterous shift in attitude from only varnished inboard runabouts and utilities to be more inclusive of outboards, painted hulls, non-wood boats, sailboats, canoes, etc… Folks such as Lee Wangstad were the pioneers of getting non-wood accepted.

    I think I’m gonna go look at my classic fiberglass outboard Chris-Craft Corsair now and feel good about myself and give her a pat on the transom.


  22. Craig J
    Craig J says:

    This has been enlightening. When I decided to stand up a bit for fiberglass the other day I didn’t really think there was much controversy in what I said. In the topic for sure but not the statements. I would never go to a “wood boat” website and start discussions about wood boats just for the sake of stirring up the pot. But I’ve read this site with interest recently as the moderator seems to be quite comfortable accepting that things are changing and indeed there is room for all types of classic boats. I appreciate his willingness to do what may not be very popular and risk taking the criticism. I respect that.
    I also respect those with the wood or nothing mentality. We’ve all got things that appeal to us and we stick with them like the beer we drink, the team we root for, Ginger or Maryanne. I’m no different. I’m a Chris-Craft guy through and through. Now. Used to be a Checkmate guy through and through. Some day I may be a Century guy. Who knows.
    What I took issue with was taking personal preference to the point where we start disparaging other peoples personal preferences. The guy selling the Lancer didn’t post his boat trying to garner favor or drive up interest to the auction. It was posted by a third party simply trying to point out a cool boat in a rare condition as a point of interest to other classic boat owners.
    I see lots of boats on this forum and others that I think are ordinary or overpriced or just plain ugly. I don’t see the point in going out of my way letting everyone know it. Whoever owns it probably thinks it’s cool and that’s enough for me. Being born in 1969 I have no real history or connection with wood boats. I don’t usually go to shows that are all wood because it’s not my thing. However, when I do go my appreciation grows more and more each time. I suspect many others have the same experience and hopefully that appreciation will grow in both directions.

      • Walt
        Walt says:

        Matt, Texx, keep showing boats. Regardless of materials, keep showing boats. Cool is a matter of opinion. Several people have said it very well, it’s all about boats. If you don’t understand why someone has the boat they have or likes the boats they do, ask. You might learn something.

  23. Bill Anderson
    Bill Anderson says:

    We all drive cars,,but we cant all drive fords or chevys, The boats are the same,I enjoy and own both wood fiberglass,aluminum,But I like the smaller and unusual,weird boats which falls into fiberglass,and they have been called Tupperware,plastics and many a different name,but they did what I wanted,give people something to talk about,Every body is different ,to each their own choice,but this is woodyboater,so I can respect and appreciate what is done here,Keep up the good work, Bill

    • Dave Nau
      Dave Nau says:


      I’m with you on something with some novelty to it.

      Your little boat is cool. I once had a 1991 Buffalo Mini Boat powered with a 3 1/2 Tohatsu that was adapted for remote controls and steering. It was only 6 1/2 feet long. A buddy still has it.

      Heck, one more year, and it’s a Late Classic per ACBS. I may have to try to buy it back.

  24. Alex
    Alex says:

    Ron, that’s a touching story. As a father of 3, I can really identify with moments like that.

  25. Rick
    Rick says:

    I think we should all just get together and heal this rift over bacon. I don’t know anything about this and you probably need a note from your cardiologist to get in but I’m thinking Troy might be tempted.

  26. Scott K
    Scott K says:

    I thought having fun on the water with family and friends was the point.
    I didn’t grow up around boating, it’s new to me so maybe I should be more discriminating, but when I’m on the water I wave to everyone that looks like they’re having fun….even jet skis.
    As in the vintage car events I used to frequent, the more variety the more enjoyment I get out of it…..both in cars as well as owners. All one make events tend to turn (newbies) off and encourages behaviors to exclude , vintage boating needs to encourage access. More variety will encourage me to participate.

    My wife and I bought an XK19, do I guess we’re in the cool kids club automatically. I find late 70’s Chrysler Conquerors and Glastrons equally cool, hopefully others will as well and bring them out to play with the mahagony goodness.
    Can’t wait for the thaw.

  27. Alan A
    Alan A says:

    I love all boats and we own both a woody and modern Ski boat. The woody was a labor of love and commitment bringing a badly neglected boat back to life from the keel up. I spent years working on it and enjoyed every minute of it. After all that time, money and effort the boat is beautiful but not very practical for anything other than a boat ride and to let people enjoy it at boat shows. yes it’s very rewarding still but not very practical. The boat is an absolute blast to cruise around in but I have to jump over board for a swim in fear of not being able to climb back in. LOL

    Fast forward to my wife’s boat, modern construction, power and ammenities. We easily take 4-5 people with all their ski gear, food and beverages out for a day at a time and virtually live on this incredible machine. We ski, barefoot, wakeboard, eat lunch, swim, lounge under it’s canopy and just plain old have a great time. The boat is so versatile with little need for anything but gas and ice for the cooler.

    There’s certainly a time and a place for both of our boats in our lives, just depends on what the plan for the day is, we enjoy each of them equally but in different manners. I would suggest we’re one of the fortunates to be able to have it both ways.

  28. Martin
    Martin says:

    Wood or fiberglass does not matter to me. I think that the only point that I would bring to the debate is that I think that more then just age should be a determining factor in ACBS acceptance. Just because its over 20 or 25 years old does not make it a classic. Design, construction, materials, limited additions, manufacturer all need to be reviewed. Differences in make and model all play in as factors as well. Have some guidelines and if some what exceptions then let them be reviewed on a case by case basis. That’s all I have to say. I am in both camps with Wood and Fiberglass on the lifts. They both have a purpose and are good for different things as we all know.

    • Craig J
      Craig J says:

      Good thought Martin. The only problem is that model years are definitive. Any other measure is subjective and opens the door to someone determining what is appropriate and what is not. This can change from person to person, year to year, or just by someones mood.
      I think the market would filter that out. You never know what is going to be cool someday. Look at the Clorox Bottle designs out today. In 50 years when styles have completely flipped people may see those as retro and cool. Who knows? I’m not a Bayliner fan by any stretch, but if someone had hull number one of a particular early 60’s model when the company first started, I think I’d like to see it at a show. It may not be on someones “cool list” but shouldn’t it be out there for people to see? This may be too academic when talking about pleasure boats but of the 7 wonders of the world, there’s only one left. Maybe the other 6 were just not on someones cool list?

  29. Nautilus
    Nautilus says:

    Peaceful co-existence: CC Cobras, Silver Arrows and at least one 1982 Correct Craft Ski Nautique!

  30. Alex
    Alex says:

    Craig J had it close. He correctly identified the problem… People are debating Ginger vs Mary Ann.

    But the solution isn’t to stop debating. The solution is Ginger AND Mary Ann.

    Hell, even Gilligan figured that out.

    Why else did they take so long to be rescued?

    And why else did they end up back on the island?

    Concidence? I think NOT!

    I mean just look at the guy. That smile. Shipwrecked? Riiiiiight.

  31. Mike
    Mike says:

    All good discussion points. I guess all of this will come out at the boat shows: who attends and who doesn’t. I am new to the wooden boat world. There is no “Dad’s boat” to emulate. All I do know is that I live in an area filled with inland lakes and I can’t throw a dead cat without hitting a fiberglass boat. My view is tainted by the modern choices, which are plastic boxes with oversized engines (in my opinion). When I went to ACBS shows last summer it was to see wooden boats (boats I can’t / don’t routinely see). Now there were a few stylish early fiberglass models there, but they were the minority and they were truly unique. If I attend future shows which become dominated with fiberglass boats from the 70s and later, I simply won’t be interested (I grew up then, I’ve seen them before).

    The term “Woody Boater” seems to indicate an affection and discussion for wooden boats (primarily). That is why I tune in daily. If this is too limiting, then perhaps this website should be called “Classic Boater”. I may not tune is as much, but at least I know what to expect.

  32. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    I thought we were past all this….

    We agreed on an earlier post that even though this IS, a few Classic Plastic (or shiny aluminum, or cardboard, etc.) boats thrown in occasionally do not hurt anyone.

    PLUS, since Matt (who runs this circus) is a creative type, you cannot expect him to stay on task anyway.

    If you do not like stories on stuff other than wooden boats, just send in a comprehensible note with a few decent photos of your wooden boating experience, and help provide content to feed the Daily Beast. Classic Plastic only appears when the Wooden Boat Newswire is too quiet.

  33. Murray
    Murray says:

    Nice to see all the open minded comments.We are all enjoying our boats and the great people in our clubs regardless what we drive. I have never gone to a winter work shop andhad the Glass guys on one side of the room and the wood guys on the other,if we did this when we were kids our parents would send us to our rooms.Born in 61 my first boat was a Peterborough cedar strip, handed down to me .The first boat I bought was a Thundercraft Cobra and 2nd was a 72 MX13 Checkmate that I bought when I was 15.This winter it was restored and with 38 boats in my collection[mostly wood] I will be showing this 43 year old boat at the RPM show this summer
    The Trent Severn Antique and Classic boat Assoc sees the importance of Glass boats in the 50s 60s and 70s in order to keep the next generation interested in the club
    On July 18 they hope to have the Largest display of Classic Glass boats[ along with their wood boats] in Ontario at the RPM show. We cant wait to see the variety of boats this will bring. On Sat we are having our first Shop day at Ronnys Marine that Restores Classic Glass boats. Should be a fun year for all

  34. Murray
    Murray says:

    This Jan at the Toronto Boat show the ACBS booth had a 59 Red Fish.This boat was like a magnet pulling people into the booth to see this boat with wings and fantastic lines. Some came in because they remembered these boats and others had never seen anything like it but nobody said it shouldn’t be there

  35. mike
    mike says:

    As the old saying goes….”If GOD had wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have planted fiberglass trees”

  36. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    Last year, while returning from the Lake Chatuge Rendezvous with boat in tow, we stopped at a gas station somewhere in Tennessee. We happened to be the only customer at the time, and so the counter girl came out to see our mahogany Greavette.

    “Wow,” she said “How did you get your boat to look like wood?”

    “There is an artist back in our hometown with a huge studio,” I replied. “We took the boat in last fall, and she painted on it for several months. What do you think of her work?”

    “It looks really real! I bet she charged a lot of money!”

    It’s priceless, really.

  37. Brian Flaherty
    Brian Flaherty says:

    I own classic fiberglass. My father has owed three different classic woodies. I have been active in PNW chapter of ACBS since I was still in the womb!!

    I say, if it’s cool and unique then bring it on!! Variety is the spice of life!

    For those who have stated concern about Bayliners showing up at your precious boat shows… Do you really think the guy (or gal) who owns a Bayliner would even want to come to your show?? Like the “sex Panther” from months ago, the people who own those boats are generally not the types who would park their boat at the dock all weekend.

    BTW, already exists and we welcome ALL boaters no matter what material, make, color, or age. Our motto is “good boats, great friends”

    Photo below is our 1969 CC Ski Boat, with appropriate name for this type of discussion…

    • Troy in ANE
      Troy in ANE says:

      Believe it or not I actually saw a COOL classic Bayliner a while back. (I never thought I would put those words in the same sentance) Went back with a camera but it was gone. I will see if I can track it down.

  38. Jim M
    Jim M says:

    I displayed both of my boats a few weeks ago at our areas new boat show. 1951 & 1985 Century Resorters. Based on this side by side test, they both recieved equal attention but from two different age groups. It’s what you grew up with or what sparked a good memory that motivates one to participate in a hobby. Fiberglass was and is an important part of the transition of owners to the next generation. Let the owner or spectator decide what they like.

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