Is There A Difference Between Classic Boats And Wooden Boats?

Is there a difference?

In yesterdays dribble fest of marketing spew-isms, “Doug In Maine” brought up the issue, or issues of Wooden Boat Magazine being a part of the rebirth of classic boats. Yes…ish, well. At first I thought of course, but then that got me into a rabbit hole of thin=king. And I came up with a thought.. AND todays story! One more day of dribble.

Pop’s Matthews Martinique is a Brand, and yes a wood boat, but the Matthews Brand makes it a Woody Boat

IS there a difference. YES. In my book. Wood boats are loved because of the material they are made of. A new one, old one, pink one, blue one. Its part of a passion for wood. Classic boats on the other hand, are more production boats, with marketing and brands behind them regardless of the materials they are made of. In fact one could say, and I am just about to… Classic boats are about marketing, Mass Production and dreams. The wood part is just the material in which all that crap is put in the form of for you to own. Where as a wood boat, is well.. wood. No brand, or mass production, no babes in hats, and lifestyle.

Babes being props to create a brand.

Now, yes, we are called Woody Boater, but the Wood, is not really mean Wood, as in grains of wood. It’s more about Woody? As in the cars, the pecker.. WHAT? Hold, wait. That just did not come out right, no yes it it did, no it didn’t.

Woohooo – Woody and his Bear buddy out Woody Boating 

Further more. Yes I am running away from that last sentence. Boater is different than BOAT. We are more than the boat, we are about using the boat. Two different things, and thus part of the lifestyle part of boating. Babes and Brands, vs The Boat and how its made. SEE? Its different. Like Fearson vs Philips different. Different but yet the same? Right? Okay. I am officially done with any deep marketing, or brand insights. I need a boat ride. I got boats, its the rides I need.. SEE!!! Again..

22 replies
  1. Syd
    Syd says:

    I remember hearing Bill Morgan when people called his boats reproductions. He would let them know that they were new Hacker’s and tell about the changes that he had made to them

  2. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Oh Matt, sometimes you talk (or type as the case may be) in circles.
    Sometimes you say things like “If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have made fiberglass trees.”
    Other times (like today) you say “It’s not about the material, it’s about the marketing and production.”

    I suspect Classic is like Beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder.


    • John D.
      John D. says:

      He always talks in circles — concentric circles until he flies up his own a$$.

      John (Horace Dodge’s brother)

  3. Doug in Maine
    Doug in Maine says:

    I am honored to have provided the inspiration for another day of content on WB. My job is done.

  4. Frank@Falmouth
    Frank@Falmouth says:

    Wooden Boat Magazine used to be the only regular publication focused on Wood Boats. It was the only magazine Id immediately open and read from the back to front… ..classified section …pre interweb days…
    It seems WoodyBoater is more about Varnished Wood boats,…. While Sweet Pea may have painted topsides, the bright work shines… there are probably way more painted wood boats out there that dont seem to get much cred.. Being able to slop on another coat of white (or pink or blue) paint out in the yard without the need for a clean room and 14 coats….sometimes seems more satisfying…. 2 years in the sun and a total strip/refinish for Wecatchum… ugh.. The problem is that the painted boats were left to decay sometimes, while the bright finished ones may have been better protected.. Id almost prefer an old naturally”patina’d” crab skiff I could leave at the dock and bail out when I wanted to use it over a beautiful varnished skiff that had to be protected from the elements that I was afraid to scratch.. BUt they all are Wood boats.. And I love them all,….as well as classic glass..

  5. Ole Olson's boat scratching service
    Ole Olson's boat scratching service says:

    So that fin on back of cobra is fibreglasss,tin foil or wood? I gotta get my claws in that!

  6. Paul in Minnesota
    Paul in Minnesota says:

    Oh, it’s so much more than wood! I am a car guy as well. There are certain aspects of both hobbies that grab your attention, ie, that slow motion head turn that burns in you brain and you say “ some day”. It’s always the combination that attracts. Beautiful lines, the sound and of course the color/finish. If both a new wooden boat or an old wooden boat were presented to me with a choice, hitch up that old one. Please!

  7. NR
    NR says:

    Classics. I’m with Troy. My grandson waiting patiently for a ride and our dock neighbors beautiful Egg Harbor going by in the background.

  8. briant
    briant says:

    If I had a nickel for every time some fellow comrade asked me if our one off 1930 Zoomer “Is that a Chris Craft” I’d have enough money to go out and buy a classic Chris Craft..

    We must therefore have a “non classic just a wood boat” that people think is a “marketed, branded and dreamy classic”.

    I don’t know what the hell to think now. I need more coffee. And speaking of coffee…

    Why is it that if I walk into a Java World, I know it is a coffee shop….but if I were to walk into a Costa Rica World or a Sumatra World….I would not have a clue as to what they were selling.

    Oooooooh….I get it. It is about branding and marketing.


  9. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Interesting day. I will donate my entire run of WoodenBoat to the railway book shelf? (long shelf) Best mag ever for woody or classic either one. Jon Wilson was the savior with print…Matt is the successor online…neat.

    John in Va.

  10. gary Visser
    gary Visser says:

    To further cloud the question and opinions: Sorry, we live on a southern sea island and the idea of a classic runabout is best enjoyed by torturing my brother into varnish frenzy up in Iowa. Worry not, he’s fine and the fumes will subside. What we own are “classic” Boston Whalers sporting beautiful (if I do say so) varnished seats, consoles and hatches. The inspire many launch ramp moments of folks who ooooo and ahhh at the “beautiful wooden boat”. Well, not, but at least they appreciate the investment in the Festool. My point is, it’s kind of weird knowing what it takes to babysit a Riva and Chris in Iowa compared to some simple mahogany trim I should be embarrassed. Sort of, but got over it.

  11. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    … My first (owned) boat was a ’64 13′ Whaler. I’m always looking for one, just in case… So I have definitions now for my fleet: “Sindbad” and the hydro are wooden boats, as they were not part of any production run. “Thisuldu” (plus the tender – a 9′ Whaler) and “Aknota” are classics, as they were produced by major manufacturers. I’m a bit unsure about the Dakota though, as it is one of a few boats built “on the side” by the lead carpenter of Norseman Boats. That said, he did have a company name, so I guess that makes it a classic! Fun musings this morning – Thanks Matt! 🙂

  12. Don Palmer
    Don Palmer says:

    Ok, Matt, you brought up “Classic boats” so here is a picture of my current “Classic”. It is a 1993 Mastercraft 25th anniversary edition of Mastercraft. I bought it when it had just turned 25 years old which makes it a “Classic” in the eyes of the Antique and Classic Boat Society which I have been a member of since 2005. This photo was taken by Dick Dow’s wife Kathy when we were at Lake Chelan for the Mahogany and Merlot pre event, which was organized by Dick. About 7 or 8 boats took the journey up to Stehekin, a small town about 48 miles up from our event. This town is only available by boat. We spent two nights up there and had a great time. Dick and Kathy were in his Red and White “Aknota” (I admit, I don’t know what that means)! I regret, I don’t have one of it underway with Dick and Kathy onboard.

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

    Late to the party today. I’ve been working all day getting ready for this ice storm predicted to hit Ohio in the next day or two. Since we are talking about non woodie classic (and you guys have sent on some nice ones) how about an aluminum classic!

  14. Steve Anderson from Michigan
    Steve Anderson from Michigan says:

    Great discussion, as always. My ’56 continental is obviously a classic wooden boat. I have a lot of difficulty saying the same thing about my 1990 Chris craft 198 Concept. It was so ahead of its time that it still looks fairly new. That boat has been great to me for 42 years!

    • Steve Anderson from Michigan
      Steve Anderson from Michigan says:

      Correction: 32 years. Can I call it a typo?
      Also, are the cheap screwdrivers at home depot based on the freerson design?

  15. Damon
    Damon says:

    Hmmmm, having a 1962 Century Resorter and a 1973 Chris Craft XK22 at Sierra Boat on Tahoe has been interesting. I have to say that the ’62 Woody gets lots of nice comments BUT the ’73 XK22 gets LOTS of comments for other boaters anchored in the coves and from the young guys/gals working at SBCO. The gas dock kids and the crew at SBCO see so many woodys that the XK is something more interesting and unique. It’s the ONLY XK one on the lake so it gets a lot more attention and hoots ‘n hollers.

  16. David Hughes
    David Hughes says:

    Pop’s boat may be a Matthews…but it’s not a “Martinique”…perhaps a “Convertible Sedan” model?

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