Miss Sparkle – A Preserved Award Winner Celebrates Her 50th Birthday In 2011


On day three of Lapstrake Love Week, today we are featuring “Miss Sparkle” who is celebrating her 50th birthday this year. But to change things up, we decided to do the story during her famous photo shoot on Lake Greenwood. Where else can you see action like this in February?

In 2009 at the ACBS Blue Ridge Chapter Annual Meeting, Cathy & Joe McLay received the award for “Most Original / Best Preserved Boat” for “Miss Sparkle” their beautiful 1961 16′ Lyman runabout.

Cathy McLay remarked… The award was a total surprise, Joe had been approached by the a member of the club and was asked all about the boat, what, if anything had been changed, and Joe honestly said “Well, I did put washers under the screws in the floorboards.”

After selling our 1939 Century Imperial sportsman outboard, we decided that another outboard should be in our future. Since Joe had worked with Lyman boats while growing up in Ohio, he had a spot in his boating heart for them. So off we went to Ohio, land of the Lyman. While there his son told us that there was a boat that we might be interested in on eBay. “Let the bidding begin!” We saw her pictures and knew she had to come home with us to South Carolina! A day and night of keeping a close eye on the bidding made us like new parents….worry, worry…. However we became her new owners, and now we just had to go get her… in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We figured that another 300 miles wouldn’t matter when the end results are one great boat.

The boat was originally sold through a dealer in Windsor Canada. The original owner died and willed the boat to his son in law who was in northern Ontario. He kept it for an unknown period of time, and then sold it to a gentleman in Northern Michigan, who could not pursue refurbishing it due to health problems.

In May 2007 we got her home, found Tom Neff to take some of the dock rash off her, and repaint the the bottom. Joe (McLay) took everything out of the interior – stripped, refinished, and made her into what she is today.

In September 2007 she made her maiden voyage on Lake Keowee, South Carloina and it was a beautiful, sunny morning that made the water sparkle… thus came her name “Miss Sparkle”, as it seemed she was reflecting back all the light that was around her.

One day we were out cruising on Lake Greenwood, approaching another boat from behind, suddenly two wakes converged and Robert Miracle happened to be in a boat ahead of us and caught the action on his camera. (Notice the small waves in front of the “Miss Sparkle” below – Texx)

Seconds later Joe got the boat under control and although we were a bit shaken by the incident and although almost being swamped, everyone in the boat was fine and the trusty Lyman continued down the lake. I am a believer in wearing a safety vest now….

I submitted the picture to the Clinker, (the Official Publication of the Lyman Boat Owners Association) and they loved the energy and action that was captured by Robert Miracle, and they used the photo for the cover of the magazine in 2009.

Clinker cover photo courtesy of the Lyman Boat Owners Association and Miracle Photography

Joe and I really enjoy Lake Burton, just outside of Clayton Ga. We have rented lovely houses there and spent vacations enjoying the lake, the people at the Marina “Laprades” and the wonderful scenery!

And of course we love our Lyman lapstrake boat!

Cathy & Joe Mclay

In my view, this story is significant for a number of reasons.

Last week I was reading the results of a Membership Questionnaire that was sent out by one of the ACBS Chapters I belong to. A newer member commented that they felt somewhat inferior when they attend a chapter boat show or cruise day with their small 16′ Wooden Ski Boat, and seeing all the expensive, professionally restored inboard boats was a bit overwhelming for them.

Seeing what Cathy & Joe McLay have done with “Miss Sparkle” is exciting, and living proof that this great hobby is made up of many different types, sizes and classes of antique & classic boats, not to mention many different folks with different objectives. From working with Cathy & Joe on this story, their enthusiasm and pride of ownership was inspirational. They went out and found the boat of their dreams, completed the majority of the refinishing work and repairs themselves and were awarded for their efforts by the folks at the Blue Ridge Chapter.

We all need to reach out to the next generation of antique & classic boat lovers and make them feel welcome knowing that they are also an important part of future growth of this wonderful hobby, and we don’t want to loose them because they feel out of place or inferior.

Thanks Cathy and Joe for sharing your great story of “Miss Sparkle” with us and we look forward to meeting you in person one day soon.

The outstanding photographs for this story were provided courtesy of Miracle Photography.


9 replies
  1. anonymus
    anonymus says:

    Now you are feeding my particular type of woodboat madness, lapstrake love. Thanks for the great story and pictures. I own the same hull 1962 and it has been a great family boat. When I bought my 1957 Lyman outboard my wife made me promise never to sell the 16 footer since it had too much family history tied up in it. I too feel at times swamped by the Chris Craft numbers but am comforted by the fact that they were building lapstrakes long before at Lyman Boat Works. Would not trade them for anything. So thankyou again for the recognition but for Lyman owners it is the love we always feel. Now I have to go out to the shed and hug my boat.

  2. John K
    John K says:

    Beautiful boat. Beautiful photos. It’s great to see lapstrakes get a little respect. These were the SUVs of the day (not sexy or fast but go anywhere, do anything in any weather boats).

    Any Skiff-Craft or Century (Viking/Nordic/Raven/Nomad) clinkers on deck?

  3. Chad
    Chad says:

    I’m feeling the love, and I don’t even have a lapstrake.

    Miss Sparkle is one, sweet little boat. …and Robert Miracle needs to get out on the water and take some more pictures. I love the water droplets in the foreground.

  4. Dave Anderson
    Dave Anderson says:

    I to have a lapstrake loveboat. A 1956 South Coast 18 runabout with a grey 100hp. After nearly 4 yrs of restoration the “Wicked Wahine” will be crusing the local lakes and Newport harbor in So Cal. Where she was built. Many times I have cursed her lapstrake design, but Iam a sucker for a wooden windshield. Congrats on Miss Sparkle, she`a beautiful

  5. Robert Miracle
    Robert Miracle says:

    In August, 2009, Linda and I went to Lake Greenwood with four other members of the ACBS club from Seneca, SC. Joe and Cathy McLay and David and Pat Nisbett. After launching the boats, Joe said, “Let’s go out for a cruise.” I didn’t have any good action shots of their boats, so we decided to go take some. I rode with Joe and Cathy first and shot the Nisbett’s boat. I told them to cruise beside Joe’s boat and then move behind it and then to the other side. That way I could get both sides of the boat as well as a shot of the front of the boat. That went very well and I shot over 90 pictures of their boat.

    I then changed boats and I rode with the Nisbetts. I told Joe to do the same thing as before. Joe was driving, Cathy was in the passenger’s seat, and Linda was sitting behind Cathy. As Joe brought the boat behind us, he rode over the wake that was created by our boat. Cathy and Linda were on the low side of the boat as it was on top of the wave. The boat tipped down as it crested the wave throwing Joe out of his seat. He quickly grabbed the throttle on the way down and brought it back to neutral as he fell to the floor. It threw both of the ladies out of their seats and almost into the water. Now everyone is on the floor as the boat tipped on it’s side. A wave came into the boat soaking everyone. We watched with concern from the other boat, as we couldn’t see anyone in the boat when we came back around to them. Then we saw Joe pop up and the ladies got themselves back up on their seats. No one was hurt in the incident, but everyone was a little shook up and soaked.

    We cruised back to the dock for some dry clothes and a drink or two, to review what had just happened. We put the pictures up on the computer, and as we looked at them, we knew that we were all very lucky that day. The pictures proved just how sea worthy the Lyman is. I got two great shots of the boat on it’s side, and one of them made the cover of the Lyman magazine, The Clinker.

    So if we are shooting pictures of your boat this year, try not to go to such extremes to get a great action shot.

    Bob and Linda Miracle

  6. Robert Miracle
    Robert Miracle says:

    So many of you have made coments on the lapstrake boats. There are only two Lymans in the Blue Ridge Chapter that I know of. Miss Sparkle and Bill and Shiela’s Varrom. You will find pictures of them on my website http://miraclephotography.smugmug.com/boats/acbs boats.
    You can go to the different shows and see these boats there.
    I am going to add Miss Sparkle to the same web page under the Title of Miss Sparkle. The pictures on our web site is a lot more clear so as you can see the people in the boat. In the upper right corner of the page click on slide show. When it comes up click fast in the upper left part of the screen. It should make the pictures full screen on you computer.
    Any question about us contack me a rmiracle1@charter.net

  7. Robert Miracle
    Robert Miracle says:

    Miracle Photography will be attending the following shows in the ACBS. 2011 Sunny Land Show March 25-26 In Tavares Fl. Camp Lejuene Nc. April 8-9 Hartwell show Lake Hartwell Ga. April 15-16 Lake Sinclair Ga. May 13-14 Lake Chatuge Hiawassee Ga. June 10-11 Charlotte show on Lake Norman Sept.9-10 If you would like pictures of your boat Look for us there.
    If you have a show that you would like us to attend send us a e-mail to rmiracle1@charter.net
    Robert Miracle

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