Oh Crap! – There’s A Thayer III

Thayer III-2

Oh Crap!

Yesterday we found out that Norman Thayer is actually still alive! Go figure, but there he was in the comment section. And who are we to think it could only be him? Not me. So imagine my surprise when he agreed to share the story of his earlier boats. Thayer III. Now you may ask, why Matt would you ask such a question? Well, as it just so happens to turn out. We found Thayer III a couple months back but really had no way of making sure that it really was the Thayer family boat before Thayer IV.

Thayer 3

According to Norman, this was taken right before a fishing trip. Ethel stayed home!

Well, thanks to Norman who gave us these family photos, we can deduct that this must be the boat. I mean what are the chances of this happening?

Thayer III-10

Thayer III in a field of Bulls!

The Find!

Well, while in the country working with some cattle, Jimmy noticed a hint of varnish in a barn and proceeded to look further. Well. there it was, right in the middle of a herd of bulls. Really! Go figure. Thank goodness he grabbed a photo so we have proof. Seth Katz drove down to Virginia right away to the barn and honestly we were all a bit confused. I mean there are countless Thayer IVs out there. But Thayer III? Regardless it is a very rare blond inside Mahogany outside U22. Stunning. It does appear that Norman liked his dash compass though. So could it be?  Here is Thayer III in her new home at Katz’s Marina.

thayer III-3

Thayer III-7

With the ladder found in under the bow storage area.

THayer III-1

Thayer III Dash

Here are some old Thayer family photos from Norman.

Thayer 3 -hepburn

Ethel Thayer liked to drive back then.

WOW! We did ask Pat Curtin if he knew anything about all this. He knew some, of course the Thayers had other boats. And used to live in Virginia before living up on Golden Pond. Hence Jimmy finding the boat in Virginia near Winchester VA. It all has come together. According to Norman, they got Thayer III right after the war. Norman was in the navy on a ship in the South Pacific . After he came home Ethel and Norman were stationed in Norfolk were Chelsea was born.

Norman holding Chelsies little brother Bob! Bob was in collage during the filming of the film. Which as it turns out was the first reality show ever done! Really!

Thayer III -5

Thayer III in the storage shed at Katz’s Marina. It’s really there. No Bulls!

To think, a simple find of a boat in a field of Bull Manure could turn out to be missing link into the Thayer boat family history.

So there ya have it. Thanks Norman!


A young Norman Thayer at the helm of Thayer III

48 replies
  1. William Hammond
    William Hammond says:

    Didn’t Norman Thayer serve under Capt. Roberts? And didn’t his family live just a little bit east of Eden?

  2. Cliff
    Cliff says:

    Who is “Thayer” ? Why is the boat named after him? Why not Pulver or royal order of the palm? Hmmmm?

  3. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    While doing some CSI investigating while reading this story I want to know two things.

    1) Who broke the spot light? In the first picture in the “Field of Bulls” it is not broken. In all later pictures at Katz it is broken. Did Jimmy use it to climb up on the boat to get away from all the Bull?

    2) There is a scratch in the water line on the Starboard side just forward of the transom. Is it possible that this is actually the boat used during filming of the famous “bumping the rock” shot in the movie? That would mean that Thayer III is actually the 4th boat you talked about in the 1st story.


    • Ken Miller
      Ken Miller says:

      The early black/white pictures must be from when you refer to the Thayers living in Virginia. The later color photos of the bulls are from the Meade Farm in New Hampshire. No bull.

  4. Mike
    Mike says:

    I am interested to know the hull # of this “very rare mahogany hull and blond interior”. I own one of these and there is another in the same marina. I never thought the boat was rare until recently when a very well known restorer told me he had never seen one. My U22 is a 1947, hull #1216.

    • Ken Miller
      Ken Miller says:

      The good folks at Antique Boat Center have a U-22 with a blonde interior listed for sale. Also a 1947, it is white-sided (Listing # 14204-U22).

      If the white-sided U-22s came about because of the use of Spanish Cedar due to the shortage of mahogany cause by the war, were the blonde ceiling boards of some of these 22s also cedar or a lower grade of mahogany?

      • Greg
        Greg says:

        Virginia White Mountain Spruce. I think….possibly…maybe… for sure not mahogany.

        WAIT JUSTA GD MINUTE…There is “spell check” on this thing….WTF!

      • Mike
        Mike says:


        The hull sides and deck are Philippine mahogany. The instrument panel, ceiling boards and bottom planks are Port Orford Cedar.

  5. Mike Green
    Mike Green says:

    Fun story just not sure what to believe, with the ability of photoshop and the going on’s with Theyer IV story years ago. Is this where they got the idea for the movie On Golden Pond, did I miss something, is this bull or is this totally true? I have no doubt that Seth has the right Theyer IV though.

    • Rick
      Rick says:

      This is all in print so it must all be true. Especially if its on the interweb. Now if someone will just add this to WIKIPEDIA it will be incontrovertible!

  6. Jack Schneiberg
    Jack Schneiberg says:

    Well….it’s good to know that the “Old Poop” was once a “Young Poop”…….and that’s no “bull poop”!

  7. matt
    matt says:

    Hi Mike, regarding the boat, it has not been photoshopped! You can see the boat in person at the shop. Its stunning with its blonde interior. The cow photo is in the field in VA were the boat was when Jimmy had it in VA. That shot is untouched as well. Here is the original.

  8. Ethel Thayer
    Ethel Thayer says:

    I’m glad someone found her. Norman and I tried to get Mr. Curtin to use her in the movie but if I recall correctly, there was something about the steering wheel he didnt like. Anyone seen my canoe?

  9. William Hammond
    William Hammond says:

    PHEW!!!! I was beginning to think, MR SMITH, that we’d have to GOES TO WASHINGTON to get to the bottom of this web of intricacies!!

  10. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    Price of U-22’s going up! Tip, Look for early hull numbers , purchase and then carefully strip transom not to damage sun bleached imprint of THAYER I , or II.

  11. Pat Roberts
    Pat Roberts says:

    Not positive, Ethel, but I believe I read that the canoe (named Gertrude?) was purchased by Wayne Newton after the death of Katharine Hepburn. I’m sure glad you are still with us though.

  12. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Please stop trying to rush the calendar to April first – the months fly by plenty quickly already!

  13. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Mmmm…black angus! There is some tasty looking beef in that field. Grab the hind quarters and you have 6 steamship rounds to serve at Tavares (keeping with the boat theme) and further forward you have a nice supply of porterhouse steaks for the grill this summer. For now, send me the chuck and we can make some chili and beef stew to keep us warm over the next 68 days or so of winter until Sunnyland.

    As for the boat, I expect it is well infused with the stench of the bovine excrement it shared the field with all these years.

  14. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Since I am ADICTED to Woodyboater…I get to go cold turkey when these MOVIE stories show up….never saw the flick and don’t give a frack.
    I am going boating.
    counting down the dora days….

    John in Va.

  15. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    Wonder why Norman did not keep the Thayer III very long… did he sink that one too… It is only a few years older than the Thayer IV… And if he bought the Thayer IV and 4 others, why did he never buy a Thayer V. Seeing this post I decided to go through my archives of vintage photos and see if I have any photos of earlier Thayer boats I actually found photos of Norman’s first boat.. “Thayer I” Here you see them fueling up the Thayer I in the 1930s… See Ethel running the pump..

  16. John David
    John David says:

    What is the status of the other on Golden Pond boats? As I recall something good for the Wood boat community was to come of them and the would not be in private hands indefinitely? That they would possibly be in a place of public exposure of some type.

    • Frank Miklos
      Frank Miklos says:

      They get out to shows where people see them … This is better than being in a museum in my mind…. They occasionally get in the water. One of these days I would like to get out for a ride in one or both them…

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