Pay Off Your Student Loan? Or Buy A Classic Boat? Silly Question.


A couple weeks ago in a comment we noticed an insane nice Lyman and asked for the back story.. So, Thanks to fellow Woody Boater Ryan Nagel for sending in this fun story and better yet, some very nice photos of his “investment”  Take it away Ryan..


Thanks Matt,
As promised a few weeks ago, Ive included the story on my 72 Lyman Islander Sedan Flybridge.

I was in graduate school at the University of Cincinnati working at the Antique Boat Center (not a bad part time gig.)  I had just completed a 2 year restoration of my 1969 26′ Cruisette hardtop “Buoys of Summer” when Dennis asked if I would consider selling my pride and joy. I was reluctant at first; however with an offer I couldn’t refuse the boat was headed to Texas and I was without a boat.

Woohooo! I'll pay those loans off later!

Woohooo! I’ll pay those loans off later!

At 23 years old I had a choice. I could pay off my student loans and start my professional life without debt, or start shopping for the boat I had wanted since I was a little kid; A 28 or 30′ Lyman. Naturally I chose to start boat shopping.

Growing up between Sandusky and Cleveland I live in the heart of Lyman Land and was well connected in the Lyman world. I searched near and far, even making trips up to Clayton to see boats that turned out looking far better in photos than in person. With no luck, I resorted to posting an ad on Craigslist “WTB 28-30’ Lyman”. A guy from a town only a few miles away responded and said his mother had a boat I might like to see.

Dream'n of a Lyman

Dream’n of a Lyman

I went and saw the boat in January and was finally pleasantly surprised. It was a 1972 Lyman Islander Sedan Flybridge, one of only 5 ever made with a fully enclosed bulkhead, full size door and aft facing sliding windows.  The woman who owned it was 78 years old at the time and had owned the boat since 1980. Bad hips prevented her from climbing up to the flybridge so it was finally time to let the boat go.  She had every receipt from fuel receipts to overnight dockage slips to full documentation of the engine rebuilds and restoration work. Over 30 years’ worth of receipts in 3 large boxes.


The boat had spent its early life at the Cleveland Yacht Club until 1980 and Catawba Island/Middle Bass Island Yacht Club until about 2005.  She completed the Great Lakes loop twice in 1989 and 1994, from Catawba Island, Lake Erie up to Duluth MN down to Chicago and back. I have many notebooks of the shiplogs that were included in the boxes. A trip any woody boater would love to do on a 30’ Lyman one day.
At first glance it looked ugly with its “Lymanade” yellow, and upholstery that reflected the age of the boat and its owner. Upon inspecting it closely the boat was in terrific shape and had all the features essential for spending weekends boating on Lake Erie.  The boat features a stand up head with bathroom sink, two burner electric stove, galley sink, refrigerator, microwave, relatively large v-berth, fold down dinette table and the original 1972 Koldwave air conditioner which is awesome for extended weekends at the islands.






Perhaps best of all, the boat weighs only 7800lbs dry and is powered by its original twin 270hp Crusaders which had just been completely overhauled and only had about 20 hours on them.

Clean as a whistle. Not a vacume whistle.. just a whistle, how ever that term came to be.. Its that clean

Clean as a whistle. Not a vacume whistle.. just a whistle, how ever that term came to be.. Its that clean

The boat had been out of the water since 2005 and she had spent a small fortune on restoration including a new transom, refinished interior, flooring and new ½” solid teak decks professionally done by a former Lyman employee that installed decks in the 1960s until they switched to fiberglass in 1973.

One sweet Lyman Express

One sweet Lyman Express

She was reluctant to sell the boat at first but soon realized I had the desire and energy to preserve and improve the boat. A deal was struck in the spring and I immediately began a mostly cosmetic makeover including new paint, Sikkens Cetol deck finish, cushions, upholstery, varnish, varnish and more varnish. It may also be the only Lyman on the Great Lakes with underwater LED lights.


My friends and family have enjoyed the boat over the past four years. It is a mainstay at Put in Bay and Kelley’s Island during the summer and gets 10x the attention of the 50’ SeaRays at the marina.  With an open 11’x10 ½’ aft deck and flybridge it’s the ultimate boat for entertaining, spending long weekends and getting to port safely in heavy seas.


23 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    That is one fantastic boat. I can’t help but be a little jealous. It sounds like the lady that originally owned the boat is also worthy of a story on WoodtBoater. Wow, what a gal!

  2. Texx
    Texx says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us Ryan. A beautiful boat. There’s nothing quite like a big Lyman, and this one has it all…

  3. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Great boat and story. Thanks for sharing!

    I am going to forward this one to my Lyman guys.

  4. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    Another great Lyman is for sale, my 22 foot “Lyman Tyme” is listed with the Antique Boat Center. My health has gotten the best of me this Summer and it is harder and harder to tow/launch the old girl around the country to classic boat show, as I have done the past several years. Looking for a good home for her…

    • Bartlomiej
      Bartlomiej says:

      Right click the picture and select VIEW IMAGE… you will get the larger picture to show up!

  5. Mike U
    Mike U says:

    Ryan, great looking Lyman! I enjoyed looking at her all month long back in April in the LBOA calendar.

  6. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    I hope to see you and your great Lyman, at the Huron, Ohio show, in a couple of weeks.

  7. Ryan Nagel
    Ryan Nagel says:

    Thanks guys! It will be in Huron in a few weeks for the 15th Annual All Classics Festival. Fingers crossed i’ll have my 1954 13′ Lyman Leader will be there as well, maybe with wet varnish…

  8. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Ryan, as a fellow Laymaniac my full respect and admiration are yours.
    We have 103 feet of Lyman but no 30 footers. As Dennis points out age limits the size I want to tangle with. Plus we are getting to the point where every captain can have a ship and we do not have to go all at once. Enjoy your beautiful Lyman.

  9. Justin Heidtman
    Justin Heidtman says:

    Very cool. And a much better investment than paying off college… least more fun.

  10. Bartlomiej
    Bartlomiej says:

    I too decided to get a Lyman before my school debt was paid off… Then I added another Lyman to the mix and then a 35 foot Chris…. Where is my mind…

  11. Dennis Ryan
    Dennis Ryan says:

    Ryan not only has a beautiful boat but is also a hard working smart young guy. His time at the Antique Boat center was a great experience for the whole team. He not only learned fom us, we learned from him. His lengthy restoration practice and knowledge with Lymans, family and friends Lymans, was great educational training for our whole team.

  12. Joe Roszkowski
    Joe Roszkowski says:

    Ryan what is your hull number? I also own a 72 sedan flybridge L177 land a 69 26 cruisette. I live near Mobile Al and both boats may be featured on the cover of the next Clinker. Don’t ya love cruising on your 30. Man that’s a good lookin boat. I think you and I have 2 of the only 5 sedans produced. Interesting my v berth has a rounded cut out on the port side with no door. I just had the original 340 chryslers rebuilt and installed mufflers make it a little quieter for the folks sitting on the rear deck. Give me a shout. Love to compare notes. Take care Joe Roszkowski Deep South Lyman Lover

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