The Diversity Of Classic Boating.

Diverse Boats

Yes 4 white guys are diverse in this cool Carlson.

I am asked all the time what is Daily News on The World of Classic Boats? Well, we report on the world of classic boats. “Oh you mean like those old Chris Crafts?” I am thinking, yes, and about a gillion other boats.

Century Boartner

Texx driving Dave Bortners Century time capsule on Gull Lake. Dane Anderson photo.

I was on the phone the other day with Rob Lyons of the Antique Boat Center.. Great guy by the way.. And we were laughing that folks think there was one boat made from 1925 til around 1968. And they all were made by Chris Craft and one style. That’s an insight for all of us. I have now had this mentioned to me from several Producers and Reporters.

Pumpkin 425

cool 70’s colors, jet drives, outdrives, V drives..

The thing is to normal people, they blend our passion into one simple iconic boat. A barrel back or U22 most likely. But here is the thing, I would bet you a pack of frozen Wieners that there is a larger variety of classic boats, than new plastic boats.

Chris Craft barrel Back low2

Google Classic Boats in Images, and Sylvia come up. Why? Because thats what people click on. She be an icon! Everyone new calls all the boats a barrel back.

U22 golden pond

On Golden Pod U22 is about as iconic as it gets. By the way , its a utility, 22 foot Sportsman. There are smaller ones, larger, Hardtops..

The one off manufactures back in the day was endless. And for each and every boat made, there were very few alike. Custom this and that.

Holy crap

How about a Jersey Skiff? Yeah a great family boat, fishng, like a pontoon boat.. NOT

Mass production today for economic reasons I suppose makes it all look the same. Sure there are different brands, but really are they all that unique? Maybe I suffer from the same condition as the un enlightened do? They see me as a blend of one, and I see the same of them. Regardless, Our Classic boats are as different as boating could be at any time in history, including now. We got ski boats, they got ski boats, we got Sea sleds, they got Whalers, BTW we got whalers too.

Hickman Sea Sled

Hickman Sea Sled

Keeper sign

The Woody Whaler. 1969 perfection.

We got inboards and out boards, they got .. well you get the drill.. We even got jet drives, and yes crappy out drives.

Our would is much wider than just Fiberglass or Wood, we are an entire universe of diverse boats as diverse as the population of boats. We are also blessed with the diversity of time.

Donzi Baby Header

baby Donzi

America Suzy Necking

Miss America IX takes on the party barge Suzy.. Guess who won.. I did cause i got to have the run of a lifetime. BTW that boat looks great passing by!

Many times I am surprised by the simple things on newer boats that make boating safer and fun. Thats evolution, and thats fun to see. To smell and hear a wonderful carbon bigfoot print flat head. Its a unique sound and feel. Maybe I get caught to much in the weeds and such. If your new to the passion, we recommend a boat show to see whats out there, or visiting Antique boat Center which has a ton in stock that you can see the difference. Or Katzs Marina which has over 200 in stock.

Katz Marina Storage

One of many storage areas at Katz’s marina

Out west, visit Sierra Boat Co.. This years Tahoe Show will have more V 12’s than ever before in one place. How many new boats have V12s? Go.. touch. feel, and introduce yourself to classic boating. we promise, seeing is believing.

Connie Express2

Cool Chris Craft Express’s.. BTW, both are different. Algonac Mich

If your near Algonac in a couple weeks, heck if your far away, come, touch feel the history. If you cant make that. The huge once in a lifetime event on Gull lake in Minnesota. Dave Bortner from Freedom Boat Service is going all out with many of the big guns up there. So get out there, look around, and enjoy the diversity of classic boating.


27 replies
  1. Scott K.
    Scott K. says:

    We are new to the classic / vintage boat world and really enjoy the diversity of design and materials used over time……BTW, thanks to Woodyboater for introducing us to this world.
    We’re planning on having our XK in Algonac and Gull lake, to experience that diversity in action. And join in the fun.
    Can’t wait!!

  2. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    It’s tha same with cars. In the past the designers tried to be different, now they all try to copy each other. Generic & boring!

    • Jim Staib
      Jim Staib says:

      That’s pretty much true. Only difference is dock a Chris-Craft in with a bunch of new boats and it will stick out. Doesn’t matter if it is a woody or brand new. The new ones have a style in the water that no one has copied yet.

  3. Ed F.
    Ed F. says:

    This is so true. It happens all the time. A stop at a gas station, rest area, grocery store or even at a red light. People say “my grandpa (uncle, dad, brother, neighbor whoever) had a boat just like that”. We were anchored on the sand bar on Platte Lake a few years ago with a ’41 15′ Century Utility and a ’32 20′ Hacker triple when a lady came out from shore to tell us that her cousin had a boat “just like these” that he needed to sell. When I asked “like which one.” She replied ” like these”, thinking they were the same. It turned out the boat she was telling us about was a 1939 Larson 15′ cedar strip outboard that is less than a runabout but a little more than an open fishing boat. It was a one owner that has spent its entire life on Platte Lake, and we bought it anyway. But to her it was the same as the Century AND the Hacker which to us are totally different boats. Only once has a guy said “my grandpa had a boat just like that” when what he really meant was, just like that 1960 18′ Continental that we were towing at the time. It is always fun to hear the comments, compliments, get waves and thumbs up while towing old boats around the country and most people are surprised to hear that the boats get used a lot all summer. That they are not just pampered and shown at shows.

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      Funny, but I all ready ask my three sons, who are talented wood craftsmen in their own right, to see which one of them will be building me one of these. So I got my order in, we will see …

  4. Jack Schneiberg
    Jack Schneiberg says:

    I dug out my Bob Speltz “Real Runabout” series of books about 3 weeks ago and started paging through them again. I have all but the last one. It is amazing to me the number of boat builders that came and went in the 20th century. Literally hundreds, maybe thousands of inboard, outboard, and handpowered boat builders. When I first started buying that series of books back in the 1990’s, I went through them rather quickly always in anticipation of the next page. Now, I’m actually reading (this could keep me busy for a few months) the material. If you have these now hard to find volume’s, dig them out and surprise yourself with the content.

  5. Kent Baker
    Kent Baker says:

    I run my ’59 cruis along 22′ in Lyman territory. I shouldn’t be amazed how many people ask about my “new lyman” as the similarities between a sheet plywood and a lapstrade plywood boat ends at the incidental Mahogany trim. When I explain it’s not a lyman and about the lap-sides, they then interrupt and say “oh so it’s a chris craft!”. Umm…. okay sure whatever…
    People have no idea how many boat and car manufacturers there were before and after WWII. Ford, Chevy, dodge is to lyman, chris-craft, Century… it’s up to the real woody boaters to preserve the rarities before the history decays into a pile of termite feces… or glass-mat splinters.

  6. Gary
    Gary says:

    Diversity is what keeps us all going. There are people who cannot tell the differences between classes of one-design sailboats, a lot of wood boaters, and a sailboat. Just the other day I had someone comment on my garage project about when we are going to sail it over to Victoria! Why tomorrow of course!
    That same person and I have about the same handicap on the fairways and we love taking from each other,

  7. Tommyholm
    Tommyholm says:

    With the internet flooding us with like info and social media consuming us, We will be assimilated, resistance is futile.

  8. Nautilus
    Nautilus says:

    It’s the same in the antique car hobby…the OLD cars. I can’t tell you how many times my 1919 Cadillac was referred to as a Model T Ford.

  9. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    People are always asking me what year my MG is – guess they can’t read the Morgan script… It really talks to the strength of brand recognition. Think of brands that become the identifier for anything in that realm – Xerox for example – it can be any of a hundred manufacturers, but the early, dominant (or well marketed) producer is the first thing that comes to mind and mouth.

    • Wilson
      Wilson says:

      Happens every time I drive my 1970 Olds convertable and someone says, “my dad had one of those old Buicks or Pontiacs.”…One guy even said, “We had a Plymouth kije that.”

      • floyd r turbo
        floyd r turbo says:

        Not sure of the name, or model of the Shepherd. Photo taken at Peter Breens Antique and Classic Boat Co. Ltd in Rockwood, Ontario. I tried to identify by the “swoosh” on the side but they have so many different version if you do a search.

  10. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Speaking of diversity, would a ‘glass hull Century with a wood deck be classified as transgender??

  11. Alex
    Alex says:

    Very nicely written Matt. I agree. Variety is a big part of the joy of boating. That’s why I bought so (er, too) many.

    It’s fun to choose a different boat to take out by day, by time of day, by time of year, by conditions, by destination, by body of water, by number of riders, and by how I feel.

    It’s also great to have different LOA’s, interior configurations, hull materials, styling, engines, etc. to choose from.

    Btw, those Dora pics make me realize it’s not a show to be missed for a great time. Made me smile. Gotta be there next Spring!

  12. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    Diversity is indeed the spice of life. I’m sure they have been saying that same thing for centuries, and it will be said for more (if there are more to come).

    In their first 20 years (1922-1942), Chris-Craft offered no less than 142 different models of woody boats. Now that’s diversity.

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