The Lost Story Of Comet. As In I Lost It. I Have Had It, Just Forgot I Had It! Don’t Tell Them At The Museum. SHHHH!

Comet with Parker at wheel and Stanley in rear cockpit

Okay, I know! I am busy, and I do get around 400 emails a day, but for some dam reason, I completely forgot to publish this story. Now, it was during a hurricane and some Boat The Blue thing? What ever that was. Who knew there was some sort of show in Michigan last September. Why didn’t anyone tell us about it?  Anyhooo. This story is cool, and get this, a boat story. An actual boat story. Not a boat on ebay story, or some sausage crap, or the anniversary of Pepto Bismol.. UGH.. So here ya go. As it was intended to be published from our good pals at THE ANTIQUE BOAT MUSEUM.  So just imagine you are back in September when this was written.

And yes, I just meshed up Waynes World with The Antique Boat Museum. That’s the way we roll here.

Comet being raced late 1920s

If you’re attending the Port Huron ACBS International Boat Show Sept 14th and 15th make sure to stop by and check out the Antique Boat Museum’s display and say hello to Rebecca Hopfinger and Claire Wakefield. Rebecca and Claire will have ABM’s 1926 Stanley raceboat Comet at the show. Comet was designed by Charlie Parker and built by Stanley Boat Works in Cape Vincent, NY. Mr. Parker raced Comet on the St. Lawrence River and won 8 championship trophies. She was purchased by Winniford Fox of Watertown, NY in the 1930s and renamed The Fox. Mr. Fox continued Comet’s racing career as The Fox and raced her on the St. Lawrence River and Cranberry Lake in the Adirondacks. Comet was originally powered with a Hispano Suiza Aero engine and was repowered in the 1930s with a 120hp 6 cylinder flathead marine engine.

Kenny working on Comet

Getting a new transom at the Museum shop

For the summer of 2017 and part of this summer, boat builder Kenny Bassett came to work on Comet, one of the few remaining Stanley built boats in existence. Although her hull is unfinished and incomplete in places, Comet’s significance to ABM lies in her rarity as a Stanley boat and her hull which remains in original condition; an impressive feat for a ninety-two year old boat!

Schematic of Comet

Kenny took line drawings of Comet and refastened some of the original hardware to the boat. In a conversational effort to document this historic boat, ABM had the line drawings added to the Museum’s archives which will preserve Comet’s history for future generations. The documentation of Comet was generously sponsored by Roger Hamblin and Bill Ferry.

Logo Tracing

(Okay the following copy is really out of date. My bad! Ugh…)

Rebecca and Claire will have (HAD) copies of Comet’s plans and offsets available for purchase at the Port Huron Show. (OH BOY!  YA,, THAT BOAT THE BLUE THING AGAIN…) Plans are ( WERE) available to members for $250 and non-members for $275, shipping additional. You will  ( COULD HAVE ) also be able to place orders. If you find that plans aren’t quite what you’re looking for, the Museum Store also has shirts with Comet on them available for purchase. (WHEN IT OPENS IN MAY!) THIS IS AWKWARD!  Here look at this photo I cleaned up..

Comet in the late 1920s2 Before we cleaned it up at Woody Boater

I tweaked it a tad . Cool hat and bow numbers


22 replies
  1. Rick
    Rick says:

    Darn it all! In September I was thinking of building a replica Stanley but couldn’t find any plans. Nah, not really. Cool stony though, thank you.

  2. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Yes, Rebecca and Claire did a great job at Boat the Blue and we really enjoyed having them be part of the fun. Since Matt brought it up again, here is that terrific logo one more time!

  3. Caper
    Caper says:

    You should check with the ABM, as there is much more to the Stanley story, and I believe it is great stuff. I think Roy was courted by either Chris Craft or Garwood to come work for them and refused. Ultimately he was voluntold he would build boats to support the WWII war effort, and instead he closed up shop. This is all dredged up from my memory and may not be accurate, so perhaps someone could research the details and get this right. Remember Comet was built in 1926! Her lines are amazing, and her design so forward thinking.

  4. Mo Sherrill
    Mo Sherrill says:

    How about more info on “Comet” – how long is she? Photos often make boats look longer than they really are. What wood is the frame and structural material? Skin — Honduras? African? Philippine? When racing how fast? Great looking boat and looks fast sitting still!

    • Caitlin Playle
      Caitlin Playle says:

      Comet is 24′ 8″ long. One article referenced her speed as ~54 mph in 1926 but that’s the only mention I found in ABM’s records. Unfortunately I don’t have an answer for type of wood beyond a mention of mahogany in the files. Hope that helps!

  5. Bill Bernhard
    Bill Bernhard says:

    Fish Brothers Marine is currently building a replica from the ABM plans. The next time I am down that way I’ll send photo’s of their progress.

  6. Briant
    Briant says:

    Look. I don’t want to be a downer, but our boat is old too (1930) and it was was cared for and thus is beautiful and safe….so, uh, who exactly is responsible for Comet decaying to the point of firewood?

    I get it. Many boats and cars were never designed nor thought to have a long life span. But that is not the point. I see yet another example of people just flat out not giving a rat’s ass about their stuff and allowing it to decay.

    I guess I’ll never get it. I own stuff and the damn stuff I choose to own, I care for. I take care of it. I spend money when stuff breaks. I will leave my stuff in better condition than I found it for my kids.

    I just do not understand how someone can own a boat or car and allow it to become a turd in the yard.

  7. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    What a great looking boat.

    LOVE the low slung windshields!

    Thanks again Matt for bringing more history of our hobby to the forefront.

  8. Andy C
    Andy C says:

    My wife’s uncle owned and operated a Stanley with a sterling engine as a guide boat on Wolfe island for many years. It was sold at the abm auction probably 10 yrs ago to Halls marine in lake george. Wish I had the $$ back then to buy it and I wish I knew where it is today.

  9. David
    David says:

    Hmmm, interesting. The drawings show a single forward cockpit. The first picture of the boat (the one with Parker at the wheel) shows a single cockpit forward as well. But the rest of the pictures and the restoration show a triple cockpit (two cockpit forward) boat. Not sure they are the same boat?

  10. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    The Stanley looks a lot like a Rochester i.e. “Mr Benny” for all those who remember, although the combings are a little taller on the Rochester. The transoms are nearly exact from the pictures.

  11. don Vogt
    don Vogt says:

    Interesting design with a good bit of tumblehome. I think that john hacker maybe was responsible for introducing it into boat design, but was that before this boat was built or was this an independent development? anyone know?

Comments are closed.