Well? I Bet You Didn’t See This Coming?



It ain’t a good weekend or show til someone gets towed in. And so it goes, the circle of life for Woody Boaters. Only this time, I have to say, I did not see this one coming. I suppose that’s the case in life and the big reason I so love this passion. Because it’s always something, and no matter how confident you are, ship happens.

YUP! This is when I heard the Puff puff

Now, this all comes from how I use… the hell out of my boats. The sort of things that go wrong, or right, are timeless, and part of the fun.

OH! that’s not good! All the others a good 115lbs


The other day, I felt a little something in WECATCHEM’s performance. She was running like a sewing machine. But at one point, you could feel it putter at around 2500 rpm. And then it happened, we lost a cylinder. IN WECATCHEM! Not Stinky, which is a time bomb! What the hell?

One of these is not like the other


So I pulled the plugs, and mmmmmmm what the hell, thats not good. And then it just got worse..

Well, thats not supposed to look like that?

So? ALL IS NOT LOST.. The good news is the piston is clean. I stopped it in time. Looks like a new seat and valve. Which YES, can be done without.. WITHOUT tearing the engine apart.

Well, I could do the work in the boathouse, or get her into the barn.

Parts are on their way, I am sending the Valve and Seat to Van Ness who is getting us a new one, and hopefully will be boating next weekend.

Well, this is gonna be tricky, and fun! Yes we are all still like 12 year olds. What the hell. Gotta make some fun from it all.

HEY! Where did all the boats go?

But the real news is how Stinky rose to the occasion! She ran like a champ, and you could feel her pride in showing her younger sister up! isnt that what little sisters do to each other.

Well! A part of the fleet. We have more if need be.

Calm water early in the moring, the tow of shame needed to be done before all hell broke loose here. Fireworks are a Saturday tradition on the water and this area fills up!

A slow run!

Ya ya! nothing to see here, just an old boat towing another one

Good catch! That flag would have snapped off.

We had this all kinda figured out. The good news is we are experienced at this.

Someone is always on a phone!

Ya! mmmm, I am on a 1948 25′ boat being towed by a 1937 16′ boat. It’s complicated, I will call you back

So a fun tow to the ramp certainly was a sight. A 1937 Rat towing a 1948 work of art. And so is life in Woodyboaterville.

Almost there

This is where the art of it all works.

And right to the trailer.

Send us in your weekend stories, I know you have some. After all I am sure you all are getting tired of my adventures. I know I am. Woohooo! A full week of boating and only one down. Thats a good week in my book!

In da barn to be cleaned up and fixed.

21 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Matt, I commend your positive attitude. I don’t think I would feel the same way if having to deal with that. Good luck on the repair and getting her back on the water!

  2. Matt
    Matt says:

    Greg, its all part of it. At first i was . UGH, old engines and old trailers. SCREW THEM ALL! But it is what it is, and life would be boring if it all worked 100% of the time. The week could not have ended any better. I love an adventure and Stinky towing WECATCHEM just was the icing on the cake. I used all the boats to the fullest this week. Stinky continues to surprise me in so many ways. WECATHEM is wonderful, we use the hell out of her. Over 300 hrs on her since the rebuild and she just keeps going beyound what she should be expected to at her age. I know I would break a valve, in fact I have from time to time.

  3. Tparsons56
    Tparsons56 says:

    After several years of no mechanical issues this has also been my fate this year. The Fay and Bowen has a modern engine but that is also 20 years old. I had to replace the carb, fuel pump, fuel lines and relocate the spin on fuel filter but she now runs great.
    The 1941 Chris Craft Custom with M engine starts great but will suddenly die after 20 minutes. So far replaced fuel bowl gasket, points, rotor, condenser, cap plugs and coil. She runs great on the lift but now I need to see how she does on a sea trial.
    Yesterday I needed a break from working on boats so I got out the new Stihl chainsaw I got last summer and had used once. Yep – that won’t start either.
    I was starting to think it was just me so thank you Matt for reminding me that it is all of us.

  4. Johnny V./John Vyverberg
    Johnny V./John Vyverberg says:

    Yup, modern stuff breaks too. Is that a special edition “parts holder” hat?

    • Moe Howard
      Moe Howard says:

      Will you be selling the new woodyboater parts holder hats. You could have different colors and end styles. ( Floppy, captains, baseball, cooks (for long parts), You could make millions I tell ya, millions💲💲.

  5. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    20+ years ago I heard of a company that would come to your marina and install screw in valve seats in your boat in the water. Screw in valve seats are threaded on the outside and are long obsolete. One day I decided to search them out and see if they were still in business. This was pre internet. I hunted down Joe who had a marina in town in the 1950s. He remembered them and gave me a name and vague location. He also remembered the whole deal would run about $7.25 Off I went. Stopped at a few garages before I located an old time auto parts store with machine shop in the back. Walked in and asked “Can you install screw in valve seats?” The older guy behind the counter says “Boy, you don’t look like you are old enough to know what a screw in valve seat is.” Turns out they could install them! IF I could come up with the seats. Seats were obsolete, they still had the tools.
    Moral of the story: A screw in valve seat would probably not have came out. They worked. That’s why they are obsolete.

  6. Ronald Ford
    Ronald Ford says:

    Install all new valves and seats while you are working on it before a broken valve does major damage or haul it to Katz and let them install a fuel injected Mercruiser V8 for you. At 63 years old I have spent my last dollar on these old flatheads.

  7. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    So far this summer we had a trailer wheel/brake self destruct and catch on fire and a mercury outboard on a pontoon go into limp mode. Both are actually newer/more modern. The outboard is a 2000 vintage and the wheel hub was only a few years old.

    Stuff happens with boats and trailers whether classic or new.

  8. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Decided yesterday to put the muff on the 1995 Mercury and run it for a while….Would fire but not run…..Seems it needs a carbuertor gasket….Nothing is forever…But better to find it here at the house than at the ramp.

  9. Patrick L W
    Patrick L W says:

    Why would anyone buy and old wooden boat? Wood and water don’t mix. Constant repairs and maintenance. You’d have to be crazy. Or a man with taste and ability.

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      Yes, she was rebuilt 2 years ago. Its a love hate thing. But I am learning so much. Like new 454’s arnt cheap! HA! I love the entire zen experience of it all. The engine and its flaws are part of its history. The flaws are not mistakes or anything bad. I recall all my cars like this had issues of one sort or another. I am also greatful to folks like Dave VanNess, Jimmy, Seth who help over the phone and when in deep do do are there. I have run all my boats now all week, and had a blast… bang, rattle.. good time

  10. Briant
    Briant says:

    Two years ago?!?!?

    I know there is the original this and original that thought but….

    Life is too short to be messing around with ancient history….yeah, that engine.

    Since 2006 when we acquired Zoomer, we have towed in 7-8 plastic boats and been towed in uh…..uh…oh that’s right….Never.

    A Ford 302 V8 that just works, has plenty of power and torque and parts are down at the corner auto parts outlet….not with some 85 year old geezer in a wood shed that doubles as a machine shop….not that there is anything wrong with that (to steal a line from Seinfeld).

    I think there may be a reason modern cars don’t come with a flathead 6 cyl engine anymore….

  11. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    I WENT BOATING for the whole week and missed all this ….
    just lucky I guess…not a single blip…..

    John in Va.

    • Dave/VA
      Dave/VA says:

      Sigh, my ‘56 Capri is being rebuilt including a total engine overhaul. Wish it was in the lake to run or …. ?!

  12. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Pulling back the engine box on Wecatchem and revealing a big black Mercruiser would be like getting Marilyn Monroe naked and seeing a tramp stamp, blasphemy.

  13. Ralph Cattaneo
    Ralph Cattaneo says:

    Our boating season in the Mid Atlantic area is short enough as it is without experiencing a failure such as Matt’s. For that reason alone I’m going black with EFI. And with my luck I would have hit the top of the piston damaging the piston, rod pin, or rod bearing. The down time would be a real bummer. As I see it I have less than fifty days a season to go boating and with rain, high winds, other outside activities interfering, I’m lucky to get out a dozen times a year. I’ll keep the Scrips in storage…

  14. Dick Hansen
    Dick Hansen says:

    After several rebuilds of both carb and fuel pump on my Ford Interceptor in my 63 Century Resorter, I discovered there were exact replacements available through Edelbrock. After years of crappy performance and anguish, the engine now runs like the proverbial “sewing machine”, visualize a 240 hp sewing machine!

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