You Know Those Insane Vintage Racers You See At Boat Shows And You Wonder, Who In The Heck Restores These? So Did We!

Baby Bootlegger! What ever I say is not worthy, Her history is on the link in the story. Click it..

Baby Bootlegger! What ever I say is not worthy, Her history is on the link in the story. Click it..

Yesterday I spoke with Mark Mason, one of the top guys in the field…lake…. water, of classic …vintage…antique race, and fine boats. Like the Duesenbergs of the antique boat world. Baby Bootlegger, Baby Skip along, Hornet… Palm Beach Days.. The list goes on and on, and one visit to his amazing website  New England Boat and Motor will make your Friday.. I burned up an hour yesterday just looking and then having to clean the key board on my computer. Did you know drool can cause issues on your laptop? I do…now.. These boats always stop me in my tracks at the shows. To be honest, I see them and know they are so out of my league, that I don’t dare love on them. But now I am bitten. Dang dang double dog dang..  thanks Mark for that..Thanks a lot. And he is a nice guy to boot…legger….Dang! I am running out of excuses to not raid the 401K and sell the company…. and sell meth..

Palm Beach Days.. made my day!

Palm Beach Days.. made my day!

Not only are they insane looking, but fast as heck… OK, as hell! They are curse word worthy!!! Design and power all built and restored, preserved with passion and an eye for history and the texture that only  knowledge can add. Anyway, go to the link and make sure you cover your key board. Here is some Baby Bootlegger action to get you going.

23 replies
    • Alex
      Alex says:

      Hi WoodyGal. I didn’t take today’s header. Tho I’m going for a run now on icy roads. Might take a header of a different sort…

      • matt
        matt says:

        You are both right, I had this header up for 1 minute this AM, I realized that mark didnt do Miss America IX and it might be confusing.. Wait, that sounded strange.. Not that Miss America isnt attractive, oh brother..

        • WoodyGal
          WoodyGal says:

          I think you were safe saying that! Nobody would think of Miss America IX as a real person, not any Woody Boaters at least.

  1. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    For me, boating is a social activity. If I can’t take 3-4 people with me, the boat has little appeal. I would get far more enjoyment out of your big sportsman and her Lincoln v8 than I would owning a racer. Don’t get me wrong, I love the engines, and the first few high speed runs would be a thrill, but after that they would get boring.

  2. Troy
    Troy says:

    I have spent time on that sight!
    Don’t even dare take the drive to New Hampshire to see it in person.
    AWESOME boats!

  3. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Did you mention that Mark Mason is one of the founders of the Michigan Chapter, and still a member. Just for the record!

  4. Randy Rush Captain Grumpy
    Randy Rush Captain Grumpy says:

    I thought that header looked familiar, Just out of the picture is my Carver that they are chasing! Just another typical day on Lake Winni for me.

  5. Gary
    Gary says:

    Drool on the keyboard of laptop? What the hay what about my wet pants now?
    Definitely a different league and incredible finds.
    As a kid racing 3 ptrs the thrill of driving one of these even for a few minutes weekly during the summer would be bliss.

  6. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    Like M Fine said, my Hacker Palm Beach was a great riding boat but I could only take 3 people with me, and the 2 in the back seat were so crammed in there, they could not enjoy a long leisure cruise. Point and Shoot up and down the lake is a lot of fun and the looks you get on the water and on the trailer are also worth the price of ownership. I really do regret selling Old School, but at my age, there are so many different types of boats I want to own yet, and so little time.
    If only I could have the Hacker AND the Lyman, now that’s the ticket…

  7. Sean
    Sean says:

    These are beautiful boats! fantastic style, craftsmanship and quality oozes from them. Even better is witnessing them at full song on the lake making some spray. I can’t think of how fun it would be tearing up the water with one of these.

    But remember, that most of these boats are reproductions. And although made of wood, and to original plans, are neither “antique” nor are they “classic”. These boats serve a great purpose of keeping this era of design alive for all to see …preserved so it shall not be lost.

    These are cool boats. Please represent them for what they are (as most do). The $400.000 cost per copy is not a flux capacitor though. Imho, the ACBS guidelines could tighten up too… calling a 100% new wood “restoration” a reproduction. But, that’s for another day.

    These comments do not mean I wouldn’t want one of these boats should I ever win the lottery…. just that I’d call it a spade.

  8. Wilson Wright
    Wilson Wright says:

    Luckily for me, I happened to be at the Winnipesaukee show the day Mark launched Baby Bootlegger…What a sight as it roared out across the lake…and if I recall right the elderly widow of the person who designed the engine was along for the ride…Talk about history..

    And talk about a nice guy…On another trip to the lake I had my 19′ Chris Craft racing runabout….No it it really isn’t a racer…they just called it one…Anyhow, in the middle of the lake…my distributor decided to malfunction….Mark to the rescue…It was towed to his place ( seeing that place and riding in one of his boats is a whole nuther story) and he fixed it and sent me on my way with a completely rebuilt distributor…Thanks again Mark !

  9. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Mark offered me a ride in the Curtis Willgold III, unfortunately at the time of the oncoming storms at Tavares last year my crew mates were “we got to get to hell out of here and beat the storm”. I may never have that opportunity again. I was mesmerized by the dashboard alone. Mark knows so much about race boat history, it just blows me away.

  10. Denis D
    Denis D says:

    At the 2012 Alton Bay classic boat show on Lake Winnipesaukee, Mark brought the Hornet and the Wilgold III. I was blown away by the boats and the quality of the construction and details. I questioned Mark at length about the beautiful and elaborate hardware on both boats. He said it is all custom bronze castings duplicating the originals exactly. I stayed to the very end of the show so I could see and hear them start and motor away uop the lake, Awesome!!

    The Hornet:

  11. don
    don says:

    palm beach days, hornett and imphsi hulls are all based on the boat Miss Columbia that Mark restored/re did for Phill Sharples. The Multiple steps assist these boats to get the boat up and out of the water for less resistance and provides for a spectacular ride. Combined with today’s V8 power it is tough to beat a design from 1936 with todays boats.

    Exciting boats that have been for sale for years.

    • Cobourg Kid
      Cobourg Kid says:

      Just to clarify both Miss Columbia and Baby Bootlegger were designed by renowned naval architect George Crouch in the winter of 1924 and subsequently built by the H. B Nevins Shipyard (of sea island New York) in the spring of that same year.

      Bootlegger was financed and owned by millionaire industrialist Caleb Bragg while Miss Columbia was bankrolled by a syndicate from the Columbia Yacht Club in New York .

      Both boats were specifically created to challenge for the 1924 Gold Cup .

      Seven of the eight challengers for the 24 Gold Cup had absolutely no steps built into their hulls as there were strict rules put in place in the early 1920s that prohibited hydroplanes from taking part in the prestigious race.

      The eighth boat, Rainbow IV, also adhered to the prohibition on conventional steps , however, her builder ( Ditchburn Boats) did create an extremely complicated bottom using transverse lapstreaks .

      Although Rainbow initially won the cup her pre-approved lap strake bottom was challenged at the outset of the race and subsequently deemed to be steps thus disqualifying her.. leaving Bragg’s Baby Bootlegger as the Gold Cup champion

      As for the reproduction of Miss Columbia .Mark Mason is a stickler when it comes to his reproductions adhering to original blueprints if available . As he owns Crouch’s original drawings of Miss Columbia I am very sure he did not modify the hull of the current Miss Columbia to add steps.

  12. Tom
    Tom says:

    I have had the opportunity to ride in some of Mark’s boats and they all handle with ease and ride a smooth as silk and the instrument panels are to works of art.

    Mark is definitely an ambassador to the woody boat community, he has travelled all across North America taking boats to shows and cruises for many years.

    My first meeting with him was back in 1982 when Manotick Boat club held a Gold Cup boat show which was the precursor to the Race Boat shows that are held today. That year they had two Miss America’s, Miss Canada III, Baby Bootlegger, Happy Times and Delphine IV all running Flybys all afternoon. Mark was not very happy that day as the crane operator lifted Baby Bootlegger off the trailer and through the branches of a nearby tree.

    mfine don’t worry Mark has many other boats in his boathouse to choose from if he wants to go for a leisurely cruise or take a group of people out for the afternoon or just go FAST. I just wish I had his dilemma as to which boat to choose.

  13. Keith
    Keith says:

    Actually, a little more clarification: IMPSHI and HORNET replicas if the same Crouch-designed and Dodge-built boat; it had a few different names throughout her career. PALM BEACH DAYS and CURTISS WILGOLD are both from the board of John Hacker. Again, it was a boat that had different different names throughout her career. They share the same lines as EL LAGARTO (built as MISS MARY II by Hacker) and RAINBOW III (built in Canada for Harry Greening.) MISS COLUMBIA and BABY BOOTLEGGER were both designed by George Crouch, but are different boats.

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