Launch Ramp Chronicles – Man These Lapstrake Guys Are Tough!

Talk to almost any Woody Boater and they will tell you a story about their adventures at the dreaded launch ramp. I have even had people tell me (no names mentioned) that they take lawn chairs and a cooler full of beer down to the launch ramp on a busy summer day for the entertainment value… Some boaters have a specific routine or game plan that they follow when they are lauching their classic boat to get it done as efficiently and safely as possible, with limited family stress, while avoiding any unnecessary damage to their classic boats during the procedure.

But, as with life, sometimes even the best game plans don’t always work out perfectly.

Fellow Woody Boaters Dave & Cheryl Anderson experienced one of those “launch ramp moments” when they were launching their freshly restored 1956 South Coast 18′ “Wicked Wahine” at Lake Arrowhead a few weeks ago…

It was the normal rush at the launch ramp, Dave zigged and Cheryl zagged and the mighty lapstrake floated off the trailer unattended… (I only got one side of the story from Cheryl on Saturday afternoon, and was afraid to ask Dave so we will leave it at that)

When Dave realized what had happened, he decided to go for a swim to retrieve “Wicked Wahine” and managed to get her back to the ramp safely. Cheryl’s friend Allison (who she may have been visiting with as Dave backed down the ramp) snapped these never before seen photos of Dave and his lapstrake as he wrestled her (the boat) back to the ramp.

I met up with Cheryl and Allison (as Allison was getting a pedicure in the village – my first time in one of those places) on Saturday before the Lake Arrowhead banquet, and Allison e-mailed me the secret photos of Dave rescuing his boat. Although the girls encouraged me to break the story the same day, I just didn’t have the nerve (or the Kiwis) to do the story and risk embarrassing Dave during the boat show. Not to mention he is about 3 feet taller than me and Dave treated Matt & I like royalty all weekend at Lake Arrowhead.

Dave and Cheryl Anderson won two deserving awards at the 2012 Lake Arrowhead Antique & Classic Wooden Boat Show, for Best 1958 & Older Utility and Best Owner Restored Boat. And I can say that after following this restoration for the last few years, that Saturday night at Lake Arrowhead I was very proud of what Dave and Cheryl had accomplished with “Wicked Wahine”.

But that’s not the end of the story… Immediately after the awards ceremony, Allison (Cheryl’s friend and partner in crime who shot the photos of Dave in the lake) suggested that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to break the story of the launch ramp incident LIVE, over the PA system in front of 75 of Dave’s fellow ACBS Chapter members and buddies… I said “There’s not a chance in Hell am I doing that here, now!” Allison replied “Texx – I Double Dog Dare You” and she had that twinkle in her eye when she said it…

We approached the podium (I think she was pushing me but I can’t remember), she tapped the microphone with her finger and it was still on, all the time Allison had that look on her face like we were about to tell Dad we (I) wrecked the car last light… Just before I was about to say “Excuse me folks, we have another announcement to make” – I folded like a cheap tent and lost my nerve (and Kiwis).

But I promised Cheryl & Allison that I would break the news after the show.

Dave Anderson & Crew aboard Wicked Wahine - Lake Arrowhead

Sorry Dave, but the girls made me promise!


Do you have a Launch Ramp Chronicles story you would like to share with us?

11 replies
  1. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Talk about the one that “almost got away”. Usually that’s in reference to a fish, not a woody. Glad Cap’n Anderson was able to retrieve his prized boat. Can’t imaging what the alternative would have been if he hadn’t been able to “reel” it in.

  2. RICH
    RICH says:

    Perhaps rigging the boarding ladder prior to launching next time would facilliate reentry onto the vessel…just a thought. Sorry we missed meeting the Andersons at Arrowhead. My boat partner Rob and his family and my boatress Valerie came up and camped out at Dogwood and then we all saw the show on Saturday. The kids loved all of it despite the cold wind. Our South Coast 23, named PHANTOM, is the big sister to Wicked Wahine and is the only other South Coast I know about. It would be terrific if Dave could shoot us an email so we could ask him some questions. Rich

  3. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Would love to see a picture of Phantom. West coast cousin of the Lyman 23′, rough water boat.

  4. Mike U
    Mike U says:

    Texx, after posting the pics & story and then visiting Hagerty later today, I hope Dave doesn’t get an increase in his premium!

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