Something Different For Father’s Day


our first family boat

Let me start off the post by saying this isn’t Matt — this is his son, Hank, aka the ‘Berlin Büro’. Occasionally I hop on Woody Boater to fix some technical issues that I usually end up screwing up. But today on Father’s Day, my family and I wanted to take a moment to write something special.

As occasional and avid readers may know, my father has NEVER missed a day on this website since its creation. Even to the point where it drives him insane. I’ve seen his obsession grow and develop from vintage cars to vintage boats, (conveniently around the time my brother and I got our driver’s permits…hmmm), all the way to building a supportive and engaging community. We want to thank you all personally for reading, commenting, attending boat shows, and becoming our friends.

the man himself

that’s me, your author, while on my parent’s roadtrip to Venice & Lake Como

For the Smith family, boating has become a central part of our existence. From an early age, my brother and I learned of the etiquette of the hobby, restoration of forgotten boats, preservation of wood, quality of boat trailers, and our fair share of knots. Now as my brother lives in New Orleans and I live in Germany, we still find these skills relevant today, which brings up something my dad often says, “it always comes back to Woody Boater.”

2018 for my mom’s birthday (myself, Kelsey, Ham, Mom)

Ham & Kelsey hanging at the sandbar

2016, my Suzy and I visiting from Germany

From my brother and his fiancé designing merchandise, to myself helping WB become more digital and social, and finally to my mother who is often the center of many photos and posts (she loves it, don’t let her fool you), we’re all Woody Boaters. And let’s not forget the family dogs! I can scroll back through 10+ years of posts to see our childhood dog, Zipper, forever memorialized on WB! Our entire family history is right there as we’re basically breaking all the internet safety rules from years ago. I cannot even count the number of times my mom has said, “have you seen Woody Boater today?” That’s just who we are.

Our old Portuguese Water Dog, Zipper, forever alive on WB whenever you call for him

ol Pepe & Oreo

the true heiress to the throne, Ruby

Without a doubt, my dad is my hero. There will never be a superhero, rock star, or celebrity that can match him in my eyes. There is nothing about the man that is fake or ‘put-on,’ even to the point where we as a family often say to him, “yeah we get it, you’re the god damn Woody Boater.” It’s gone to his head big time. As a family we went from always assuming he was covered in car-oil to now seeing (smelling) the varnishes, stains, and various grains of sandpaper. The past years are divided into boat shows, merchandise sales, and which month is best to visit so that we can take a cruise on the boats.

the famous ‘Sylvia’ – one of the more featured boats on Pinterest & Instagram the past 10 years

I know my mom can say more about this, but you all have become a part of our lives, all thanks to my dad’s blog – and the same man who said never talk to strangers on the internet.  But hey, it’s now 2020! It’s a small hobby, sure, yeah, I get it. 

I often find myself dreaming about what life would be like with open water and a boat of my own. But at the end of the day, I know that out of all of his hobbies and obsessions, my dad will always stick with boating. He found his calling. As my brother and I both search for our places in the world, we both rest easy knowing we have such creative, often distracted, but amazing footsteps to follow in thanks to our dad, even when his socks don’t match.

I’m going to break a WB taboo with this post by proofreading it – sorry dad. BUT Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

in 7+ years the ONLY photo of all of us

31 replies
  1. Rick
    Rick says:

    Well said Hank. Happy Father’s Day Matt and to all the other fathers out there. I raise a cup of coffee varnish to all.

  2. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Happy Fathers Day!!!

    Well done Hank!

    I know I used this pic on Mothers Day, but since they are both there it seems appropriate.

    Circa 1947 during their engagement on The Sea Clam, Essex River, MA.

  3. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Happy Father’s Day everyone! May your morning be full of bacon and you day full of boating. And more bacon. And maybe a steak for dinner. Perhaps a bacon wrapped steak with blue cheese?

  4. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Nice job Hank and it looks like you may be following in your Dad’s footsteps. He has truly established his reputation as a great guy and “center of the WoodyBoater universe”!
    Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads in WoodyBoaterville. Let’s “Get out There” on our boats!

    • Berlin Büro
      Berlin Büro says:

      Although we’re normally away from the water we’re spending the next few days in Lake Constance. Boating was calling me writing this post

  5. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Happy Father’s Day to all…and thank Hank for that fine, appropriate and correctly spelled tribute to the Ole Woodyboater himself!….talked to Troy yesterday and love his photo of his parents on Sea Clam…what a cool boat! More pics!
    Going Boating (canoeing) for a few days on the flood stage James River….
    John in Va.

  6. Tuobanur
    Tuobanur says:

    Very nice Hank, I’m sure your dad is proud, Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads.

  7. Chris B.
    Chris B. says:

    wonderful story today Hank. Keep up the obsession Matt, its good for the rest of us. Happy Fathers day!

  8. Ranger
    Ranger says:

    Thank you Hank for the wonderful story today. We love your family. Happy Father’s Day everyone!

  9. Captain Nemo
    Captain Nemo says:

    Happy Father’s Day. Here’s my Dad posing at our family’s marina (mid 1970’s) by a customer’s 1940 Chris Craft Express Cruiser. He’s been gone 12 years now, miss him everyday.

  10. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P )
    Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P ) says:

    Great Job Hank! A good fathers day present to Matt. Nothing is more fun for this Dad, than hanging out on a boat with my kids.

  11. Ollon
    Ollon says:

    Happy Father’s Day to all. I’m lucky to be following in the wake of a legend. Ollon Sr. Veteran of WWII and Korea and spent almost 70 years as a pharmacist. Just retired last year. 93 and still loves boat ride. He taught me everything I really needed to know.

  12. Jack
    Jack says:

    I got my wife back from the hospital for Fathers Day. She’s just a one lung now but she’s still putting along.
    Fair Seas and Following Winds!

  13. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    Great post Hank. Nicely written. I already count your Dad as my good friend and we’ve only spent a couple of days together. The two year search for and ultimately the delivery of my Blue Grey Arabian was such a great experience and your Dad was at the centre of it. Then meeting up again at Clayton we hit it off again. He’s what us Kiwis would call a ‘ good bugger.’ Let’s hope you’ll be able to get that trip to New Zealand ticked off soon and when you do bring your Mum and Dad.

    • Berlin Büro
      Berlin Büro says:

      We gotta get them to make the trip. We’re just waiting for the day we can safely travel again to rebook ours, although who knows when. We’re hoping next year but let’s see!

  14. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    What a touching tribute to your Dad on Father’s Day. I am sure all Father’s would love their kids to take the time to say what you did. You have a “beautiful” family Matt.

  15. Gail Turner
    Gail Turner says:

    Hank – This is wonderful! Well done! I am sure your Dad was so very touched when he saw this…..what a great tribute!

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