Spontaneous Boat Shows! The Next Wave?


Lets all have some lunch!

Last month while at the amazing Lake Dora Sunnyland Festival, a group of us experienced the future, and it was fantastic. We all gathered at the Palm Gardens on the Dead River, a slow 30 minute ride from Lake Dora through the Dora Canal and across Lake Eustis. Now, as you have seen and now see, the Palm gardens aint exactly the fancy nice place you might think the future would happen. But it did. We all showed up spontaneously and took over the place. There must have been around 25 of us there and each one of us would not have wanted to be anywhere else in the world at that time. It was PERFECT. Food, suds, friends, loved ones and boats. The coolest part is that it was about being together, the boats brought us together, vs we were there for the boats. There is a difference. Subtle, but different.

Kays hopatcong

The Main Lake Market on Lake Hopatcong, is a fantastic place to stop for a sandwich and fuel.

So how might this effect your ACBS Chapter or specific location you live at? Do you have a bar, or resturant on the water you can start meeting at on a regular schedule. Like every other Saturday , and just meet up. Sure it will start small, but slowly over time more and more will show up because they know its when others show up. And then folks at the place will see that this is a cool thing and want to get a cool classic boat.

Labor 3 boats

Most weekends we all try and meet up at a sand bar on the Great Wicomico. Just a fun time and reason to get in our boats.

Many local chapters already do some of this. But make it less formal and more of a “we will be hanging out for a burger on Saturday” type thing. I know that this is the way many local chapters started back in the day. Maybe we need to start it all over again, for new folks.

17 replies
  1. Jack Francisco
    Jack Francisco says:

    We have a group that meets for dinner each summer month on Lake Lanier just north of Atlanta. Last year we had 8-10 great boats each time.

  2. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Matt you have a perfect way of getting to the heart of the matter.
    This is exactly what the Cobbossee Rendezvous are all about.
    People have suggested that we start an ACBS chapter, or become an off shoot of the Cobbosseeconttee Yacht Club but we just want to get together, visit with each other and cruise in our boats. Many of the families involved are bringing up to three generations of boating enthusiasts to our gatherings.

  3. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Even though Sandi and I missed the Thursday gathering at Palm Gardens (we were still getting off the St. Johns river) Friday’s gathering sure was a blast.

  4. Darthtrader
    Darthtrader says:

    Many of us find that spontaneous boating fits the bill. We spend far too much time organizing, pleading for participation, explaining what RSVP means, and then on the long awaited day, waiting for the bad weather to subside. We call it Nike Boating-Just do IT! If people want to come, be there! No meetings, no dues, no politics, just like minded folks who want to have fun.

  5. Jon H
    Jon H says:

    I’m not very social media savvy, but this sounds a bit like a flash mob of woodyness. Do we need an app that lets us ID currently active (on the water) woody boaters on a given waterway?

  6. Alan Frederick
    Alan Frederick says:

    Last minute get togethers are always great, but being that everyone is always so busy during the summer months, it certainly would make more sense to pre-plan events so members can mark them on their calendars.
    Here at Smith Mountain Lake Va. we have 18 spots to eat, anywhere from 5 star to burger joints, so there’s plenty of opportunities to go WoodyBoating.
    Sounds like a plan for 2016!

  7. Al Benton
    Al Benton says:

    Gathering points seem to begin to materialize following the spring floods on the Mississippi River above St. Louis every summer. The spring flooding rearranges the shoreline every year but there’s usually a sandy shore area that becomes a gathering place on hot summer weekends above the Alton Dam. There’s always a mix of modern and classic boats and it’s a good place to see old friends and meet new ones on any given weekend.

  8. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    How come every time I see the pics of people standing waist deep in water near their boat, I get this voice in my head that says – “I shouldn’t have had that last beer…” ? 🙂

  9. Brian Flaherty
    Brian Flaherty says:

    Last summer my friends and I took our fiberglass ski boat out for a “Guy’s weekend” on the Potholes Reservoir in central Washington (this is a man made lake that is wide and deep for water sports to the south and a wild array of sand dunes to the north) somewhere in the middle we were cruising along at 30 mph when we noticed a group of ski boats all adrift close together… As we approached the folks were nice enough to wave us down so we didn’t plow straight into their sand dune!! Turned out to be a great experience of making friends and even got to give an avid skier his first pull behind a classic ski boat!! The old saying goes “don’t drive your boat where the birds walk!”
    Out here in PNW our chapter presidents have all been working on making the, slightly, spontaneous gatherings work, but like others have commented it hard to make happen due to schedules and travel distances. Although the Seattle area has a lot of waterways we also have club members spread over several hinder miles so these “flash-mob” boating events are hard to get many boats to come as folks have to come quite a distance to play.. When it does happen, it is a whole lot of fun though!!!

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      Brian, it sounds like what you need is a Ski-Jet. As long as you are on plane and the birds’ ankles are wet, the water is deep enough. You can even drive across brief sand bars above the surface, but your skier might not clear it as easily without finless jump skis.

      • Brian Flaherty
        Brian Flaherty says:

        Funny! There are actually people who use their jet boats and jet skis to jump the dunes!! It’s pretty awesome to watch. But I don’t think I have the nerve to do it, even if I had an appropriate vessel…

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