Woody Boater Gives You Wings! (Or At Least Fins) – A Look Back At 2005

A few days ago I was going through some old files and came across some photos I had from my first ever visit to the Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance in August 2005. It’s hard to believe that was almost 8 years ago. I remember that I was on a steep learning curve even back then, trying to take everything in and learn as much as I could about the wonderful world of wooden boats.

I remember how great it was to be at Lake Tahoe in August, how crazy busy the boat show was at Sierra Boat Company and the ever-present smell of fresh varnish in the air.

Triple cockpit Chris-Craft barrelbacks like this rare 1941 23′ Custom, huge Gar Wood runabouts and Hackercrafts everywhere… My goal back then was to have my Chris-Craft Riviera restored to a level that I could some day enter it in the Lake Tahoe Concours show and not be embarrassed.

That goal was finally achieved in 2012 – 7 years later thanks to my friend Mike Mayer at Lake Oswego Boat Company and also Brian Robinson from Robinson Restoration in California.

And that was the year that “Little Lady” a remarkable 1939 Chris-Craft 19′ Custom Runabout restored by Jim Blake at The Woodshop Ltd in Edmond, Oklahoma (with consultant / barrelback aficionado Don Ayers) won awards everywhere she went that year…

Earlier that year, in April, still on that steep learning curve we attended an amazing three day Antique Motorboating Symposium presented by the ACBS at The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia…

Chris-Craft: Rediscovering the Legacy.

Three days of hands on sessions, speakers, and panel discussions about the history and restoration / preservation of Chris-Craft boats were very informative… presented by many of the leading, most respected people in the hobby. And as a bonus, we were given the opportunity to visit the amazing Chris-Craft collection archives at the Mariners’ Museum.

It was a fantastic 3 days of hanging out with fellow Woody Boaters and talking boat stuff. Here is a list of speakers / presenters that were on hand for the event. (You can click on the list below to enlarge it)

These were the early days of the Internet, and at the time the Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club was just getting started with an early version of their on-line forum / message board (Memberclicks?) thanks to Wilson Wright. Woody Boater had (unfortunately) not yet been developed and information about the hobby on-line was very limited compared to what is out there today.

As a relative newcomer to the world of antique & classic boating, I came away from that symposium with many new friends and a mountain of knowledge about Chris-Craft boats that I still use today.

Happy New Year!

9 replies
  1. Don Ayers
    Don Ayers says:


    Remember it well and seeing you on both trips.

    Little Lady was sold a short time later and is now in the private collection of Aubrey McClendon of Chesapeake Energy based in OKC.


    He keeps it in a family lake home up in MN I think.

    I also got to meet Don MacKerer that year and do an interview with him

  2. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    I hope McClendon has a better year in 2013 – he and Chesapeake had a VERY rough ride in 2012. Who knows, the BB may come to market!

  3. Carl Garmhaus
    Carl Garmhaus says:

    Happy New Year Matt and Texx!! You have forced me to start my day each morning tuning in to see what cool pictures are on for the day and to shoot the breeze with all the regulars. Keep up the great work and we will once again see you this June, “Where it All Began”

  4. Carl Garmhaus
    Carl Garmhaus says:

    By the way, If you are planning a ride up the Sunrise Coast to Hessel this summer, consider doing it “Old School” and strapping a couple of 55 gal drums of gas onboard your utility and a jaunty cigar to puff on!

  5. Alex
    Alex says:

    Carl, I can’t quite pinpoint it, but there’s something about a couple 55 gal drums of gas and a lit cigar that isn’t quite right. Now if I could only think of what that might be…. 🙂

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