A Look In The Mirror. Oh GAD ZOOKS!


Yesterday I had a classic rant about our community. It came off as finger pointing at the CCABC. Well, I am not so KAREN that I am not willing to look in the mirror. Oh, not me personally, I cant handle that. But as Woody Boater.

Slowly sinking

Woody Boater is a train wreck. There I said it. So you don’t have to. The site is so out of date, its becoming stale. How many shots of the Railway can one stand? How many one of shots of boats do I really need to post? And even though we have not missed even one post in around 15 years. Who really gives a ship about toilet seats?

Its all crap!

So, I am probing, prodding and digging. That’s what is going on. I am am trying to find a sweet spot, a place that keeps our community current, yet focused on its deep history. Are clubs dead? Yes.. Facebook dead? YES! It’s all a train wreck. BUT!!!!!!!

Why is that area so rotten?

We are a community, we all are friends, even though we may want to rip each others heart out. We are friends. We do care. We do oddly share common values and deep down, are good people. We are. And so that is worth trying to help, to help each other. Screw “Platforms” And different trends. How do we stay connected in a universe of being over connected? How can we help each other without to many fingers in the pot? I am 100% focused on this. And I don’t know. I am as confused as many others. All I can seem to do is flail about and do stories on what’s in front of me. And over the past two years, thats been my little strange universe. My Mirror. And it’s ugly.

Lets ponder

Over the next few months, I am rethinking all of this. Not walking away.. Sorry, you won’t be that lucky. But try new things and see what sticks and what stinks. So please be patient, speak up, and be part of the train wreck.

What? Darla, look hither into the lense. Betty and Gertrude you just keep posing.. Darla.. Ugh

52 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Wow, what is happening? You are overthinking things Matt. I really believe that most of the WoodyBoater community is just looking for their morning dose of a fun, non political non controversial easy read. Some classic boat, railway, etc. pictures and fun comments complete deal. We all have gotten to know each other over all these years and don’t need to prove anything. Some things don’t have to change!

  2. Frank@Falmouth
    Frank@Falmouth says:

    How about only allowing Instagram posts! ARRRRGGGGHH! Show your boat TicTok? Nooo..
    I personally like the stream of conscientious missives, and simple clean format… Dogs, Railways, toilet seats, old lawn mowers, its all about old cool stuff from an era long gone…
    Has anyone missed the WB app? No…
    What you have is working.. who here can remember missing a day of WB? not me.. Thank you Matt for your thick skin.. How the pre-restoric coming along?

  3. Paul LaVoie
    Paul LaVoie says:

    Hi Matt, I am new to WoodyBoater and mostly just lurking as I am also new to my 56 Capri 19ft. It is in need of restoration. I do have an experienced shop putting on a 5200 bottom then I plan to do the rest. Regarding your want to help. That can mean a lot of things to different people. Perhaps do a Survey Monkey and you may get some feedback that guides your mission. They’re free up to 10 questions. Good luck!

    • Kelly Wittenauer
      Kelly Wittenauer says:

      Welcome to the club, Paul! Despite the sometimes rambling nature & tween boyish humor, you’ll find several helpful experienced boaters here.

      About the Survey Monkey thing – you do realize that when things on the web are “free”, they are actually a tool to collect the info of all who use them, to sell said info to others for somewhat nefarious purposes?

  4. RH in Indy (now in NY)
    RH in Indy (now in NY) says:

    Matt, you are the most interesting, entertaining “family member” that many of us Woody Boaters have. Keep doing it the way you do it. None of us are looking for anything specific. We can find that anywhere. It’s the unique A to Z randomness that I love. Your interests are our interests. WB is one of a kind and we truly appreciate the view from and into your life. Thanks for your incredible energy and creativity. Don’t change a thing.

  5. SpeedBoat Outlaw
    SpeedBoat Outlaw says:

    I agree with Greg and the other commentators, I look forward to WB every morning and dislike having to leave the house before my dose. We are a family.

  6. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    Matt – You have commented about the diminished membership and participation in clubs, boat clubs in general. It’s easy enough to determine membership levels of clubs, but what about WB?

    How is your traffic compared to 4,5, or 10 years ago? How about unique site visitors? We can all see that comment volumes are vastly lower than they used to be. Is WB mirroring the clubs?

    Has WB become more like social media, but by another name? A small group of people comment regularly (daily?) on things that may or may not be topical to the founding raison d’etre of the site. In my view, it has morphed into a micro social media site, with engagement by a small number of long-term visitors/participants. By content limited necessity, it is about Matt’s lifestyle as it relates to classic boating, more than boating itself. Does that make it like a social media post? Could these folks just as easily be commenting on FB or Insta to a Matt post, as they are on WB? I can say I woudn’t be commenting, as I don;t use social media. Or do I? I’m commenting here, now.

    No criticism, just pointing out what I have seen over the 12 years or so I have been around. Things change, the stories have been told and people come and go.

    I’m going to Florida today, boating tomorrow. It’s about our boating hobby, after all, right?

  7. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Here is the way I see it.

    Yes there are many Mr. B and Tara stories, yes the railway stories can go on and on and on, e-bay stories can be interesting, but all of a sudden BAM Baby Chick, Dee Wite Proto 1, CC Cobra Proto, Black Cobra, Pardon Me, …………………….. ! This is all the stuff that I would not know anything about if not for WB. I don’t expect an amazing story every day, that just can’t happen. Heck I don’t eat Filet Mignon every night, some nights I have a Weenie Panini (Thanks to Chad for inventing such a thing)

    Just don’t pick on your Brothers and Sisters. It’s kind of like riding in the back of an old station wagon as a kid when Dad would yell “If you don’t stop that I am going to stop this car right now.”

  8. Mike D
    Mike D says:

    If I did the same thing every day for 15 years (especially if it meant getting up at 4:00 AM) I also would want to shake things up. The previous comments are well stated but I want to throw in a suggestion that you back off for a day or week to take a break. As much as I enjoy reading WB every morning with my capuchino I will be happy to accept a historical comment day. By my math, 15 years of daily stories amounts to 5,000+ editions. Take a day off now and then but let us know the day before so we can adjust.

  9. Rick
    Rick says:

    If not for WoodyBoater I’d still be stuck in the perfect showboat mindset instead of the get out and use it mindset. Have even considered swapping out the original engine for more power and getting away from the linolium flooring. So is WoodyBoater helping or destroying the idea of classic boating? I don’t know but I am happier so thank you and keep it up.

  10. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Matt what ever you do is the correct thing to do. I appreciate you sharing the struggle of your creativeness and want to say that I will follow wherever it takes you, us. In my world you are right. Carry on. Thanks

  11. John F Rothert
    John F Rothert says:

    Others said it already and better. I am speechless….but pleasantly addicted to Woodyboater so figure it out and let us know.

    We are Going Boating…staying on the boat tonight in Chesapeake country….will miss WB in the morning because have no net there….which is the purpose…but I will look forward as always to catching up on WB stories on my return.
    John in Va.

  12. Shep on Lake Shafer
    Shep on Lake Shafer says:

    Matt, I agree with Greg. Don’t over think this.
    With work I don’t get to look at WB every day like some. But when I do, I go back and look at all of the posts I have missed since I was last on the site. That is also why I don’t comment much because I’m to late.
    I have avoided social media so far. And I don’t think I have missed much. I see too many people starring at their phones and not communicating with other people in the room. That’s a problem!
    Personally I think it’s caused more problems in society than it’s helped. Especially with the younger generations.
    I feel like we are all friends here at WB and I have met some of you at Dora show. Hope to meet more of you at this years show. Guys It’s all about boating and antique boats.
    Life is too short! Thanks, Matt keep doing what you are doing!

  13. Dangeruss
    Dangeruss says:

    Long time reader, first time to comment. I drop in every morning because of the random stream of conciseness you provide. Watching Mr B and the Railway grow and flourish is part of the wonderful random experience that keeps me coming back. Silliness, sausage days, misspelled words and your willingness to chase down the things that intrigue you are your forte. Don’t change a thing. See ya tomorrow…….

  14. Nostraboatus
    Nostraboatus says:

    Well in these turbulent times it is clear most of need something stable until life goes back to more normal.

    That is what you are hearing.

    Maybe sprinkle in some new ideas here and there but hold off the revolution for a while.

  15. Doug Needles
    Doug Needles says:

    I love it the way it is, As mostly a lurker this site me brings me back to a period in life where wood boats were a big part. I enjoy the rail yard stories, the barn finds, all of it. Keep up the good work.

  16. Mike Green
    Mike Green says:

    Matt, I think you have done an amazing job with WD and it must be hard to come up with content every day. In doing the daily stories there are going to be days that hit with lots of views and comments and other days where its crickets chirping. It does seem that you have the same guys that are diehard WD followers, and it really has turned into the Matt show and what is matt doing today but if that is the content you have that’s all you have to work with. Almost a year ago I started a YouTube channel with the thought process of helping others. I wanted to reach out and share my knowledge of my craft and to pass on what I know to help the DIY’s of the wooden boat community. I think whenever you go into something to truly help others it pays off for everyone. Getting the content for my videos is endless but for you it has to be hard to come up with a good story every day and maybe that’s the problem. Does it have to be every day, or could it be a few times a week with better thought-out content? I know in the beginning you had others to help you write posts that had depth to them and a thought-out story or education on the history of a particular boat, I know those take a lot of time. My videos are only 6+ minutes long and take about an hour a minute to produce so it’s really not going to work for a daily blog. I am not sure of the answer to your situation, but I believe if you truly try to help others everyone wins. I tend to breeze through when it’s the third story on a barn find that you found or about your dog or about the new headquarters. Don’t get me wrong you live an amazing life and a great guy that has done some very cool work but I’m looking for boat content. My thoughts are to take the story of the barn finds and wrap it all into one longer story and not an everyday thing (trying to milk it) but stories with more content 3 to 4 times a week. Again, you do a great job so I hope you keep doing what you’re doing whatever that may look like in the future.

  17. Wiseboater
    Wiseboater says:

    Ever since my first boat show at Dora in 2011, I have clicked in and read every post on this website. I can say that it has changed over the years, the stories, the content, the focus. But, hey…who hasn’t? We all go through times of self reflection and question our path forward. I can say that Woodyboater, with all of it’s ism’s and quirks, has been the glue that has kept me connected to the classic boat world. I have shared some really great boat rides with a lot of really special people and made some good friends along way because of this place we call Woodyboaterville.

    As Troy pointed out yesterday, it’s been 4 years since the docks got blown out at Wooten Park and the super bowl of boat shows has not been the same. The world has not been the same. It is filled with a new level of adversity that we have not seen in along time. Maybe what we all need is some normalcy. Hopefully this years show will give us the chance to see old friends, ride out in our boats and smell the fresh varnish. Face to face, side by side is how we come together.

    Until then, Matt…just keep doing what you do, because the rest of us look forward every day to what new muse, rant, inspiration or sausage you have come up with to keep this wacky fleet afloat.

    • Kelly Wittenauer
      Kelly Wittenauer says:


      “filled with a new level of adversity that we have not seen in along time” So well put. At almost 60, this country is in, by far, the worst shape of my experience. Acquaintances to the north & across the Atlantic express similar views on the state of the world. Wish I had the answer to fix all.

  18. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    It’s next to impossible to satisfy everyone – and that really applies to the harshest critic – especially when it happens to be yourself! Many of us in this hobby tend to be perfectionists (gee, really?) and as such, sometimes over-think or over-criticize what we are attempting to do and yes, what others are doing as well… That said, Matt – what you do, day-in and day-out is nothing short of amazing! But- If you need to step away, take a break or change something, it’s your call. Re-up some of the great stories from the past that many have probably not seen. Reach out to (for) some that might have stories to tell. We’re in your court and right here with you!

  19. Matt
    Matt says:

    All is good here in Woodyboaterville BTW, thanks for all the private messages. BTW, its around 5800 Stories, 90,000 comments. I have some thoughts, and do believe that actually simplifieing WB is a smart idea. We have tried it all except one thing, and I am trying to figure out a way to do that without over reaching my time. But I do love doing this and even more all of you. Yes even Horice. Sometimes.

  20. Tom
    Tom says:

    As a one-time magazine editor I’m feeling Matt’s pain. As readers of WB we have the choice to either enjoy our morning dose of Woody Boater or skip it and get on with our busy days, but Matt doesn’t. The wear of years of deadlines will sink the most dedicated enthusiast.

    For us out here in the ether no changes are needed, but for Matt I suggest–however much many of us would miss our daily dose–taking the weekends off. Sure, write up the boat show weekends but the rest of the time make it a rehash, photo gallery (Troy in Michigan gets my nomination for Weekend Photo Editor) or sausage.

    And if we really want to help, more of us should send in a story with photos and captions and not only give Matt more time off but lend our various voices to the hobby.

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

    Man!! I don’t check in 1 morning and its an explosion. I agree with Gregs comment. Just keep doing what your doing. This site is like a boat ride. it is fun. So lets just enjoy the ride.

  22. Murdock
    Murdock says:

    If you didn’t go off the rails every once in awhile, well, we’d all be worried. Human nature.
    Fresh? Non-PC? Current? Digital? Weird stories? Spelling challenged? Babes? Family? Friends? Debate? Correct? Factory?
    Yes. All of the above and more.
    So, just why in the hell would you question why all of us tune in each morning for our slice of WB?
    All the major networks, all the radio shows, all of the current BS politics and threat of war with China/Russia……..all of it is for ratings.
    WB? You’re above all that (or below, if you choose to stay under the radar), so keep the juices flowing and show us every morning what ya got.
    All of us in the bleachers are cheering and yes, we are family.
    Thank God we all still know how to put the “fun” in “dysfunctional”……………… 🙂
    Keep up the good work and thank you!!!!

  23. Clay at Crosslake
    Clay at Crosslake says:

    Matt, all you really need to know you learned in kindergarten. That, and what they wrote in your high school yearbook – you’re the best! Don’t ever change!

  24. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    I think we are seeing a level of frustration many are experiencing regarding the direction of WB, the hobby, social media, and the world. All we can do is what we have been doing, continue to question our direction and make adjustments where necessary. That may include having to utilize new technology which may allow us to reach more people. Think about when the telephone was made ubiquitous and its misuse by telemarketers or aquaintences that might call and yak on it for what seemed like hours. We are experiencing the same issues with current technology exponentially. That doesn’t mean we should avoid it for those that do will miss out on its benefits. Don’t think of it as having to succumb to technology but opening your horizons to a new tool. When I finally convinced a friend to utilize impact drivers which he disdained for a regular screw gun, now you would have thought he invented the tool. I feel the greatest strength of our hobby is we can make our feelings know here without the polarization the rest of the world is experiencing and for that I am truly thankful and hope the rest of the world can be changed through our efforts or at least in our little world.

  25. Chris B
    Chris B says:

    Daily post, I don’t know how you keep doing it, For me just putting the magazine together only 4 times a year is a bit of a struggle for content. Our hobby is shrinking and these past 2 years have really not helped. It’s fun having this blog, the good and the bad of it. You have opened up so many doors over the years for this hobby. Sunday morning, come on. Take your thoughts and keep it fun for you.

  26. Ron in Seattle
    Ron in Seattle says:

    Matt, please keep up the good work. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
    Only one suggestion, please rerun some of the old 5800 columns once in a while. Every Saturday? Sunday? Or random when you want to sleep in? To some of us who are getting forgetful, we won’t know if it is re-run!

    And to all of us, we share the same interests, usually. So write your own story and send it in. What? You can’t write and are a bad spellar? Same with Matt! But it will still be something we can enjoy, he can edit it and include mispelled words for you.

    And, it has been a while since I hit the “Contribute” button. It’s December, it’s time to give!

  27. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    As almost everyone else on this thread has said, don’t beat yourself up. I love it the way it is. There’s plenty of substance and some days we (including you)all just need a bit of nonsense.
    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  28. Matt
    Matt says:

    Jesus, who knew this many people actually paid attention? I will shut up from now on. Unless I do not. HA. I promis to return to our regularly scheduled dribble soon.

  29. Steve Bunda
    Steve Bunda says:

    Matt, All is good , It is very hard to hit a home run every day , so don’t try to . Maybe to lighten the load of dreaming up content every day. Get us readers to help one idea at a time to fill a days subject and content . Then add these feature days every month . Pretty soon you will have 25% of the month covered.

    Some ideas..
    1. Ask the expert day
    2. What are you working on day?
    3. For sale or trade day
    4. Boat show talk , old and new
    5. B.S. Day how to justify your investment.
    6. Unforgetable story day.
    7. Doggy Day

  30. Wudzgud
    Wudzgud says:

    You made this video and posted it on WB. It put me in a better place when I really needed it. The view of a wood boat plying the water is something only we know and love. Thank you for all that you do for our crazy Woodyboater community. https://youtu.be/To4rlncAZ24

Comments are closed.