Change Isn’t Easy, In This Community Painful.

It can be a rough ride at times

Two weeks ago, we here at WoodyBoater had a bit of a watershed moment. Extreme nastyness took over and to be transparent, I did not know quite how to stop it. There is to much anger out there. Yesterday, someone asked for a Cobra update and I swear I thought, NO WAY am I exposing myself or others to that crap. Oh, there is an update, but sadly some are looking to throw crap at it. And this brings up today’s topic?

Gotta love a wake

Are we so bitter that something as soft as Woody Boater has enemies? Really? A free source of classic boat news and silliness for close to 12 years. For free. Daily. Even over Christmas and while in the hospital, hurricanes. We have yet to miss one day in close to 12 years, and people feel the need to take shots at our integrity. I wrote this to get the sadness I felt out of me and never publish it. But, it needs to be said. Because it still bothers me. I always have tried to keep this fun. But when this happened it stopped being fun.  So here is my rant today.

Ripping over a wake can be scary and fun

What is driving that sort of nastyness?  Anger comes from fear. Why? Well, it’s about change, and business not as usual.

Some background, not intended to be nasty, but insightful.

As Mike Green said in his long comment, “There is a small community of us that work together in restoring high quality restoration and have been doing it for a long time.” Exhibit A.

Why has the ACBS, yes, sorry, why is Woody Boater seem to call out the ACBS on things.?  There is a belief that this community should be run by one entity. The ACBS is made up of that same inner circle, and THAT is what the big issue is, and you feel it when you are new to all this. It’s a natural part of the evolution of any group by the way. But what happens when new players come into the community that don’t want to play that game? Well, you are seeing it happen in real time.

It still pisses me off

Why do I do this?

I was ripped off big time when I started in this passion. By a restorer and President of a local ACBS Chapter, I trusted the ACBS and anyone that would be a head of a chapter. – Many have. Not uncommon to drop $200K on a $50K boat because you are being managed with a time and materials type of relationship. Yes that is a lot of money, A LOT!  MORE than I had, or have. But you get caught, and have to make it happen or walk away. Like a trap.

So WoodyBoater is independent We are not owned by anyone, and 100% objective to those that are out there trying to bring positive change to this community. And this is why I support many good companies, many, NOT sponsors BTW.

Good friends for over 10 years.

A little on my relationship with Katzs Marina

Katz’s Marina and Woody Boater started around the same time because we both reject that inner circle concept. We support the over all community, but not that behavior. Katz’s is the only company that owns and restores there own boats with a Guarantee. When they restore a boat, they restore it for them selves first. They are the client. So it has to be done to those standards. There is zero motivation to cut corners. Its why they can guarantee the boats and why they are always slammed busy. Because they are trusted by repeat customers. Myself included. And why Seth is a friend first. We share a common value system. But zero ownership.

Seth takes the time to share what he does with all of us. Bob Kays helps by sending wonderful images

Over the years, many other sponsors have become friends as well. We all care for all and try and make this fun.

Herb Hall from Sierra is also a friend

Mike Mayer – Oswego Boat Co. – Friend

Dave Bortner, Freedom Boat Service – Friend !

This is a community of friends first.

Woody Boater has been attacked as well. Calling us a pay to play publication. This is the one message that hits me the hardest. We do countless things for the community for free and at a cost to us. I believe in the larger community and deeply feel for the people that feel outside of that inner circle. Without a voice that outside circle would feel out, and thus not participate and keep the greater community alive.

Dave VanNess – Friend first.

I push, poke and support growth, not because of money or membership. Because its good for all of us. I know many want to think that there is some sort of ulterior motive in what we are doing. There isn’t. Never has been. I know to many that’s odd, why do this if not for personal goal, or money? Look in the mirror when you think that. Maybe, just maybe there are people out there that want to give back and do something good for us ALL, with the skills they can contribute, not just one group. Think about it. You think social media is free? HA! When you post on Facebook, you are helping Facebook sell ads to target you and your friends. IT’S ONE MASSIVE DATA COMPANY. YOU ARE THE CONTENT. When you do stuff for a club that isn’t giving you any value, you are helping the clubs bank account, not the over all community.

I will always try and find the humor in it all

I will keep saying what I think, it may be wrong at times, and I will always be honest about that. I am a flawed human, like my boats. None are running well at anytime. Which is why I love them, and yes, deeply love this community. And please do not misunderstand me here. I like the ACBS, I like Mike Green, hell I even like Dim in an odd way. I like the diversity of it all.

This is fun.

We are all in the same bilge!

Oh man, I am gonna hit PUBLISH now.




38 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Wow, that’s some pretty heavy but good stuff!
    Maybe I can change the tone by a reminder that the Michigan gang is having a non political, non controversial event in Algonac this weekend. We hope all the WoodyBoaters can come join us for the 34th annual “Where it all Began” show.
    I thought it was time for another shameless plug!

  2. Robert L Snyder
    Robert L Snyder says:

    I can only imagine how many mornings you want to just say “ah heck with it”.

    Just remember that there are many of us followers out there who log on first thing every morning, and appreciate what you give us.

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      AMEN, BROTHER!!! I have clicked here first for going on 8 or 9 years now.
      And I was on the ACBS and local chapter Board of Directors during those years.
      And, yes, there is something to be said about “the inner circle” atmosphere. I will leave it there…

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

    Circumstances require me to be up early today. I will comment first. I like the fun upbeat way you present your blog. It gives me pleasure to read it every morning. It is amazing how you get this out every day! Keep up the great work. Lets keep the negativity to the news and other blogs. Like I have said. before, this site is like actual boating, it is to be enjoyed!

  4. Cameron
    Cameron says:

    The Cobra story hit a nerve because it goes to the core of what this passion is all about. People new to this community want to learn from the best, but many people feel knowledge is their currency and won’t share for fear of making themselves less ‘special’.
    I read this blog every day in the hope I will learn something from the body or the comments section. Matt, it has to be edgy if it’s going to educate.

  5. Mark
    Mark says:

    Some of your “friends” don’t do “friendly” business with everyone like they do with you and the numbers may be higher than you think because of the secret society of not calling businesses out in public.

    That is one source of the anger issue and unfortunately when you do a story involving them things that would like to be forgotten come back up.

  6. tparsons56
    tparsons56 says:

    I agree with keeping the negativity out as we all bombarded with it all day long and we use WoodyBoater to escape. I will say, however, that I know Mike Green personally and professionally and that he is one of the nicest guys and best boat restorers I know and that he is passionate about his craft. I have also seen him respond to numerous peoples questions on WoodyBoater and Boat Buzz for years which has been a great asset to our community.

    In the long run the main goal is to have fun with our classic boats which is what all the clubs and blogs are all about.

  7. Berlin Büro
    Berlin Büro says:

    This was a rough read for me. I have so many fond memories from growing up in the boating world, but also a few bad ones of people clearly trying to take advantage and deceive others.
    The overall community on this site has grown despite the challenges that other forums/blogs face due to the popularity of social media, yet no matter the topic others will still continue to be shady and hurtful. It’s hard to ignore and even harder to confront, but it’s part of the digital era as everyone has a voice – even when, frankly, they shouldn’t.

    I don’t think it’s a trolling issue either, it’s more of the ‘keyboard warrior’ effect, where someone says as much negative stuff as possible while separated by thousands of miles and a computer screen, but wouldn’t dare say it in person. And funny enough, that’s most likely the case, with this, TV shows, fitness trackers, energy drinks – whatever the community, there is always someone who feels the need to be a knowitall or trouble maker – yet the second you acknowledge them in anyway, they instantly feel validated, almost like they are actually helping.

    Either way, do this because it makes you happy and connects tons of people to the hobby and community. Don’t do it if it becomes a pain in the ass or a chore

  8. bob h
    bob h says:

    Matt, we appreciate your posts everyday. It’s your site and you can post what you want. If people don’t like it go somewhere else. I read it everyday – one for the info and two for the comments. Thanks again. And to keep it light we did have a Cobra at St. Michaels this weekend. And a whale among others.
    (photo credits Chris Thomas)

    • Carla
      Carla says:

      MATT, I JUST SAW THIS! 31 years in this wild, crazy, informative, camaraderie filled hobby we ALL love and yet Woody Boater must defend themselves once again. I will always be PRO WB. Love you Matt, Suzy, Jimmy and all the other entertaining and loyal characters that have come into my life AND welcome me into their world. God bless!💕

  9. Chad
    Chad says:

    There will always be critics, nastiness, negativity and self-promotion. It has crept into every corner of the world we live in, especially social media. It’s impossible to avoid.

    I have been visiting WB from the start and I have to say, the tone has changed over the years. I can’t put my finger on anything specific, but the flavor and fun of the blog has been in decline.

    I suppose it’s partly due to my short attention span or just laziness. When I see something petty, political or annoying, I tend to back out of the conversation. I loathe anything that turns political. Maybe it’s just me?

    My advice (for what’s it worth), is to get back to the core of what started it all – the love of boats, boating and the lifestyle. Let the banners promote your sponsors and try not to focus on your favorites in your writing. There are lots of great restorers (paying and non-paying) out there and they all do things a little different. Exposing the ugly, business side of the hobby isn’t going to draw new boaters.

    Know that you are not going to make everybody happy. Not all stories are going to be great. Take it all in stride, don’t let shit get under your skin. Stop caring about the ‘hits and likes’. Be your creative self and write for YOU. Don’t let it get personal and keep it FUN. You do FUN better than anyone.

    Spelling, not so much.

  10. Royce Humphreys
    Royce Humphreys says:

    Great post today as it is good to get this off your chest. Stay positive, this is a wonderful community that you have brought together to share our common passions. I hope people will think before they type!
    I start my day off with my coffee and a great dose of WB! Always makes me smile and do know Matt that we appreciate you and the Boatress! Make it a great day and go boating!

  11. Matt
    Matt says:

    Thanks for all the kind words, I feel bad having to do this. I agree with Chad, there has been a shift in tone that I too dont like. Its the impact of all social media and the fight for content. And its just me. Before we had other folks contributing. I recall Texx taking 12 hrs to write a story once. I loved his stuff. But its a time suck beyond comprehension. I decided several years ago to follow my feelings. Thats honest and easy to write.
    Regarding covering companies. SEND STUFF. If you see as a regular reader we cover all sorts of folks if they send in stuff. Some are just better than others in regards to that.

  12. Scott
    Scott says:

    I found my 1959 Chris-Craft Ski boat, Woodyboater and my ACBS chapter all at the same time. Over the last 7 years I have read Woodyboater at 6:00 am Pacific Time every morning, My wife and I have attended the last four ACBS International shows along with “Rhubarb”, I am President of the PNW Chapter and recently currently committed myself (at my own expense) to two years on the Board of the ACBS. I wouldn’t change a thing and love every part of my relatively new involvement in this passion. I agreed to the Board position so I can attempt to give back to this passion that is giving me such great pleasure. If this stops being fun I will be really, really disappointed. Seems to me there is a place for every entity and everyone.

  13. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    With this type of medium (media?) its so easy to send out a message that you may or may not have intended to be hurtful to some. And, without the ability to impart “tone” in a message, each reader may interpret it differently than the next. That;s going to be the downfall of this type of social interaction if we don’t spend more time face to face. I always enjoyed the banter of past blogs but maybe the tone has changed because your core reader has changed, grown, or grown tired of being the “keyboard warrior” as “Berlin” has so astutely recognized. Generally, some of my older friends have said they prefer face to face social interaction and are moving on, not just in this situation but in other subjects I frequent. I know I sometimes thing why am I wasting my time on a keyboard when I’ve got important things to do especially if anyone who responds to a story actually spends time rereading what they have written or researched what they post before they hit the “open mouth and insert foot” key.

  14. Briant
    Briant says:

    Wait. Only 12 years? I thought WB had been around since, like 1924? Words will cannot express the thanks we all owe Matt.

    I am going to blame Apple for all of the negativity. (Ha!) seriously though…Smartphones and computers have made us a nation of screamers and typers….not readers and listeners. Every opinion is now a fact. Scream loud to win the argument.

    Few listen or read. Try this experiment…write an email with three (3) questions, separated into three paragraphs, then send to a few friends. 9 of your 10 responses will only address one or two of the questions…rarely all three. When I send out pleasure or business emails now, I divide each question into its own separate email. It is the only way for me to get all three questions answered, or at least a better chance of that. Most people will read the first question, may or may not even read the entire email, they will then answer the first question and then will hit the send button….like there is some time limit or something. My point is….few take the time and care nowadays to calmly read, formulate a thoughtful answer and then, then hit the send button. They answer like they are in an discussion….don’t listen but just scream your perfect opinion fact the loudest.

    I will continue to read Matt’s bad spelling every day….as long as he decides to put up with all of us! My worry would then be….what now?

  15. Hugger69
    Hugger69 says:

    We are a bunch of people outside the great waters, read the rest of the world outside the USA, that really appreciate and enjoy your funny, entertaining and educational writing so keep up the good work Matt, we love you! 🙂
    It’s always the angry people with their problems that are the loudest on the net but the rest of us outnumber them anytime, don’t you forget that! 😀

  16. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    Thank you for all you do, Matt. Some people just take all of this way too seriously.

    However, I do want to rant about those awful dark green pants on Dave Bortner. I’ve never seen him wear anything that, well, somber. I fear that photo could ruin his image forever.

  17. Ed S
    Ed S says:

    First off, thank you for all your hard work and the 10-year track record of meeting deadlines regardless of the challenges,

    #2, Keep in mind that across the human race between 5-10% of the population are termed “marginal personalities” who are habitually dissatisfied and who feel their gift to the world is to protest, criticize and demean others. Just be glad most of them are too busy chanting inane phrases and carrying protest posters about the end of the world to bother with a bunch of old boat guys.
    #3. In a hobby populated by too many blue blazers and white duck pants and too-perfect varnish jobs we NEED an irreverent and eclectic outlet like WoodyBoater whose faithful rabble enjoy crawling through old barns and admiring offbeat boaty stuff that would curl the toes of the self-appointed Orthodoxy. The next generation has no collective memory of these mahoganies in their heyday and in order to attract them we are going to have to continue to do – as you are doing- more articles on subjects on the periphery of our tight little varnished world.
    Final thought on the Knot Controversy. Even though I am not a customer of Katz’s, I have visited the shop on several occasions and I am keenly aware of the difference between the work of skilled craftsmen and that of also-rans. Given the extent of damage and deterioration on Miss Blue Tarp, the work the Katz shop crew is doing is little short of exhuming a corpse and bringing it back to life. To the critics I would say “acta non verba” and then go show the world that you can do better.
    Keep up the good work. We need WoodyBoater, knots and all.

    • Gary VT, KP73
      Gary VT, KP73 says:

      Ed S. “Acta Non Verba”? Are you just into Latin or a USMMA Grad?

      Blow the crap off, small minds, etc

      • Ed S
        Ed S says:

        Not KP; I’m Castine 65E but always admired KP’s motto and in this case it seemed appropriate to nudge the complainer to show us better than what he faulted.

  18. Dave Nau
    Dave Nau says:

    Usually I’m oblivious to the “inside” things that go on in this hobby, so I’m not sure about what all you are referring to.

    I’m kind of weird in that I like fiberglass lapstrake-style boats, little aluminum boats, and outboard motors powering them all. I’m president of my local ACBS chapter, and will soon take a national role in AOMCI. I read WoodyBoater almost daily and occasionally post, even if I don’t own a wood boat. That’s OK – it’s still fun to read regularly. It’s part of the hobby. I’m even weird in that I don’t pull my boats with a pickup truck or SUV, but with a Volvo convertible. Works for me.

    Mostly, I just keep showing up to everything I can in this hobby because I like it all. And it’s always good to have lots of perspectives from lots of different people. Variety is good.

    Please keep doing what you are doing.

  19. Paul Poledink
    Paul Poledink says:

    Greg: Please give me a call ASAP about White Lightning at the show this weekend

    248 660 4720

  20. Rick
    Rick says:

    How come most days I hit WoodyBoater at 7AM but on days like this I’m last to the show? I’ll go back and read all the positive comments but reading the article it looks like you’re top heavy with friends so as a show of good faith I’m willing to take Carla off your hands. No need to thank me……..or tell my wife. Damn, I hate when she reads over my shoulder. If I disappear this weekend she is suspect #1. Keep it up Matt.

  21. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Hi Matt, From where I come from, NJ, The River St. Lawrence, and now Michigan, on the Big Lake, FU means I love you and I do. Do not let the bastards wear you down. There are more wood boat lovers than not. You are a gift. Thank you.

  22. Patrick L
    Patrick L says:

    So when did making money on your passion become so wrong. There’s so much money in wooden boating that you’ll become a sell out. Steering us to inferior techniques and products because Pfizer paid you to…? Please make more money. That way you’ll be here for us. I’m pretty sure I will continue to trust your judgement and your sponsors. Speaking of which I think I’ll go buy a t-shirt and order some petit captains varnish.

  23. George Burgess
    George Burgess says:

    Matt you do a great job of reporting antique boat news. Some time you are even funny but I look forward to reading your news and opinions. But you have to be less sensitive about people with different opinions, the old saying is opinions are like an ass everyone has one. Keep publishing what you want and if someone has a different thought, so what. I wish everyone would like me but I know that is not the case so my world does not come crashing down. Please keep publishing “Woody Boater” with your thoughts and what you think is interesting – remember you can’t please everyone!!

  24. Jerry Campbell
    Jerry Campbell says:

    I have had the good fortune to have joined the PNW chapter of the ACBS. I say this because I had never rebuilt a wooden boat before and I could not have done it as well as I have without a lot of help from a large number of our members. To me that is the value. I feel this type of club is what we need — where everyone helps everyone be it in club activities or restoring our boats.

  25. Captain Grumpy-Randy Rush
    Captain Grumpy-Randy Rush says:

    I was born and raised in a small town and moved away 5 years ago. I was brought up with the saying” If you dont have something nice to say about someone dont say anything” I follow the Facebook group from that town. Some days a post will be like pouring gas on a fire and i sit back and laugh at it. Pretty much like your little Cobra issue. People in the business either like and respect certain people or want to tear them down for their own personal reasons.
    If i was matt ,i would take my marbles and go home if that crap continues.

  26. Scott D Robinson
    Scott D Robinson says:

    Hi Matt, We love you, stay the course, don’t let the bastards grind you down !!!!

  27. Tom King
    Tom King says:

    Matt, I kinda experienced the same thing years ago when I was offering for free downloads of Chris Craft manuals, bulletins, photos, etc. from a website that I was paying for. For some folks it was never good enough and I started seeing the stuff that I was offering for free turn up on Ebay. It really got to be too much. Glad to see you are weathering through..Tom (ccmanuals)

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