Just Because We Like Plastic, Should We Change Our Name?

Out on the St Johns! Ya thats a boring boat!  No thanks, i want to be in a row boat, cause its made from wood! I am being sarcastic by the way.

Out on the St Johns! Ya thats a boring boat! No thanks, i want to be in a row boat, cause its made from wood! I am being sarcastic by the way.

Last week on Woody Boater we featured three days of Pumpkin party fun. I realized that three days of coverage on one boat might bore some folks, but what I did not expect was some backlash on featuring some plastic! Then of course a small argument broke out in the comment section…to my glee by the way. I love a good rant, it’s all good since it’s driven by passion and the joy of boating. For the record, I think everyone was secretly laughing with each other over it. BUT.. It did make me think, we are called Woody Boater, and we preach the wonders of mahogany, and detest any of the new plastic crap out on the water today. A couple years back we even entertained changing our name to Classic Boater. BUT.. We felt that Woody Boater was far more than wood, it is about boats that give us joy. They give back to our spirit, in a sense, they are cool. I didn’t grow up in the 1930’s yet I love a good triple? Barrel back? Maybe it’s not about years, or manufacturers. maybe its about great timeless design, great thought and engineering? Maybe its about appreciating the craft that certain companies contribute to the world. Maybe it’s more about the lack of imagination in today’s design of boats? They all look the same and are over priced and boring as dish water.

Spitfire, rare rare rare, very cool and fun. I would take this over a new 2014 cobalt anyday of the week. Photo Dane Anderson

Spitfire, rare rare rare, very cool and fun. I would take this over a new 2014 cobalt anyday of the week. Photo Dane Anderson

So whats the big deal about Pumpkin? The name Woody Boater is more about a way of life, more fun than about a time period of boats. Just because a boat is made of wood doesn’t mean anything either. There are tons of boring boats made from wood. TONS! We don’t feature those?

The Betty J, Our beloved little wood skiff. 11 ft, 4 hp. Fun for around the creek. Built by my wifes great uncle back in the 50's. Yet, I dont think a website of more of these would be of much interest!

The Betty J, Our beloved little wood skiff. 11 ft, 4 hp. Fun for around the creek. Built by my wifes great uncle back in the 50’s. Yet, I dont think a website of more of these would be of much interest!

Pumpkin is far far more than just what the boat is made of, in fact if you really think about it, she is the most impracticable boat out there. Really..a 454 with a jet drive? YOU BET!  She embodies the spirit of a good pal who embodied EVERYTHING woody boater is about. Fun, Water and Friends on a cool boat that evokes an emotion. So I ask, is it just me? Am I just part of a transitional generation that lives in both times?   Should we be just about Wood? Should we be literal about our name?  Speak up! Be honest, the feedback is great!

Pumpkin on her way to her makeover behind the Woodyboater mobile

Pumpkin on her way to her makeover behind the Woodyboater mobile

77 replies
  1. Walter
    Walter says:

    I’ve got classic wood, classic plastic and classic aluminum. I love all of them. Cool boats are cool boats regardless of the material they are constructed of. Keep the Woody Boater name and don’t be afraid to share classic cool boats regardless of their construction.

  2. Sean
    Sean says:

    While WB is all about fun, friendship and a kinsmanship of the hobby, I believe the emphasis here is, and should be, on wooden boats.

    That’s not to suggest we don’t like classic glass. I just acquired a 1965 Donzi Ski Sporter last month (last gasp week) that embodies all woodyboaterness…except the wood. Well truth is I’m installing a wooden deck but, I digress.

    Yes, there are some boring wood boats and no, nobody minds a short diversion to other cool clasic boats but, if the focus moves away from woodies we will soon lose the core of our hobby… just as the industry forgot about the wood boat 35 years ago.

    I am a daily regular here. A contributor too. I love my 72 Greavette and my new, 65 Donzi. I go to the Donzi sites for information and camaraderie with that brand …and boast of my wooden boat to people with different agendas. I`m not the only off-brand and they manage to keep their focus.

    In summary, I may have no time for dippys (that could be a movie title) and not as much lapstrake love as the next person has but, I appreciate them and they have much more in common with my carvel plywood runabout than my new plastic project just because they are wood.

  3. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    WoodyBoater has become a houshold name in the classic boat lifestyle comminity, and I therefore don’t think it should be changed. What is important, as the previous comments identifired, is the fact that our lifestyle accept and appreciate all the watercraft that are classic in their own right, regardless of what they are built of. Our Michigan Chapter is trying to do that by making “Classic Glass” the Marque boat for our big show in St. Clair next June. We are really hoping that this will make our fiberglass classic boaters feel welcome, and bring their boats out for all to see. We also hope that it will encourage them to join the chapter. Maybe we can even convince Matt to make another trip to Michigan and bring along Pumpkin!

  4. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Keep the name. Keep the focus on wood. Show the occasional classic glass or classic metal when appropriate.

    In other words. Don’t change. Except for the math, make that easier.

  5. Rick
    Rick says:

    Think of wood is your wife and you’ve got to spend most of your concentration of her but its also ok for your glance to be distracted and have a plastic day once in a while. Well that just sound freaky but you know what I mean.

  6. Chris B
    Chris B says:

    I prefer wood over glass but think the cool glass is great to see here. those who take the time to restore them have worked just as hard and in a very itchy environment to bring those big finned machines back to life with the very pretty outboard motors most have hanging over the transom.they are cool as are many metal machines from the likes of feathercraft. If i had the space i would have one of each. I just like cool boats, and orange, yellow and blue are all cool.

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      My thoughts exactly, I am a sucker for anything with style, a cool design, a pretty face, but I degress. I always loved the early glass styles/designs.
      I just bought this 1959 Lake n Sea, due to the low production number, being built in Michigan and cause it is close to my Dad’s boat when I was in 6th grade.
      As Gallagher always said: ” Gotta have Style…”

  7. Mike D
    Mike D says:

    Matt in the big scheme of thing in life what kind of boats you present really is not important. It is your blog and you have the right to run it as you see fit. That said, you and I along with others did enter into a kind of contract when we donated money to this blog. Wooden, plastic, metal, dug-out are all boats but I come to this site for my fix of mahogany and varnish. I seriously doubt that I would have many people coming up to me at the gas station oohing and aahing about the beautiful runabout if it was not made of wood. I suspect you will get another bees nest of comments once people wake up from this cold winter morning. Just hoping Troy has a photo or two of cute girls to add to the discussion. Happy holidays everyone.

  8. Don Ayers
    Don Ayers says:

    Don’t tell me there is anyone on here who did not love the boat chase in Live and Let Die!!!

    Bullet has one of the best car chases and Live and Let Die has the best boat chase hands down!

    You either love the water and all craft that ride over its surface or not.

    I can appreciate most everything and as long as its safe I’ll get in anything to get on the water. It just so happens I love working with wood and mechanical things as well so that sustains me in between the boat rides.

  9. John Baas
    John Baas says:

    When it’s rare, cool looking and has a Flying Scott on it, I love seeing glass boats here! But I come here for the wood.

  10. Alex
    Alex says:

    Wait a minute… Are you telling me “Woody” is a reference to boats??? All this time I thought it was a tribute to a violent bug-eating cartoon tree bird.

  11. David
    David says:

    I am thinking they went a little overboard (no pun intended) with the handrails on the Century in the header photo.

  12. Troy
    Troy says:


    It is your blog post what you want, if others feel deceived because the name does not say it all they will find another place to spend their time.

    Unfortunatelly some people are angry and will lash out wherever they get a chance. For me if I get bored I will find entertainment elsewhere.

    • Mike D
      Mike D says:

      I knew we could count on you to come through Troy. You’re the man!!! Damn the mahogany when there is a nice tan to look at.

    • Mike D
      Mike D says:

      Hey matt, how about in the spirit of compromise you can do non-woody boat stories as long as there is a hottie in each photo?

  13. Gary
    Gary says:

    In my list of materials for a boat wood is at the top. But my list of things to do and have fun with is simply messing about in boats.

  14. brian t
    brian t says:

    Sometimes, change is good… like with bathing suits. But sometimes change stinks.

    Keep WoodyBoater just the way it is.

  15. Tall Paul
    Tall Paul says:

    Keep the name and the variety of boats. I love looking at WB every day for all the great stories about the boats and the people. I’m a sentimental fool so I enjoyed the three days of Pumpkin. Yeah it’s a bitchin boat and I’d drool on it if I saw it in person (st michaels this year Matt?), but the stories were so much more than that. I love seeing something like Pumpkin being preserved because to me it allows a little piece of a cool guy to live on. I also think the mix of what we see on WB reflects what’s happening in the hobby – it’s primarily wood but with a good dose of glass aluminum plywood etc as well. I have a plywood boat that I love but I don’t expect this place to become “Plywoody Boater” anytime soon. I don’t think the main focus of the hobby will ever move from the “brown boats” we all love. As Matt said, even if you didn’t grow up with them or live in the era, the boats are still appealing because of their timeless design and beauty and they represent a great time in history. Not sure if my ram pings make much sense but there ya have it. What you guys do with WB is amazing. Keep on truckin!

  16. Old Salt
    Old Salt says:

    I own three wood Chris Crafts and one fiberglass Chris Craft. So my vote is to keep the Woody Boater stories about wood and fiberglass boats at a ratio of 3 to 1…

    Seems simple to me…

  17. ranger
    ranger says:

    I enjoy the diversity!

    I love the boats stories, the introduction of new (to me) boats, the adventures & mishaps of my fellow woody boaters and getting to meet them through you, the musings of Alex, Troy’s pictures, the witty banter between the gang (especially if it makes me laugh out loud unexpectedly) and then there was that story of the boat getting run over by the freighter (that was the stuff of nightmares)…

    And I enjoyed these stories about Larry & Pumpkin, I wish everybody could have gotten to meet him!

    I could go on & on but then I’d have to think too hard…

  18. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    I don’ care what the hull is made of, though I would especially love to see a ferro-cement runabout!

    I own boats of glass, various types and hull styles rendered in wood, aluminum and galvanized and I like them all. They all have their place. I couldn’t care less what the hull is made of, as long as the boat has some other attribute – survivorship, regular use, pride of ownership, unique design, preservation, resto -mod – these are the things that make them cool in my mind. I don’t want to be using my own qualitative judgment as an arbiter of what is and what is not cool on this page – I’ll save it and use that when I look to buy a boat for myself.

    Everyone has their own interpretation of cool or interesting, and respect for individual taste and value is what drives my appreciation of boats. There are quite a few hideous, awful wood boats out there, just as well as there are crappy fiberglass. The fact that a boat is made of wood does not automatically annoint it with some hallowed status, just as it being made of fiberglass does not do the opposite. There’s room for them all here.

  19. Chuck Crosby
    Chuck Crosby says:

    When I first found the woodyboater Blog, I was restoring a 1947 CC Deluxe Runabout….Now, I own one of those (quoting Matt) dreadful life sucking Cobalts….Guess what? My wife is much happier with the Cobalt because you turn the key it starts, plus I don’t have to fiddle fart with priming the carbs, etc….Unfortunately, that particular wooden boat wasn’t the appropriate boat for our families needs. I spent much to much time fiddlefarting on the boat and too little time on the water. I will own another woody, probably my retirement project.

    I continue to read the Woodyboater Blog for the wonderful daily Headers, mostly interesting articles, but most importantly…the comments from the peanut gallery

    PS: Tributes to Arrgh and his boat Pumkin belong in the Woodyboater Blog

    • Alex
      Alex says:

      I’ve got a Cobalt too Chuck. A 1997 232. Gorgeous boat, beautifully built.

      If you’re looking to pick on modern glass Matt, comparing it to Clorox bottles, better to pick on Rinker’s and Bryant’s.

      My apologies to Clorox.

  20. Ron Stevenson
    Ron Stevenson says:

    I like the variety…this was my 1959 Bell Buoy Banshee; which BTW is the first, last, and only fiberglass boat Rob DaPron has, or will, ever do. He very clearly told me that fiberglass does get under your skin!

  21. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    I really enjoy seeing both on WB. Mix it up. Bit of plastic or a bit of wood. If it’s beautifully designed I love seeing it. Leave the name it’s a brand now and besides if it changed my t-shirts wouldn’t work anymore.

  22. Texx
    Texx says:

    For the hobby to grow and prosper, we have to accept that classic fiberglass boats from the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s are an integral part of the hobby. In some cases fiberglass classics are less expensive to restore / preserve than wooden boats, as a result they can be great entry level boats.

    The “Pumpkin” project will be a good example of that, which we will learn about over the next few months.

    Younger people entering the hobby today may be able to relate to fiberglass classics the same way their predecessor’s related to wooden boats years ago.

    When preparing content for a daily Woody Boater story, we don’t discriminate between hull material or engine type or where it was manufactured. If it’s old and represents the evolution of classic boating somewhere in the world – it’s worth sharing with our viewers. However classic wooden boats will always be the core of Woody Boater because we know that’s what our core audience prefers.

    I believe (and I know some will disagree) that our viewers should gain either knowledge, inspiration or be stimulated (or entertained) by a story on Woody Boater, as we continue to learn together as a group about the history and evolution of classic boating.

    The boat in the header today (that I was caught test driving on Gull Lake by Dane Anderson) is one example of how much fun classic fiberglass boats can be. This is possibly one of the most original 1973 21’ Coronados on the planet with only 170 original hours on the 350HP 454 Chevrolet Crusader V-8. The original upholstery, trim tabs, docking lights, Iva-lite, and original eight-track tape player with four speakers just screamed 1971 – the way boats were sold and enjoyed 41 years ago. Now that’s worth talking about – right?


    • Cobourg Kid
      Cobourg Kid says:

      Couldn’t have said it better Texx!

      The image below, captured at the Woody Boater Poker Run on Lake Muskoka this summer, illustrates just a small quadrant of the diverse world of watercraft that WB covers.

      In the foreground, the Official WB Poker Run chase boat, Brian Atkinson’s elegant 1988 fiberglass Century Coronado.

      Parading in the background an amazing fully restored 1939 Peterborough Seafarer triple cockpit runabout. Breaking out beside her, a dazzling homebuilt Hacker Palm Beach replica and finally, pacing along on the outside, a one design mid 1930s flavor race boat replete with a modern fibreglass hull and full mahogany transom topside and interior.

      All very interesting and all very different.

  23. Mike D
    Mike D says:

    Sorry Texx, I just don’t get the same pleasure looking at the yellow boat as I do looking at a woody. Mahogany has an intrinsic beauty that fiberglass never will. Like I said before, its your blog so do what floats your boat. You could run a week of plastic boat stories and see what that does to your “hits”. It might be harder to keep the numbers up to show your sponsers, especially those who cater just to the woody boat crowd. Best of luck.

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      Well Mike, I will take a shot at being devil’s advocate here. Boating exploded in the ’60’s and ’70’s. Coincidentally or not, that is when glass and decent higher HP outbaords came along,and costs and maintenance dropped. There are many, many more boaters from the ’70’s out there now, and more boats from that era, than from earlier generations. I am no ad man, but those dudes are the age our hobby is looking for. So, I doubt that numbers will drop, and if they do, the glass guys, being younger in most cases, will be the kind the advertisers want. Do you really think there are more “wooden” boat guys out there, than there running around in 40 year old, emerging classic glass? I don’t.

    • 'Bone Daddy' Deems
      'Bone Daddy' Deems says:

      I’m too am sorry, but I do have to agree with Mike. The mahogany just has a beauty that fiberglass never will have no matter what the shape of the boat, and yes it IS because of the hull material. I agree that there are some fugly woodies, and yes old glastic classics are very cool, but the feel (and smell) of fresh varnish on your forearm on a hot day just can’t be duplicated. Ok, Ok…show us a few cool plasticos now and then, and I won’t shun you for luvin’ them, but I really need my mahogany fix! Does that sound fair enough?

  24. Sean
    Sean says:

    How about this boat…modern plastic & electric!

    You couldn’t tell if you weren’t pokin’ through the innerds…

  25. Bill Ladd
    Bill Ladd says:

    I haven’t been spending much time at all here the last few days. Don’t much care for plastic boats. Sorry.

    Your blog and all, so go for it.

    I’ll look every day and if there’s a cool woody I’ll dive in.


  26. Texx
    Texx says:

    The blue fiberglass outboard in today’s story is a wonderful barn find story. It’s a rare 1960 Spitfire with a color coordinated 60hp Scott.

    Spitfire boats were manufactured by Su Preme Boats of Minneapolis, MN. The boat was discovered by fellow Woody Boater Lee Wangstad about 8-10 years ago and purchased by her current owner Dick Mickelson – which came with the original purchase paperwork and a case of Scott oil with only one can removed.

  27. David
    David says:

    I still think they went overboard (again, no pun intended) with the handrails on the Century in the header shot and Texx’s shoot.

    However, I think we should all be thankful that we have found boating. No matter what kind it is. I owe my love of boating to my parents whom never had a wood boat. I grew up on fiberglass boats when I was too young to know the difference. The only thing I knew was that I loved boats, and everyone of my friends begged me to take them with us. My parents owned at least one boat from 1973 until last summer, when my mother passed away. The boat was the glue that brought the family together each weekend in the summer.

    Now that I own a wood boat, my father, not having a boat of his own any longer, has taken a great interest in helping me restore mine. It is again, the glue that is bringing our family together.

    So, for me, if it floats, even if it has a sail on it (I know, I just opened up another can of worms) I am all-in!!!!

    Let’s go boating! But I will still say, Woody Boating preferred!!

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thanks David – I’m not sure what the deal is with those hand rails on Dave’s yellow Coronado. Dave did say that the boat was as heavily optioned as possible when the original owner (who he got it from) ordered it from the factory.

      The Century guys or Dave Bortner will probably chime in with more info.

      I do remember that when we boarded the boat at the dock, that you had to swing away a section of the hand rail to get on – and we forgot to close it before we shot the boat, as you can see in the header shot and in the comment photo above.

      I loved driving the boat that day, putting it through it’s paces and experiencing the hard top effect. – Texx

      • Tommyholm
        Tommyholm says:

        Texx, those cockpit rails were std equip on that Coronado. It tricked out that top of the line boat – gave it the yacht look plus you can grab that rail when docking as oppose to that slippery fiberglass. And just think under the mounting feet is wood glassed over in the deck to hold the screws .

  28. Jimmuh
    Jimmuh says:

    “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

    Abe pretty much nailed there…..

  29. Alex
    Alex says:

    Come to Hessel and ride in this XK-19 with the 383 Stroker. It could change ya.

    Also, while aboard, feel free to donate what you can spare in the little can marked “TWARP” (Troubled Watson Asset Relief Program).

  30. Dane
    Dane says:

    I like them all! If they have a design element that I find appealing I’ll photograph them. It doesn’t matter what they’re made of.

    Ode to boats from Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

    “Is it so nice as all that?” asked the mole, shyly…

    “Nice? It’s the only thing,” said the Water Rat Solemnly, as he leaned forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

    “Simply messing…about in boats — or with boats… In or out of ’em it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not.”

  31. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    Keep the name. A bit of classic glass and aluminum mixed in now and then is great. I still wish I had picked up a perfect little Feathercraft you spotted on Craigslist a couple of years ago.

  32. Randy Rush Captain Grumpy
    Randy Rush Captain Grumpy says:

    Well Well Well , Matt stirring the pot here again. This is all about marketing, you dont spend this much time building a brand “WoodyBoater” to change the name on a whim. I think this is just a wakeup call that as in real life boating changed from dug out wood canoes to glass boats and that we all have room in our hearts for style regardless of materilal.

  33. John Rusnak
    John Rusnak says:

    I’d say my young woody boater rant caused by snow and a twelver of moon man 🙂 propmted a very nice response to the hoby .. 🙂 you guys rock I’m kinda getting the community thing! sorry i grew up in the county with wiskey but I still say (fiberglass is no fun as it truly gets under your skin mad in your eye your lungs .. And not to mention I kinfo don’t know where I am for a day or two :).. All said I’m a capenter and have developed a passion for wood Even if im crowning a pallet of lumber its stil wood and it Is forgiving unlike any other medum ive ever Worked with ) growing up a hot rodder n an old car enthusiast u need a darn good torch !!!. Pls don’t apply to varnished wood

  34. Cliff
    Cliff says:

    Holly mackerel ! I spend one whole day working out in the field and POW! What a topic! I enjoy it all. I love the oxidation of old fiberglass Chris Craft Comanders, the dulling of aluminum Larson boats the repowering of jet boats. More, more, more, I love a good old lapstrake week and triple cockpit weekend. So fight the ethanol and dry rot and keep it going!

  35. red dog
    red dog says:

    cliff what the he double hockey sticks is that. tell us about it. i much prefer wood. i own two woods. 1 user 1 project. matt keep with the WOODYBOATER theme. but without the occasional plastic boat throne in we would not be able to check out the coronado the XK -19s or the jeep thing in the above picture ( 2 weeks wood 1 day plastic) great website KEEP YOUR WOODY UP keep the math thats fun too but i suppose it could get annoying with multiple posts..

    • Cliff
      Cliff says:

      It saw it on a fishing web site a while back. I know nothing about it other than the fact I like the rod holders.

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