Support Your Classic Self, And The Rest Will Take Care Of It’s Self

Work together

Twin engines running right is a beautiful thing.

One of the interesting things about running Woody Boater is we hear most everything going on in the passion. One can start building a idea of whats happening, or going to happen by putting together lots, and lots of different conversations.  We are seeing a common trend though that may help folks if only they realized that they, WE are part of something bigger.

Chris Craft Runabout repairjpg

My first experience with a classic boat was made possible by others helping. I never forgot that.

A small part of our classic boat community are out for themselves and not seeing the bigger picture. Tearing down others, and not supporting those that support you. OK, maybe a bit harsh, but it does make you want to read on. So what are we saying.? Well, you are part of an amazing culture, but it needs you to support the companies and folks that make it happen. We are talking about all over the place not just Woody Boater sponsors BTW. Look around at the shows you go to, see what companies are there making the event great.

BRass Bell 2008

The Brass Bell, one of the best publications out there.

What about the magazines you read? Who are the advertisers? Support them first, they pay for the magazines to be published. Note, I am not just going on about Woody Boater sponsors. Any company that is out there deserves your support. Especially if they are local. How screwed would you be if that restorer in your area went out of business? If you are going to call a restoration guy or broker and pick them for info and then not use them. Shame on you. That knowledge has value. If a boat is listed on a brokers site, quit trying to sneak around and buy direct from the owner, and if you are a seller, don’t sell it direct if its listed. If you are a broker and list others boats that you are not contacted to do so, stop! You are just confusing buyers. It’s sleazy, you not only ruin your reputation, but the entire cultures, and its proven that buys don’t buy.

If you are in a club, ACBS, CCABC Century Club etc and have sponsors, for gods sake use them. It’s just good business. We know of cases where major gold sponsors of some of these clubs are not supported. Have you lost your mind? Guess what happens. The sponsor leaves, the club dies and thus the sponsors company dies and we are all screwed. And we ain’t talking reed and prince screwed. So one sponsor is a little more than a non supporter? So what. Quick being cheap and think of the larger picture. We ALL need each other. The same for all the clubs and publications.


Join! It’s good for all of us.

If your not in a club,? We NEED the ACBS to be a governing body, to have a system in place to have events and gatherings and boring long winded board meetings. We NEED the Chris Craft Antique Boat Club. Otherwise how would you find out whats the right screw for your pre war racer you just found in a barn with dry wall screws in it? We NEED Classic Boating Magazine, those guys have done a fantastic job for decades and are on Magazine racks and coffee tables everywhere. WE NEED THAT. We NEED Fiberglass fun boats, we need to show the planet that we are about fun on the water and that cool is not a building material. Fiberglass and Aluminum boats are the gateway into the culture that we all need to grow . We all work together to support a passion that could disappear. So support the folks that support you.

Aluminum boat header

The passion, culture, whatever we call it is small. Very small. Having support encourages growth, encourages folks starting business, making reproduction parts, figuring out ways to make better restorations. To invest. You, the person reading this today are the key. Your choice of insurance, broker, parts suppler, paint, varnish are the simple thing you can do. Really! If we can all support each other, the community will flourish.

21 replies
  1. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Interesting change of events today. Guess I have been out to the loop, did not know there was much back stabbing going on other then the usual culprits.

    On another note: I hear P-fine did not see his shadow yesterday. EARLY SPRING! Yahooooooo!

    See You In Dora!

    • Rick
      Rick says:

      I didn’t realize it either. I guess not being a restorer or have a super rare boat (or somewhat rare or sought after or envied….) I just don’t come in contact with the negativity.

  2. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    OK, something or someone pissed off Matt, so we get another compulsory lecture day. However, when this happens, he is always spot on with his words of wisdom!

  3. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I don’t want to be Mr. negative, but I can’t fully agree. As a consumer, I primarily evaluate vendors based on the quality of their product or service and their customer service. Price comes into play in the sense that I will pay a premium if warranted, but it has to be within reason. A company’s advertising strategy comes way down on my list.

    For example, I chose to switch my boat insurance to Hagerty because of what others told me about their experiences with the product and service, my experience talking to them about my options, the fact that they offered the coverage I wanted, and pricing that was reasonable. (and I was not satisfied with the prior vendor) It helps that they understand the hobby and are active supporters, but if they cancelled their advertising for a certain publication, I can’t say I would drop them. Conversely, if their customer service goes to heck and they become difficult to deal with on claims etc, I will explore other options even if they continue to advertise in the “right” places.

    There are both bad customers and bad vendors in this hobby, just like any hobby. If all other things are equal or close enough, I am happy to give the edge to a supporter of Woodyboater and or CCABC, but sponsorship will not make me accept an otherwise poor customer experience.

  4. Bill Hammond
    Bill Hammond says:

    I have yet to avail myself of the services of any of Woody Boater’s, The Brass Bell’s or The Rudder’s sponsors/advertisers except that I do belong to both the CCABC & ACBS. I’m a member of the Michigan Chpt., ACBS and I have availed myself of the services of one of the advertisers in our Cpht. Newsletter, The Channel Marker. I also promote this advertiser every chance I get on any of the various forums because of the excellent service I received.

    But there is another side to this story. When I was brand new to the Hobby I needed to use a particular product/service of one of the most well known sponsors/advertisers of the Antique Boating (Wooden) Industry. I contacted this Business by phone and inquired about making use of their product/service. When I told them I was new to the Hobby they told me to call back in 3 years. Needless to say I was extremely put out about it. I needed them then, not in 3 years. I eventually located another competitor where I took my business and I have been with them ever since. I see this other company advertise in all the Wooden Boat Clubs publications, WB included, and as one of the Sponsors of nearly every Boat Show in the country so I am constantly reminded of how I was treated as a newcomer.

    You never know when you answer a phone if you’re talking to your next Best, Long Term customer or some Schmoe you’ll never hear from again. But you always treat that caller as if they represent thousands of dollars of future business to you. That’s the way I operate my business and it’s why I’ve had some customers for over 30 years.

    • Doug P in th PNW
      Doug P in th PNW says:

      Bill, Tend to agree with you. Although I have bought from the advertisers, I prefer to deal with those that go beyond buying an ad and actually do have input and information, whether as a blog or printed in the clubs’ magazines or newsletters.
      Staib is a damn good example.

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      Bill- right you are! Just the other day I was in the sedan/car service I use to go to the airport. They guy I use, who owns the small business, told me he once had a terribly short fare as a cab driver at the airport, after waiting hours. Instead of refusing, he good naturedly drove the lady. She doubled the fare and tipped him, and now that he runs a sedan service, he drives her every week around town and has done for years – a great client! You never know where those important relationships can come from.

  5. Matt
    Matt says:

    Bill you make a great point, and I will add in, there are certain folks I avoid like the plague. They do a great injustice to the hobby. When i started in this passion I was treated the same way. I was also ripped off beyond my imagination, and still paying for it. Its the reason we started Woody Boater. To have a place that you could instently feel welcome and smart, since clearly we are also just new to this. I learn something new every day. Jim Staib is an amazing resourse and doesnt advertise, but helps in many many ways and deserves tons of business. I am not sure who the sponsor is on WB that treated you that way. I can say personaly I havent felt that from any of them. But like you said. One bad call can set off a train wreck.

  6. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Timely thoughts…..for a sort of different reason:
    This Saturday I am to chair a meeting that is loosely, very, the Tidewater Chapter of ACBS. Our chapter covers a huge area….a huge shoreline…and that geography keeps us isolated from each other…and thus our chapter is mostly dormant.
    I am a CCABC guy mostly…..but reading Matt’s comments has refreshed in me that concept of the club (acbs) and its value to the hobby. I am not a big club guy…I am Going Boating…not to meetings, but I will attend this meeting with a renewed positive attitude because of reading all the comments in this post.
    We are a very small culture and we need to stick together and all of the publications, vendors, sponsors and consumers can gain from interaction with each other. Hang close.
    Go Boating
    John in Va.

  7. Gary
    Gary says:

    I haven’t heard about the back stabbing?? Maybe this could be explained.
    I do belong to the ACBS & CCABC, read WB religously, and use their sponsors . There is on WB a gold plated one. That gold digger gets nothing from me since after several interactions he did not return nor help. He only wanted money and it was way too obvious.

  8. Briant
    Briant says:

    First off, Hagerty is absolutely the best. I just filed a small claim and was paid the full estimate repair amount within days. I had been fighting the insurance company of the person that did the damage for about three months. Hagerty = #1.

    I would bet that 99% of the WB community would love to be able to support all of the businesses associated with owning a wood boat….but frankly, there are an increasing amount of negative factors contributing to folks not doing so.

    Our Jeep which we use to tow our wood boat just hit 200,000 miles and obviously I would love to replace it. But the modern manufacturers only make vehicles with a tow capacity of 3500 lbs for $35,000. I don’t see the value in that so now I am screwed. And folks in the boating community are freaking out that there are few younger folks getting into the hobby….jeez I wonder why. Saddled with $50,000 in college debt, crummy jobs, small first time homes in the $500,000 neighborhood, and people wonder why the younger folks are not blowing $35k on a tow vehicle to haul about a $20k or higher wood boat, which they probably have little or no sentimental value attached to.

    The gauges on our boat need to be restored….and I would love to give some business to one of the restorers, but after spending 18 years using the boat with my kids to plant the love of wood boating in their psyche, I still have ten years and $200,000 of college years ahead. Those gauges are just gonna have to wait. No doubt some readers here will just say that I am too poor to be in the hobby….well fine. But who will take my place. I know of nobody in my high school and college friends or neighbor’s or working associates that want to get into the hobby.

    I guess my point here is that many of us are avoiding spending money at the companies in the hobby because we are too busy feeding the blood sucking leeches in the businesses that are in our lives yet far removed from the hobby….ie auto manufacturers, college admission offices, and my cell provider charging $200 a month for my family to have a few cheap phones….

    • Kevin F
      Kevin F says:

      Boats, are by definition, an expense. I look at my boats, (actually one right now), as I do all my expenses; I make choices to minimize the expense, while getting maximum value.

      So, I do much of the annual stuff myself; varnishing, oil change, etc. My boat has been incredibly reliable over the years, almost always running, and wood replacement limited to a few repairs. Over 24 years of ownership, I have spent less than $10,000 on repairs and finishing; and that included a complete refinishing inside and out. I use the boat extensively; many times with as much water in the boat as out it seems with all the rough seas here, and hundreds of miles under her keel every year.

      I use inexpensive slips, although I am in a very pricey area. I shop around for good value. After all this time, she is in need of new upholstery, and some other items, so I am sure the bills may get bigger. If her bottom needs to be redone, well, we all know what that costs.

      My other boats have been glass, classic, and fully depreciated; in other words relatively cheap. Even my cruiser was not too much; but the only big boat that I lost a bit of money on when I sold her.

      My Sportsman sips gas, looks great, and is fun (and wet).

      For college, I too look at the best value. We are fortunate to have one of the highest ranked community colleges a few miles from the house, one of the best Universities is in state; total tuition bill? $25k. And with a name brand school on the diploma.

      With all the classic glass out there, and the relative cost of a user woody boat, I find boating to be very reasonable. RELATIVELY SPEAKING.

      I gave up on new cars, and buy high quality used cars so someone else takes the depreciation hit. Call it cheap of frugal, but I manage to fit all my interests into a compact budget.

      I have also been lucky to find the bargains I have found. If I had some storage at my house, I would save even more money.

      So, how about supporting the sponsors? I do when I can. Some are so good, it would not matter if they advertised or not. Others, I may give a shot. But in some areas, there is the “little guy” to support, local business, trying to make ends meet, and reasonable work. Not show quality, but with a boat full of friends, raft ups, and other things that can mar the perfect finish, I find I am more relaxed with a good quality finish that I do myself.

      I try to support the hobby by taking people out, having the boat at many restaurants and bars, and talking up the hobby. I hope it works 🙂

      • Briant
        Briant says:

        Welcome to the West Coast. $500,000 will get you a 3 bed 1600 sq ft home. New homes in my neighborhood selling for $950,000 are also listed as “affordable” by the builders and realtors. Portland area, not Seattle or San Fran which are higher.

  9. KM
    KM says:

    In the eighties Capt Morgan was a sponsor of the Toronto Chapter for a short period of 4/5 years.. I and some friends still buy their product!

  10. Bill Hammond
    Bill Hammond says:

    We’ve talked many times in the past about the costs of our Hobby. I really appreciate that there are people from all over the income scale in our Woody World. I love to see those that can get a Boat restored without any regard to expense because we get to see a level of restoration that not all can achieve. I also love to see the restorations undertaken by those who put their own time & labor into it because that’s where I’m at and I love to hear their stories.

    Most of you know I’m one of those crazy Cruiser Owners! I got into this without any kind of clear understanding of what I was getting into but I’m here for the long haul!! Enjoying it every step of the way and getting to know a lot of really neat people along the way!! Let’s all keep it up!! Happy Varnishing!!

    DAVE MOORE says:

    AMEN MATT, There is alot more to life than money, its how its made or earned is the issue, the only mindset should be is doing good business, having morals, being honest and not practicing to be honest, there is a difference. This has been forgotten by some. Its fun to help those that need it and rewarding when they come back after the sale. This can easily be accomplished by any one when they are honest.

  12. Rob Bergevin
    Rob Bergevin says:

    I read this column this morning, and as I walked my small dog this lovely afternoon in Toronto (16C) I decided it was time to get off my duff and rejoin the CC Antique Boat Club. I am a “cruiser guy” and have been concerned that sharing my personal DIY restoration project (1937 35′ double stateroom enclosed) might cause some to find fault. Silly me. I reconciled some time ago that either the boat gets fixed by me, or it would likely meet it’s end (besides, I truly enjoy the process). I also hold the view that the boat is only of value to me and my immediate family, due to the years of joyful use we got from it. Now that I have, I think, turned the corner and can see the distant end of the project in sight, it is a good time to re-engage with the Club. I did not let my membership lapse in a snit, only because I was preoccupied. Thanks to this article, I now see that supporting the Club is worthwhile and I regret my absence. Finally, I make it a practice to by tools and materials from local specialty shops. Maybe I pay a bit more, but it is worth it to me. Thanks.

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