Scott Ales – Woody Boater Of The 21st Century.

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A future Woodyboater Master Scott, at the wheel docked at their cottage in LeClaire Iowa. You guessed it, a CENTURY! Where the reality TV American Pickers are from!

If you have been following the news in the past month you may have noticed that there was an Auction last weekend. After the weekend we did a story asking if Auctions were here or needed to go. With a huge response by the way, and it’s still going strong roughly 10 more comments yesterday alone. The reason for the question, was based on a huge amount of private emails about auctions and the boats being sold. The debate will hopefully continue on for years. And if our Woody Boater of the month Scott Ales has his way, it will. Scott Ales with Dana Mecum are the men behind all this. And Woody Boater would like to salute Scott for pushing us all into the 20th century.. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone that we are in the 21st century. While many folks in the passion of Antique & Classic Boats bang the drum about the future of this hobby and the need to reach out to a younger group. The fact is, that as a demographic we deplore change, in fact we are hard wired to preserve the past. As Fellow Woody Boater “Rabbit” puts it, we are called “Curators” and love to preserve things from our past…So the trick is, how do you move forward and change things for a group that hates change. How do you engage new people into the community….Well, if you are Scott Ales, you do what you know best. You apply your life skills to your  passion. Scott has been a Woody Boater from day one. A true classic boater, it’s in his DNA, but also see’s that doing things the same way is not working.

"Our first cruiser. 31' bull nose Connie. The very first varnish I ever stripped was on the rear hatches of this boat at 10 years old." Scott Ales

He is also passionate about auctions..That’s why several years ago he started pushing boats into the big game of big time Auctions. The Warner Auction and the Big Riva sale were the start of it. And what a splash he made.. Regardless of how you may feel about it all. He made change. He stepped out on the limb and stuck his flag into the ground. Durring the worst economic downturn in many of our lives. With no one selling anything. Scott brought hope and life to a hobby during the past bad economic years. Boats were not selling, and very few  are buying and restoring.  Only recently have they started picking back up. Inching up… Primarily because a new generation, the web, and new folks are entering the hobby. The Chris-Craft Antique Boat Clubs online forum, and Scott Ales with Mecum auctions should take a bow for trying new things that did infact create change and momentum during this time. Seeing boats sell, and reach huge numbers is all part of confidence building.. You see Miss America not sell for 700K.. Someone is willing to pay 700K for a fixer upper boat. DAM! Fantastic.. Trust me there are a ton of Riva Owners out there with a shrine to Mecum… In fact if you follow the auctions, you will see that these boats are always at the top of the list for highest amount sold in the auction. That’s HUGE for the hobby, Community, Lifestyle, Society… It’s a work in progress for sure, but it is progress, and for that we are better off.

Here is Scott on screen telling the history of miss America VIII or IIX to woody boaterites

So here at Woody Boater, we salute you Scott. We understand more than many what it takes to try new things, to effect change, and to take the heat from people who one day will understand how much bigger this all is besides the sale of one boat. We hope that auctions are here to stay, they are fun to watch, and will  help the hobby grow.

16 replies
  1. Alex
    Alex says:

    Scott, that pic of you as a kid behind the wheel is priceless. Wish I had one like that. While I’m just not a fan of auctions, we share a common background: messing around in wooden boats from the crib on up. One can’t but be awestruck by the scale of a large wooden boat in a kid’s small world. Aren’t we lucky to have been infected by that wonderment.

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I am sorry, but even if the auctions last and achieve sustained success, they will be nothign more than a sideshow. The future of the hobby, if there is to be any growth wih the younger generations, will be with the smaller cheaper familly boats. The $500,000+ race boats and Rivas are the extremem fringe of the hobby. There are very few boats in this class and perhaps even fewer buyers and perhaps Mecum can provide a true service linking wealthy buyers to wealthy seller. I just don’t see the $5,000 utility or runabouts in need of a $15,000 restoration showing up in these auctions with any regularity. Nor do I see the $10,000-$30,000 water ready boats making a splash at auction. Buyers of these boats need more time and support than an auction house can provide. I think ABC’s “peace of mind” slogan nails exactly what you need to offer a 20 or 30 or even 40 something person or familly if you are going to get them to take on the “challenge” of being a Woddyboater.

    • Randy Rush-Captain Grumpy
      Randy Rush-Captain Grumpy says:

      I agree. I probably will never own a boat worth more than 20K, even if I could afford one I wouldnt want one. I use my boats all the time, I bring them to boat shows and enjoy interacting with the regular folks that remember user boats from their childhoods. Dont know too many people with memorys of water skiing behind Carlo Rivas Aquamarine.

  3. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    Psssssst. Matt, someone turned on your spell check! All that typing and no spelling errors!

    I’m willing to try and accept change in this hobby but no spelling errors is taking that too far!!

  4. matt
    matt says:

    Ha, honestly, I had no idea.. Sometimes it just works out that way.. eventually even a monkey can pick a good stock.. HA..

  5. Scott Ales
    Scott Ales says:

    Very kind comments from the woody community. Thank you. However, as I just stated to Marty Feletto. Believe me when I tell you, it does NOT go to my head. This hobby is a team sport and nothing significant happens from any one person. I’m flattered but that’s where it ends on the personal side.

    On the team side, thanks to everyone who ever invested even one minute to share their love of the boats to anyone. Where would I be without my Dad exposing me at such an early age? Or Bob (can’t remember his last name) at Quad City Marine for guiding Debra and I on the 45′ Chris Craft Connie restoration! We have to pass this down as we go or it will die out. Keep up the good work everyone!

    • Philip Andrew
      Philip Andrew says:

      Scott – Its been interesting reading the communities varied points of view on Auctions and your detailed rebuttal.
      I have been the benefactor of a Mecum Auction when I won Todds little Century Palomino last year so I have been on both sides of the fence. I had been talking with Todd for 18 months or so before-hand about buying the boat but we never quite did the deal. At Auction I paid a lot less than the figure we had been debating.
      I was of course delighted and whats-more I reckon I paid close to the boats true value. Auction was very good for me.
      On the other side of the fence I do understand the comments from some of the community about why Auctions do not serve the hobby particularly well.
      I think its partly a respect thing. I dont agree with Matt that we need dragging into the 21st Century and Auctions are the future because its not solving the problem.The Mecum show is amazing for sure. Its high octane entertainment. ‘ Showbiz ‘ if you like, but thats the polar opposite of the Woody Boater community that I have been involved with through the blog and the Tahoe show. Its a lot more Chicken on a stick and old cabaret bands from what Ive seen.
      The dis-connect comes partly I think from the language Mecum use. “Over 7 million dollars of boats sold!” being a case in point. While I guess that suggests that Mecum sure can sell it sounds like Mecum talking to itself and in doing so it alienates the individual- the bloke with one boat. Years ago Big National Lotteries around the world would shout ” Over 20 million in prizes to be won!.” They dont say it anymore because they realised that nobody could win 20 million.
      As a seller and a buyer what I would respond to better would be “Over 1000 boats sold, over 2000 happy customers!”
      On another note. What went down with The Coronado? I know thats one of the major attractions for a buyer with Auction. The possibility of getting a great deal and that sure was one great deal. You said in your response you had tried to contact people. Can you say? I respect your silence if its sensitive or private. Just be interested to know.
      Congrats on your New Woody Boater of the month status.

  6. Scott Ales
    Scott Ales says:

    Great points Philip, and thanks for your Century purchase. I mentioned in the Woodyboater blog there were boats with very low or reasonable reserves. I would rather not disclose the person I suggested to bid. Then everyone reading this will call him!


  7. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    If we’re going to save the boats we need to preserve their value. And the way to preserve them is to build more awareness with a younger generation that these mahogany beauties are attainable. You can buy a gorgeous restored woody for half of what a middle-of-the-road modern wake boat costs. And as Scott Ales pointed out, there’s the myth that they’re “too much work.” Perception is just out of whack.

  8. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    I would buy at auction. I just have to wait till the boat I want shows up at a starting price that makes sense. Wouldn’t that be true for most WoodyBoaters?

  9. Alex
    Alex says:

    Tommy H. My wife (yes, she reads WB) just bought your above comment to my attention. Am I missing something? I don’t understand. I never mean to offend. It’s all in good fun, never personal. I’ve never met a soul in WB or classic boating who was ever otherwise. Again, please don’t take my comments in WB in the wrong spirit, as that is certainly not their, or my, aim.

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