Should Static Classic Boat Shows Die?

Skan - stalk 29

Bazillion dollar Gar Woods out having fun!

The other day deep into the comment section of one of the amazing Muskoka stories, Texx commented that the Muskoka show was a very active show with people coming and going. The same thing is true for Lake Dora in the this past spring, and a ton of smaller shows. But many still have a policy that once your boat is docked it needs to stay there. Why?

America Suzy race

Thats Suzy racing Miss America on Lake Dora years ago. One of the most fun moments I have ever had, and folks loved watching. See, I am in the lead..Alex Watson Photo

We know there is an excuse that people pay to get to the show and want to see boats. Or that it’s a pain to have folks at the docks all the time to help folks come and go. But, here’s the deal. These are boats, they move, they make noise and look amazing underway.

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More fun on Gull Lake

One of the coolest parts of the last years ACBS International shows was ripping out on the water and generally tearing it up. And folks loved being on the docks watching it happen. Fellow Hall of Famer Charles Mistele tore up the lake in Miss America IX , the Garwood guys had a field day, not in the field at the NY show. The Gull lake show was a ton of fun running the lakes.  I know from experience that every time someone starts up there engines and takes folks for a ride its the highlite of the event. The LaDonnes from YNOT yachts have mastered this. There boats are never static. So, if your planning an event this year or next, encourage folks to get out on the water and have fun..

FLA 2015 Donzi baby 44

Tear it up!

26 replies
  1. Kent B
    Kent B says:

    No better way to draw a crowd than to fire up an old engine at a classic boat show.
    Even the “pocketa-pocketa” sewing machine sound of a C.C. Model B will freeze admirers in their tracks.
    I heard one particular show in the Great Lakes forbids even starting engines once the show is under way. Certainly the old “our insurance doesn’t cover it” excuse comes up again.

  2. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    Great show in Madison,Wi. Friday tour of the lakes. Saturday static show at the pier where they encourage boat owners to start their engines every so often.

  3. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    I would say to let the attendance decide what lives and dies. We do live in a free market society after all.

    I left my boat on the dock most of the day Saturday at Dora, but since it rained and that was when the CCABC meeting was it was pretty easy task to accomplish.

    • Wilson
      Wilson says:

      I thought the rule at Tavares was boat stays in slip except for special boats like Miss America. I thought that was why most showed up Friday so they could ride thru the Dora Canal and to the picnic and back before their boat was put in house arrest at the dock.
      Also can someone tell me why in most places the boats for sale are confined to a lock up on trailers instead of being displayed on the water ?

  4. Sean
    Sean says:

    For a large show like the ACBS Toronto summer show, I think it’s just natural to have the boats fire up and go for a blast in front of the docks. In Gravenhurst, not every boat goes but, feature boats hold the stage alone and there are so many others that even groups of 2 or 3 go at one time. Of course there is an announcer that comments on the boats as they go by.

    I believe it is a lot of extra work for the organizers but, well worth it. Furthermore, this is an opportunity to take guests for a quick ride…. priceless. However, the boats don’t leave the bay to go and get ice cream….they are all at the show for the duration.

    There is a smaller Port Carling show (every other year) in Muskoka that is static and that works too… it’s just a different atmosphere.

  5. Alan Frederick
    Alan Frederick says:

    At our Smith Mtn. Lake show in VA we have for years picked about 16 boats from the roster and they leave the docks, individually, every 15 minutes for a cruise around the dock areas then a blast out into the open water. While underway our announcer then gives a history of the boat.
    In addition to giving rides, everyone loves to hear the boats fire up at the docks. This is always encouraged.
    Static shows tend to be as dull as “trailer Queens”. People love the sounds and seeing the boats under power.

  6. MikeB
    MikeB says:

    How about this idea:
    A small regional show that functions in a poker boat manner. Boats could be static at each site while others travel around a small area. I’m thinking of maybe two or three small venues that are part of a “tour”. Visitors could come to any or all the sites, while the participants have the option of remaining static or traveling. Everybody wins.

  7. Gary
    Gary says:

    I really think Sean put it well! I really hate being told I can’t leave and take a friend for a quick ride after spending the money for the show.
    I haven’t been to one in years because of static from organizers.

  8. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    Again, Matt is right on que, with thought provoking issues. More and more people I talk to want to USE their boats at a new venue they may be visiting. When I trailer my boat 5 to 10 hours to a show, I do not want to simply drive from the ramp to my assigned dock space and back. I want to tour the lake, enjoy the views, and see how the locals live on the water. A pre day or two on the water is becoming a must for these Classic shows, and will become more important with the newer young members, who view a boat show in a new, different way.
    Plus as stated above, firing up those engines and taking spectators out for a 10 minute spin does more for the hobby than a static row of shinny classics sitting at a dock.
    The one MAJOR ISSUE in all this, is if you are getting your boat judged. You need to stay in your slip until the judges come to your boat and do their thing. THEN I feel it is up to you to go for a spin or not. I find less and less events are even offering judging these days, or fewer boats signing up to be judged, just so they can go out and have fun, get the decks wet from spray, and not care if every thing is shinny and in it’s place neat and tighty…

  9. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    If you want to trailer your boat to a show and burn a tank of gas, the folks putting on the Algonac, MI show know how to get that done! Three days of balls out running all over the lower St. Claire River and the Flats around Harsens Island area. A Friday picnic cruise , a Saturday boat parade after the show, and a Sunday morning cruise over to the “Old Club” for brunch.
    And in late June in Michigan, it does not get dark, dark, till almost 10 pm, so long evening cruises across Lake St Claire are the norm.
    Oh, and they encourage you to fire ’em up and take a spin DURING the Saturday show, what more can you ask for…

    • History of Algonac
      History of Algonac says:

      Harsen’s Island is near the original Chris Craft factory.
      Chris Smith’s son was named Harsen, and ran the company up until 1960.
      Does anyone know how Harsen got his name? Algonac locals may know this story – or Smith descendants.

      • History of Algonac
        History of Algonac says:

        Correction of above: Harsen Smith was grandson of Chris Smith. Jay Smith was his father.

        • Mike Green
          Mike Green says:

          You nailed it, he was named after Harson’s Island. Christopher Columbus Smith had a love for the people on the island way back when it was mostly Indians. Our whole family played and worked around that island for over 100 years. Cool history around there.

  10. Briant
    Briant says:

    We leave our boat in the assigned spot in the morning, don’t bother with any judging, and in the afternoon, we give rides to absolute strangers. That really gets the smiles going. Folks are often shocked that we would offer a ride, but they never say no! Our Lake Oswego show is always great as folks are free to come and go and are actually allowed on the lake for a few days.

  11. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    Nothing better than letting spectaters experience the sounds of our engines and sniff a little exhaust! Rides are even better! After you win a few awards, stop having your boat judged you’ll provide a chance for a new boater to win something.

    • JimF
      JimF says:

      Susan I could not agree more. If an award is what you want and you have a new boat or restoration, by all means have it judged. I have judged a lot of shows over and over and the same boats are judged year after year even though the owners have done nothing to them but let them decline. Some shows even develop classes so that there is only one boat in a class and that boat gets a first even if it is a 60 point boat. Make room for the new guys and gals who are just coming in and could actually learn from being judged and encouraged by winning a prize.

  12. Brian Flaherty
    Brian Flaherty says:

    As a “young” member and father of two boys under 4!! We tried the only show the PNW chapter puts on, Mahogany & Merlot, which for the runabouts is a static display with a 30 minute “parade” during the lunch break for the vintage hydros…. We did it once and will not likely do it again for a few years as the hydros are too loud for the little ones and they get antsy playing on the lawn while their boat has to just sit at the dock. Now chapter has always been about using the boats so they do the 45 mile run up to Stehekin Thursday before the show which was awesome!! Last year we did Stehekin and then went home instead of staying for the show.
    I think it is critical for the hobby to get boats moving at shows! People my age (32) or younger aren’t into expensive, 1%, elitist, toys. We like functional, entertainment!! I sold my last glassic to a young guy who admitted he knew about ACBS and enjoyed seeing the old boats but would never join the club cause he just wants to go out use his boat…
    That being said, tonight’s monthly meeting for the PNW chapter has been revised to be a dinner date at a restaurant on the lake then a cruise around the lake, #1 use the boats, #2 get folks to see the boats!!

  13. Verne
    Verne says:

    As a comparison, the best automotive conventions have cruises where everyone (who wants to) DRIVES their car to a destination for a tour, a meal, a poker run or just a scenic round trip. That’s how to enjoy your “vehicle”.
    Some conventions even throw in a drive-in movie night or a trip to the local drag strip.

  14. Shannon K
    Shannon K says:

    Thanks, Dennis Mykols, for the kind words about Algonac. It was my first show and I got spoiled… I thought all shows were all about the boating like Algonac! If you want to see for yourself, the show is June 24-26 and registration is open NOW! Forms are available on the Michigan ACBS website (click on my name above) under “Events and Activities” –> Shows –> Algonac. We’d love to have you! We have CRUISERS!

  15. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    I judge the quality of my weekends by how much I spend at the gas dock. Shows should be no different.

    I loved seeing all the boats coming and going and having fun at the ACBS on Gull Lake. When an engine started the crowds just ran to the boats. That’s what it’s all about, friends.

  16. Bill Hammond
    Bill Hammond says:

    Ditto to all the “gotta move Em” comments!! And to Cruisers – I know you put a lot of work into your boats and yes it’s expensive to take folks for rides but if you could invite folks to come aboard that would be great. Many have never been on a Cruiser. My boat’s not finished yet but when it is I’m going to let folks aboard.

  17. Don Vogt
    Don Vogt says:

    I dont see it as necessarily having to be all one way or the other. I think it depends on the circumstances of each show and the show’s objectives. There can be a place for both. Wouldnt envision the tahoe concours, for example, giving rides. As a lot of shows occur over a full week-end, it is entirely possible to structure some of the time as a static show, and part for rides, etc. We certainly need to expand the flexibility so that a static show isnt necessarily always the only model that comes to mind. There is still an important need for for judged shows and they work best, I think, being static but in many cases, involving the public in boating can be a good reason for putting a bunch of classic boats together.

  18. happy show goer
    happy show goer says:

    I agree with the majority of responses today. have a static show, start them up once in a while.( who doesn’t like the sound of a old motor) and put the boats that will be giving rides or going cruising at the end of the dock. and yes if the local club could have a evening or following day cruise planned all the better. I would assume that most of the boat owners want to use their boats, especially if they have driven a great distance. many owners plan their vacations around these shows. Northern Michigan has two nice shows in a row T.C. and a week later Hessel

  19. Alex
    Alex says:

    In the case of Les Cheneaux (the show in Hessel), I’ve heard insurance is an issue. I’m sure that can be overcome, or a different insurance company hired. But there is also the reality of a tight venue. Our boats are sandwiched in and oftentimes crosstied. It would be very difficult and risky moving some in a show. As it is, some of the best volunteers on the planet have their work cut out for them just getting the boats tied into position and released safely post show. Much as I like to fire up my boats and go for rides, the truth is I’d rather not have someone wedged in near or next to me hitting on of my boats just to entertain or impress attendees. It’s just the reality of our venue, and there’s no getting around that reality, unless one generous reader here would be willing to finance a multi million dollar marina expansion. 🙂

    This said, there are spots in Hessel where boats are less jammed in. And that’s where the biggest boats dock for the show. Triples, cruisers, 25 Sportsmans, larger race boats, etc. I don’t see any reason why those boats could not be fired up and safely extracted and returned to position. Show organizers shouod consider that. The highlight of our show is at 4:30, when nearly all the boats fire up anHid drive home. The highlight of our show is at 4:30, when the vast majority of the boats fire up and drive home. What’s wrong with providing attendees slices of that sound and sight from our bigger boats during the show?

  20. Alex
    Alex says:

    (Excuse the typos etc in my above comment. All play and little sleep makes Alex a careless boy.)

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