All In The Family – The Woody Boat Connection

Irving Jensen Jr. Driving the 1947 Rocket 1952

Irving Jensen Jr. Driving the 1947 Rocket 1952

Irving Jensen Jr. Driving Wileys 1947 Rocket July 2015

Irving Jensen Jr. Driving Wileys 1947 Rocket July 2015

Last year at the big Gull Lake Woods And Water event, we were lucky enough to meet up Dean Kent with and his cousin Wiley Mayne and had a chance to go out and photograph there cool boats. A 25 Sportsman and a very cool Blue Rocket. Wow. What a lucky bunch of kids, and had some fun running the boats out there on the lake.

kids 30

Out on Gull Lake Wiley and “Legacy” does what she does best. FUN!

Wow, it seems like it was yesterday, but we are already coming up on another Gull Lake Show. Dang, this is just a small taste of some of the goodies that come out to play in that neck of the woods. Here is the story about the Rocket, which belonged to there Great Grandfather Irving Sr years before. The story is below from Deans own finger tips.

kids 2 Wave

Say Hi to the guys! Wiley in the Rocket and Dean in the Sportsman!

My Great Grandfathers Chris Craft Rocket

I grew up around wooden boats. Sometimes I would go to our local boat shows, but it wasn’t until around my high school years that I found boats to be very fascinating. When I was in college, my cousin and I started talking about restoring a boat. A boat that came to mind was the boat my great grandfather, Irving Sr. owned, a 1947 Chris Craft Rocket. We thought we knew who the owner was, but when I called him, he informed me he had sold it to someone in the St. Paul area. After searching, we found out who the owner was. Eventually he put it up for sale after some minor restorations. After some talking with owner, I finally traveled to St. Paul, cash in hand, and made a deal in 2009.

kids 25

Wiley sure loves his Rocket!

The boat looked nice, but still was a major project. In the summers that my great grandfather had owned the Rocket (around 10 years), he kept it on a mooring buoy. It was used and abused by my grandfather, Irving Jr. and his brothers. They used it for skiing, fishing, transportation, and whatever other trouble they could get into with a boat. Family legend always said that it was a “leaky” boat. Since it didn’t have an electric bilge pump, someone had to psychically swim out to the boat and bail the water out of it with a bucket or manually driving it around for a while to release the water out of the syphon bailer.

kids 27

PERFECT, a dating machine!

Along with being the family ski boat, my grandfather was accused of monopolizing the Rocket when he was dating my grandmother. My grandmother’s lake cabin was on the other side of the lake, and Irving Jr. would frequently drive the boat over there in the summer. He would beach the boat, so it wouldn’t sink, and stay there until he was told to go home before the that “leaky boat” sinks!


The boys out playing on Gull Lake.

The family history behind the Rocket may have been the biggest reason I decided to buy this particular boat. It is also one of the only boats left in the area that was sold by the local Chris Craft dealer. After running it in 2010, it was very apparent to me that it needed a complete engine overhaul. When my mechanic took the Chrysler Ace engine apart, he was amazed it was still running. After the engine was done in 2011, it occurred to me that putting in that engine of a very leaky boat wasn’t such a great idea. It wasn’t until 2012 that I took the boat to Don Danenberg to have a 5200 bottom put on the boat. When I got the boat back in 2013 with a brand new bottom, I worked on restoring the interior of the boat. For the first time in about 60 years, my grandfather got to ride in the boat, and of course drove it around to fulfill his memories. To this day it still has some work to be done before it is fully restored, but after getting it in the water in 2015, this last summer was full of fun and fantastic memories.

kids 4

Legacy and Duches II out running around like they always have

kids 20

Dutches II A stunning 25 ft Sportsman with ORIGINAL interior.

kids 26

Dean wondering when he can go back to boating. That is why we are here? Right?

kids 28

Dean in Dutches II 1949 24′ sportsman was originally purchased by Dean and Wiley’s grandfather from Gage Marine in 1982 (being the second owner). He then gifted it to Dean in 2011.


Pose all you want, I am Woody Boating

Kids 35

I am outta here.. Lets go.

kids heaader?

Heck ya!

Kids 12

This went on for a while. What fun!

Kids 34

Ok, one more still shot. And back to the docks. Thanks again to Wiley and Dean for sharing some of there history and family boats they have been at this since they!


Alex & Wiley 2001 Jerry Dyhrkopp Iowa Great Lakes Boat Show

Alex & Wiley 2001 on Dutches II – Iowa Great Lakes Boat Show

9 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    What a wonderful story. I wonder if those boats know how lucky they are to be part of that family. Defines the meaning of legacy. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Andreas Jordahl Rhude
    Andreas Jordahl Rhude says:

    very nice story. glad the boat found it’s way “back home” after all those years.

  3. Larry Forget
    Larry Forget says:

    Love those ROCKET stories. Great pics. 1985 pic here on the Hudson River ,Poughkeepsie bridge area, after my wife won a big award at the Clayton , Museum show. Original owner boat out of upstate NY, when the Tourcotte Brothers were 1st in Cohoes business, before the Gar-Wood connection.. We sold it locally and then dropped off the ACBS records for over 20 yrs we searched Chris Craft #’s. About 4 yrs ago surfaced on west coast of Fla all restored at a marina, Should be mid west location now.. Prior name was CHERYL FANCY, Also Donna Feather in Buffalo had one.

  4. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Don’t forget Dr’s Orders out here in PNW – A great restoration with a wonderful back story – and (as far as I know) it may still be available. They are great boats – Gee, with all the 16′ and under excitement the past week, there may need to be a WB subchapter… 😉

  5. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Great Story!

    Love the Rockets, the 25 SP’s, heck I even LOVE the Connie in the background of the last pic. You knew I wouldn’t miss that.

  6. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    Our family had a ’47 Rocket too. First boat I ever drove. We used it for skiing, fishing and cruising around. Glad you found yours and are enjoying it!

  7. JFKarlson
    JFKarlson says:

    Great to see those youthful woody boaters and their wonderful boats. We’re looking forward to seeing Duchess II and Legacy on Lake Okoboji for many years.

  8. 72hornet
    72hornet says:

    Great story about a great family on Lake Okoboji here in Iowa.! Dean and Wiley are the future of Woodyboaters and are organizing and running our annual show in which their grandfather helped create some 30 some years ago. I have the pleasure of seeing them enjoy their boats each week! Cheers!

Comments are closed.