Where Beautiful Boats and The Arts Come Together
by John Into Co-Chair The Arts at Navy Point
A man approached me, several years ago, and told me about his previous career. He had been a "design engineer" in the automobile industry. When the auto industry suffered serious losses in the 1970's he was among hundreds of "Design Engineers" laid off, as he told me, because they were considered to be a luxury in tough times. Other types of engineers were appointed to do the jobs of design engineers, unfortunately with some boring results. He explained to me that the job of a design engineers required college level study of art, in addition to engineering, because their job was to create the styles of the future. His job was to design cars in ways that captured the attention of the buyer and in ways that retained features that let the buyer know what brand of car they were looking at, even without a name plate. Think of the the Mustang, the Corvette, the T-Bird... Design engineers also designed airplanes, appliances - and boats...
A Robert Rioux rendering of his 1967 Century Arabian
Rumrunner - Built by Hugh Saint. Designed by Charles Jannace.
I was lucky to work with the late Robert Rioux, who had been the chief designer at Century Boats during the 60's and 70's, whose classic designs included the 1966/67 Arabian and the 1965 Coronado. We discussed design engineering and the art elements required to be at the forefront of design. Many people who knew of him weren't aware that he was also an artist whose work was highly sought after. The lines drawings of Charles Jannace, whose designs have included Bertram, Black Fin and Hugh SaintYachts, done on vellum with a lead-holder, are among the most beautiful drawings I have ever seen. In addition to designing extremely seaworthy vessels, his stylish designs set industry standards.
Style is something inescapable when you look at many of the boats in our show. Those made by Chris~Craft, Century, Garwood, Lyman, Shepherd and other companies, because they were originally designed for the consumer market, were deliberately intended to be stylish. They were designed to catch the imagination of a potential buyer and not let it go.
One of the most stylish classic boats I know of is that of the Chris~Craft Cobra. This one, Seth Katz's "Finito", is the last 21' Cobra ever made.
Let me stress the point that the vast majority of our boats were drawn on paper by Naval Architects often with art training and a deliberate intent to be stylish. Of course, since they were designing functioning machines, these same engineers were also concerned with safety, reliability, and performance. Some of our boats, when thought of in the context of what boats are current now, may appear to be relics, but in the time of their release to the market, they were the "state-of-the-art".
A boat that is very different, but that is also all about style, is the Larson Falls Flyer.
In addition to art as an important element of design, there were also elements of artisanry in the original construction of most of our boats. Although they were often made in factories, those factories and those that worked in them were doing something very different from what occurs in today's highly automated and technologically dependent factories. Wooden boats were originally made by highly trained wood workers, who knew how to read wood grain; metal workers, who knew how to sand cast and how to bend metal crisply; pattern makers, electricians, upholsterers, etc. Our boats were hand made by people who spent their lives learning their skills and they took great pride in what they were creating. They fell into the time-honored category of "craftsmen". Their artisanry was what brought boats from the drawing board to reality.
The port "Balcony" of the bridge deck of Sophie, a Trumpy motoryacht, illustrates the kind of fit and finish that only true craftsmen could create.
This 1937 24' Garwood, TimePiece, incorporated state-of-the-art design with fine craftsmanship.
Now, lest you think that all of that artisanry is gone in the boat world, I can assure you that it's just not true, however, the number of wooden boat builders operating these days is few. There are individuals and companies building new wooden boats. Some of them are newly built virtual copies using old tried and true designs. Some are venturing into their own new designs using old style materials and workmanship. Still others are making hybrids. That is they are trying to make new boats using classic styling and materials, but adding newer materials and techniques to create boats that age more slowly.
Unfortunately, boats are subject to aging, sometimes brutally. A wooden boat truly requires constant attention. The characteristics of wood change over time, with potential drying out, dry rot and other problems. Finishes must be reapplied. Boats stored indoors may remain beautiful for many years, but there can be problems, even when stored inside, unless they are in a humidity controlled space. There is real expertise needed to prevent a fine wooden boat from falling into disrepair.
The problems created by the aging of boats have led to Boat Restorers. As you peruse each seemingly new boat and see what makes it special insofar as what it might have meant to the boating world when it was released, or whether its an outboard or a cruiser, or how simple or ostentatious it might be, keep in the back of your mind the possibility that a given boat might have been very close to "the burn pile". It's through the dedication of individuals working on their own boats and people who make a living as boat restorers that our boats, many of which I personally believe are art pieces, come to be here for us to see and appreciate.
Please read me carefully on the following. Some of our boats were never in truly bad shape. Hence the judging category of "Best Preserved". I am showing some examples of condition here with boats that are similar to each other, but are not the same boats and I cannot tell you what condition those I am showing started in. They might have been near new. However, some of our most beautiful boats started in conditions far worse than any of these and this is why I highlight the abilities of those who restore them.
Where this form of artisanry differs from boat building, is that a restorer's job is to solve puzzles. The objective is to bring the boat to the condition it was in when it left the factory or boathouse. Note the distressed Lyman. While it is not exactly like the other, it is very similar, which is to say that many pieces are apparently missing. Perhaps they are not. The exact model year could change what features the same model came with. A lot of research is required to know the answers accurately. It might turn out that you can poke your finger through the side of the hull. This means replacing wood exactly as it was, including wood species, coloration and grain. Metal parts may be missing. They may have to be procured from an expert who sells parts from other similar boats. Those parts will probably have to be cleaned and re-chromed by a chrome plater. Upholstery is something else that has to be done. Engine rebuilding? Again, everything needs to be done with materials, finishes and other aspects, as closely to original as is possible. To me, this is another art form.
When you consider that the boats were designed by those trained in the arts to be deliberately stylish, when you consider that the builders of the boats were highly trained craftsmen, when you consider that many of these boats suffered the natural effects of aging and would not be here without the artistry of those who would and could return them to like new condition, I think it's pretty clear that art is an important factor in the show's existence.
I also believe that it is a reason why The Arts at Navy Point is such a strong and complimentary part of our show.
So, we have professional vendors and artists in The Arts at Navy Point. While it's easy to walk into the show thinking you can immediately say one is a "vendor" and one is an "artist", I will tell you that I find that the line is not so clear. I can tell you that every one is a professional and, like the boats, each should be given a bit of your time.
Can I convince you that a chrome plater is an artist? I'm not touching that one. See for yourself!
Ours is a juried show and we are currently in the vetting process for this year.
Many are returning in 2017 and we have received many new applicants. If you have specific questions about a particular vendor or are a vendor and think that you and our show would be a good match please contact John Into or Nancy Price at firstname.lastname@example.org
We Say Goodbye to Alex Kolosky, CBC Member & Friend
Chuck Warner (left) with Alex Kolosky in "Ode to Joe" on the Sassafras River
Alex lost his battle with COPD on April 10, 2016 at his home surrounded by his wife and family. Alex had many interests but his passion was wood-working. He is best known in recent years for building Ode to Joe—a copy of a 1939 barrel back Chris-Craft that also won him several awards. Alex loved boating and racing on the Chesapeake, and raced with his brother John in the King’s Cup in the South China Sea in Thailand.
Alex was an agent for Champion Real Estate as well as Allstate Insurance. His pranks, humor and love of life are all part of his legacy. A celebration of his life will be scheduled later this month—info will be sent to CBC members.
Any donations should be sent to Hospice of the Chesapeake.
A Fairwell to St. Michaels (a New Life for an Old Beauty)
A Farewell to St. Michael's
As my grandmother moves away from the family gathering point I'd been to all my life, we took the DJI Phantom 3, GoPro Hero 3, and the old Whirlwind out as a tribute to that beautiful bay. Music arrangement: Moby - Everloving
Watch the video via the link below:
It was the last run for our Whirlwind and he and his dad went out with a drone and a go-pro camera. It is a great testament to Whirlwinds in general and our Sputnik's life with us on the Miles River. Hope to see you soon at Oldtimeworld, Edith Swallow
A New Life for an Old Beauty: Sputnik
This is the 1957 Whirlwind boat we bought from a wonderful lady neighbor of our friend Ray Maule in St Michaels. When Ray found out she was moving in April, he told me he would ask her if I could buy it. August 24, we met the owner, Edith Swallow, who had lived there on the water for 30 years, now moving to her daughter's in Connecticut. Now we are enjoying their treasured Sputnick here on the Patuxent River.
Making a Classic Wood Boat, the story of- Cintia Serenisima- a 1952 Chris-Craft Custom Kit Runabout
It was at the 26th annual Antique and Classic Boat Society, Chesapeake Bay Chapter – Antique and Classic Boat Festival where after having been awarded the title of Best Outboard Boat, I learned that the little boat that I had spent so long rebuilding was a 1952 Chris-Craft kit runabout. I had spent every weekend for two years on its renovation after salvaging it from a neighbor's back yard.
The neighbor did little more than drape a tarpaulin over the boat when it was left to her by another neighbor that had moved. I would jog past on an almost daily basis, and it had been a few years until I had finally deduced that the owner lacked sufficient interest in the boat's maintenance. I inquired after it, and the owner was nice enough to give it to me.
We trailered it home on flat tires and after bailing out the rain water and leaves my father Bruce and I began removing rotten wood, mostly deck and trim pieces, but also included the beams under the deck and the transom, and sorting hardware. We saved everything for patterns, but after stripping the old paint and taking measurements. We also discovered a brass plaque on the reverse of the dashboard dedicating the boat to it's original owner and fabricator: Norman W. Bailey of Newmarket, New Jersey. I decided to abandon most of the old arrangement. It was very clunky and more utilitarian than I would have liked. The body had such nice lines despite only being 14' long... So being an architect and the boat, a customizable kit as opposed to a pedigree classic: I drew up my own interpretation completing the existing conditions from which I had measured.
My uncle Clyde F. Dorsett, who is a professional cabinet maker and brilliant furniture designer, looked over my drawings for me and we struck a deal on the woodworking portion of the project... We chose Sepele, a type of African Mahogany that seemed more dark and rich than other species of the tropical hardwood. We purchased the raw material from Vienna Hardwoods, in Vienna, Virginia and brought it and the boat to my uncle's shop outside of York, Pennsylvania; and after making several trips and working through the details together, we moved through the restructuring.
Clyde had to produce special molds to bend the mahogany lamination into deck trim for the cockpit and around the engine. As he worked I followed with my drawings into yet greater detail; arranging the dashboard, including glove compartment and making cardboard and plywood mock-ups and templates for the seat-rest mechanism and whatever else came to mind in terms of practicality and ergonomics. We both tested the seating position and fine-tuned the backrest and curvature of the cockpit for superior comfort to a range of body types.
I had the original Mastercraft trailer sand blasted and repainted at Suffley's Sandblasting of Mechanicsville, Maryland... tires, and corroded fasteners replaced and fitted with rubber washers. Custom metallic paint by Dupont for Winobago Industries (F2528 IB) was chosen to wed the engine to the trailer and steering wheel. The rule of three elements was applied: no more than three primary complimentary or contrasting finishes were employed, in order to impart a sense of simplicity and balance to the composition. All original wood were sealed with CPES epoxy (inside and out) while joints were secured with West Systems.
3 coats of a Pettit - Bikini Blue base custom enamel were applied to the hull and 7 coats of Z-Spar on the deck. Matching exterior grade latex paint was used on the hull interior to help wood breath and dampness evaporate.
Sikaflex adhesive sealant caulk was used on the deck to match the wood color, once again keeping with the rule of three elements.
Based on a foam-core and chipboard template made to measurement, Capital Plastics of Beltsville, Maryland fabricated the quarter inch Plexiglas windshield.
The Engine was rebuilt by Tim DiGennaro of Tim's Classic Outboards in Great Mills, Maryland... Who had hand-picked just the right size and model engine to suit the boat: a 1957 Mercury Mark 55E. He even went so far as to fit it with a brass propeller.
I chose hardware from various sources, including Osculati which I had discovered while on tour of the squari or, shipyards of the Venetian Lagoon, many of which have been family owned for over five hundred years, like the Amadi of the Island of Borano. While living and working in Rome, for several years I had much opportunity to travel within Italy, and throughout central Europe in general, documenting the old fishing boats of the Mediterranean and some nice leisure craft as well.
The tradition of wood is alive and well in Europe, even many contemporary manufacturers like Riva, MaxiDolphin and Frauscher are still adhering to bright-wood deck work despite composite hull construction and progressive design. I managed to visit the Venetian Naval Museum as well as the remains of Emperor Caligula's pleasure barge on Lake Nemi, just outside of Rome. I've made many contacts with clubs and nautical heritage associations there and am inspired to build my next project as a compilation of what I've learned from time honored typologies abroad and my recent practical experience. There is a great wealth of knowledge to be exchanged... and if I could profit from the sale of this first edition prototype, then I could surely continue the tradition with renewed vigor and superior resolution.
For like the example of the great shrine at Ise, Japan... which for the last 1,240 years has been repeatedly copied and dismantled in 20 year shifts; associated tradition is more important than the object itself. In such a way, the spirit of the age is rendered immortal with each new generation.
When filling out my application to enter the boat in the festival, I finally chose the name Cintia Serenisima after Cintia Groves: a lovely lady and dear friend who's advice, positive energy, and general devotion to universal good-will had been an inspiration to me while pulling this project together.
As may be seen from the photographs, my talented father was with me every step of the way, and we could not have shared a better Father's Day together than we had this year. I reserve my most special thanks to him in particular.
Arch. Jake Thiel, NCARB
Edifice Architectural, LLC
Raceboat Restoration, Upper Marlboro, MD.
Tracy Coleman raced in the heyday of boat racing, never got famous but had fabulous times. Now, battling health problems, he enjoys searching for forgotten boats. He hit pay dirt in
Bill Bunn, 84 and fit as a fiddle, came and looked her over with us. Nice lines, oak frames, premium plywood and no rot, so it was inside most of the time, anyway.
We soon found a real fresh `39 Ford engine with aluminum heads, in
Four coats of Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer and the beauty began to show. Then 2 coats of Epiphanes by spray and the glow of the wood shines forth. Now, several coats, later, she is ready to turn back. The trailer must be refurbished, and all the chrome and accessories shined and painted, like new. Once upright the decks and fiberglass parts will be brought back. We are making good progress but there’s still lots to do. Times a wastin’ and we hope to make the show! We hope you will be there, to see it and all the other boats!
Outboardman's Gearing Up for This Year's Festival
For the show,
Weather is a big factor, it is so nice right now! By then cloudy they said. Good rain gear is a must, It will be a fun shakedown cruise. Leaking at the elbow does no harm as far as I could see and it automatically pumped out because I always have two real good pumps, one in front and one in back, mounted well and serviced. Pump wires often fail. I used to stash a Jabsco plastic hand pump crosswise around the gas tank area, hard to get out but if you really need it, it's there. Have you ever used a fire extinguisher? You know that if something catches on fire while you are out there and you don't put it out right away you could be forced to dive in and let her burn, These are maudlin thoughts I know but I have plenty experiences at sea, including close calls with bigger boats at speed and getting hit by big fish, lifting the boat up. I once saw a whales tail go up, right next to us , higher than our mast by 10 feet! And big smell of undersea odor, it went down as silently as it had arisen. We all lost it and were instantly turned into yelping and whimpering, it was so intimidating. Suddenly we were ants! Yeow!
NOTHING BEATS BOATING!
See you over there!
Surprise Pics Catch CBC Members in Action
We just rec'd these pics of Chesapeake Bay/ACBS club members Cheryl & Howard Johnson (above) along with Ray & Della Glenn that were snapped while the two couples were boating in Reedville, VA last September 12. Wildman photographer Rick of www.CtheView.com swooped down out of the sky on his paramotor and captured these action photos.
Rick was there courtesy of The Reedville Fisherman’s Museum, which hosts an antique boat show every September. The Museum had arranged for Rick to photograph the annual festival's Saturday afternoon boat parade. Rick took some dazzling shots and plans to do it again this year, on Sept. 10, 2011.
Be sure to attend this wonderful Fall show and enjoy scenic September boating on Cockrell's Creek. For details visit the Reedville Fisherman’s Museum website.
What a Wonderful Show!
A Participant’s View
By Howard Johnson
Pictures by Cheryl Johnson
This year the back gate was well attended, Steve Izant and the Sea Scouts were there every minute and no one came in without a badge, - EVER.
The flea market was popular with many delightful items at attractive prices. The Field Of Dreams was packed with boats and admirers; thanks to Ray Glen, there were many fine beauties ready for new owners.
Race boats and outboards of all kinds filled the grounds around the tent. Then the opening, by the Sea Scouts. Saluting, Standing at Attention, Raising the flag, Saying the Pledge, - all of us, together, One and all for our country. Then the Star Spangled Banner, belted out by Don Stiles! What a powerful baritone! All the octaves and words, - just right! He certainly is a master singer with that one!
Such a wonderful scene it is for all of us down by the water, surrounded by beautiful boats. Such a fine job the museum does, keeping the place looking great, - year after year. And many improvements making everything real nice for everyone.
Adirondac Guide Boats are nice. A Pyat Rum drink sure makes things feel smooth. The docks were nicely filled with many show boats of wide variety. Mahogany Varnish, or Painted Lapstrake, different styles all over the grounds. And racing models, even starting explosive engines! We sure had great music thanks to Karla and----. We liked that song, Boats, by Kenny Chesney. Announcing and great show dialog by lifetime radio man and yacht afficionado, Danny Wilson.
The floating docks make access to the boats so much better and easier; the maps showing designated locations prevented confusion, all thanks to Chuck Warner, who has been dockmaster for 18 years. He found the right spot for every boat! All the slips were full with the finest vessels one could ever see.
The vendors were great! All the finest treasures ready for enjoyment and not available any where else! Need a hat? Or a shirt, or scrimshaw, marine parts, artwork, or collectables, finishing products or chrome plated hardware. How about ship parts or restoration done on YOUR boat?
What about children making small boats, sailing them on the pool, then taking them home? And the FOOD. The Susies Kitchen folks put on a wonderful show with their operation, everything was excellent and they seemed to enjoy the whole day, too. The red St Michaels VFD truck efficiently turned out lunch for many.
All those fabulous boats on display around Navy point. Such a nice selection, each one, a desirable beauty, on it’s own. Then, on the sea wall, Sophie, Greta Van Sustren’s fabulous Trumpy, kept up to a phenominal standard by John and Aimee Russell.
Behind them, a huge Chris Craft, pinnicle of achievement, a sensational yacht, and next, the fabulous 1906 Lawley Yacht, 72 ft, Yawl, Witchcraft, Lifelong restoration, by Paul Itsel, who proudly showed it off. He related that people have come forward from all over the world with pictures and silverware serving pieces and memories that they had aboard the boat, over the many years. Witchcraft is an example of the finest tradional sailing lines, - ever. Made to sail fast and impress people, - she sure does!
Did you see all those boats out on Navy Point? Looking out onto the Miles River, how could there be a nicer view? The new Recreational Boating building gave a pleasant break from the hot sun, Many favorites on display there. Did you try the new exit through the museum store? They sure have treasures a plenty in there.
We missed the awards banquet, but I hope the weather committee chairman was highly praised! Those cool breezes and clear sunny skies made all three days a wonderful blessing. So we need to say a great big THANK YOU ! to Maryann Fiaschetti and Dominic as well as Dick and Ericka Lowery who handled registration and John Into and Nancy Price who lured all the fabulous venders our way and thanks to all the others that contributed time and effort. Many people agreed, - We Love This Show!
Two ACBS Members Receive Nautical Honor
May 2009 — Earlier this month CBC members Howard & Cheryl Johnson celebrated their six-month anniversary. Since this site wasn't available at the time to cover the event, we want to share with you some memories from that special occasion...
[Upper Marlboro, MD. November 15, 2008] — Cheryl Ann Beveridge wedded member Howard Johnson at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Croom, MD with 131 friends and relatives in attendance. Chuck Warner, Best Man and fellow-CBC member, decided that this paddle tunnel was in order and organized other members to bring paddles and participate. It was a special tribute to commemorate Howard’s lifetime of antique boating and Cheryl’s love of boating and our annual boat festival. The happy couple was delighted by this honor.
Cheryl was lovely in Howard’s mother’s 1939 wedding gown, which she wore without alteration. During the ceremony CBC member, Danny Wilson, sang The Lord’s Prayer and Cheryl’s daughter, Megan, sang Amazing Grace.
A procession of six antique cars escorted the happy couple back to their home at Oldtimeworld Farm to enjoy a pot-luck feast, dancing to live music, karaoke singing and the traditional toasts and wedding celebrations. And of course no visit to this farm is complete without a tour of Howard's current restoration efforts on antique cars and boats.
The weather included rain and sunshine and ended with twin rainbows. Howard and Cheryl said it was the "experience of a lifetime" and extend their thanks to all who contributed to and participated in this special event.
Remembering Hal Justice...
The Chesapeake Bay Chapter lost member Hal Justice on Tuesday, May 19.
Hal joined our chapter in January 2007, and during that short time proved to be both a good friend and supporter, especially of our annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival. Visitors in recent years have had a chance to see the 16' 1946 Chris-Craft Rocket, "Jamid", that Hal personally restored. Those of us who work "behind the scenes" at the Festival also remember how much he enjoyed this summer event along with his eagerness to lend a hand, particularly with the installation of the floating docks that we bring in to accommodate the many boats that participate in this event.
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