Posts Tagged ‘wood’

17’ Barbour wood boat 1958

speedboat water ski boat


This very nice Evinrude powered classic is what Seabuddy images when he thinks of a Barbour boat. Crafted in wood, mostly outboard powered, and under 25’ in length. Some inboards were in production, but they do not seem to have been collected / restored anywhere near as much as an outboard powered model. I also think of Barbour as a company of the 1950s-1960s, sort of near or at the end of the wooden runabouts era.

But, I would be wrong. This North Carolina boat company goes back to the early 1930s and it closed in the mid-1990s. World War II changed from a small builder to a large one with up to 1,200 workers. War contract work did it. Towards the end of the company’s business history, they built and serviced some of the ferries for the state of North Carolina’s ferry system. These were made of steel.

In wood, Barbour made runabouts and small cruisers for recreational boaters. The metal boats were the aforementioned ferries, tugs, research vessels, fire boats, troop transport vessels, fishing boats, and barges. Some of these were big boats. They made a 155’ tanker and 56’, 63’, 82’, 95’, and 100’ boats. Much of this steel production work started in a big way in 1957. It was the re-invention of the company that Herbert Barbour founded in 1932.

outboard wood boat

I like these restored wood runabouts, as Seabuddy’s first water ski boat was a wood one ( a made in NJ brand named Sea Mac) with a 40 HP Evinrude outboard. That boat got re-powered up to an 85 HP Mercury. I was a teen and that boat was my freedom before I got an car driver’s license at the age of 17 in NJ. I had taken the Coast Guard Aux course before the age of 10. I have boated a long time.

dash wood runabout ski boat

New twin engined wooden Runabout

34 twin engine speedboat runabout

new wooden boat

see inside wood boat
deck members in place
swim step built in wood boat
wood boat swim platform construction detail
twin engine speed boat
at speed on the lake
new construction wood boat hatch
this engine hatch knocks my socks off


She is a new wooden inboard speedboat. Hand crafted by one of the few boat yards that still do this “creation work” as compared to “restoration work”. Although the shop does both types of work. 


She was created under the personal direction of Jim Brown the wood shop manager and who is a master craftsman He has been building wood boats full time since 1991. He provides expertise in every phase of wood boat construction, from the creation and design of a project through the lofting, building, rigging and finish steps of the process. He has a team of wood craftsmen at The Resort Boat Shop to create the award-winning Coeur Custom line of boats and offer restoration for antique and classic boats. His e-mail address is

Seabuddy loves the engine hatch on this luxury speedster on the water. Twin 400 Horsepower rated engines are under there. It is a very unique way to access the powerplants. Jim also builds single engine boats and in different lengths. He has even crafted a sailboat or two.

Here is the boat builder’s comment on this 34’ inboard runabout “Pure is an example of the “pure” definition of Gentleman’s Runabout. She is hand-crafted from imported African mahogany and Western red cedar; cold molded using vacuum bag technology to produce excellent weight to strength ratios. This amazing 34’ runabout is powered by twin 6.2 liter small block engines that rate 400 HP each.  The purposeful design of the hull give her amazing lift, maximizing power and achieving a quick plane and smooth, powerful cruising stability.  The Alexseal Blue Hull sides add to her unique attractiveness while providing added durability.  A custom signature stainless steel windshield with special bent safety glass, Livorsi gauge package with custom dial faces give Pure a distinctive look no other boat possesses.

Pure is, from stem to stern, one of the most sturdily built, luxuriously fitted and handsomely powered hand-crafted wooden runabouts we’ve ever created”.




Brandywine River / Gunpowder / Pizza

hagley gunpowder building

Hagley gunpowder


Hagley Gunpowder Brandywine River Here is how a boater gets an outing while the boat is on the hard. A section of the Brandywine River in Wilmington, Del holds a marine history experience as the river falls in such a way that industry harnessed the waterway for gunpower production. Seabuddy visited the Hagley Power Yard that the DuPont family has restored. It was the US start of their family businesses.

Back in In 1813 a Frenchman, Mr. du Pont, chose the banks of Brandywine River to start his black powder mills, the Hagley Power Yard. He chose that location because of the natural energy that the water here provided the power for the mill. Local trees produced the charcoal used in black power production. Sulfur is also needed and it came in from France and Italy. Then the Saltpeter also needed came from India via English ships. These ships used the nearby Delaware River to get the raw materials in and the finished product out and onto the rest of the world (for instance, Africa, South America and Australia). Du Pont’s black powder factory became the largest black power maker in the world.

Thus they made one of the the building products of canals ( please see my book … ) rail roads, the mining industry, tunnels, and roads. They also made 40% of the gun power used by the US Army and Navy during the Civil War. By the way, these mills closed in 1821.

There are multiple historical buildings to see here, the main home, and a very good look at where and how the du Pont Company moved onto other businesses. Women’s nylons, paint, Kevlar by du Pont which “helps [boat} hulls reinforced with Kevlar® be lighter yet tougher and more damage-tolerant, and perform better under hydrodynamic fatigue loading”. Cobalt boats use it.

sailboat using dupont nylon in sails

Luxury yacht with Du Pont nylon sails


hagley du pont brandywine delaware

the story of DuPont Nylon


chevy racing car jeff gordon

Chevy racing car with Du Pont paint

Allow lots of time to see it all.

Pizza by Elizabeths. Simply put; it is world class. A do-not-miss meal. The décor and food is special. The place celebrates women named Elizabeth. They have gluten free pizza crusts as a choice, as well traditional crusts. Seabuddy had a meatball, tomato sauce, mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan cheeses pizza named the “Hasselbeck”. My wife had a “Claiborne” with basil pesto, chopped tomatoes, she deleted her cheese, with perfectly done chunks of chicken added at her request for her pizza. 4019 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE 19807 (302) 654-4478


inside seating pizza by elizabeths

dining at Pizza by Elizabeths


inside seating pizza by elizabeths

Pizza by Elizabeths dinning

Winterthur Home / Garden Tour. TheGarden Club of America awarded Henry Francis du Pont their Medal of Honor, proclaiming him, One of the best, even the best, gardener this country has ever produced.” Seabuddy would like to see these gardens in late April.

Take a tour of the home any time to see its exquisite 175 spaces in which the du Ponts entertained family and friends in grand style several generations later than the gunpowder folks. The collection of objects is over-whelming. The web site says “These masterfully designed spaces promise to inspire, enlighten, and delight.”

Do all three of these in a very long “dawn to dusk” day at your own risk.


home winterthur

Grand Staircase at Winterthur Du Pont home


Dupont Winterthur house

Gifts at Du Pont Winterthur home

Washington D. C. and its Potomac River Canal

One does not think that a canal way that opened next to Washington D. C.s Potomac River in 1850 would still be a source of boating fun in 2014. But it was last weekend for Seabuddy. My photos contained here are from early November, 2014.

Canal Lock on the Potomac River

Canal Lock at Great Falls Tavern Visitor's Center

Today it is a paddling, canoeing, biking, walking, jogging, and scenic, tree lined adventure within Washington D.C. and onto Cumberland. The canal is now a park, with a fairly flat trail going along the old towpath and locks. This 184 mile long Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (or C& O Canal) goes along the river in its own hand-dug channel from Washington, D. C. to Cumberland, MD.  It was built and used as a commercial operation for this length from 1850 to 1924, when a flood damaged it beyond economic repair.

Seabuddy has studied cruising in canals for his book, Cruising Guide to New York Waterways and Lake Champlain. That book is a thick one, sort of like a Manhattan Yellow Pages on what to see and do by boat within N Y state and the states that its waterways share with N Y state. In other words areas of Vermont and Canada that share waterways with NY are also covered.

seabuddy book cruising guide N Y waterways and lake champlain

seabuddy's Cruising Guide book

My book is a firsthand account that details/covers about 1,100 miles of the popular waterways, including Lake Champlain, the Hudson River, the Erie Canal, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the Thousand Islands. My personal knowledge complements the data on the NOAA charts. Here is a link…


potomac river visitor's center

re-done Great Falls Tavern Visitor's Center

Now back to the C and O Canal. I visited one of the visitor centers that is open year around; the Great Falls Tavern Visitor’s Center. There is a lock here, but the water level was at the winter, non-navigational level. But, some folks paddled their kayaks through the canal way even at this level when I was there.

map canal washington D C

Map of the C & O canal

George Washington first got the idea for a canal/shipping waterway about the time of the French and Indian War. He formed the Potomac Company to make the first start at it. That was not a fully separate ditch and proved to be not the way to go. By, 1825 the C&O Company was created to provide an economic trade route between the eastern seaboard and the West.

President John Quincy Adams put the first, ground breaking shovel of dirt in July, 1828. The full canal was completed and opened to commercial traffic in 1850. Traffic peaked with 850,000 tons of goods in 1871, spread out over 500 canal boats. This was mostly coal coming to the D. C. area. Then traffic went down slowly.

C & O canal boat model

model of Canal Boat

The main competition was the B & O railroad out of Baltimore, MD.  There also was the nationwide depression of the 1870s. Then there were two major floods, one in 1877 and then in 1886. B& O bought the canal company via buying its bonded indebtedness. The flood in 1924 ended the canal way commercial operations and closed it until the Park’s system re-opened it for boating fun.

washinton d C potomac river

downstream of the falls


potomac river

note this birch tree


Lock potomac river

Visitor's Center at Great Falls Tavern and Lock



view of open lock at winter water level

Special Wood Riva Boat from Italy

cocpit sun deck bed riva wood boat inboard classic

Sun Bed opened up in the cockpit


This runabout is so very much original and, in addition, it holds a special place in history that she is a major marker in Riva Boats history in the USA. Made by Riva in Italy, she was displayed in the New York Riva Showroom to example the luxury of Riva boats to all of the tourists that visit Manhattan. Please take your time in looking at her today.

She is a classic wood straight shaft inboard runabout with its engine in the center of the cockpit.  This model features the special design ideas of the Riva boat building company for water sports. The Riva slogan for her was ”It’s the young people’s rocket” She is fast, maneuverable, with easy cockpit access, and a special sunning bed. Riva sold examples of these 18.5 ‘boats to Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Seller, and Bridget Bardot.

This boat has had its Riva-Crusader V-8 engine rebuilt as part of her restoration. Other interior parts that needed freshening were replaced with what is properly titled “New, Old Stock” pieces. Seabuddy has seen and heard her run and she quietly fills my expectations for Riva luxury in a fast sport boat.

She makes a major statement in person. Her wood is spectacular. The unique cockpit sun bed takes one’s mind off mundane things and off to dreaming about lovely Italian women, Champaign, and some decadent Pate.

This 15th built boat represents the Riva Junior model line that was made from 1966 to 1972. Riva made 626 examples of this model in those years. She has had two owners in her history and shows rather low hours for 50 plus year old boat.


front seat riva junior wood boat inboard v-8 chevy classic

from seat allows for boardinf on either side and walk around room


drawing riva junior 1966 wood classic boat inboard

Factory Rendering for Riva Junior boat model


bow view riva junior classic wood boat runabout utility water sports

Note the quality of the finish and of the wood used in this Riva Junior



ad for riva junior peter sellers boat

Magazine Ad for Peter Sellers' Riva Junior


Restoring a 1946 Greavette Classic Cedar and Mahogany planked Wooden Inboard Runabout

new cedar planking on Greavette boat bottom

new cedar wood bottom planking on 1946 Greavette Boat ltd

This is a 1946 model Canada built Greavette 20 foot classic wooden boat. She is still owned by the original family. Wooden Boat Restoration llc is restoring the boat with some new mahogany ribs and a cedar wood chine as well as “as original” cedar wood planked bottom. George Hazzard likes to keep his boat restoration work as close to original as possible while still meeting a boat owner’s needs for a functional show piece. If the boat only needs a “clean-up” that is what it gets. Does it need selective replacement of some wood? Well, he does that, too. He even takes what some would have to cut up and make an Antique and Classic Boat Society Award Winner out of it.

See more at…

Like many Greavette boats this one came from Tom Greavette’s Gravenhurst shop powered by a 4 cylinder Buchanan engine. The family had that engine replaced with its current 6 cylinder Grey Marine. Yes, it is a not the engine this custom wood boat left the factory with in 1946, but the first owners recognized that they needed more power after just one short Canadian season of lake use. Is it properly called a “replacement engine” in ACBS judging rules? An engine that was in the boat for 65 of its 66 years? I would hate to be an ACBS judge on this one.

You should have seen the fitting of the new chine on the starboard side. Wow! It follows the curve of the hull, the upward sweep near the bow, curves inward to match each rib curve/angle, and notches into some places along the way! This was done with table saw rough cut wood, tapered with some hand planes, and then almost hand-carved to its finish for a perfect fit.

classic wooden boat bottom planking

note the angle of the planking in relationship to the keel

Note, the same-as-original “angled” bottom planks in my photos. It is very different from other classics in the direction of planking line-ups, which is usually parallel to the keel.

Tom Greavette, the founder, started what was Greavette Boats, LTD in 1930 and died in 1958 pretty much still running the business. His daughter ran it with her husband until 1962.  Other owners/managers offered a “Greavette” boat till about 1978.

sister ship Greavette boats ltd

sister ship


Wood Chris Craft Capri mid-Restoration

Chris Craft Capri 19 wooden boat restoration

She is right-side up now

Chris Craft made 786 of these 19 foot Capri wooden runabouts over four years in the late 1950’s. It was a popular boat model. With a LOA of 18’ 7”, she fits in many garages. At a weight of 2100 to 2300 lbs. she is easy to tow. Her beam of 6’ 3” makes her a good boathouse boat.

This one is shown mid-restoration here. She is having a “no soak” trailer able bottom as old wood needed to be replaced and the owner wants to take her anywhere, drop her in for a quick spin, and without any need to soak up or swell the bottom planks on this bottom.

Proper use of modern materials within the original Chris Craft mahogany wood planks and wood framing structure allow for the easy trailer, launch, and use of this classic boat. When this boat sits in the water, ready for a quick spin around the lake, one does not see anything different than what she showed when she was first built. She is an ideal Classic Boat Show boat.

classic chris craft wood runabout boat photo

She looks and is "as built" by Chris Craft boats in the 1950s

Ever expect to get to Annapolis, MD this spring? Stop by Dave Hannam’s boat restoration shop in Annapolis see this stylish Chris Craft Capri wooden runabout undergo its steps into a thing of beauty for yourself. More info here…

Hey, go late enough into the spring-summer and Dave will maybe have some gas in the 20 gallon tank and you might be able to go for a final test ride with the boat owner.

Restored Chris Craft Capri Wooden Runabout

Restored Chris Craft Capri Wooden Runabout


World’s Record holder and Fastest Speedboat 1911 Smoke on the Water

fastest speedboat Dixie IV

Dixie setting the record at 45.22 MPH in 1911

Here is the punch line. This photo shows Dixie IV setting the official world’s speedboat record in 1911 off Huntington, NY.

The rest of the story is here…

Dixie IV set the world’s record for speed on the water in during the Mile Trials held with the competition for the Harmsworth Trophy contest for 1911, on Long Island Sound. The photo shows her at full speed off Huntington, Long Island. Dixie IV had come to the contest after losing that year’s Gold Cup, which had been raced on the St. Lawrence River to her competitor, MIT II. Dixie IV failed to start for the final heat due to a spun bearing in that month’s earlier race series in July, 1911.

It is interesting that two premiere powerboat races were held on New York Waterways back before World War I.

Dixie IV was 39’ 6” long with a beam of 7’. She had two V-8s built by Henry M. Crane rated at 250 Horse Power plus for each engine. Both engines were almost in line, front to back, but canted slightly outboard if one looked down from above such that the two props were spaced apart, side by side, but with the engines looking as if they were in line with each other. The front engine had a starter, but the rear engine was started by engaging a driveline clutch after the boat got up to a 30 MPH boat speed, where the spinning port prop got the rear engine to start running. She had this very different arrangement in attempt to fit lots of engine power within a narrow hull. The hull bottom was single planked with 1” thick Mahogany on closely spaced framing. Dixie IV was built by Staten Island Shipbuilding earlier that spring.

The driver sat high at the stern to see over the spray. Each engine carried its own mechanic during the race and often an extra person was onboard to navigate.

This boat had a short career. She was destroyed in a bad crash into some shoreline rocks after she went out of control in a September, 1911 race in Buffalo, NY.

race boat Dixie IV at rest

Single step Hydroplane 1911 record holder Race Boat

F Service Runabout, Curt Brayer, and Dancing Bear

Curt designed, built, drove, and turned the wrenches on his Wood Race Boat, Dancing Bear. He designed and built this racer over a two year period along the banks of the Miami River while he was the sales Manager at the Merrill-Stevens Yacht Company.


racing boat f service runabout

Record Holder F Service Runabout

Curt came to Florida in 1963 after racing his boat, The Violator, in Buffalo, NY, earlier in the 1950-1960s time frame with time out for military service for the Berlin Crisis. He also has spent time in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Before boat racing, Curt raced Stock Cars and Motorcycles for years. Quite the mechanic, Curt likes tuning multiple carbs. Dancing Bear has six Strombergs on a log-type manifold on a 1957 392 cubic inch Hemi. In the theme of F Service Runabout class rules the engine is under 400 inches in displacement and $1,500 cost in cost.

Hemi powered circle race boat

1957 Hemi 392

My photos were taken at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, New York during the Race Boat Regatta that is held every other year in August. Curt seems to be at the  Vintage Boat Racing effort on the St. Lawrence River in the N Y  side of the Thousand Islands area all the time.

flat bottom circle wood raceboat

Foward passenger cockpit that can be covered with a long fitted wood deck

I really love the either long wood covered or the padded vinyl uncovered front bench seat set-up in front of the main/driver’s cockpit. Sitting behind your guests while driving  is the right idea in my book. Let them have to turn around and twist their necks to hold a conversation!

driver's cockpit is set back behind the passenger seating

The driver is set far back in the boat ans close to the engine

Hacker Craft classic boats

classic inboard wooden boat cockpit hacker craft photo image lake george new york

seabuddy photo Hacker Craft cockpit at Lake George, NY

Hackers are being made today on the shores of Lake George, NY. They make classic and modern wood boats using all the safety and ease of use modern engines and equipment for maximum on-the-water enjoyment. Being in control and comand is important to any owner of boat that he wants to use as well as show.

Hacker Craft is a boat building company, not just a two-man boat shop. They have a 32,000 square foot main boat building north of the lake, and they have a Silver Bay location on the lake for showings, demonstrations, and deliveries. Plus, they have another 11,000 sq. ft. plus for finishing work and two more additional locations for the storing of as many as 240 boats. It is quite a campus devoted to boats that boats lovers get excited about. A tour of Hacker Craft Boats is a must in any pre-buying process, if one wants a top-of-the-line quality boat.

Hacker-Crafts are an enduring brand. As custom and small run hand-built classic craft, they have led the idea of boat craftsmen-ship in the USA. Each boat has thousands, not 50 hours of hard work in its creation. Such attention causes other boaters on the lake or bay to say to their friends onboard… Look, there is a Hacker!

These fine classic craft use the ideas and designs of John L. Hacker, the noted naval architect of such boats as Pardon Me. Thunderbird. El Largarto. Bootlegger. Peerless. Dolphin. Kitty Hawk. The Belle Isle Bear Cats. My Sweetie.  Others may take their thoughts on mahogany boat design from John Hacker, but his designs lead the way.

wooden boat framing hacker craft epoxy wood

seabuddy boat photo of Hacker Craft framing example

Seabuddy understands that Hacker Craft build in several sizes from 20 to 42 foot boats.

More info here …

Hacker Craft classic wood runabout boat planking contruction

seabuddy boat photo of Hacker Craft classic wood boat contruction