As we say goodbye to 2021, it’s tempting to reflect on some of the trends we saw this season. The two largest problems facing our industry still remain—the shortage of manpower and the frustrating supply chain situation. On the plus side, the Covid-induced boating boom has not stopped, and people are still boating in great numbers. The downside to that is the high demand for boats has pushed new boat delivery times as far as three years in the future. One prediction that has not materialized is the great sell off of boats by new boaters leaving the sport. That, and the delays in new construction, have resulted in a chronic shortage of good used brokerage boats. In the meantime, all this activity has led to a busy winter season and full work lists for area boatshops.
We start off this month with a report of a nice job from Vaughn Fountain of Diversified Marine Services in Annapolis, MD. “Our team just completed this beautiful restoration project on a 1996 Donzi Classic 2+3. Our customer drove from Salisbury to have our team complete this paint job. They began the project by removing the windshield and any other hardware that would have been accessible and exposed in the areas to be painted; prepped and primed the stripes, panels, and accents; and then started to shoot a yellow base. Once dry enough, the team applied a quarter-inch fine line tape to create the fine yellow stripe where needed to create the perimeter stripes and accents. Once masked, they were able to shoot the black color base; then pull the tape and shot several coats of clear coat over the yellow and black together. Once finished, the restoration team completed the wet sand and buffed out the clear coat for optimal finish and gloss.”
Tim Kraus of Annapolis Gelcoat and Restoration shared their latest paint project. “We took a nice 40-foot Cruisers Inc. with factory colors and turned her into a modern-day beautiful yacht. The Annapolis Gelcoat & Restoration crew did an outstanding job transforming her and creating this timeless beauty. Special thanks to the crew at Bert Jabin’s Yacht Yard for their careful work of handling her back to the water. Congratulations to Mark W. and thank you so very much for your patronage! The AwlGrip products are really shining through on this beauty! We used AwlCraft 2000, Stars-n-Stripes Blue, and accented with BlueGlo White and bright Aluminum SE stripes. Keep us posted when you are ready to “Make Your Boat New Again.” We are still working through a hefty backlog of work, but happy to work with you now, and plan for your next boat project.”
George Hazzard at Wooden Boat Restoration in Millington, MD, reports that he has a full house and as he says, “The phone keeps ringing.” He does not see any drop off in interest on the part of boat owners. Among the projects currently in his shop: “We’ve got Trouper II, a 1939 Consolidated cruiser back in for a winter update on her varnish. We are doing a complete restoration on a 25-foot Lyman, installing twin M 350s in a 1960 Owens, and installing new bottoms and doing a complete restoration of two 1940 18-foot Chris-Craft Sportsmen. We also have a 1956 Trojan 17-foot runabout in for a new bottom and full restoration as well. It looks like it’s going to be a busy winter.”
Rob Hardy of Composite Yacht in Trappe, MD, has seen no let-up in demand for his company’s services. “The CY 55 is in the water and has been doing very well in her sea trials. We are tweaking her props to get just a little more speed, but both we and the owner are very pleased with her,” Rob said. “Aside from that we are still building these CY 46s. We have two more of the CY 46s to do, and we just signed a contract for a 46 to be built on the Markley hull. The 32 will be leaving this spring. We are still very busy, but our brokerage is finding used boat inventory difficult to obtain,” he explained. I asked Rob how far out his order book is going. “It depends on the size of the boat obviously. But if someone were to sign a contract for a 26 today, we are probably 18 months out, but if you were to sign for a 46, you are looking at three years.”
Reid Bandy of Bandy Boats in Mayo, MD, also anticipates a busy winter. “We have ongoing restorations that are going well with the second Rybovich, and some preservation work on some old race boats. And we are moving forward with the carbon fiber Center Console 32, about seven months into the 10-month construction cycle. The owner is a great customer, and we are dialing in to the details now. It’s time to finalize the ergonomics of positioning everything, rigging, and all those details. We’ve got the motor right there, and we are getting ready for the winter,” he concluded. Reid then moved to a small mahogany boat with an antique Johnson outboard on the transom. “This is a Baby Whale, a D. N. Kelley and Son, Fairhaven, MA, 1928 14-foot single step hydroplane. As far as I was able to find out from the people who had this boat, she was involved in the 1928 Albany to New York Marathon and placed very well. They actually said that they won. The boat is all in original condition, and I had the vintage motor, so they bequeathed it to me. It sure is beautiful. It is solid mahogany, all screw fastened, and it is all original.” Reid explained that he also has a contract to build some composite rowboats for Fletcher’s Boat House in D.C., and he pointed to a 32-foot Hacker Craft under a cover. “So, we are going to have a busy winter.”
Editor’s note: The Baby Whale series of racing hydroplanes were built in the 1920s and marketed worldwide by Fairhaven Shipyards in Massachusetts to capitalize on the growing popularity of high-speed powerboats of that era. Production ceased with the onset of the Great Depression in the 1930s. A little bit of internet digging produced the following story from the New York Times Archive for April 15, 1928: “MOTOR BOAT BREAKS MARK FROM ALBANY; Ames pilots Baby Whale in record time for outboard craft in 133-mile run here. Covers Course in 4:44:10, made under trying conditions, tribute to boat and driver.” The article is accompanied by a photo by Morris Rosenfeld.
Joe Reid’s Mast and Mallet Shop in Edgewater, MD, is a hive of activity. Joe explains, “We are finishing up the varnish and paint work on the 2009 Windsor Craft 36 where we had to replace a lot of the forward deck. She’s about ready to move out and next in is the 1968 32-foot Brownell Bass Boat Seneca. She’s going to get her new fiberglass bottom. We are ready to turn the 1964 Chris-Craft ski boat over now that her new bottom is complete and start on the interior renovations.” Joe is also ready to start on his project to replace the original plastic spray rails on three of his Thomas Point Series boats with wood and epoxy rails. As Joe pointed out in a previous report, “A lesson learned about plastic parts.” It looks like Mast and Mallet is going to be humming well into the New Year.
It is always tempting to try to look ahead, but rather than try to do that, I’m reminded of a favorite Yogi Berra quote, “Forecasting is always very difficult, especially when it involves the future.” Happy New Year!
By Captain Rick Franke