The Elegance of Classic Wooden Motorboats

I love a lazy Sunday morning with a cup of coffee and the latest post… don’t you? Well, after reading up on the day’s latest blog post I try to tune into the serene news program I have come to love: CBS Sunday Morning. There is rarely a stressful, controversial news story offered by the veteran news team led by Charles Osgood. Instead, they focus on the pleasures of American life. And a few weeks ago they hit the nail on the head: Conor Knighton dug into the passion we have for beautiful wooden boats. Powerboats, to be exact. He credits On Golden Pond and Chris Craft for keeping us enamored with these fine vessels and all the work, varnish and love that goes into owning one.

So, even though it’s only Wednesday – grab your cuppa joe and enlighten yourself in 4 minutes of sublime Americana. The wooden kind. It’s a rare treat to have a major news program focus on our watery world that we already appreciate. But to share in the enthusiasm from the popular media somehow gives merit to our brush strokes and planking tribulations. And we get to delight in knowing we can enjoy the real thing for more than just 4 minutes.

The Wooden Boat School Alumni

Maine beckons those of us who love the rugged coast of New England and boating! It’s rich boatbuilding history is steeped in traditional wooden boatbuilding methods and there are many standout schools in the great northern state that attract the very best wooden boat enthusiasts. The Wooden BoatSchool is at the forefront of the pack of excellent schools in Maine, and this video lets their alumni explain what brings them back to the school years after their graduation.

From YouTube Page: The WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine, offers classes in boatbuilding and seamanship from June to September: Each spring, a few lucky alumni of the School from all over the United States return to the school to help commission the campus and boats for the season. For two weeks, they paint, hammer, chisel, and saw. In the process, they bring the place to life while honing their skills and forging deep friendships.

Anyone who completes a class at the WoodenBoat School is considered an alumnus and is eligible to participate in Alumni Week. So many people want to work for free we have to hold a lottery. The ones who are selected consider themselves lucky.

Maybe you can join them. Become a student at

Rocking the Boat

Rocking the Boat situated in the Bronx, NY, has brilliantly reached out to kids who might need distraction in the form of function, art and certainly boating! Read about “Rocking the Boat” and watch the video about their admirable mission to get kids into and conquering projects they never thought possible.

Jamestown Distributors has been donating to this amazing program for years and they, in turn, have been excellent customers. It is so satisfying to be able to contribute to organizations like Rocking the Boat and see the love for hand crafting, wood working and boating be passed along to kids who might never have had the chance to hold a tiller or a plane. Constructing and rowing your own boat is a project that reaches so many important levels of being a responsible human. There are lessons in crafting, woodworking and in life that manifest themselves throughout a build project and getting kids excited about it all is even more of a victory than the finished product.

From RTB Vimeo Page: Adam Green believes in teaching 21st century job and life skills through old fashioned wooden boat building.

The idea first infected him as a Vassar College student in 1996, when he spent a “semester abroad” volunteering at a middle school in East Harlem—one of the U.S.’s poorest urban neighborhoods at the time. Despite having no prior boat building experience, he worked with students to make “Dolphin,” an 8 foot wooden dinghy which was launched in the school swimming pool.

After graduating, Green returned to New York City with a certificate to teach, but gave up that plan to launch Rocking the Boat—a boat building and environmental education program which now serves 2,000 youth and community members annually in the South Bronx. The aim is not to turn kids into professional boat builders, but to help them recognize abilities they possess that will help them thrive in school and beyond.

Rocking the Boat empowers young people from the South Bronx to develop the self-confidence to set ambitious goals and gain the skills necessary to achieve them. Students work together to build wooden boats, learn to row and sail, and restore local urban waterways, revitalizing their community while creating better lives for themselves.

Kids don’t just build boats at Rocking the Boat, boats build kids.

HOW COOL IS THAT? Support Rocking the Boat by donating here.

The History Of Chris Craft

I was raised on a Chris Craft, so I, like many of you who loved wooden boats in your youth before you knew what it meant, have a sweet spot in my heart and memory bank for the wooden lines and lapstrake planks of my dad’s old Sea Skiff. Growing up on a wooden power boat (summers of my youth – winters spent ashore in Connecticut) forged long memories of LOTS Of paint jobs, seepage seeking, ding and dent repair and the other joys of wooden boat ownership. In the 70s when we cruised our SeaSkiff up and down the New England coastline, boats like ours were a dime a dozen.

Just like the super stylie Chris Crafts that can be seen on lakes and even ponds around the US, the boats are head turners and they define an entire historical segment of the wooden powerboat coming into its own in America. So take a trip into the history of these iconic American boats and understand that as Riva is to the Italians, Chris Craft has succeeded in becoming a cult classic amongst a market full of beautiful wooden boats.



Building an Adirondack Guide Boat (and Racing it…)

Richard Honan Winner of 2014 Best in Show for "I Built it Myself" category

Richard Honan Winner of 2014 Best in Show for “I Built it Myself” category

When the 2015 Wooden Boat Show rolls into downtown Mystic, CT in late June, you can bet you will find Richard Honan and his newest accomplishment front and center. After winning the 2014 Best in Show in the “I Built It Myself” category with his sweet little sloop, Proud Mary 2, Honan went right back to work building his next great floating thing, An Adirondack Guide Boat.

This will be Honan’s 10th boat building accomplishment. He is building the boat to compete in the six mile Essex River Race ( From there, It’s off to Mystic Seaport and the Wooden Boat Show in June, where he will again show his boat in the “I built It Myself” exhibit. Perhaps the best part of this story is not that this guy is a MAJOR fan of TotalBoat and JD (=winner), but that this particular boat for him is a labor of love with his grandkids. He is involving them with the build, and is naming the boat after his 2 granddaughters, Anna & Emily(Double Happiness). Awwww.

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Palm Beach Vintage Regatta

Time to give some props to the vintage powerboating crowd. Owner or ogler, who doesn’t love to stare down a good old classic powerboat that has been painstakingly restored? Some serious revelers from Palm Beach, Florida decided to pay homage to their city’s yachting history and round up as many beauties as they could to participate in the reinvented Palm Beach Cup.  In 1917 a yacht regatta and gathering evolved into the Palm Beach Cup, which, at the time of the gilded 20’s, was a whos-who of yachting and Palm Beach lifestyle.  The idea to bring this event back to the Pam Beach waterfront was met with excitement and owners of classic powerboats from the area jumped on board agreeing to participate.

The lineup of boats was impressive, from the Presidential Yacht, Honey Fitz, best known for JFK’s use of her and her place in history as the last presidential yacht. The Palm Beach Regatta attracted the finest yachts of her day and this seemed like the year to revitalize the event and to “hopefully regain the attention of potential boaters and rekindle the flame for the older yachtsman and boaters alike.”

A few weeks ago marked the Inaugural Antique Yacht Exhibit and Sail Races. Over 20 vintage yachts were showcased for all to see. Aficionados, hobbyists and boat lovers flocked to the public event in downtown Palm Beach and confirmed what the organizers had suspected: there is still an appreciation for classic yachts and if they can’t be paraded or regatta-ed – then line ’em up and let the people stare.

Today’s video highlights the event and reinforces the notion that wooden boats can really draw a crowd. Enjoy!