Journal: What’s Life Like At The Helm Of a Vintage Boat?

What’s Life Like At The Helm Of a Vintage Boat?

By Michael Banovsky
June 5, 2015
19 comments

One thing that few people know about me is that before I became editor of this publication, I was the captain of a passenger ferry. Now, when I say “before” I mean when I was in high school at the time, and when I say “passenger ferry”, I mean the largest of the fleet could comfortably hold about 20 people.

Still, my family has been fortunate enough to have owned boats in the past, and I’ve spent a lot of time on the water—but never behind the wheel of a vintage boat.

The ones often seen for sale online are offered by auction houses like RM Sotheby’s, where the photos in this article have been sourced from. The look of a classic wooden Riva or Gar Wood, crashing over waves in the South of France, with sunny skies overhead…there are few sights that are as chic.

On the other hand, I’m not much of a relax-with-a-drink-in-my-hand kinda guy. Maybe a vintage, Ferrari-powered racing hydroplane is more my speed…

This week, let’s talk about classic boats—what do you find interesting about them?

Images From RM Sotheby’s

 

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Michael Mudge
Michael Mudge(@mmudge)
6 years ago

Contact Josh for pix and details. 🙂

Michael Mudge
Michael Mudge(@mmudge)
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Mudge

Yep….

Kevin Kemper
Kevin Kemper(@kmkemper)
6 years ago

There is a definite cross-over between the passion for classic cars and classic boats. As Matthias writes, the view is the best, both coming and going. Here is the view off the back of our 1941 Chris Craft at Tahoe last summer.

The equivalent of Petrolicious in the wooden boat world is WoodyBoater.com. Check it out!

Douglas Anderson
Douglas Anderson(@dandydoug)
6 years ago

While living in FL. my brother aquired an old wooden sail boat that we rebuilt over a period of 6/7 years. She was 30 feet long and originally built in Main back in 1937. She leaked like mad and we sailed her in Tampa Bay for several years without an engine.
( your sailing skills really improve especially in docking maneuvers at night with no motor) 🙂
Sadly, the last we heard after selling her on to a movie crew was that she was a beached wreck in the Tampa / St Petersburg area. My brother now lives with his wife two cats and a medium sized dog on a 40 foot glass Trawler .

Keith Kenitzer
Keith Kenitzer(@p912guy)
6 years ago

I am a sucker for any classic boat. While a beautiful classic wooden powerboat is certainly and object of desire, my tastes tend to run toward classic wooden sailing yachts like these 6 Meters.

Craig Stanfield
Craig Stanfield(@428cobrajet)
6 years ago

I’m into oddball motorcycles, vintage Fords, and classic boats ( primarily Centurys ). I have found that the classic boat folks are gearheads, aesthetes, and mechanics ( by necessity ) all in one. We all socialize well together whether we have a high dollar rig or a $300 Craigslist find. In car groups i find that not to always be the case (Ferrari or Harley people. ..ill just stare at my Shiner Bock all night- or my cell phone). In addition. ..where we meet its usually stunningly beautiful.

Make mine vintage.
Craig

Thomas maine
Thomas maine(@2chevaux)
6 years ago

Couple of years back I was lucky enough piloting a Pedrazzini (http://www.pedrazziniboat.com/en/home.html) for a guy, who owned one but had no license. In Europe you need to have one and for boats this powerful one should have one (my opinion). It was an older model from the 70-ties and it looked like a classic Riva. These wooden boats are a piece of art and this particular one was a fast piece of art. These boats really please the eyes and not only yours. The sound isn’t bad either. 2 big V8’s and around 400 hp. I was glad that it wasn’t I, who had to pay the gas bills and speaking about bills, I was able have a glance at the annual maintenance and storage invoice – uh uh! A wise man once said: ” if it flies, floats or …. (I forgot the third one), don’t buy – rent”

Mathias Jahn
Mathias Jahn(@matt_999)
6 years ago

The Best about owning a Riva? The View. Hope, the picture uploads… (I used to own one for a few years – but sold, because it kind of fixes your vacation planning to italian lakes 😉

Vincent Crasborn
Vincent Crasborn(@fb_10204304328391458)
6 years ago

I’m not an owner or even a classic boat enthusiast, but I think you’ll appreciate this:

Last summer I was on holiday with my family (I was 18 at the time) in a town called Salò on the western side of Lake Garda in Italy. It’s a stunning region and I recommend everyone to go there at least once in their lifetime, and it has a reputation for being quite well-off as well, since it was (and still is) a popular destination for European aristocrats. Because of this reputation, the image of a sleek speedboat on crystalline water in perfect weather is the image that I associated the area with, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. The speedboat in question was also a Riva Aquarama in my mind (thanks to Top Gear and James Bond), and you can imagine how happy I was to see one flash by on the first day of our visit.
A few days in, however, my little brother got off of his phone for long enough to tell me that a friend of his was in the area and her parents had invited us for some waterskiing. We turned up at the hotel they were at, expecting that it’d be shore-based, but they surprised us by telling us they had a “little boat” in a berth on the lake. They walked us to the back of the hotel where I was astonished to see a real 1960’s Riva Super Aquarama, and casually hopped in. I spent the rest of the day living the image in had in my mind, everything from speeding around to the sound of what I think are two american V8’s, to cruising into a different town and getting an ice-cream. I can honestly say it was one of the best days of my life.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
6 years ago

A great story and one that shows sometimes its better to be lucky . Many times actually . I of all people ought to know … wink wink

Andrew Salt
Andrew Salt(@nacl)
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

…nudge nudge, say no more.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange(@365daytonafan)
6 years ago

A wiser man than me once said it is cheaper to burn £50 notes than run a motor yacht. Having said that’s can easily be seduced by the thought of a Riva Aquarama on Lake Como. For something more offshore and British I reckon a Fairey Swordsman 40 would cut a dash today http://www.faireyownersclub.co.uk/?content=theboats

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
6 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Lange

A wise man indeed . Though I’d add that adage applies towards both sail and motor , wood as well as fiberglass/metal , and especially carbon fiber . Most in the know , even the most diehard fans/owners call them floating money pits . Ah , but what a glorious money pit they are .

Matt Hinkle
Matt Hinkle(@fb_10107011732483711)
6 years ago

I’ve always loved classic Rybovichs. I know they’re a different genre than the boats you’re talking about, but they were almost always proportionally perfect, and ahead of their time in so many ways. Some great history too.

http://bertram31.com/Cubavich.pdf

Craig Stanfield
Craig Stanfield(@428cobrajet)
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hinkle

Jeez that’s a beautiful boat!

Rick Booth
Rick Booth(@ricb)
6 years ago

To me, the design, beauty and craftsmanship for both wooden boats and classic cars are similar. There is a great concours in Houston called Keels and Wheels that bring both together. http://www.keels-wheels.com/

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
6 years ago

To be honest when it comes to classic boats the wife and I are more puff [ sail ] than power . Having said that though brother do I ever have a love of classic power boats . Especially the entire Hacker Craft , Riva etc ‘ sport ‘ boat genre . Why ? Because you’d be shocked as to how fast most of them are . Because the level of comfort offered at speed cannot be equaled by any Tupperware boat ever made . Because they are a treat for the eyes as well as the senses . And because of the sense of occasion and class that goes with your arrival in one versus the disdain and suspicion that comes to the fore when arriving in a ‘ sport ‘ Tupperware boat

So you owe it to yourself Mr Banovsky to arrange a little spin in one ASAP . Head up if it happens to be a Riva ! Set your left turns up way in advance . Riva’s have a tendency to be a bit stubborn when aimed that direction .

And as a thank you as well as a treat I give you this . The ultimate Riva in my opinion ;

http://www.rivalamborghini.com/

Enjoy !

Doug Jacobs
Doug Jacobs(@prospero75)
6 years ago

It looks like they won’t upload my photo, here’s a link:

[url=”http://pugetsoundersaomc.com/Gallery/albums/springlakemayfield/P5090237.jpg”]FeatherCraft Vagabond[/url]

Doug Jacobs
Doug Jacobs(@prospero75)
6 years ago

There are very few things that are cooler than a well heeled FeatherCraft boat. Made from the 1940-70’s they are beautiful to behold and are about a 10th the price of a really nice teak boat.

This isn’t mine – I’m still sorting it – it came from something close to junk to watertight and running now. Next is the cosmetic bit. I’m including this picture so you can get an idea of what they look like in the wild.