BASS LAKE – Bass Lake welcomed the participants of the 23rd Annual Antique and Classic Boat Show with over 41 boats re-creating the “glory” days of boating.
The Bass Lake Lions club along with Bass Lake Boat Rentals co-sponsored this year’s gathering.The majority of the wood boats were of the Chris Craft brand, with one each Western Fairliner, Gar Wood, Besotes, Century, Mercury, Philbrick, Schuster, Hall Craft, Shepard and a “home built” owned by John Hodges of Woodland Hills.
The Northern California Lake Tahoe club had the most boats entered (30) with a nice representation from the Southern California chapter of 11 boats. It was interesting to talk to the owners about their crafts and their obvious love for the classic boats.
Wooden boats offer up multiple challenges in restoring them, as it takes a lot of skill to do the work required for them to be able to be used in their natural habitat, water.
Just like classic cars or classic motorcycles, there are specialists in restoring one of these beautiful boats. And it’s not cheap. Farming out the work could easily run a bill from $50,000 and up, way north of $100 grand!
But talking to Bill and Hilde Wysoff from Visalia, I was surprised to find out that they did most of the work on their 22′ Continental Chris Craft.
They obtained their first class boat awhile back, an 18′ Continental which, if it was a motorcycle, would be called a “basket case.” In other words, it needed rebuilding from the ground up.
They decided to do the work themselves and learned how to work with wood and even fix the hull with an expoxy process called West Marine.
They read every how-to boat book they could find, asked many questions of friends and boat club members, and went through a lot of trial and error.
They finished their boat and used it for a number of years before deciding they needed a larger one. So they sold the 18-footer and found the 22-foot Continental that they now own.
The new boat didn’t require a hull fix so it was easier to restore but they still spent a lot of time and money on “Second Chance”. Hilde commented that you couldn’t believe the prices of chrome and mahogany!
The only big change they did to the boat was swap out the original small Chevrolet V-8 motor for a newer and more powerful 350ci Chevrolet engine.
“We just wanted more power,” said Hilde. It turned out pretty awesome and they are very proud they did the work.
Part of the boat show is the boat parade which many took part in making a loop around the lake before cruising at low speed past the boat docks at Ducey’s.
Then they take another loop for a “fly by,” running the boats at speed past the docks where the many spectators had gathered to watch. It’s pretty impressive to watch them and imagine it’s 1960.
While the majority of the boats entered were of the “wooden” boat variety, there was at least one early fiberglass model on hand, the 1959 Dorsett owned by Bob and Janet Kircher from Chino, California.
Trophy’s will be awarded for the Best Restoration, Most Original, Skippers Choice and Peoples Choice, which is voted on by spectators.