Thompson Off Shore
It was fall and the swimming pool business has us out closing/winterizing the pools in our
area, which encompasses about 70 miles all around us.
It was on a day of closing pools that we ran across this little beauty.
We had just finished a pool and were traveling around the lake to the next pool to winterize.
There she was sitting along the outer edge of a marina lot filled with boats waiting to be
winterized and shrink wrapped.
Some one let out a shout "There's a wooden boat over there. Looks like a Lyman or a
Thompson." Whoa horses! Too late...had to go down a ways and turn around. We had our
winterizing trailer behind the truck so we had to choose an opportune place to make our
As we pulled up next to her we could see she was a Thompson and, of course, not looking
as good as our first impression from a galloping horse at 100 yards in a blizzard. Places
weren't bad but the bottom was really bad. Definitely save-able though, according to the
master collector/restorer. There was a phone number posted on her and so we called it.
After some conversation we made the purchase.
The next step was getting her home. She was on a do-able trailer but we were already
pulling one so that meant we would have to come back on another day.
The gentleman we purchased the boat from was delighted to know we were "restorers" and
wanted us to be sure to let him know when we had finished it. (I secretly hoped he wasn't too
old and would still be alive by the time we got around to it. We were getting a sizable waiting
list at home. I had gotten past the silly notion that you only own one boat at a time and don't
buy a new project until you need one. After all you might miss out on something really great!
It was a few days before we were able to make it work out to go and fetch her home. And it
was a couple of years before we got to her and started on the restoration project. But the day
did come and she was moved into the boat shop.
We began to strip her down finding more bad than good it seemed like. Depending on the
size of the boat we usually block them up. But this one had so much rot at the joining of the
ribs to the stern that it was best to leave her on the floor. When we got done removing bad
wood she was literally in two pieces on the floor. At that point I said, "What do you think. It
would be easy to carry her out to the burn pile right now." Randy shot me that... 'oh you're so
funny' look. And so that was that. She was going back together no more said.
We worked the winter on her bottom and by spring we had her back together with newly
replaced ribs all glued,screwed and sistered in. After a lot of painting work she was ready to
roll back to upright position and begin the interior work. We decided to set a goal that would
have her done for the mid-July antique boat show. The wooden parts of the seats were my
project to strip, stain and varnish. Randy began the task of remaking the windsheild framing.
There was nothing to save from the old one other than to use it for a pattern.
With only weekends to work on the boat it was July before we knew it. We were close. I
had gotten 10 coats of varnish on the interior seats and dash and such. I wanted 12 but
there wasn't time. Randy was close on the windshield. The front windows were 'fiip up'
opening windows. We could see we weren't quite going to make it for the show.
"Well, what are we going to do now?" Randy asked.
" We take her the way she is. This is all about restoring and bringing back to life a beautiful
boat. But it doesn't happen overnight, and I think, that is also what the sight-seers need to
see, the different stages of the projects, as well as, the completed ones. "
So off we went to the show. She was still quite impressive even if she wasn't finished. It
was a great show and we got a lot of compliments on our workmanship.
It was a couple of years before we actually got her completely done. A certain other boat
became a priority and we needed the boat shop for that project. Another story or two! But
back to the Thompson.....
We did get her windshield mounted and all was finished and we took her to the next
summer's show. It was there, we met a gentleman who was a very devout Thompson
enthusiast and knew his model designs. He informed us that the year and model we had did
not originally have opening front windows. Boy,was that deflating news! After all that hard
work and time we now had to rebuild the windshield to be correct.
It took a year or so to get in the mood but eventually we moved her back into the boat shed
and off came the wrong one and on went the new. Well, it wasn't quite that simple but you
get the idea. While we had it in the shop working on it, Randy, decided he wanted to also
add the bimini top that she would have had in her day.
"And where do we get that?" I asked.
"I think we can make it. You know, sew it up ourselves. I'll help you." he answered.
"We've got the aluminum staves. So we have the frame work."
' And what do you know about sewing, I thought to myself. I've got a lot of sewing
background but not on this type of project. But the offer to help is there, so I guess we could
When we ordered the material for the bimini, we also ordered a product that you use to
help create a pattern. It worked out well and the bimini turned out perfect.
However, we did have a couple of shouting matches along the way as we tried to figure out
which one of us was the expert. Ha! But nothing ventured nothing gained right?
So come show time in ,July, that year we had her completed and ready to share with the
crowd. The boat was a big hit and we received many compliments. Little did I expect to get
so many requests to make biminis.
We could have started a summer business right there.
Thanks, but no thanks this is a hobby. I think!!!!!