5:30 AM Sunday Morning
"Honey," Randy asked, "did you hear a car? Probably the newspaper guy. I'm ready to get up, anyway. Maybe, there is something in the paper that we can't live without -
like an old car or boat or better yet a motor for the Span America. We still need a motor for that old boat."
"Whatever" I mumbled and rolled over for a wake-up nap.
What do you do with a boat-lovin' man? I guess I'd rather he was thinking about another boat than another woman. On second thought maybe there isn't that much
Wouldn't you know - there was something seductive in the paper. The ad read "For Sale: Heavy duty Gator trailer $400 17' Wood Cabin Cruiser included - free. No
I don't know if it was 'Cabin Cruiser' or 'Free Cabin Cruiser' that intrigued him the more. How bad could it be if it's free? - especially for a carpenter/mechanic/workaholic.
By lunchtime we were on our way to check out this trailer with the free boat.
The trailer turned out to be a real nice trailer and still in good shape. The boat? - well it was free after all. The old Cabin Cruiser was covered by some tarps and old
carpet. It took some effort to even get to it for a look. Finally, we were able to peek up under the old carpet. We got a good look at the transom and could tell that the boat
was a nice size and did have some possibilities.
Then I looked down and there was a 1' by 2' hole in the bottom. About which my Sweetie quipped, "That's where you put the bilge pump through".
I could only give him that "real cute, Buddy" look and respond with my honest opinion, "This boat is pretty well shot".
"It sounds like my wife and I need to discuss this a bit." Randy said to the owner. "Do you still have a motor for it?"
"Yes I do." the owner replied, "But that would be more money, of course."
Randy looked at me. I knew what he was thinking. A good motor is what we were needing - not a trailer and broken-down boat - excuse me - Cabin Cruiser -
broken-down Cabin Cruiser. . A 1959 era motor would look just right on that 1959 Span America Skiette that we had just restored.
The owner showed us the motor and some other items that he no longer needed since he wouldn't have a boat. Then he made us a fair offer for the whole
"What do you think, Penny?" Randy asked me.
"I think you know what I think." I replied. "We don't need another cabin cruiser since we already have one. (We had purchased an old Owens Flagship recently). We
don't need another trailer. We have a beautiful new one for the Span America. The only thing we need is the motor and it doesn't sound like Mr. Walker here wants to
sell it unless the rest goes, too!" My eyes were saying, 'I'm not interested and you don't need to be either".
"Well, it would seem, Mr. Walker, we need to go home and sleep on it a bit." Randy said to the owner. (Thinking to himself something more like- 'persuade the wife a
bit') . "Thanks for your time here this afternoon."
Many nights went by - many months actually - 7 to be exact! On our way home from our annual Christmas Candy making project, we were not too far from the city where
the old Cabin Cruiser was parked. We were traveling with our friends and asked them if they would mind if we stopped in on Mr. Walker and see if the boat was still
there. Our friends understood about Randy and his 'wooden boat thing'.
As we got to the Walker's we could see her. There they were boat, motor and trailer were right where we last saw them.
We met with Mr. Walker again and the price was the same. "I've gotten some other offers but no buyers as of yet." he informed us.
Randy gave me that look - you know the one that says " it's a good deal - We still need the motor - I know how beautiful she'll be all fixed up - it's a good deal - she's so
cute - it's a good deal - you'll love her as much I do - someday - it's a good deal."
Finally I nodded my okay. (I can't believe I did that).
"OK! Mr. Walker. It's a deal. We'll take her off your hands." Randy said, as he beamed from ear to ear and extended his hand.
Many months went by before we got started on this little "Gem". The Owens Cabin Cruiser we had bought a year or so before had instigated a building project. (Ever
have that happen?) The Owens just fit in the shop but there was no working room around her, let alone space for any other projects.
There was an old corn crib on our property that we had converted to storage for our construction/pool business. He had an insparational idea to convert it to a more
boat freindly arrangement. With Randy's construction abilities and a bit of remodeling it made a great boathouse workshop. We put in a cathedral ceiling and
expanded the interior to give us the height and width to work on even larger boats. And a doorway big enough for larger boats.
With the newly remodeled boathouse workshop completed Randy announced one day, "Honey, I'm going to move the Owens into the new shop so we can start work
"Do you really think we should start on such a big boat as our first wood boat project. She's so big. Seems like a mountain to me. Why don't we start with the little
Morphew and find out if we are even any good at this sort of thing. Being a little smaller, we won't get discouraged and quit before we get done."
Maybe you're Right." he agreed. "The Morphew it is."
We soon found out that the "small hole" in the bottom was related to a whole lot of other bad boards. The only way to do a proper repair was to replace the entire
plywood bottom and the transom. We had to send away for special marine plywood and while we waited for that to show up we replaced some of the oak ribs that had
While you work on an old boat something happens between you and the boat. The smell of the wood...the rotten and the new. The feel of her curves as you sand... and
sand... and sand ... and sand some more. Or just the history of the old girl where she came from and where she's been - something happens. Yes, I fell in love with
her too. Just as he knew I would.
It took all of our spare time. We worked nights and weekends, through the winter and through the spring. Sometime, in April, Randy decided he wanted to try and finish
it by July. "I would like to have her done in time for the Clear Lake Boat Show! What do you think? Can we make it?" Clear Lake, Iowa is the home of the Clear Lake
Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. The annual boat show was scheduled to start July 17.
"But Randy" I interjected "we haven't even started on the interior yet. Aren't we pushing things a bit?" I guess pushing a bit is how things get done and time was
The interior was a bit more difficult to work on than the exterior because of the contorted positions you must get into to achieve your goal. But the Morphew has a
simple V-berth cabin and it isn't that large. We hired out the new cushions for the berth and cockpit chairs. And I began the daunting task of refinishing the beautiful
mahogany wood interior. We replaced all the Plexiglas windows, made a new cabin floor with strips of oak that run down the center of the boat to the transom, and
placed black rubber matting on either side of the oak grate.
After 4th of July weekend a friend (obviously suffering from a severe sunburn) asked if we had fun over the Holiday weekend. Randy replied, "We spent the weekend
on our boat."
"Oh, really what lake were you on?"' They asked.
"She's not on the water yet." Randy replied laughing out loud. I should have said, "We spent the weekend W O R K I N G on the boat . One thing about it, we didn't get
That long weekend paid off. By Sunday night we were ready for final striping and numbers.
In the discussion of how we were going to tape everything off to create the yellow stripes, the idea of doing them with vinyl came into the conversation. In the past we
have had a company that specializes in logos, lettering, etc., do our company vehicles with vinyl and it stays on beautifully. The next day we called them and asked if this
would work on a boat and could they do our little Morphew boat. They assured us that they could. Away she went. Off to get her stripes.
Well, we made it to the boat show. We were lacking only the cabin door, the cockpit windshield and a motor. Yikes!! No motor??
"Honey. Did you hear a car? I think it's the Sunday paper guy ..."
another chapter of "As Boat Stories go"
P.S. The trip to get her stripes leads to another boat story. Keep watching for new adventures.
|AS BOAT STORIES GO...