LAKE GEORGE — Floating like huge pieces of beautiful, well-polished art, about 50 antique boats, most of them wood, gave nostalgic class to the Beach Road docks Saturday at the 41st annual Lake George Rendezvous in Lake George.
“We’ve got all vintages, with almost every decade represented,” said Ed Scheiber, chairman of the event, of the wide array of boats. “The oldest is a 1914 Fay and Bowen and we have 2014 reproductions.”
The Adirondack Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, Inc., approximately 250 members strong, holds a yearly spring event with racing boats, a poker run was held at Great Sacandaga Lake this year and their annual Rendezvous was held Friday in Bolton Landing and Saturday in the village of Lake George.
“This is our biggest event of the year,” Scheiber said.
Cris Craft, Gar Wood, Hacker Craft and Century were some of the makes of wooden boats on display. “When we started, it was wood (boats) and it’s still predominantly wood,” he said, although now that fiberglass boats are getting older, Scheiber expects to start seeing them in the antique ranks.
“You look at the fiberglass boats that replaced the wooden boats and they all look the same,” said Tom Carmel, past president and board member. “Whereas these wooden boats all have different characteristics and different designs.”
“People who own the vintage boats love displaying them, love talking about them when the spectators come by, love hearing them go by when we have our fly-by parade,” he said.
One boat that stood out against the rich and deeply polished wood was a 16 foot, 1957 aluminum Cadillac owned by Michael DeSimone of Catskill. The company produced the boats beginning in 1953 through the end of the decade, but found it difficult to compete with the emerging fiberglass models.
“It was in three feet of weeds when I found it,” he said, noting that it took him four years to restore it. “It was a fun project.”
Another restoration project was John E. Kelly III’s 1926 Sound Interclub 29 sailboat, which was undertaken by Tumblehome Boatshop in Warrensburg.
“This boat looked intact, but it needed a complete structural rebuild,” said Reuben Smith of Tumblehome, noting it took about 3,500 hours of work.
Originally designed for both single class racing and family sailing, the sailboat is 29 feet long with a 40 foot high mast. “It’s really fast,” Kelly said.
Boats of this class are financial investments and, like racehorses, it can seem like a lot of money is spent for the pleasure of owning one.
“Some of these boats get up to $250,000, it’s like buying a house,” Carmel said.
“I call it my piece of furniture,” Scheiber said. “My wife shares in this enthusiasm. Although she’s the one who takes a bucket, fills it with money and then throws it off the end of the dock, because that’s what everyone says — you sink money, why don’t you just throw it in the lake?”