June 13, 2014 in Uncategorized
Rob’s Wooden Boat Folly: or, “Do as I say, not as I do!”
Last August, Rob and his wife crossed the Canadian border into Michigan over the Blue Water Bridge to check out a 1963 Thompson 18.5 ft. runabout for sale. Priced between $5000 and $7000 with trailer, the boat didn’t appear suitable…it was a “hybrid” with carpeting up the inside walls and swivel seats for passengers…not exactly a purist’s idea of the ideal “woody”.
After a cursory inspection, the Thompson was ruled out as a buy, although at first blush the boat appeared tight and sound.
Fast forward to May, 2014. The owner called with a reduced price of $1500 for the boat, complete with trailer. He wanted an immediate answer. Throwing caution and common sense to the wind, Rob sent a deposit of $500, and a promise to buy…no survey, no chance to run or test the boat or engine (which had lain idle for four plus years). Huge risk. All in the name of a potential bargain!
The Chickens Come Home to Roost
Dragging the boat 350 miles home to Huntsville, Ontario, Rob is told that the out-drive is so primitive, it has no hydraulics to raise it. There is a strong mouldy odour coming from the floor and side wall carpeting, which will have to go. What looked like top side varnish is actually brown paint. (This will have to go, too). A peek and feel under the floor boards at the transom reveals black wood and at least one rib that doesn’t pass the finger nail test for hardness. Oh Oh! This could mean bottom work. Did Rob make a fool of himself or “get a deal?” Stay tuned as the story progresses.
PS: Wouldn’t you have been tempted by the photos had you had a chance to bid on this runabout at $1500? (Please say yes!)