Everybody wants to save the earth, nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.  --P.J. O'Rourke

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Classic Lyman Wooden Boats

The Lyman Boatworks of Sandusky Ohio began building lapstrake (alternatively known as "clinker built" ) wooden boats some time in the late 1800's.  I would hazard a guess that Lyman made more lapstrake boats than anyone by the time they effectively ceased wood boat production in the early 1970's.  Although Lymans are/were most popular and numerous on the Great Lakes, it's a  testament to their construction quality and popularity that they were also fairly common on the Atlantic seaboard.  There were quite a few of these around Cape Cod Bay when I was a kid and I have always loved the look of these boats.  The mahogany and teak woodwork was first rate and they just look "right".  Oddly enough during the late 1970's early 1980's when most wooden boat manufacturers disappeared without a trace in the rush to build Corox bottle Bayliners and other Kia's of the nautical world, the Lyman factory was left more or less intact by an entrepreneur intent on resurrecting the brand as an upscale fiberglass manufacturer.  Amazingly he never sold off or disposed of all the patterns, jigs, plans, tools etc. of the old wooden boat factory.  For whatever reason his plan never came to fruition and he sold the whole works, kit and Kaboodle to a Lyman enthusiast named Tom Koroknay of Lexington Ohio.  Tom has made a going concern out of restoration and parts services for vintage Lymans (after all, the parts are as close to original as you can get).  A quick view of the astounding number of beautiful Lymans for sale on his site demonstrates his success.  With the possible exception of Chris Craft's wooden speed boats, I doubt that there are as many well preserved wooden boats of any brand.  Check it out, not only are there an incredible array of gorgeous wooden boats, but compared to a modern carpeted plastic boat, they are in general relatively cheap.

Oh, and BTW, for those wondering what the red thing on top of the boat above is, it's a wind powered spinner designed to frighten off seagulls.


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