The docks in front of Ducey's at Bass Lake was afloat with more than 40 beautifully restored vintage wooden boats from the 1920s, 30s and 40''s. The two day event, hosted by the Bass Lake Lions Club, was the 22nd Annual Antique and Classic Wooden Boat Show, which brings together members from both Northern and Southern California Chapters of the Antique and Classic Boat Society.
This year the event featured 47 factory manufactured water-crafts by such names as Chris Craft, Higgins, Mercury, Hackercraft, Garwood and Besotee. All of these boats have been refurnished by the owners with hundreds of hours of labor involved -- A true labor of love for most and each boat has its own unique history and story and a special place in the hearts of the people who own them.
Eric Truelson of San Jose, a retired educator, has found healing in the countless hours of labor that he has put in re-crafting his boat.
"Every piece had to be replaced," referring to "Savannah," his 22-foot Shepherd vintage boat. "We had to steam bend all the wood, it took countless hours."
For Truelson the hours takes his mind off his health issues. "This is my escape," he said. He also owns "Topsey," which has a Thunderbird motor, a hard top and is one of only 23 models ever built.
While Bill and Nancy Kehoe, who live in Auburn, were originally into restoring Model A's, Corvettes and classic Harley Davidson motorcycles, they decided to begin restoring boats. Their 1954 Chris Craft is the only wooden boat featured on a 2007 commemorative United /states postal stamp and it was one of four stamps featured in the collection.
Winners of the People's Choice Award were Joel and Debbie Castro, for their 1948 17-foot Western Fairliner Torpedo, "Banshee." The boat has been in the family since his father first bought it in 1948.
"This boat has been in the family for a long time ... Dad bought it brand new," said Joel, whose boat has won the People's Choice Award four years in a row. But for Joel its also about the camaraderie of the members of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. "This is a terrific group of people," said Joel.
Other winners at the event were Walter and Connie Rugh, for Best Restoration of their 16-foot Chris Craft named "Joey-II."
The Most Original trophy went to Ray and Sharon Kelsey of Fremont for their 17-foot Higgins Speedstar.
The last presentation for the day, Skippers Choice, went to "Osprcu," the 24-foot 1989 Hackercraft owned by Bob and Nikki Robertson.
The weekends would not have been a success without the sponsorship of the Bass Lake Lions Clubs, who annually raise funds to help support such organizations as Camp Pacifica, the Meadow Larks, MALCo and three $750 community awards for Yosemite High School graduating seniors as well as two $300 awards for adult education.
Jim Milligan, seven year president of the Bass Lake Lions Club stresses the proceeds from the boat show go back to the community making all the hard work putting on the show very worthwhile.
This years attendance at the boat display was more than 300 who admired and appreciated all the handiwork the participants put into re-storing their wonderful wooden boats.
John Peckham, vice president of the ACBS who has been restoring canoes and kayaks for more than 25 years, believes that there is nothing like messing about in a boat.
He said it best at Saturday's event: "Bound is the boat-less man."