A large luxury resort located on a pristine lake with a well-kept marina, filled with beautiful wooden motor boats is an image that could be from a 1940’s Hollywood movie, or perhaps a post card from 1955. This nostalgic scene came to life September 20th-21st when the Antique and Classic Boat Society (ACBS) hosted the 38th annual International Boat Show at the beautiful Couer d’Alene Resort in Couer d’Alene Idaho. Over 130 boats from around the country converged on Lake Couer d’Alene, adding elegance to the natural beauty of the lake.
The boats at the show ranged from large yachts all the way down to hand-made wooden canoes. Nearly all the boats were made of wood, but there were a few early fiberglass models represented, including a stunning red and white 1965 Glastron Futura 500. A small collection of rare barrel-back speed boats were there, as well as some Stan-Craft torpedoes. Spectacular high-point restored boats such as a factory Cadillac powered 1955 21’ Chris-Craft Cobra named Ventuno, and a elegant 1929 28’ Chris-Craft Sedan named Topper were crowd pleasers. So many amazing floating works of art where at the show, it was hard to stop looking at one to move on to look at the next one. Lovely wooden boats could be seen coming and going all weekend, viewed by many from the outer dock or from the high walking bridge at the entrance to the marina. The boat everyone wanted to see run was an authentic- looking 1918 replica race boat named Miss Detroit III, powered by a fully exposed, massive 1916 Curtiss 12 cylinder aircraft engine. Miss Detroit thrilled the crowd with a thunderous start-up, and made passes near the marina to the delight of all.
There is something about an old wooden boat that makes people smile. Be it nostalgia, style, elegance, or appreciation of the fact that someone made these boats by hand, plank by plank, varnish coat by varnish coat. Then later lovingly restored by hand, preserving a piece of history for the next generation to enjoy. The world is a better place when you are onboard an old wooden boat.
For a list of the winning boats, go to the ACBS web site. Take a look at the slide show to see more of these fabulous floating masterpieces.