Geraldine is a 26 ft. converted US Coast Guard Motor Whaleboat built in 1945 at the US Coast Guard Shipyards in Curtis Bay, Maryland. 

She is owned by Joe Sabo, a member of the Thousand Islands Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. 

Geraldine is an interesting and very unusual vessel and she has an interesting past and like all old woodies she has a story all her own.  

As a former US Coast Guard vessel, she has a very unique story and if only those planks of wood could talk.  She was found by the previous owner on De Tour Island up in the Saint Marys River area of Michigan between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.  The nearest Coast Guard facility is a Light House on De Tour Reef near the Island and is in the shipping Chanel there on the St Marys river.  She was most likely a tender for the lighthouse when the Coast Guard maintained and manned the Great Lakes lighthouses. In the days of oil fired lighthouses, lighthouse keepers had to keep the flames lit and handle any rescue calls in the area.  I do not know her story exactly but I could only imagine what she has been through as it’s a treacherous part of the great lakes.  

Geraldine was found by the previous owner out in a farmer’s field in Michigan near Lake Superior.  She was rescued and sent to Tassier Boat Works in Cedarville, Michigan and restored with a new engine and complete facelift.  Since I have owned her I added the Bimini top and gave her a complete refinishing and recaulked her hull and actually built a shop just for her to live.  She has just received a new roommate of her similar breed – a 1912 Navy Motor Whaleboat which will be given a new lease on life.  She is a sister ship of Geraldine’s and will debut in 4 or 5 years after a total restoration.

She now is retired and enjoys her summers entertaining our friends up here in Tupper Lake, NY in the heart of the Adirondack State Park.  She has won numerous awards at the ACBS shows we take her to including many People’s Choice awards.  

She is a very unique boat and I am lucky to have found her.  I’ve enjoyed her so much that when I discovered another Motor Whale Boat on Bone Yard sitting in Maine a few years ago I decided to restore her as well.  Her name will be ROSE in memorial to my mother.  I plan to power her with an electric propulsion system powered by Solar Panels inset into her canopy top.  She is a former Navy Motor Whaleboat probably much older than Geraldine.  

I grant you permission to share Geraldine’s and Rose’s Story on the ACBS website.  We love to share our story with people and that’s the best thing about the ACBS and the shows we attend.  We are members of the 1000 Islands Chapter and are situated in wood boat heaven up here in Upstate New York where a lot of it all started.    

Sincerely,  Joe Sabo  

             Please send pictures of your boat and share her story with our viewers. Click here for the submission form.   


    • Hi Steve and Mae. I hope you guys are doing well these days. Its Spring now and we are looking forward to another summer of boating. Its been a long winter and looking forward to seeing and feeling the sun again. Hope to see you guys in Alex Bay again this summer.. Joe and Donna

  1. Dear Joe – Shame your beautiful Geraldine didn’t get a chance to sweep awards at the A Bay show. (Just kidding.) We miss seeing you and Geraldine! Can’t wait to see your new boat in a future competition. Enjoy your summer. Cygnus II (56′ motor yacht berthed next to you at one of the shows) will be back in the water, finally, this fall. Jody Reynolds

  2. Hi Joe
    I was on a minesweeper during my Navy days and we had a 26 foot motor whaleboat as the ship’s launch-lifeboat so I’m well familiar with these boats. It’s heartwarming to see someone like you caring enough to rescue and restore these boats. The world is becoming so plastic and artificial-we need more people like you who want to preserve our maritime heritage.
    If you’re interested,my site is: (I’m a marine artist).
    Keep up the good work, ,Joe!

    • Richard. The Coast Guard was a big part of my life and to own a piece of it’s history is my honor and pleasure . Geraldine has been a crowd pleaser at every show we take her to and she has repaid me ten fold for all the time and energy I’ve put into her. Plastic boats have their purpose to allow people to enjoy the experience of boating but. To experience a wooden classic is a definite life experience.

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