By Jack Gifford, Finger Lakes Chapter
One a sunny spring day in 2001 I decided to look at a large cruiser I had seen advertised in the paper. Since the inside dimensions were roughly the size of a small apartment, I felt that it would combine my love of boating with a summer place on the water.
Taking a shortcut near my home, a flash of sparkling brightwork caught my eye. It was a magnificent wooden boat in a driveway with a “For Sale” sign on the windshield. I later learned it was a 16’ 1951 Century Resorter that had been in the same family for several years. The owner said it had not been in the water for at least three years and the engine needed a little work but the price was more than fair so I wrote a check on the spot and picked it up the next day.
When I took the Century to my local marina to have her checked out the operator said that the hull was sound but there was no compression in one cylinder and very little in a second. The engine needed to be rebuilt. I was devastated! I contacted the premier restoration house at the time, Dubickas Marine in Tonawanda, NY and was told that the estimated cost for rebuild was $4-5K but, because of his backlog, it couldn’t be done until late in the season. The boat sat, forlorn, in the driveway all summer until one day in early September John Dubickas called and said he would pick up the engine the next day. Early that morning I made arrangements to meet him for the pickup. John said, many times after that, “I’ll never forget you, Gifford, or that day – 09/11/01”.
The engine was finally delivered one snowy day in January and finally installed in April. From that day on we enjoyed countless sunlit days on Skaneateles Lake, NY as well as the many lakes in the Adirondack Mountains until, sadly, one day, she was sold. The new owner said he had seen her in the Skaneateles Boat Show and “just couldn’t stand not having that boat”.
One post script – I named the boat Lauren, after my daughter who lived in Texas at the time, but didn’t tell her until we went on our annual camp out to the Adirondacks and I asked her to help guide me backing into the campsite. It was then she saw the name on the stern for the first time – very emotional!