By John McClelland. Photos taken by Debbie McClelland and Babs Hammersla

Great family memories are made while boating on the water but we can’t forget to make memories in all aspects of boating. Our active family is one that thoroughly enjoys many aspects of boating and spending time on the water. Our children, Norah (8 years old) and Luke (10 years old), both enjoy fishing, water skiing, tubing, kneeboarding, swimming, cruising, and tying up with friends and family. My wife Debbie and I enjoy supporting our children’s endeavors and pursuing our own water-based sports and hobbies. So, it didn’t come as a surprise when Debbie mentioned that she’d like to get a wooden boat at some point; and with that comment the search began.

The excitement of adding a classic wooden boat to our family was shared by all. In June 2021, we found a 1935 triple-cockpit HackerCraft for sale on an online auction and after multiple conversations with the owner, Mr. Don Hammersla, we purchased it. The real fun was about to begin, and memories were getting ready to be made!

Our family decided to take a family vacation to get the boat – from Mooresville, NC to Laconia, NH. After spending a couple of days as tourists in New York City we headed to Lake Winnipesaukee; what a beautiful area of the country to visit. After exploring the Lakes Region of NH with hiking, a postal boat ride on Lake Winnipesaukee, enjoying Weirs Beach and a visit with Mark Mason and his team at New England Boat & Motor we headed home with a brief stop in Bennington, VT.

We arrived back in Mooresville the following day – just in time to enter the boat in an Independence Day parade, another instant round of memories with family and friends. The 86-year-old triple-cockpit boat was a big hit with the parade watchers as well as the kids in the boat.

Since then, Norah, Luke, my dad and I have enjoyed working on the boat and have been making memories alongside each other. Making the boat ours is a great way to spend time together and learn about this vessel.

In July, I was able to meet up with Mr. Hammersla at his home in Southport, NC. He and his wife Babs graciously welcomed me in their home where we discussed the boat and its history. The Hammersla’s were generous with their knowledge of the boat and shared stories of how they procured the boat in 2003 (only the 2nd owner) after the boat had sat in a barn for nearly 50 years. Mr. Hammersla shared stories and photos of the restoration process that he took the boat through. It was a great way to pass along their memories of the boat so they’ll continue on.

This boat will stay part of our family for many years and will continue to be included in our family memories – both on the water and off!

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