By Robert Pelrine member of Chesapeake Bay Chapter

   One day in 2014 my wife, Verna, said out of the blue, “You need a project.”
A year earlier I spent 60 days in the hospital having four surgeries, fighting with infections caused by metals poisoning in a recalled hip device. I was sent home in a wheelchair never to walk again,these were especially grim days. A specialist, got me walking again after more surgeries and lots of rehab.

   Like old boats that rot and rust, I was the human version. So in my rehabbed state I went looking for an antique boat already rebuilt from the ground up.

   Miss. V was built in 1947 in the glory days of Garwood at their factory in Newport News, Va. She is hull #10406. She was shipped to Keuka Garwood Marine.

Sometime around 2002 Miss V was found in a barn and a full rebuild was undertaken in Canadaigua, NY.

   Like me before rehab, she was in rough shape, rotted wood and frames, a derelict engine, a daunting project. It leaves me deeply admiring those many amateur and professional boat builders across ACBS who undertake these rebuilds. An elderly gentleman in Florida owned Miss V. Sadly his boating days were ending. The owners and I agreed to terms and I brought Miss V to Maryland.

   I had a through survey done and began a process to refasten the bottom and glass it with two layers of 10 oz. cloth. The engine needed a rebuild and a new paint job. In the process, I changed her 6 volt system to 12 volt and added an engine blower. She is a very usable piece of furniture!

   All of this was done with the help of Joe Reid, Mast and Mallet Boat Works and Keith Gunther of GPS Marine.
   As I approach 75 and Miss V approaches 72, all the parts and pieces work albeit with lubricant for both of us. I can enjoy quiet mornings and evenings on the Magothy River, an ideal body of water just off the Chesapeake Bay.

   In 2016, Miss V had come full circle from that barn, to win the Competitors Choice Award at the ACBS/Chesapeake Bay Chapter annual show at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. It was a proud moment in her life and mine.

   What I learned from my hospital days is that the patient responds to care and skill. Antique boats are no different. With vision and hope both can be brought back to life.


  1. Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey. I too began a restoration on a 1946 Ensign about 6 months ago, but being a weekend warrior, it is taking a long time to complete each task. Your story and others who have shared their experiences with similar projects are just the inspiration needed to keep plodding on with what, at times, seems like endless mindless tasks. Hopefully, when I finally complete this restoration, it will look as good as your Miss V.

    • Hi, by all means keep up the good fight!!
      I always marveled at how well and straight forward their construction is . It is a long labor of love no doubt ! There’s nothing better than the distinctive sound of that Ace engine out on the water. Good luck.

  2. This article and pictures bring back fond memories of my formative years on Lake George. I spent summers on the lake and an elderly gentleman befriended me (or the other way around maybe) and he taught me all I know about boating and the rules of the road. In the late 40s, he bought this exact boat for LG use; but not sure from whom he purchased the boat; perhaps Lamb Brothers in Bolton Landing. The Garwood was only 16′ with a 95 horse inboard. If you had a few (4+) in the boat, I recall that all the passengers had to stand forward in order for it to plane off. Once on plane, it scooted along quite well; easy to handle too.

    Later, in the early 50s, he purchased a ~1950 Chris Craft 22’ Utility from Lamb Brothers and I think traded the Garwood; although I’m not sure of that; perhaps it stayed on LG. I saw one a few years ago at the Clayton museum under restoration; had not seen one since the 40s. I also saw one in the water at the ACBS International meeting in Clayton last year.

    These pictures and article bring back wonderful memories of growing up in a boating world and having a knowlegible gentleman educate me about boats and boating. My job, even before I was 10, was to “skipper” the Chris and bring the two families home from the “watering holes” around LG. Really fund times

    • Hi Ed,
      Thx for your response. I too have many fond memories of Lake George, in an earlier life I was a member of the Paulist Fathers who still have a summer retreat house and a few Islands on the Lake.
      One of our boats was a U22 at the time . Needless to say it was pretty beat up by rambunctious seminarians who needed a USCGA course desperately!!
      I had a U22 of my own In the 90s which I sold to an owner on Lake Sunapee, NH.
      Yes lots of fond memories!

    • Hi No and yes, the bottom was planked from the first restoration and yes the number plate is as I received it!

  3. Bob, what a great story. The parallel story of the old boat and your own personal story make for a good read. Congrats on your award. I’ll look forward to ride on Miss V on my next visit to Annapolis.

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