by Brian Keen member of the Ohio Valley chapter
Sometimes buying the right boat is meant to be. I always have loved the hardtop Lyman’s. Most hardtop Lyman’s usually run in the 25 to 26-foot range. I don’t really enjoy towing boats that big and I don’t have a lake house with a lift. About 8 years ago I finally saw a 22-foot Lyman hardtop come through an antique boat broker I worked for in Cincinnati. The owner was not asking a lot for it, but the boat needed a lot of work. I almost bought it at the time, but I didn’t pull the trigger. The boat finally sold to a good customer and he put some money into the boat and got it back on the water.
Fast forward 4 years I was no longer working for that boat broker. I had just started my own boat restoration shop in Cincinnati. I bought a building and finally had a place to keep and work on a boat of my own for a change. I was looking at Craigslist shortly after this and saw a 22-foot Lyman hardtop for sale in the Sandusky Ohio area. Seemed like a good omen since that is where they were built. The owner wasn’t asking much but said the boat had a few issues. I drove up to look at the boat and poked around and found the hull in generally good condition. Someone had put Nautolex all over the decks and the transom had some issues. The trailer looked in good shape but was about 2 feet too short for the boat. Since I had driven 3 or 4 hours to see it and knowing the shortfalls of the boat, I made a lower offer and we struck a deal. I got the boat back home and made the decision to start the major work on it as opposed to trying to use the boat that year. The more I took apart the more issues I found. In the end I replaced all of the decks with mahogany plywood, took off the top and rebuilt the roof, Installed a whole new transom, did a few rib repairs, Installed all new glass and weather stripping, completely stripped and repainted the hull in Awl Grip, Rechromed parts, Had the tank cleaned, New bilge pump, and on and on.
The boat shop got busy and I could only work on the boat when I had the time and space. Four years later the boat is done, and I finally got to take the boat out on its maiden voyage. Since I bought the boat, I started a business, got married and had kids. It’s a wonder I found any time to finish this project. I found that this is possibly the best family boat. It easy to tow, has room in the cuddy for a nap or for the kids to play in. You can be out in the sun or in the shade. It handles rough water very well and is fun to drive.
Recently the 22-foot Lyman that I almost purchased years ago has come into the possession of a good customer of mine. He saw my boat in the shop and said “Gosh, I’d love to have a boat like that”. I said that I knew where one was, and it could probably be bought as the owner had recently passed away. As I write this, they are sitting next to each other in my shop. Being that they only made around 15 of the 22-foot hardtops I think that makes this meant to be. Sometimes buying the right boat is meant to be.