By Janet Lowry, Ronkonkoma NY

This 1957 Thompson 15-foot outboard belonged to my late Uncle. He loved his vintage lapstrake boats, and has passed that interest onto me! The Thompson needs cosmetics and is on the “to do” list.

My love for Thompson boats goes back to when I was in the 3rd grade. My dad spotted an abandoned lapstrake beached late in the fall of 1973 in Oyster Bay, NY. He wanted to save that boat because of its well-constructed design. So, on Thanksgiving morning we launched our small outboard (that dad made from a kit) and off we went to salvage that Thompson! Dad was towing the Thompson while my sister, myself, and my mom were all riding in it marking where water was coming in and bailing at a fast rate! There was a small hole right at the waterline which allowed a steady flow of water to come in until my mom plugged it up with an old Fruit of the Loom undershirt that was in the boat! Hence the name, Fruit of the Loom II for my Uncle’s Thompson.

My Uncle is pictured sitting on the trailer with the boat the day it was removed from his house and brought to mine. He was so happy that his interest in wood boats was being passed down to the next generation. This Thompson is reminiscent of our family’s first Thompson.



  1. What a great story. My best friends family has had two Thompson’s for all the 53+ years I have known him. A 1961 Sea Lancer and an Off Shore. Both are beautiful boats.
    We have places on Lake Vermilion in NE Minnesota. My wife and I have a plastic 18’ Calae which is a nice boat but not as great as the older ones. Thanks for the story.

    • What a great story. I have been restoring a 1959-17’ for the past three years that I bought from my best friends family. It will live on the Chesapeake Bay when complete. So nice to see a Thompson story on ACBS weekly.

    • I bought a 1964 Thompson 16 foot from Lake Vermilion about10 + years ago. I didn’t get it in the water before I discovered a 1962 Cruisers Inc 18 foot IO. Sold the Thompson and fully restored the Cruisers. My favorite boat of all time in over 50 years of boating.

  2. In 1958 my father bought out my uncle’s share in our family bungalow. My uncle bought a new 16′ Thompson with a new 35 hp Evinrude and a trailer. It was a nice riding boat on Lake Hopatcong in NJ and it smelled great with the fresh varnish. Unfortunately I was too young to drive it.

  3. Hi cousin Janet, cousin Kevin here giving a shout out from Portland Maine. It was so nice to see a picture of Uncle John–I had lost touch with him in his later years before he passed. I too came to love the old wooden boats largely due to his influence during our many camping trips to Lake George, NY and poking around the old boat houses in my youth. As a result, I became a real Chris Craft fan. I restored a 1956 17′ runabout in 1986-87 which I unfortunately had to sell. However, last yr I acquired a 1947 17′ Deluxe runabout and got back in the game. It’s currently undergoing restoration on Great Pond in Belgrade, ME. I hope to post a picture or two of her when she’s done (which as we all know is pretty much a moving target!).

    • Hi Kevin,
      Great to hear from you! Hope everyone is well. Glad to hear you got another boat! I think I will have to live to 125 years of age to get all the work on boats finished! It’s a wonderful hobby with great memories. I’ve been working on the Lyman for a few years now. Lets keep in touch! My email is [email protected] and am in the ACBS registry. Would love to see some pictures of your Chris.

  4. Thank you for your story. Love those Thompsons and their cousins the Cruisers, Inc’s. I have two 1964’s here in NH. A 23ft Navigator, and a 20ft Vacationer. The 23′, True Blue, is my first boat, purchased back in 2013. Saw it on the side of the road and after two trips driving past on a business trip, I stopped on my way back and I got the “boat bug”. They are great boats. Strong built, and dry riding. I wish you much enjoyment on the water with Fruit of the Loom II.

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