By Leeann Wickens member of the Michigan chapter
The Nicodemus is a John’s Bay Lobster Picnic Yacht that was built in Maine in 1996. The builder, Peter Kass, specializes in commercial lobster boats and this was one of the first custom pleasure boats he constructed. While in Charlevoix, Michigan for a wedding, we met with a friend who showed us a picture of a down east-style boat that he had ridden on that was for sale. We had sold our 28′ Bertram 30 years prior, and we were not looking for another boat. However, this one was beautiful and we immediately tried to make arrangements to view it.
Unfortunately, it was February and the boat had been wrapped and locked up in a storage shed. Over the next 6 months we drove 400 miles round trip on four separate occasions to see the boat before deciding to call the builder in Maine in search of additional information. When we asked about it, Peter Kass knew exactly which boat we were talking about, saying, “Yes, the Ramsey boat.” We noted this down thinking that this was the model name, when he continued, asking “What year was that little girl killed? It was a few years after that.” It turned out that the boat was built for John Ramsey, father Jon Benet Ramsey,( the unfortunate victim of the infamously unsolved murder in Denver), by Peter Kass for Round Lake/Lake Michigan and designed by Carroll Lowell.
The Nicodemus features a 35 x 10 ft single-planked cedar on oak displacement hull with teak top decks. It is powered by a 454 cubic- inch Chevy Marine, turning a 4-blade 22 x 14 prop. It displaces 8000 lbs and has a wet weight on scale of 12,000 lbs. She only had 150 hours on her when we bought her, but was in need of refinishing due to sun exposure. We had all surfaces sanded and revarnished by an excellent boat restorer, Don Ault, and all canvas replaced. She is kept in a covered well and is always covered in customized canvas when not in use.
We have entered her in numerous boat shows and have won over 20 awards included Commodore Award at the Detroit Yacht Club, Presidents Cup, 1st place in Late Classic. But we have won numerous People’s Choice Awards, which we prize the most.
We mostly cruise around Lake St Clair, Detroit River, the St. Clair River and Lake Huron, for activities like swimming and picnics. She is often called the “airport taxi” by our children when they fly into town and travel back towards our home via from the Nicodemus and the Detroit River.
Nicodemus has recently been sold and made her way back to her home port in Maine.