From John Vyverberg, Chief Judge, Wine Country Classic Boats/ACBS

At our Wine Country Classic Boats’ 40th Annual Show on Saturday July 15, 2023, in Hammondsport, New York, we made the new Resto-Mod category an official judging category for the first time.

I am please to announce that the Resto-Mod Award Winner was a 1964 15′ Custom Craft, Speed Ray, named Tiny Dancer and owned by Kevin Hotchkiss of Boca Raton, Florida.

More from Kevin Hotchkiss, ACBS Member

Thank you for reaching out and sharing the great news (I was not able to attend the awards banquet) from last week’s show! I recently acquired Tiny Dancer from a talented gentleman from Connecticut, Jerry, who turned a vision and project into quite the creation in his workshop to stay busy during retirement. Here is what I displayed at the Hammondsport Show… in Jerry’s words…The Previous and Very Talented Designer/Fabricator/Owner: 

You’re looking at a 1964, customized, Custom Craft Speed Ray, manufactured in Buffalo, New York. I was looking for an outlet for my creative, fabrication and mechanical skills when I saw this boat. I liked the design and decided to rescue it from open/outdoor “storage” and convert it into what it is today, really cool, and one of a kind.

I modified it from a back-to-back four-seater to a two-seater with lounging bed. I wanted the design to be clean, so there are no garish colors or graphics; everything is either white or yellow except for the snaps and the windshield tie-downs.

I did all the work on the boat, motor and trailer myself except the boat paint and the engine setup. And everything in this boat is new except the hull, steering wheel and TeleFlex steering cable.

I worked on this project on-and-off for three years. She was relaunched on Candlewood Lake, Connecticut, September 18, 2022. I put her through the paces and she ran great, was stable and the seating was very comfortable. I’m 6′-5” tall and I fit. We received lots of “thumbs-up”. A fun, unique boat.

THE BOAT: I separated the top from the bottom and installed a new 1.5” thick transom, restructured the underside of the bow and installed new foam and plywood floor. Transom and all wood that could see water is marine plywood, all other framing lumber is water resistant (Zip system) plywood.


The seats are firm foam with Dacron batting and marine vinyl covering. All new wiring, lights, switches, fuses, master cut-off, etc. New installs include: Boss stereo and speakers, ignition switch, bilge blower, rub rail, 22 gallon permanent fuel tank, fuse block, horn, engine control cables, bow and transom lights, courtesy lights below the bow, at the fuses and by the new battery, fuel gauge and temperature gauge.

There is a up-down switch on the motor and at the helm. There are switches that raise/lower the backrest of the lounge pads by way of electric pistons. The speaker/bimini arch is constructed with a plywood frame, rigid foam and a fiberglass covering. The windshield is curved plywood covered in fiberglass and several coats of paint. 

THE ENGINE: 1991 Johnson 48SPL (50hp) with power tilt. Two cylinder two-stroke. 50/1 fuel to oil ratio. New water pump, all gaskets, CDI electronic ignition, plugs and wires, rebuilt carburetors and starter. I did all the work except the carburetor and starter rebuild, and engine set up were performed by a professional marine motor mechanic. Compression is a little more than 130psi in both cylinders. New paint and decals, nice and clean. Starts and runs great, plenty of power for this boat, pushes it to about 30mph +/- 


  1. Wow ! Very impressive! I sincerely appreciate the creativity and craftsmanship on this project. Resto-Mod indeed.

  2. This turned out very nice. Looks like it also got a new trailer to go with the new look. I like this one. It pleases me to see these old boats brought back to life.

  3. I didn’t know that there was a RestoMod class when I built this boat, I was bored, realized that it had potential, and went for it. It took three years (with time off for too hot, too cold, and family commitments) and it was great fun. I appreciate that it’s appreciated. I’m looking for another boat to rescue.

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