By John Young member of the Water Wonderland chapter
As far back as I can remember I have known the 1958 Lyman I own. Our neighbor on Douglas Lake, Michigan, who originally owned the boat, would use it as the committee boat for our local sailboat fleet races. Sometimes Mom and I would go along and I always loved to watch the wake develop as we slowly picked up speed. In 1975, when I was 15, I got a call from our neighbor asking if I would help him load the boat on a trailer to take it to the dump. He had tried to sell it all summer for $50 with motor and everything with out success. On the way to the dump I talked him into letting me have it if it was alright with my parents. They said yes, so the next summer I spent refinishing it inside and out and started using it the following summer for waterskiing, committee boat, and visiting friends around the lake.
The original 35hp Johnson died after a few years and I replaced it with a 1959 Evenrude 35hp. By 1987 the decks were coming apart. I was working by then and was renting a house in Ann Arbor with a garage so I bought a trailer, took it home, and started to restore it. I removed everything down to planks and ribs, stripped the finish inside and out, and started repairing or replacing ribs, keelsons, planks, transom or any other place I found rot. I didn’t feel up to replacing the gunnels but fortunately, Lyman was still in business and I was able to order a new set of gunnels which I picked up from the factory in Sandusky. I’ll always remember that visit, seeing the big band saws, the iron strong-backs, and talking to some of the workers who had worked there when they were still making new wooden boats.
I had refinished the hull and interior and was ready to replace the decks when I got married and was about to move to Seattle. The day before we left I decided I couldn’t leave the Lyman behind so the next morning I scurried around and found a hitch that would fit the rental truck and set off with boat in tow. Over the next two months, while interviewing for a job, I finished the decks and at the end of the summer of 1989, I rechristened the boat in Lake Washington.
During the 3 years we were there, we used the boat on several of the lakes there and once in Puget Sound down by Olympia. Returning to Michigan in 1992, I started using it on Douglas lake again and as our family grew, taught our kids to waterski and use the boat. I joined the ACBS in the 90’s and in 2008, for the boats 50th anniversary, participated in a cruise of the inland waterway from Alanson to Indian River, where the boat was originally purchased, in a recreation of its maiden voyage. I found a 1958 Johnson like the original motor around that time and continued to use the boat until 2016 when I discovered several of the bottom planks had rot and, since I had just finished a complete restoration of a 1953 Chris Craft 17ft Sportsman, I put the boat in storage until either I or my son have time to repair it. I’m very attached to “The Lyman” as are my kids and I hope it will be part of our family for a long time to come.
A great story about a member of your family, which the boat is!
Great story, thanks for sharing! So glad you saved that Lyman and nice to hear it became part of your life. I’m working on my 1959 Lyman that belonged to my Uncle. I too, remembered that boat from when I was a kid & always admired it.