by Steve Leslie, first published in Dry Dock, digital newsletter of the Okanagan Chapter of ACBS
Louise and I had been looking for a while to fnd a bigger boat. We love Lulubelle, our 1942 17’ Chris Craft runabout, but after we pack all our coolers and beach stuff in the back seat there’s not much room left, nor is it much fun if the water is rough. It seems that the bigger boat bug bit me!
This summer we found a 1951 19’ Holiday on Craigslist. Another bad habit of mine. The boat was located in Moses Lake WA. After countless emails and texts, we arranged to go see it. Buying a wooden boat is an emotional experience for me filled with anxiety, excitement, hope, and anticipation. Especially when you have to travel some distance to see it. You do as much research and get as many photos as you can, but you never know what you have till you get home and go through it.
The seller had a limited knowledge of the boat’s history. He purchased the boat around 2006 from a family in the Seattle area. It had had a cosmetic restoration in the late 90’s? It has its original engine and bottom and retains its 6v charm. It doesn’t appear to have had many modifications. After using it for four seasons, the owner put the boat in his storage locker at Moses Lake. The area has a very dry climate. Time and lack of humidity left the planks to shrink on her planking.
After changing the oil and some minor work, the 120 hp Hercules fired right up. Runs like a top! I don’t think there are many hours on the rebuild. The interior was redone during the restoration and is still in good shape although not the correct colour. The marmoleum floor needs replacing. She still sports the original bottom and is crying for some paint. For some reason, I’m always attracted to projects rather than finished things.
After having the boat home on the coast I am finding a lot of the gaps are closing up with our rainy climate. I had one opportunity to put her in the water and go for a short test run. With a beam of almost 7’ wide this boat is so big and spacious, it’s like driving Grandpa’s big Oldsmobile!
I have not been able to acquire the hull card as the Mariners Museum is still closed down, but I did receive a small miracle last week. The granddaughter of the Seattle family that owned the boat contacted me. She was helping her grandmother who doesn’t throw much away, go through some stuff and found a huge amount of paperwork and photos belonging to the Holiday. She told me that her late grandfather purchased the in Lake Geneva, WI. in 1956. It was the family boat and it had been enjoyed over the years. I’m anxious to see what she sends me.
“For me, working on these old boats as well as collecting and preserving their history is a huge part of our hobby. It’s also such a big thrill to drive and enjoy them the way they were meant to so many years ago!”
Many of the 53 ACBS Chapters publish newsletters and magazines that include their local news plus valuable information about vintage boat and boating history, and techniques for preservation and restoration of our boats.
Thank you, Steve Leslie, editor of the Okanagan Chapter’s Dry Dock, for sharing this article from their most recent publication.
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