Stiff wind made for a breezy time
ROCKPORT, Ill.—“When it starts out, the front end pops up like this,” said Todd Young, the owner of a 1954, 15-foot, Raveau “Bomb” with twin-Mercury outboards, holding his hand at a 45-degree angle. “And when it drops it goes boom and then pops up and boom and then—bam! It’s gone”—which is probably why it was nicknamed the “Bomb.”
Young brought a couple of antique boats to the Two Rivers Marina’s first-ever Antique Boat Show and Fall Fling on Saturday. He had his boats lined up on trailers with other beautifully restored vessels along the main parking area adjacent to the marina’s docks.
The motors Young put on the back were built in 1958, each 45 horsepower. He and his brother-in-law, Robb Ebbing, had restored and currently maintain the boat.
“It originally came with twins (engines),” he said. “It was the first boat made by Raveau with twins.” He added that it could cruise in the low 40s out on the open water. But it would “beat you to death and get you wet—very wet.” Even so, the smile would not leave his face when he described the work he had Ebbing had put into the boat. “The sound of the engines is just a mellowing that you don’t hear (from the engines of today’s boats),” he explained. “It would turn heads,” he added.
Usually, he said, he would give rides in the Raveau to people who come to boat shows such as this one. But the wind was a little too strong for that on Saturday.
He and Ebbing meet on Monday nights to work on boats. They are restoring one now, he said—a 1957 Century Pinto outboard that they are putting twin engines on, as well. The manufacturer later changed the boat’s name to the Palomino.
Not all the boats were on trailers in the parking lot. Lou and Tom Lenkman had motored up from St. Charles, 62 miles, to be part of the antique boat show. They came in a 1953 Chris Craft cabin cruiser. The trip took 10 hours because they were going against the current and fighting a 30 mph headwind that was pushing the craft all over the river. Lou said she and Tom rescued the “Willpower” 18 years ago.
“She had just gone through a sinking,” she explained. “But the good news was she sank in 36 inches of water and she only drafts 27.” They only paid $100 for her to the insurance company. From then on, they started restoring the boat piece by piece to its original state. The only thing not original to the Willpower is its flying bridge.
“All the teak was covered with Berber carpeting, because (the previous owners) lived on the boat in a marina,” she said. “We’re the third owners, and the first owners were from ‘53 to ‘68. In ‘68, the new owner put in new engines and had the flying bridge added.”
The only new thing the couple has added is the boat’s electronics, which they need for traveling. It still has the original icebox, which the Lenkmans continue to use to store their perishables. They two put in two newly refurbished 1972, 327 Corvette engines.
She said that every year they pick one big project to work on. This past year, Tom covered the hull from the waterline down in copper to prevent ice damage during the winter months the boat sits on the water.
Cindy Blaylock, one of the marina’s owners said she was pleased with the turnout for the Fall Fling. She said she would plan on a much larger turnout for next year based on the feedback she received from the vendors and boat owners. She said there had been a steady stream of people coming through all day.
Marina manager Laurell Hamilton said she was looking forward to the end of the season. But back around the middle of July when she realized that the end of boating season was coming up, “I got really depressed; I got sick to my stomach thinking, man, this is going to end. But now I’m ready. It’s been seven days a week since March.”
Next year, she said she believes the show will be triple its current size.
“The Outboard Club wants to get involved now,” Hamilton said. Quincy, St. Louis and two different boat clubs are looking to come next year, she added.
In addition to the boats, several vendors had set up their booths to sell their crafts and artwork, as well as boat related items. Hand-made furniture and other items were available, as well. There were a few food vendors there, as well.
The ever-popular Ed’s Shish Kabob truck was on hand, serving up some great kabobs or crab Rangoon. Edwin Dizon was being helped out by his son Ed Jr. Ed Sr. said he’s been cooking his famous shish kabobs for 33 years.
With a huge smile, he pointed his cooking tongs at his son and said, “He wasn’t born yet. When I started out I was that young. And now he tells me what to do.”
The 23-year old Ed Jr. said they normally work the Clarksville festival. And, in fact, had been set up at Applefest the weekend before. Smoke from the cooking meat was billowing up and blowing away in the breeze. There may have been a few people driving along Hwy. 54 that pulled in just because of the aroma coming off of Ed’s open-flame grill. The family works other events in the area, too.
Blaylock said to be sure and come back Dec. 5 for when Tropical Summer Santa comes ashore for their Christmas Extravaganza.