If you’re thinking you missed the annual wooden boat show in Coeur d’Alene this summer, don’t abandon ship just yet.
The event was postponed until this weekend. And in lieu of the usual display of classic boats from the Northwest, this one features a larger, more varied collection from owners across the U.S. and Canada.
The Antique & Classic Boat Society is meeting this week at the Coeur d’Alene Resort, and attendees will have more than 100 boats on display there today and Saturday.
“It’s an appreciation of the past; it’s an appreciation of a culture,” said B.K. Powell, a Spokane resident who will be there with Bon Bois, his 1955 Chris-Craft Sportsman. “It’s like walking through the past. All these boats have a story to tell.”
This is the third time since 2002 the organization has met in Coeur d’Alene, with the Inland Empire chapter hosting.
Both preserved boats, with mostly original materials, and restored boats will be on display, and around 70 will vie for the group’s boat of the year award. They include runabouts, with seating like that in a car, and utility boats with open floor designs.
While most are wooden boats, some are fiberglass and metal.
“We celebrate an era, not a material,” said Jeff Stebbins, co-chairman of the annual meeting and show.
Three time periods are represented: historic boats (pre-1920), antiques (1920-1941) and classics (1946-1967). Pleasure boats weren’t manufactured during World War II.
Some of the standouts on display include a 1929 Chris-Craft Commuter, built to ferry the wealthy up and down the Hudson River; a 1929 Hacker Craft; and a 1921 Yandt built at Yandt Boat Works where the Coeur d’Alene Resort now stands. In another local connection, several mid-1950s boats from Post Falls-based Stan-Craft Boat Co. will be moored at the resort docks.
Powell bought Bon Bois – it’s French for “good wood” – about 12 years ago. The Chris-Craft, with a 120-horsepower Hercules engine, spent most of its life on Lake Pend Oreille, and he keeps it now at Rockford Bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene.
“It’s all original. There’s no replaced wood on it; it’s got an original engine in it,” he said. “Most of us try to keep boats original. It’s kind of like car collectors.”
Powell refinishes it every five to six years. “They’re like pieces of furniture – you’ve got to keep them polished.”
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