Feather Craft Vagabond Part One: From the boathouse to the doghouse…

Much is written about how women are pressured to act in a certain way, look a certain way, and generally live up to the pressure presented them in the media.

Well, it has long been my contention that the male of the species is never portrayed in a positive light in the media.  For example, how many commercials do you see on TV where the woman is always smarter than the male counterpart?  Cellular ads?  Breakfast foods?  Household cleaners?  The list is pretty much endless!

I have now done my part to support this theory by the ad agencies, and the media.  I have lived up the the vision of the male by heading from the BOATHOUSE to the DOGHOUSE in a very scant few seconds by purchasing a second vintage boat to restore.

This all began last summer when we bought a 1950 Thompson Lake TVT Cedar Strip 14 footer and restored it.  What a thrill to see this boat go from ugly duckling to noble vessel plowing the waters of the Mighty Muddy Maumee in 60 days.

I was so pleased with the outcome, I decided to try my hand repairing two 1956 Johnson RD18 30hp outboards to go with it.  Not being much of a motorhead, I found this to be enjoyable as well.(Much to my surprise!)   I then joined the Antique Outboard Motor Collectors ( aomci.com) to gain more knowledge about these old motors.  This is a national organization of people who gather monthly in various areas of the country and show their lastest classic motor, and the run them in a 55 gallon drum of water, or on their boats on a lake in the summer, etc.

I went to my first ever outboard swap meet in January.  My loving wife gave me “marching orders” not to come home with any more outboards.  After all I have seven to work on now.  I dutifully agreed.

Of course when I arrived at the swap meet I found a friend from Michigan had haul a 1955 Johnson 25 hp RD-17 down from his farm.  He knew I liked Johnson outboards for their style in the 1950’s.  I had seen this motor at his home and expressed interest in it, but passed on it at that time.  Well this time its stylish beauty got to me. 

Perhaps it was the cold weather…or more likely I was just being a male.  But I bought it and loaded it into the truck so he could have space to take home the six motors he purchased that day.  I rationalized I was doing him a favor since he liked Mercury outboards.  I also rationalized I was doing a service to this motor, as it would otherwise sit outside his workshop and probably not ever be a “runner” again.

I wandered inside the shop where the event was held, and looked over the many classics being displayed.  Then while wandering past a folding table I noticed a plastic sleeve with photos of a Feather Craft aluminum boat that was for sale.  I’d noticed these boats on the web and thought they were very stylish as aluminum boats go.  I wanted to eventually get one, but had not expected to find one so close to home.

img_0568b     mbibr05-37a







A set of photos of a restored 1955 Feather Craft Vagabond from http://www.feathercraft.net/index.html.  dig the sleek styling and that “barrel-back” transom.  The class of wood cruisers with the durability of aluminum.

I was introduced to the owner who stated he wanted 2000.00 with the original trailer and a Mercury outboard, but would take less.  He and his sons had used the boat, but the boys are now grown up and he hasn’t used the boat since 1999 or so.  He would be willing to talk price…he just wants to see it used by someone who will enjoy it.

Again living up to media expectations of being male, I thanked him and decided now was not the time to buy the boat…BUT!!!

I mulled the thought of this boat over for a while, a few weeks any way, and did some research on the website above, and elsewhere.  These boats were really built like an aircraft with riveted construction, and rated for 40hp before that “high horsepower motor” even existed!  The twin semi-enclosed cockpits wer a real “turn on”, and I thought it was just plain damned stylish!

I called the owner a few weeks later and we talked over price and came to terms minus the motor…which I certainly didn’t need.  I had decided to divest myself of several trombones I wasn’t playing, and had a few extra sheckles to toy with.  The thing was I forgot one important ingredient.


I had mentioned the boat to her, and was met with the equivalent of “You don’t need another boat.  You’ll shoot your eye out kid!”

Arrrgh!  The old “You’ll shoot your eye out kid” strategy!!

I lived up to the media portrayal of males by buying the boat…with the intention of telling her about it.  However after the purchase was made, I just plain lacked the 16 pound bowling ball sized testicles to tell her we owned a new vintage boat.

Oh how I tried!  But couldn’t do it.  The longer you wait the worse it’ll be.  I was right!

I told her.  She was mad, hurt, pissed.  Can’t blame her.  This is the stuff television writes about all the time.  However the laugh track was missing during our discussion.

Friendly advice…

I would advise anyone not to try this at home!  I am not a professional stunt person, so I’m certain I won’t try this method again.

Revenge from the Gods would be found on my wife’s behalf.  But you’ll have to tune in for that story in the next edition.

For now…remember…NOBODY REALLY LIKED RAYMOND!  Or those who act like that guy on televison.



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