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Citizen's View: Vintage boating community partners with Heritage Council for August show

More than 35 classic boats will be on display Aug. 23 at the Lake Corporation docks adjoining Sundeleaf Park on State Street, representing the floating portion of the Oswego Heritage Council’s Collector Car and Classic Boat Show.

This display is the result of a partnership developed over several years between the OHC and the Columbia Willamette Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society (ACBS), a group of approximately 100 vintage boat enthusiasts in the metro area. The society is an international organization, with more than 60 chapters, 8,000 members and 12,000 craft. It is arguably the definitive authority regarding vintage boats.

ACBS categorizes vintage boats this way:

-- Historical: Up to and including 1918;

-- Antique: 1919 thru 1942;

-- Classic: 1943 thru 1975;

-- Contemporary: 1976 and boats older than 25 years.

Notably, ACBS definitions do not mandate wood construction. Although many associate vintage boats feature rich mahogany wood under gleaming varnish, vintage boats were in fact constructed of many other materials, including metal. The Contemporary class was recently added to acknowledge the role of fiberglass boats thru 1975 in the evolution of the hobby.

So what binds this group together, and how does the Columbia Willamette Chapter fit into the larger realm of recreational boating?

Although the local chapter isn’t large in number of members, it puts down an oversize footprint both from the stature of its members and the quality of their craft. For example, two chapter members have served on the national board as treasurer (Dick Winn) and national president (Dick Werner). Two boats have received the ultimate recognition from ACBS as national Boat of the Year. Dick Werner earned the honor with his 1941 triple cockpit Century, “Sweet Louise,” and John Russell was similarly recognized with his 1939 Gar Wood triple cockpit, “Truant II.”

Among the classic boating community, the annual show at Lake Tahoe is to boaters what the Pebble Beach Concours is to classic car owners — the ultimate venue to display their craft. In that demanding environment, the Columbia Willamette Chapter has more than held its own, with many First Place class awards and several Best of Show trophies.

But winning trophies at shows is only a portion of the chapter’s activities. Its calendar year is filled every month with technical symposiums, cruises, social events and major gatherings, such as the annual Dry Rot Festival at Priest Lake, Idaho.

For those interested in exploring membership in the organization, it should be noted that you do not have to be a boat owner. Several members are between boats, and with a chapter membership containing three professional restorers and numerous members with substantial boat technical experience, a network is available for help and advice.

You’ll find more information at the chapter’s registration desk at the Lake Corporation docks on Aug. 23. You’ll also find an informal organization dedicated to fun, the love of vintage boating and “welcome aboard” camaraderie.

Roger L. Rollins is a resident of Lake Oswego. For more information about the Columbia Willamette Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, go to www.cwc-acbs.org. For more about the Collector Car and Classic Boat Show, visit www.oswegoheritage.org/car-boat-show-1.


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