Boats are common place in the Okanagan but it’s not every day you see a classic boat from the second world war era.
“When you take a boat like this down to dock people just swarm the boat,” says boat restorer Andrew Middleton.
Middleton owns Boathouse Bay Classics, a boat restoration business.
He put in more than 1,000 hours restoring a 1941 Chris-Craft custom boat that just earned him a top award at a prestigious classic boat show in Lake Tahoe.
The wooden barrel stern has quite the history.
It wasn’t used much during and after the second world war and in 1966 it was locked up for a long time in New Hampshire.
“It sat in a dark boat house for 40 years,” says Middleton.
Eventually it made its way to Kelowna and into the hands of Middleton whose been restoring boats for 25 years.
He found the boat for a client, an Ontario man who is an avid classic car collector and wanted to add a classic boat to his collection.
Middleton has restored the vessel to what’s called “as delivered condition”
“That means the boat should look like it did in 1941 from Chris-Craft factory,” says Middleton.
Indeed it does. So much so, the boat just won a top award at one of the world’s most prestigious classic boat shows in Lake Tahoe.
It’s a huge accomplishment that involved a lot of work that at times was very challenging.
“None of the screws were touched. The way things were put on the boat were put on at the factory. It was never touched so I had to document all that info because when I put the boat back together I wanted to make sure it was as Chris-Craft did it so it was a huge undertaking,” says Middleton.
His brother Bruce Middleton also works at the family business and has watched his brother work hard to restore the vintage boat.
“It is a long time coming. Andrew has been doing this for 25 odd years. For him to enter a prestigious show like this first time out, first time for boat being judged, for it being placed first, is an amazing accomplishment very proud of him,” says Bruce Middleton.
Of the 12 boats in this category to be judged, two others also won top awards but the difference is those boats had been entered in numerous judged events before and each time improvements were made.
“Every time the judge says this is wrong, that’s wrong, that’s wrong and they improve it and enter again. They keep entering them. The amazing thing that we accomplished was that we entered this boat to be judged for the first time and we came out on top.” Says Middleton.
As for what’s next for the custom boat, that’s up to the owner but Middleton believes its days on the water are far from over.
“He is not about to put it into his large warehouse. He wants to see the boat used and I am sure it will be here in Okanagan,” says Middleton.