My Father-In-Law (Tom), had an old car top boat,
from back when cars had rooftops that could carry
the weight (these boats are heavy). Well thru the
years the car top boat slowly decayed. A new paint
job was not the answer to its needs. He finally
was going to toss the boat out and asked if I
wanted it. I should have said no, but I do not
regret saying, "Yah, sur, Ja Betcha!" (Minnesotan
The boat was an old fiberglass dingy that originally
had redwood trim and seats that had been coated along
with the rest of the boat, during the many paintovers.
When I stripped all the paint off the boat, at least
10 coats of paint, none of which was marine paint,
I saw I had lot of work ahead.
The hull had been patched along the water line in
two places where something punctured the side of
the boat, and would have to be repaired. The trim
and seats were completely rotted through. The wood
keel had to be replaced, and the bolts through the
bottom of the boat were more rust than metal and
snapped off when trying to remove the keel.
Redwood trim and seats and a keel, shaped from a
treated 2 x 4. I painted the outside of the boat
Fire Engine Red, and the inside of the hull Bright
White. Marine paint is expensive and so is the
primer, but the big cost was the redwood for the
trim and seats which were all coated with Spar
Varnish and sanded between the many coats of varnish.
Peewee, my Father-in-Law's lifelong friend, came
over to see the old fishing boat they use to fish
in. Peewee told me that I could come over to
his house for the motor any time I wanted to get
Seemed that Tom bought the boat, and Peewee bought
the motor, because neither back then could afford
to buy both. Life-long friends and fishing buddies.
Anyway I went over to see this outboard expecting
it to be a wreck, like the boat had been. To my
surprise, I found a mint conditioned "Evenrude
Fleet-twin 7½-horse outboard. Peewee had maintained
it thru the years, it did not even have a scratch
on the engine housing.
Finally the big day came to launch the boat (with
the motor). I made sure that Tom and Peewee were
there for the relaunching. I had named the boat
After it was in the water and did not sink, I
told them to get in to take it out on its new
Every year on White Bear Lake they have a classic
boat parade on the 4th of July. To join the
parade of boats, entrants have to have a boat
that is over 40 years old and as close to original
as possible. I was accepted to join the parade
of boats, but was stuck at the end of the parade
as the only dinghy in the group.
The day of the parade came and everyone got into
position for the parade around the lake. The people
who live on the lake were down on their docks with
friends to view the grand procession of boats.
Others were lined-up on the public beaches with
their folding chairs to take in the festivities.
I was very proud of my work and what I had accomplished
repairing the boat. When we finally past the official
reviewing stands, I heard some of the judges break out
in laughter when my boat came into view. The boat was
more beautiful then it ever had been, as I had waxed
the outside of the hull to make it shine in the sunlight.
I paraded past the judges on the reviewing stand
with the little boat shining, the red paint glowing,
and the name "Ima" clearly visible on the side of
the boat. I had a tall pole placed on the mid-seat
of the boat with signal flags (bow-to-stern)
fluttering in the breeze and an American Flag waving
at the stern. I sat erect, at the tiller of the
Evenrude as the judges where poking each other in
their sides and pointing at my little boat.
I won the trophy for best boat in the parade. The
reason that the judges were just about falling out
of their chairs was the boats name and the signal
flags I had running from bow to stern. If you
can read signal flags, the message aloft said,
"Ima Little Dingy." ~ Parnelli