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While visiting vintage and classic boat shows around the country, what sometimes seems so evident, beyond just the spectacular restorations, is where did all this come from? I mean, sure, it was in the boathouse just last week, but really, what is the story behind this boat. Why did it survive while thousands of others hadn’t? What kind of provenance stands behind it and who were the caretakers before that ensured that it would be here, right in front of you, today? Who built it, and where is their place in history? Can we place it in the timeline of our families, before we were born?
If you are lucky, the owner of each boat will be there, waiting to tell the story of their boat. Perhaps they know the history, back to the builder, previous owners, why its condition is just the way it is. Maybe the known history is more short-term, based on where the current owner has found it and lovingly breathed new life and spirit back into a weathered hulk, found behind an old building, left for dead. Or it could be that it is all original, needing only a thorough cleaning to make it serviceable once again. Still showing its scars of usage, these proud survivors are still out on the water serving their intended purpose: pleasure boating.
Long, short, it makes no difference, each boat has a history, a heritage of how it has come to this place. While the artifact is indeed amazing, the journey to bring it back to life is even more so. Bob Matson’s book, What’s In Your Boat House? Amazing Stories of Nautical Archeology, brings these journeys to light in this intriguing collection!
Lee Wangstad – Boat Historian and Author
"I was born on a dock and wrapped in swaddling camouflage."
- Bob Matson, Author
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