Sunnyland Member Boat Story - Bill & Kathleen Root
Every Boat Has a Story......What's in a Name?
Bill & Kathleen Root's "Almost Eight"
Our Fall “Every Boat has a Story” feature comes from our Sunnyland Chapter Secretary Bill Root. Bill and his ever-patient wife, Kathleen, run the Registration process for our annual Mt Dora Boat Festival – you are sure to see their smiling faces as one of the first people you meet at our show. If you are out on the water in the Tavares-Mount Dora area – you might be (unlucky?!) enough to meet “Captain Bill” – as he is a member of the SeaTow team and provides aid to disabled boaters all over the Dora chain of lakes….. Read on to hear Bill’s answer to the question “What’s in a Name?” – The story of the boat name of his Grand 1962 - 22 foot Shepard – “Almost Eight”.
Every name on the back of a transom tells a story.....What's YOURS?
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I purchased Almost Eight at a Toronto Chapter spring workshop I attended with a couple of friends from the Fingerlakes Chapter when I was living in Upstate New York. We were all Canadian boat fans, so thought it would be fun to visit some of the first class restoration shops in the Muskoka region who worked regularly on the Ditchburns, Greavettes, Dukes and Shepherds we admired so much. I already had a 19' Shepherd utility in my garage that I was getting ready to start restoring. In fact, the boat was turned, the planking was stripped off, I had all the new planking stacked, and was getting ready to start the new bottom.
The third shop on the tour was Stan Hunter's. As we drove down the long winding road to his parking area I spied this 22' Shepherd V-Drive sitting out in front of his shop with a for sale sign on it. It had all its original hardware and upholstery, and was a late model 60's boat, so had the big Chrysler wedge engine. I talked it over with Stan, made what I thought was a ridiculous offer which the seller took, and two weeks later in April of 1998 it was sitting in my storage barn near Syracuse.
John Ford found a buyer for my 19 footer and helped me put a new bottom on the 22. Then I was transferred to Minneapolis where I built a pole barn behind our house that had a workshop for the boat on one side and stalls for my wife Kathleen's horses on the other. I did all of the hull work there with assistance from Dan Nelson when I needed a pro to point me in the right direction. Then the boat went on the road again when I was transferred to Florida in 2005. I had the 413 Chrysler rebuilt and the upholstery done here in Florida by Steele Fiberglass and Marine.
The marque brand for the 2006 Sunnyland boat show was Shepherd, so we worked like dogs to get the boat done in time. We finished the boat the day before the show in March of 2006, almost eight years after I bought her.
Transom of Bill's 1962 Shepard
Captain Bill and the Root Family in Beautiful "Almost Eight!"