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Perseverance Pays Off

George Emmanuel

June 26, 2018

Owners Story

Like most collectors my eyes are always peeled for a forgotten, hidden gem. For me those are the best finds. For many years I drove past a 17’ Higgins Sportster tucked in a barn on an old Gainesville family’s property visible only in the winter when the vines covering the fence had died back. The owner was a friend of my father-in-law and that opened the door for conversation about the boat. “Jack, how about selling me that boat”?—“Nope, I’m going to fix it up someday”. How many times have I heard that statement!

Jack’s health was slowly deteriorating, and I knew the boat would continue to sit. Every time I would see Jack I’d ask the same question, and I got the same reply. That went on for over 20 years. About 3 years ago I ran into him and his wife in a restaurant and again the question was asked. Jack looked at me and said, “George, I’m not going to sell you the boat,—-I’m going to give it to you”! His wife looked at me and said, “You’d better get over there and get it quickly before he changes his mind”, and I did that afternoon.

We estimate it is a 1948 model with a Chrysler Ace engine. The boat has a curved dash and was originally purchased by another old time Gainesville of whom the son Tom is a friend of mine. When I contacted Tom about the boat Tom told me his dad ordered it from Higgins and drove to New Orleans to pick it up. It is now at my shop awaiting a restoration after I finish my 17’ Chris Craft Sportsman.

Meet Our New Membership Chair

Don Johnson

June 24, 2018

 We would like to introduce our new membership chair but before we do, we would like to thank Mr. Ray Garratt and his wife Valerye for the past 12 years they chaired our membership committee. Through these years under the leadership of Ray our chapter grew to be the largest in all of ACBS.

Now let’s get to know our new membership chair Mr. Don Johnson

I was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  I met my wife, Sandy, on a blind date in 1971 and we were married within a year.  We have two children.  Our son, Lonnie, and his family live in Carmel, Indiana.  Our daughter, Kelly, and her family live in Rising Sun, Maryland.  I was the Environmentalist for a Nuclear Power Plant for 40 years.

Boating for me started in 1955 on the Cedar River on my grandfather’s 1947 Thompson.  In the mid 70’s Sandy and I traded our 1963 Corvette Coupe with our friends for their 1967 Larson cutty cabin and we then spent 40 years boating out of Guttenberg, Iowa, on the Mississippi River.  Over the years we owned a variety of boats, some of which Sandy knew about and others that I somehow bought and thought I could keep secret until she and our daughter realized there was something more than just bushes down in that tree line at the very back of our property.  Currently I have a 1959 Century Coronado that has just completed restoration this past winter by Old Time Boat Company.

I have served for various boating organizations and clubs over the years including Commander for the Cedar Rapids Power Squadron and Commodore of the 611 Yacht Club.   I joined ACBS in 1995 and served as Vice President, then President of the Clear Lake Iowa Chapter. I joined the Sunnyland Chapter in 2006.

Upon retiring in 2011, Sandy and I built our new home in The Villages, Florida.  We became full time residents after selling our summer home in Guttenberg, Iowa, in 2014.

Other hobbies include rerecording music from various mediums onto CD’s for my own Music Library, and having a few remote control cruisers that I cruise with the Villages Model Boat Club.  In addition, I’ve been involved with the National Council of Corvette Clubs for the last 50 years.  Sandy and I have owned at least 20 of those plastic toys over the years.  We enjoyed showing, racing and dragging those cars.

I look forward to serving the Sunnyland Club as Membership Chairman and hope that I can continue the great work of Ray Garratt, who for the last 12 years, has kept the ship righted for the very fantastic club we now enjoy.

Don Johnson 

Summer is Here!

Let’s travel a little to the north to Blue Ridge Country

Pete DeVito

June 19, 2018

With summer in full swing and lots of our members retreating to the north, it made me think of the great boating they have planned with their home chapters. Since the 4th of July is just around the corner and we will all be celebrating the Red, White and Blue, I thought it fitting to share one of the greatest 4th of July events I ever attended. The date was July 4th 2015, the location was Lake Rabun, Georgia. This was not just a regular ole 4th event, it just happened to be their 100th anniversary. My wife and I had front seats at the local church pavilion hanging over the water viewing what must have been 100 of the most beautiful wooden boats parading around the lake. Lake Rabun is a part of the Blue Ridge chapter and this area of Georgia is a piece of heaven you won’t want to leave.


















Don’t forget to stop by Hall’s Boathouse. It is just up the road around the corner.

“Glacier Girl” 

1956 22 Foot Stan Craft Torpedo Stern

Terry Fiest

June 17, 2018

Owners Story

Glacier Girl is a 1956 22 foot Stan Craft Torpedo Stern boat built in 1956 at Somers Montana on Flat Head Lake. The Boat is hull number 9 of 10 built from 1946 to 1956. Stan Young built these beautiful Torpedo Stern hulls in the winter and debut them in the spring of the year to attract customers to his business. They were all handmade and each year he made changes in the design. The big change came in 1954 when he added the “Bat Wings” and widened the transom design. There were only four built with the Wings and only three are known to exist. Glacier Girl was delivered in the spring of 1956 to the Lake McDonald Boat Company of West Glacier, Montana and operated as a ride boat from the south end of the lake at Apgar Village. A brochure obtained from the Glacier Park Archives reads as follows: “A sleek new 1956 Stan-Craft “Torpedo” Runabout operates daily from Apgar Village at the south end of Lake McDonald. Rides can be had at any time of the day during the summer season. An excellent view of the entire McDonald Valley is yours from this area and a ride on this boat could be one of the most remembered highlights of anyone’s vacation.” The cost of the ride was $1.00 per person.

The boat operated on the lake until the mid-60’s and remained in Montana for several years. Like most old wood boats, it passed through many owners and was eventually donated to the University of Oregon for a tax write off. The University sold it to an individual in Portland and he cosmetically made it into a running boat and after a couple of years he decided to sell it and I purchased it “Sight-un-seen.” Through a network of friends, it made its way to Orlando and underwent a total restoration. It has a new bottom, sides and decks. The side frames, covering boards, deck frames and shelf are all original. One of the most difficult challenges of the restoration was to remove all the steel screws and hardware. Stan Craft boats were built with steel fasteners because of the low moisture content in Montana. The restoration was a 3-1/2 year project and is an owner restored boat.

The original engine was a Chrysler 6 cylinder M47S, but that engine was replaced in the early 60’s and it is currently powered by a Indimar “Hammer Head” 5.7 Liter Corvette LS 1.

Many thanks to Terry Fiest for sharing this wonderful story on a very unique boat.











SCAMPY Program Is A Huge Success At AMIKids Jacksonville

“Separating a troubled past from a bright future.”

Joe Coleman and Guy Marvin

June 12, 2018

 AMIKids Jacksonville was founded in 1973 as Jacksonville Marine Institute. It is a private nonprofit staff-secure day treatment facility for troubled children ages 14 – 18 who average six arrests prior to referral to AMIKids. It is funded by the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Duval County School Board and private donations.

AMI reaches out to address issues both in the families of the children as well as their impoverished neighborhoods. Most importantly AMI recognizes that succeeding in the classroom and possessing the skills necessary to obtain employment after graduation are essential.

Introducing Sunnyland’s SCAMPY Program into the curriculum fulfills a part of this latter goal in the sense that it provides the woodworking and construction skills that the children learn as they work with our volunteers building boats. These are skills which the children can take back to their homes, neighborhoods and prospective places of employment.

The AMIKids Day Treatment Program is the only one in the country that has been recognized by the Department of Juvenile Justice and the U.S. Department of Justice as having proven “promise”. 80% of AMIKids gain a minimum of one grade level in the program within 4 to 6 months. 74% of them go on to lead a successful, crime-free life. This is one of the most successful day treatment programs in the juvenile justice industry.

A program like this could not be successful without dedicated mentors like Joe and Guy. Our thanks to them for the many hours they spend at AMIKids each week.

















What a rewarding experience for these kids

Cypress Gardens

What Do You Remember

Pete DeVito

June 11, 2018

Most all of us that are at least 40 years of age visited the old Cypress Gardens at some point in their life. I was not old enough to walk the first time my parents took me to the gardens. As the years went by, I visited the gardens more times than I can count, each time it was as much fun as the first time. The ski show was the highlight, with the jumpers and the clowns, I guess I was just too young for those beautiful Southern Belles.

I grew up not far from Cypress Gardens on a beautiful white sand bottom lake. I learned to ski at a very early age and it became my primary sport growing up. Cypress Gardens made their own water skis just outside of Winter Haven and some of them had flaws that they could not sell. We would go down to the factory and pick through the skis and come out with the best in the pile. We would hunt for the newest skis on the market so we could brag a little. Kids today have a lot of water toys that are fun but I can tell you, skiing on a wooden Ski Skat trick slalom or a pair of shoe skis will put a grin on your face.

The Sunnyland Chapter held their annual meeting at Cypress Gardens for many years until the gardens closed in 2003.


We Are Looking For A Sunnyland Chapter Treasurer For 2019

June 3, 2018

The Sunnyland Chapter is currently in search of a Chapter Treasurer for 2019. After many years of dedicated service to our Chapter, our current Treasurer Larry Maloomian has requested that we find his replacement for the upcoming year. The candidate should have proficiency in Quick Books Pro software, a basic knowledge of accounting principles and would benefit from current or past experience in the business community. The Treasurer is an Executive board member and is chairman of the finance committee and as such is required to attend three quarterly board meetings and the annual meeting each year. Approximately 2-3 hours are required per week with more time needed in the several months surrounding the boat festival in March.

If you are interested in this position please contact Pete DeVito Capri@tampabay.rr.com or Bruce Kester  bruce@metro-app.com . If you have specific questions about the position, you may contact Larry lgmaloomian@centurylink.com .

We look forward to hearing from you.

SCAMPY Shop Is A Shade of “RED” and “Green”

May 31, 2018

Photos by Kent Strobel

The SCAMPY shop is buzzing as the kids close in on the finishing touches to their boats. Summer is here and they are excited to get them in the water.

We applaud our SCAMPY mentors that dedicate many hours of their time to this program. We encourage our members to stop by the shop and see the fantastic work these kids are doing.

Jacob Bascom applies the first color coat on his Minimost 8’ hydroplane while his father Brad looks on with mentor Mike Yobe.









America In Bloom

May 30, 2018

In from our Past President Lou Ronca

Photo’s by Traci Anderson

Sunnyland was invited to participate in this environmentally inspired program. The City of Tavares participates in a competition with other cities across the country in several categories one of which is organizational participation with the city.  Sunnyland partners with Tavares in putting on the largest Antique Boat Festival in the country each March. In addition Sunnyland provides a youth boat building program which is open to local residence as well as communities outside of the area.

On May 22nd four members from Sunnyland made their boats available both in the water as well as on land display at the pavilion in Wooten Park. Captains Bruce Kester, Jack Bingham, Don Taylor and Don Kehr gave a brief talk about the history of their boats. A brief stroll through the park followed describing what takes place during the boat festival along with some of the challenges resulting from hurricane Irma.  A brief video presentation detailing Sunnyland and its mission was made in the lobby of the pavilion by Lou Ronca. The entourage then was transported to the SCAMPY shop where mentors and student boat builders waited to talk about the SCAMPY program and their experience. The history of the beginnings of the program was discussed along with how it has become the premiere youth development program in ACBS.  A discussion of the recent partnership with AMI Kids Jacksonville and Ft Meade Middle & High School expansion was presented along with a tour of the shop and interview with the students.

Overall the day was an extreme success but the topper for the judges was an unannounced boat cruise in Don Taylor’s Mr.”T” and Don Kher’s “Sea Lyon” through the Dora Canal and back to Wooton Park.



















SCAMPY Has Doubled In Size

May 29, 2018

Our SCAMPY shop has doubled in size. The SCAMPY shop will now have an area to store boats that have been donated, boats awaiting repair or boats that will be kept within the program such as the first SCAMPY boat built. The much needed space will house the boats out of the weather until they are sold.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or would like to donate to the SCAMPY program, please contract Lou Ronca at 407-493-8553.


Apalachicola Car and Boat Show

May 28, 2018

Just in from our Past President Wilson Wright who attended the Apalachicola Show back on April 21st.  Wilson had a few computer problems but he was persistent in getting us an update on the show. Wilson stated that the show this year was more cars than boats due to the weather. Pictured here is a 16′ 1964 Correct Craft “Maddy Boo” owned by Bruce Hall of Mobile, Alabama that won Best Wooden Boat. The car pictured with it is a 1950 Mercury convertible which received Best Boat and Car Combo.




Vero Beach Wheels & Keels

April 21, 2018

The 2018 Vero Beach Wheels & Keels event took place on Saturday April 21st at the Moorings Yacht and Country Club. It featured collector cars and boats on land along with cruisers in the water at the marina. The weather was great and exhibitors and spectators had a great day. Everyone is encouraged to attend next year’s event.
































Just In From The SCAMPY Shop

April 20, 2018

The Kochman family of Oviedo, FL are restoring a 1958 14’ Delta Playmate mfg. in Oak Lawn, IL. Tracy, Mike and son Lance are SCAMPY alumni having previously completed an 8’ SCAMPY hydroplane. Doing restoration work is another phase of the SCAMPY program. They have been guided by mentor Mike Yobe and other mentors in the Tavares shop.

The beginning of the restoration in the Spring of 2017

Removing hardware with mentor Mike Yobe

Lance & Tracy Kochman prepping for bottom paint

Admiring the new bottom paint


Update From Amelia Island

Festival Of Speed Event

It Was A Great Time!

The Sunnyland Chapter was well represented with ten outstanding boats winning four Waterford Crystal Trophies!

Participants left to right include: Don Kehr, Carl & Jeff Morgan, Don Johnson, Lee & Tim Hunt, Riley Warddrip, Brian Bettinger, Steve Rutigliano, Mark from Georgia, Bert Harris, Aaron LeDonne, Jamie Smith, Kathy Harris and Randy Mohr. (Jack Bingham not shown)

Trophies for “Best Boat” went to Bert & Kathy Harris and Aaron LaDonne for their fabulous Barracuda.

The “Great Gatsby” Award was won by Steve Rutigliano and Brian Bettinger for a 1959 Century they just finished.

Additional awards were won by new ACBS members Jeff and Carl Morgan with their 1957 Glaspar 17′ Cabin Cruiser for “Best American Classic” and Don and Teresa Kehr for their 1929 Sea Lyon took home the “Amelia Cup” Award.

It was great fun to display our boats at this “over the top luxury lifestyle” event which featured the BATMOBILE “Tumbler” as driven by Christian Bale in the movie.

There were dozens of Ferraris, Lamborghinis McClarens and to many classic cars to count. A personal favorite of our group was to meet Mr. Jack May, winner of the 1975 Cannonball Race from New York to California in 35 hours and 53 minutes in his 1973 Ferrari Dino.

Don Johnson’s recently finished 1959 Century Coronado.

Thanks to everyone who attended this wonderful event and represented our Great Sunnyland Chapter. We were able to recruit several new members to our chapter and a couple of new SCAMPY kids joined our Youth Development Program.

For more information about the FESTIVALS OF SPEED go to http://www.FESTIVALSOFSPEED.com

Sunnyland Members,

Welcome to the new Sunnyland website.

The Sunnyland Board of Directors have been aware of the need for better communication with current Sunnyland members along with a desire to provide a website that can accommodate more frequent and timely communications to existing and potential new members. Earlier this year a decision was made by the Board to update the old website. In order to construct a new website that provided the desired functions and look that we wanted, it was determined that new software was needed along with help from an experienced web designer to build it.   

After many months of hard work the new website is now live. The site was built using WordPress software, a popular product that is widely used by many website designers due to its ease of setup and management as compared to some of the older software applications. This upgrade sets a foundation for Chapter communications going forward and has many capabilities that were either not available or were not practical to implement with our previous software platform including the ability to highlight both recent and upcoming events with fresh content such as photos, videos, event information, etc. More timely email communication is now also possible with the new system. And going forward, further enhancements including links to social media can be implemented in order to connect with a younger audience that relies heavily on electronic media for their communication and information sources.

The one thing that will remain the same is the Annual Boat Show registration software. This is a stand-alone application that has been retained and it will look and operate as it has always done in the past. 

In the coming months you will see more activity and content on the site as we fill in the areas that lack information, photos, etc. We encourage all members to help us with that content and more detailed instructions will be forthcoming on how to send photos, videos, and other information in a format that is useable and visually pleasing to those visiting the site. 

Bruce Kester