1941 Lyman Utility 16′
January 25, 2021
As a distant member of the Sunnyland Chapter I very much look forward to my annual trek south to the St Johns River Cruise and the associated boat show festivities. But every year it becomes more of a haze to haul True North, my 1959 23’ Lyman Sleeper down I 95 from New Hampshire. So this year, while avoiding the virus and eschewing the trip south, I am focusing on preparing an older lighter Lyman for future trips.
Out of the blue Chris Cushman found me a project that I had been seeking for years – a pre-war Lyman “Yacht Tender” ripe for restoration at an attractive price – FREE. The boat had been described as a 1936 yacht tender. Subsequent review of Lyman brochures showed only 15’ inboard yacht tenders in the prewar years. My prize was a16’ and the discovery of a hull number disclosed it is the last 16′ Inboard Utility Runabout” built in 1941.
Although the hull is weathered, but surprisingly solid and rot free, but empty. That is, there is no engine or interior seating or fuel tank. Not to worry – I just needed to find pictures of 16’ utilities of that era and start restoring the hull and building the furniture. But it now appears that there was not just one 16’ Lyman Inboard Utility configuration in those prewar years, but several – perhaps resulting from Lyman’s willingness to customize, or perhaps reflecting pre-war shortages of copper. Some rear seats faced forward, some aft. For example, the lifting ring arrangements are very different 38-42.
So it begins, the hunt for parts and authenticity; But first I need to remove the mysterious 96 rusted steel angle irons between the unbroken ribs and stringers. Thankfully, a granddaughter got a good start on that messy chore over the holidays. Then I need to tighten up the decking with some bronze nails to supplement the original iron nails, followed by sanding, staining and sealing. . There may be a suitable Graymarine Phantom 4-75 in Idaho, or maybe Albany NY. And then there is a windshield to build…. And so much more.
But there is one St Johns River prerequisite that I may have to fabricate – a bronze skeg to protect the prop from those pesky logs in the picturesque byways that are so enticing for side trips.
Stay Tuned To Be Continued……….