Bon Voyage! Kingfisher 1955 20′ Lyman Runabout is Holland Bound

1955 lyman runabout holland bound

We shot this video as our farewell to the 1955 20’ Lyman Runabout on May 20, 2016. We and her new owners, Marjanne and Kees Hoek, were in the final stages of launching her voyage from Vermont to the Netherlands, where she would introduce American wood boats and especially what I believe is one of Lyman’s finest boats, the 20-foot, narrow-strake runabout, to Holland.

Then, as life would have it, her new owners suffered what they feared were an explosion of tragedies. Happily for Kees and Marjanne Hoek, the difficulties were mercifully less than first imagined, and were resolves as quickly as they erupted on this couple. Soon “Kingfisher” will be on her voyage to Holland and to her new owners, Marjanne and Kees Hoek.

Kees asked me to share a piece that will introduce “Kingfisher” and her new owners to fellow boat enthusiasts in North America:

To start with: I have been fond of boats all my life, anyway as long as I can remember.
As you already know that’s quite a time because in fact I am 10 years older than the Lyman.

A few years ago my eye fell on a photograph of a Chris-Craft Sea Skiff in the guide to Wooden Power Boats by Benjamin Mendlowitz. When I saw this picture I was hooked at once.

So to be honest, it all started with a Chris-Craft Sea Skiff.

At that time I had a Boesch 5.80 myself. This is a runabout made in Switzerland with a big V8 block. but in fact I never got used to the looks of this boat because of the convex sheer. According to me a boat should have a concave sheer.

So I tried to find a buyer for the Boesch and at the same time started to search the web for a Sea skiff. By doing so I accidently struck the site of your colleague Tom Koroknay, and I phoned him and he convinced me that I had to look for a Lyman instead of a Chris Craft because of different reasons you know better than me.

This Tom sent me his book “Legend of the Lakes” America’s Lapstrake Classics. Since then I was looking for a lapstrake Lyman. The 18′ was too small for me and the 23″to big.

On page 96 of this book I saw a picture of the 20” but I read in the adjacent article that there were only 147 built in 1955 so that was impossible to find.

And then, in the meantime it was a few years later, I struck on your site and there it was.

A 20′ lapstrake Lyman in complete preserved condition. Nearly too beautiful to be true.

The rest of the story you know.

The Lyman is coming to Holland (The Netherlands) in spring and my wife, Marjanne, is as curious as I am myself.

The boat will be berthed at “Loosdrecht” with the Royal Watersport Society in Loosdrecht. According to Dutch ideas quite a big lake located in the centre of Holland. It will certainly be the first Lyman in Holland. I am quite sure of that. Never seen a Lyman, not even another model.

So when an American visits Holland and he spots a Lyman it must be me.

Only once I saw a Chris-Craft Sea Skiff but this one was in a very bad shape.

So Michael, you can imagine that Marjanne and I are looking forward to spring so that we can, kind of show off with the Beautiful Lyman. There it will be a real head turner and that is where it is all about.

Moreover I can tell you that it is in good hands with me and Marjanne because we are fond of beautiful things in general. My Boesch I had for 15 years and was more beautiful when I finally sold her a few weeks ago then when I bought your, now our Lyman, so no worry Americans, relax!! We will take utmost care!!

I have had boats as long as I can remember and started with a canoe. I still have a small 12″ Jol, a sailing dinghy. This boat is also lapstrake mahogany over oak ribs. Very difficult to handle but in summertime we still race in a field of approximately 20 boats. Much fun but very bad for my back.

So Michael now you have a small idea who you sold the Lyman, and I hope you will have enough info for your newsletter and of course Marjanne and I feel very honored that “our Lyman” is getting that special attention.

I will try to send you a few photos of our club in Loosdrecht but you must give me some time because as I told you before, this is not usual stuff for me. Have patience!! I will succeed.

We keep in touch, Best Kees and Marjanne Hoek.

Talk about living the dream… and that goes for all three of us, John, RJ and me!

1955 20′ Lyman Runabout New Convertible Top

1955 lyman runabout new convertible top

Our 1955 20-foot, narrow-strake Lyman runabout, Hull No. C1028 with one-of-a-kind aft steering capability now sports a new convertible top in linen Sunbrella. Fabricated by Chris Hansen, Marine Canvas of Shelburne, VT, her top flows from and emphasizes the deep rake of her old style windshield quite nicely.

As soon as her original Chrysler M-47 engine returns from being completely rebuilt returns from the shop and is installed, we will have her on Lake Champlain for her debut curtain call.

With any luck you can see her at the American Boat Museum ACBS boat show in Clayton, NY, July 31 – August 2, 2015. I hope to meet you there.

1955 20′ Old Style Lyman Runabout on the Water

1955 lyman runabout on the water

So many of you have requested a video of our 1955 Lyman 20’ Runabout on the water, but shot from a dock or other boat. Thanks to Vermont’s new state launch access beneath the Champlain Bridge that connects VT and NY, we are happy to deliver.

You will see a bank of very unfriendly clouds to the northwest as she romps across the water. Well the threat became a reality just as we were loading her on her trailer. A few drops of rain quickly became a deluge of thunder, lightning, rain and hail!

The bilge pump worked overtime as we headed for the shop.

We’ve drained the bilge of all the rain water, and have a pile of wet terrycloth towels on the floor from wiping her down inside and out, stem to stern.

Mid-50s, old-style runabouts are mighty rare, but this one could be yours. Just email or give us a call and we will explore with you how we can make that happen.

1955 20′ Lyman Runabout Water Test

1955 lyman runabout water test

Yes! The 1955 20′ Lyman Runabout’s water test could not have gone better today.

We did find a minor leak in the area of the strut mount and one along the keel forward of the helm station, both of which we will repair once the hull dries.

Beyond that, she performed beautifully as she romped across the morning’s mirror-like Lake Champlain surface. RPMs rose and fell nicely in response to the throttle. She held 60 pounds of oil pressure at speed, and 40 pounds when idling.

And once again I marveled at the silky smooth ride Lyman’s deliver. She was no different as she carved turns, rode flat and made all three of us smile.

Now she is ready to meet her new owner. Contact me should you have interest in a completely preserved, largely original 1955 20′ Lyman runabout.

1955 20′ Lyman Runabout Chrysler Crown M 47 Roars!

1955 lyman runabout chrysler crown m47

Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel is burning brightly! Today she emerged from the shop with only two hurdles in front of her before she reaches the preservation-complete finish line.

Today we tested her engine, gauges, oil pressure, charging circuit, as well as her new water pump and thermostat. This clip opens with John turning the key. She turns over briefly before her 1955 Chrysler Crown M-47 flathead six roars to life.

As with the bench test we taped some weeks ago, she idles and then responds to the throttle without so much as a hiccup. The Pertronix ifnition makes an impressive difference in how smoothly these old tractor engines run.
Having ;leapt this hurdle with ease, she faces her final test tomorrow (if the weather holds), when we launch her into Lake Champlain and challenge her under load.

Yes, the tape will be running ….

1955 20′ Lyman Runabout Preservation is 99% Complete!

1955 lyman runabout restoration near complet, engine mounted

I cannot tell you how satisfying it is for the crew to finally gaze on the fruits of months and months of hard work and painstaking attention to every detail when we debut a boat who has completed or nearly completed her preservation, as is the case with this 1955 20′ Lyman runabout today.

We have chronicled her progress from the dirty, tired-looking boat we pulled out of a one-story barn in Charlotte, VT a couple of years ago through today, her debut.

Now, we are not completely finished. As you will see in this clip, her brass stem trim, and her stainless transom trim and rub and splash rails must be installed. Installing the helm seat benches and the trim that closes the seam between the ceilings and floor panels await a few more coats of varnish. The rebuild kit for the water pump is “in transit.” And there is some minor touch-up here and there we will attend to soonest.
Our upholsterer is nearly finished fabricating the helm and aft seat bench and back, and the engine box lid cushions. She is matching the combination of a very light Lyman tan body with almost crimson trim.

The 2006 Venture trailer has surge brakes, and will soon have its custom-fabricated bow tower installed.

But she’s 99% ready for prime time, and especially for her sea trials, if ever the ice finally melts in Lake Champlain. At that moment she will be available for inspection and to ride her beautiful Venture trailer to her new port.

Chrysler Flathead Six Engine Test 20′ 1955 Lyman Runabout 3 11 2014

1955 lyman chrysler flathead 6 engine test

Wow! Is this an exciting day or what? We ran all sorts of tests and this 1955 Chrysler flathead six passed them all.

The Carter MO 1531 fuel pump diaphragm is working, but we sighted some seepage, so we will rebuild it. (It stopped leaking after we ran the engine for 10 minutes, but it so much easier to rebuild it with the engine sitting on its stand than later, when it is down in the bilge.)

The JABSCO 3590 water pump is, well, pumping, but a service kit is on its way to the shop. This engine has not run for a decade, so that impeller’s fins have almost surely stiff and permanently bent over.

She holds 50 pounds of oil pressure. The thermostat functions properly.

We installed a Pertronix ignition kit and six new plugs. Even though the oil in the sump came out clear and clean, we drained it, replaced the oil filter and filled it with 30 weight.

Now is the moment of truth! Will she fire? If/when she fires, will she run? Yes and yes. As you will see in the clip she starts well, idles absolutely smoothly and accelerates without any stumbling.

Once the rebuilds are complete and we have thoroughly cleaned the engine, into the bilge it will go.

Project completion is peeking over the horizon, as are the 20-24 inches and raging nor-easter forecast to arrive tomorrow morning.

All is good!

1955 20′ Lyman Runabout Windshield Back on Deck!

1955 lyman runabout windshield

We broke for lunch, after which it was time for RJ and me to mount the windshield back on this 1955 20′ Lyman runabout’s foredeck. First, however, we faced a critical test. Did our dado-routing procedure work?

With the two front panels in place, the gasket material cut to length, and holding our individual and collective breath more than a little, we began working around the frame, pushing the spade into its slot.
Everything went super smoothly, as this clip evidences. We can now safely say that, even absent the Sandusky plant’s tooling, the window-sealing dado can be routed into the frame.

We now have it in place and fastened down. As I type, RJ is behind me inserting a bead of mahogany-colored 3M 5200 into the seam formed where the outer edged of the frame meets the deck. After allowing it to cure, we will apply our own stain-varnish.

Installing the tank and its related plumbing, followed by the seats is next. It will not be too long before we have the engine in the bilge and be waiting for spring when she can emerge from the shop on her way to her sea trials on Lake Champlain

How to Rout the Windshield Seal Dado Into a ’55 Lyman Windshield

1955 lyman runabout rout windshield seal dado

Our attention turns to a task on the 1955 20′ Lyman runabout that, in truth, has been hanging “heavy, heavy over our heads” for some time. The windshield glass on old style Lymans of which this one is an example was originally secured with extruded aluminum stops that are no longer available.

Since these stops were secured with small oval-headed brads, Lyman never cut dado channels in the rabbets. Indeed, this boat’s glass was secured with glazing points and some sort of window caulk that had been stained a “Lymanesque” brown when I purchased her.

Conversations with Tom Koroknay and members of the New England Lyman Group (NELG) all pointed to only one solution: rout the dado into the rabbet and secure the glass with standard, single-spade, white Lyman molding.
“All” we needed to do was rout the dado. The solution, we hoped, would be provided by a 3-fluke router bit slot cutter by CMT. We placed the bearing on the outer end of the shank, with the cutter inside it. Shim washers positioned the cutter precisely so that the glass fits behind the slot and the spade can be pushed into it.
Everything looked good on paper and also on the test piece we made, but that windshield frame, especially the top sections over the front sheets of glass, just looked so fragile. We hedged our bets by building a rough jig to which we could mount the frame using its mounting holes.

In the end, someone had to grab the router and go. John stepped up and masterfully guided the router around all four openings. We have now installed the two front sheets of glass and will install the whole thing on the boat before adding glass to the wings.

Phew! Fabricating an entire windshield would NOT have been fun.

1955 20′ Old Style Lyman Preservation Update

1955 lyman runabout restoration update

Lyman built 147 20′ runabouts in 1955, and this boat, complete with her original Chrysler Crown 115 engine, is among the survivors.

According to Tom Korknay’s Legend of the Lakes, she is “(t)he last vestige of the heavily built, prewar boats, they featured narrow strakes, a deep freeboard, and 13/16 inch by 7/8 inch white oak ribs placed 5 inches on center. They were constructed of plywood hulls and decks with a sold mahogany transom like the 18-foot version.” (pp 95, 96)

She has been featured in earlier clips as the boat from whom we removed over 95 pounds of paint from the topsides.

Today, with preservation of her hull, inside and out, and from keel to gunwales complete, we moved her into our showroom for reassembly of her “furniture” and hardware, all of which has been preserved and plated by New England Chrome in East Hartford, CT.