According to her Boat Builders Certificate, Eagle is a 1937 20-foot runabout, hull number 8842. She left Sandusky, OH on July 10, 1937, bound for Lake George, NY and her first owner, Adelaide Brown of Camp Adirondack. The Camp is accessible by water only, so Eagle served double duty, both as a “freighter” bringing supplies to the Camp and endless hours of enjoyment to many generations of campers in the ensuing seven plus decades.
Her current, second owner purchased her from the Camp in 2005, but immediately leased her back so she could continue operating at and for the Camp until about 2010, at which time she was put into covered storage.
She bears many similarities to my 1940 16’ Custom Yacht Tender – coamings and windshields are near identical. The engine boxes are more furniture than boxes. The aft cockpits face aft in both boats. I will not be surprised if Eagle’s hullside strakes are Cyprus like the Tender’s.
That owner towed her to Snake Mountain Boatworks last Sunday, October 21, at which time he challenged us to preserve her in the purest sense of the word. Our goal is to save not only all her original wood, but her bright finishes.
While she most likely arrived with white hullsides, the Camp painted them black many decades ago and has maintained that color since then. We will keep her black with a white boot stripe and do our best to source a dark red, think of red lead primer, antifouling paint for the bottom.
Other than two damaged starboard windshield frame corners and broken glass, as well as some relatively minor bruises elsewhere, the hull is in amazing condition. Her fasteners appear sound, but we will not know that for sure until we begin stripping bottom and hullside paint.
She is powered by a Gray Marine Phantom flathead six, Model 6-103 and engine number 71684. While her current owner suspects she was repowered at some point, Robert Henkel, Peter Henkel Inc. in Marine City, MI, reports that it is both very early and, what with its Babbitt bearings, is a tough, super reliable engine. Given how long it has set, and as long as it is not seized, he suspects it will want components like the carb, distributor, generator (still 6 volt) and starter rebuilt. The transmission should be disassembled and cleaned and possibly need several clutch plates replaced. “It will also likely be weak in the piston/ring area, but we will know more once Michael and RJ run some tests and then put fire to the engine.”
A note of caution here. That water pump with its bronze impeller has not turned in a long, long time. We will be sure to pour some soapy water into it before we fire it.
We will also squirt Marvel Mystery Oil into each cylinder and turn the engine over multiple times by hand before we light up the starting motor.
She will come into the shop in a month or so, but we will likely pull her engine for testing and bench running ahead of then so we can get it shipped to Robert Henkel if needed.
We greatly appreciate the opportunity to rise to her owner’s challenge to us and will keep you in the loop as her preservation progresses.