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Classic Boats Return to Glory

Jessica Perry

Nearly 50 of the nation’s most classic and unique boats will gather Saturday, July 11 at the Tahoe Keys Marina for the annual Antique Boat Show, sponsored by the Antique and Classic Boat Society.

The 100 active local members have spent years turning their nautical passion into a full-time hobby. The owners’ extensive preparation for the upcoming display includes the complete exterior restoration of the hulls, interior design and cabin style of their vessels.

The classic pre- and post-World War I boats that will be on display cover an array of styles and eras. From the early 1900s, the launch-type and bullet-shaped barrel-back crafts will be shown by their owners, as well as post-war era boats such as the “Blond-Deck”, named for the bleached-blonde stripe in its mahogany hull, and the more modern “utility-style,” which resembles modern ski boats.

The classic triple cockpit Tahoe runabout, popular in the 1920s and ’30s, also will be docked for viewing. Another familiar Tahoe charter is the “Thunderbird,” a former Harrah’s yacht, which is unique for its stainless steel top and modern art deco design on the boat’s trim and lounges.

One of the boats in the upcoming Tahoe Keys Marina boat show has been docked there since its 75th anniversary several weeks ago. “The Mandarin” and boat owner Tom Anderson celebrated its revival by launching the craft in its original glory for the first time in more than 60 years.

When Anderson discovered the boat in January, 1994, it was essentially destroyed. After realizing the 1923, 42-foot cruiser was an antique, he became partners with the owner. Collectively they restored the boat for over four years. Now the Mandarin even sports its own website.

However, Anderson insists, “I’ll never stop working on it because it will never be done. It’s definitely an ongoing process.”

The Mandarin’s trek from Los Angeles up to Lake Tahoe – considered a wooden boat mecca – helped the saltwater-stained teak hull return to its amazing luster.

“The freshwater,” Anderson said, “eliminates many hazards for the antique boats, and helps keep them looking beautiful longer.”

Although the upcoming Antique Boat Show is not a judged competition, it is a preview for the upcoming August antique boat competition in Carnellian Bay. Fun awards for Skippers’ and People’s Choice, as well as Farthest Traveled, will be handed out at the festivities.

The admission is $5, and the Fresh Ketch Restaurant will be having a barbecue as well as live music.

Boat owners will be available to answer any questions and are anxious to share their knowledge and passion with visitors.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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