Magazine article Sunset

When the Wooden Boats Come out on Tahoe

Magazine article Sunset

When the Wooden Boats Come out on Tahoe

Article excerpt

When the wooden boats come out on Tahoe With their sensuous curves, handsome appointments, and powerful engines, Lake Tahoe's finest wooden speedboats are sights to behold. Originally bought by Tahoe's wealthy from the 1920s into the 1950s, they recall a bygone era, when land baron Sydney Ehrman ferried guests in a chauffeur-driven launch "Comet" to his Sugar Pine Point estate from a railroad spur line in Tahoe City.

You can see many of these craft, beautifully restored and running like Swiss watches, during three exhibitions this month. Like an automotive concours d'elegance, these wooden boat shows bring together showroom-quality Chris-Crafts, Gar Woods, Rivas, and others.

At the two big shows, you'll see runabouts, launches, sedans, and speedsters--most from Tahoe, but some from the Northwest and Southern California. You can get close-up views of glowing Honduras mahogany hulls, brass deck hardware and dashboard trim, polished chrome scoops for inboard engines. Owners will be on hand to answer questions; a few may let you come aboard.

A highlight occurs at the end of each show, when skippers fire up their engines and pull away. Many of the craft are powered by altered World War I airplane engines--big, noisy 6- and 12-cylinder blocks that can speed boats up to 50 miles an hour. …

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