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2011 Gathering of Boatbuilders Part 2

On October 14, 2011, in Glen-L Styles, by Gayle Brantuk

My first article about our September 2011 Gathering of Boatbuilders in Tennessee got kind of long, so I’ll add a little more in pieces.

In case you didn’t know, plans for our 2012 G6 is scheduled for September 7-9, 2012 and will once again be at Hale’s Bar Marina & Resort in Guild, Tennessee. Cabins are limited, so if you need to book one, you’d better do so now. There is info in the Forum about who to contact, etc.

One of the many fun parts of the Gathering is the Saturday awards night. Usually the awards are funny and clever. Bill and Lauren Edmundson make the award certificates and arrange for the accompanying gifts. And they usually get assistance from some of their co-horts.

There were quite a few awards given this year but one especially touched my heart. This was an award that was created by Warren Oatman to be given to my father on behalf of all Glen-L boatbuilders.

My father composed a heartfelt thank you to all for this award which was posted in the Forum. I’d like to share his note and a few of the comments because it meant so much…

I came to work Monday in anticipation of hearing my daughter Gayle’s report on Gathering #5. I always look forward to hearing about the stories, people, and of course their boats.

Instead of getting the report, I was given a beautiful plaque thanking ME for my contributions to the Amateur Boat Building Community. To put it mildly I was stunned. To think a group of people had taken the time and effort to thank ME for what THEY had done is inconceivable.

The more I thought about the wonderful gift and the thoughts behind it, I realized they gave the plaque to the wrong guy; don’t get me wrong, I’ll take it with the greatest of pleasures. But, I simply put lines on paper; the person who used those few lines and words to create the boats I see at the Gathering deserve the bulk of the credit.

And yes, I personally know what it takes to build such a project. I’ve built about 25 different boats, and with Glen-L have overseen as many more. I remember very well the innumerable, insurmountable problems that had to be solved, and the satisfaction of finding the answers. The countless hours spent thinking about how to do a construction phase. And yes the lousy tasks, does anyone actually like to sand fiberglass?

And then the personal problems–do you work on the boat or paint the room the better half has been bugging you about?

I also vividly recall the years the dollar couldn’t be stretched far enough to buy what was needed to keep the project going, but scrounging and making do is part of a boatbuilder’s life. But most of all launching a craft I built with my own hands and enjoying the culmination of perhaps years of work is a feeling beyond imagination unless you’ve lived it.

So to all you boatbuilders at the Gathering, congratulations on what you have been able to accomplish; each of you should have a plaque.

The fact you have given it to me for my small contribution proves what I’ve learned over the years….boat builders, as a group, are the nicest, generally likable people you can meet, ones that you’d like as a personal friend, forever.

Thanks again for the plaque, it means a lot to me.

Glen L. Witt

PS : Imagine a group thanking ME for the fun I’ve had over the years. Unbelievable!


Glen, somebody had to create, pull, promote the designs & plans so people like me could come along… years later… and get not only the plans but the confidence to do something I never thought I would or could do.

That is simply not that common and while you might try to play down your role in the matter here, in the hearts of every Glen-L boatbuilder around the globe, we are so thankful that you made it possible for us to actually pursue this strange dream that unites hundreds, if not thousands, of amateur boat builders under the Glen-L banner.

It’s not just the plans.. but that they are still so affordable.. that you published a book to help us along.. that you put the fantastic people in place to continue the legacy and support the ongoing hobby that I’d bet most average people won’t even know existed in the first place.

We’ve never met… but you, your company, your family and your staff hold a special place in my heart. I am glad to have had the opportunity to build one of your fantastic boats… and I am so glad the team at the gathering was able to give a little piece back to you on behalf of the community.








Ian (aka Iggy)


We’ve never met, but I am one of the many who are in debt to you for creating an avenue for my dreams to become reality. I can remember, as a very young child, reading about your boats in Popular Mechanics magazines that an uncle saved for me, and dreaming about someday building one myself and sailing to far away places.
But even more important than that, through your work and encouragement for the amateur boat builder, you have helped to grow the character of my grand-children. While they wouldn’t recognize your name, you gave me the tools I used to teach them that when they combine their dreams with hard work, the results can be amazing.
On our trips on our Bo-Jest in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida my wife and I have watched as all our grand-children gained knowledge in math, history, geography, weather, science and many other areas. The greatest thing they’ve gained though, is self confidence and a sense of accomplishment.
We have especially enjoyed watching Abby, our 9 year old grand-daughter who has been on most of our longer trips, as the knowledge and skills she gained on the boat have helped her develop into a very confident, assured young lady who has a great appreciation for the beauty that God created. I can’t help but smile when I hear her telling someone about the animals and birds we’ve seen, how a lock works, or how to steer when passing a tug and barge. When someone asks about the boat, she’s always quick to remind them that “my Papa built it himself”. She has even written a book about our 8 day trip down the Alabama River.
While you may not want to take credit for it, your work is an integral part of the whole chain that has given her, and many many others, a part of their personality that will serve them well throughout life.You may think your life was spent designing boats, but I assure you that you have done much, much more than that. Thank you.








Knot-So-Fast (A stretched Bo-Jest design)


As I was sitting around the dock Saturday night chatting, we got off the subject of boats and onto what was really going on here. In my case was how my boat building brought my father and me closer together. He wanted to help even though he didn’t know how. He just wanted to be there. While at visitation at the church after his passing, I was astonished by how many people came to me and said “so you’re the boat builder.” In all I’ve done in my life, me building a boat was what he talked about most. He was proud of his son.

I heard another builder say how his father made three trips for several days at a time to spend with his son working on his boat. This was very special to him as he and his father had not spent much time together.

I heard of another builder who used the same tools his grandfather used to build his boat and that how every time he sharpened the plane again he felt his grandfather’s presence as if he was standing over his shoulder watching with approval.

And I think of every time I take my daughter out, how happy she is.

Make no doubt about it Glen. You have not allowed us to build just boats. You have allowed us to build memories that will last a lifetime. And for this, I will be eternally grateful.




Kevin Brown

 These comments make me cry again all over! You can read the rest of the comments on the Forum if you wish–there are many.  What a blessing you each are to us–thank you!


Your Thoughts?

2 Responses to 2011 Gathering of Boatbuilders Part 2

  1. John Richardson says:

    I built a Glen-L “thunderbolt” way back in 1965, as a first year shop-teacher in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. Although I was more of a car guy, I have had many hours of pleasure building the boat as well as water-skiing behind that boat. About 6 years ago, I carefully loaded it into a 40′ container and shipped it to Thailand, where I have lived for the past 8 years. The boat is sitting on my boat trailer here and am yearning for the day I can launch it again, there are several lakes that are not too far from home. I just wanted to say a big thank you to Glen L. Witt for having the foresight for designing such a great boat.

    • John–that is so awesome! I’m glad we could be a part of that–thank you so much for taking the time to share your story. Post a photo when you get your boat on the water again!

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