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Classic Ski Boat Memories Re-Lived

On December 7, 2010, in News From Gayle, Videos, by Gayle Brantuk


This interview is of boatbuilder Dwain Colton who built the Ski King 15′ classic wood inboard ski boat. Listen in as he discusses using Glen-L boat plans to build this beautiful boat and see his work in action on the water…

The first time I met Dwain Colton was at the 2007 Gathering of Boatbuilders in Alabama. Next time we saw him was in Bethel Island at the 2007 Rendezvous of Glen-L boat builders. Bethel Island is in the Delta area of California and John and I and Buckshot came from Southern California  and Dwain and his wife came from Oregon.

Dwain has been to all four of the Gatherings in Alabama and Tennessee plus the Rendezvous in California as have we. Maybe he’s following us… ;)

This interview took place at the 2009 Gathering, where Dwain trailered his Ski King 2900 miles to Alabama. Supposedly, the boat’s still in one piece! Dwain is a motor guy and at the first Alabama Gathering he shared photos of some big tractors and tractor trailers that he’s re-built and he does beautiful work.

So what drew him to build a ski boat? Dwain says that he had so much fun with the Ski King when he was 15 years old, that he just had to have one when he grew up. He kept that dream alive and purchased the boat plans in 1976 and began building in 2003. He says he needed some time to study the plans!

It just shows that perseverence is definitely a boat builder trait. I think his Ski King turned out beautiful and can testify that everyone that has ridden in her had a blast. Dwain likes to go fast!

The Ski King was designed back in the 50′s for a flathead Ford V8, but Dwain installed a Chevy 283 in his which will run about 48 mph in calm water.

The Ski King design was actually pulled out of our catalog some years back probably because somone thought it had lost it’s appeal. After we found the plans for Dwain, we added it back to our online catalog. The Ski King has had such a comeback in recent years that it even appears in our current hard-copy Book of Boat Designs.

The Ski King does not have full size patterns like our other designs. I believe that many years ago, the patterns were probably hand-drawn when ordered. But somewhere along the way, the templates for the patterns were lost. There are dimensions for all the framework, so building is still within the skills of a first time boat builder.

This boat is designed for plywood construction and Dwain used Ash on the deck. He stained alternate strips of the Ash darker to give it a classic look.  He humbly states that his boat rates about a 6 or 7 on a scale of 10 compared to other boats at the Gathering. But that is definitely just his opinion as most builders are a lot more critical of their own work. I think he did a beautiful job and I love the classic finish and color scheme.

Plus, I’ve seen that baby run in pretty choppy water and break through waves and take a pounding. That’s good workmanship if you ask me… you can see photos of Dwain’s building progress  in our Customer Photos section.

What I think is amazing is that Dwain only had a little high school shop experience and thought that building the Ski King was “easy”. That’s always good to hear–I think my dad does darn good designs if I do say so myself!

Dwain plans to build another Ski King that’s a little longer so he can install a 6-cylinder engine in her. As he sat in the water on his boat, he commented that the satisfaction of sitting there and having people come by and look at your boat with all their nice comments is well worth any money, time and effort put into building.

Once again, pride of building a boat wins out! Great job Dwain–I look forward to seeing you at G5!

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