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Dreams Realized at Boatbuilder Gathering

On October 1, 2010, in News From Gayle, by Gayle Brantuk
Boat Builder Gathering

Even Buck was part of G4!

happy boaters

Rory, Me & Dwain

Pride of achievement is the true reward of building a boat. It’s evident by the look on the faces of every builder at each Gathering we’ve had for the past four years.

This pride comes from a job well done, from a goal achieved, a dream realized. The double-takes they get on the water and the folks asking “how old is your boat?”… these experiences are what make it all worthwhile. And the guys I talked to say it was worth every minute…

This past weekend was the fourth Gathering of Boatbuilders organized by the members of the Glen-L Boatbuilder Forum. Each year I write about this event and how wonderful it was, how it gets better each year, about all the beautiful boats and so on. All this is true, but there’s a much deeper thread to G4 as it’s now affectionately called.

boats from boat plans

Riviera & Monaco in front, True Grit in background

It’s not just about the beautiful boats that guys have built with Glen-L boat plans, or having fun riding in those boats, the wonderful people that attend or the great food. It’s about people living and fulfilling their dreams. And there’s always a story behind the boat and to me, that’s the best part…

Rory Hamilton is a third generation Glen-L boat builder. His inspiration is his grandfather who built the Sea Knight and he is determined to build a boat just like Grandpa’s. He brought a photo album to the Gathering showing photos of his family’s boats and some of the start of his own project.

happy boatbuilders

Kristen & Rory

I could feel Rory’s passion. This is more than just a boat to build. He’s building his dream and carrying on his family’s tradition. And his wife Kristen was right there with him providing encouragment…

Then there was Mary and Bernard. This couple came from Wisconsin where they own and run a resort. They closed down the resort and came to the Gathering for the first time.

On Saturday, when we got all of the boats out on the water so we could get some good video, Mary and Bernard were standing on the docks wondering what they should do. Bill Edmundson told them they were welcome to hop in the back of his 24’ Tahoe with us.

We were out on the water for close to an hour with about 30 boats running and having a great time. I looked back at Mary and Bernard and with a huge smile and two thumbs up, Mary said “I’m living my dream right here in this boat”.

Seriously, how many people get to ride in a 24’ mahogany runabout that was built by hand, not in a factory, but by the guy driving… with his own two hands… with the sweat of his brow. It’s an awesome experience.

And then there’s Dave Lott who recently completed building his Riviera, a 20’ classic mahogany runabout. Dave built this beautiful boat in only 11 months and it’s truly impressive. The story behind his boat is lengthy and detailed on his blog, but the bottom line is that building his boat was an opportunity to share his Christian faith and testimony.

mahogany runabout

Dave Lott’s “Midnight Cry”

I also had an opportunity to take a ride in Gary Steinkamp’s Missile which is a 16’ inboard speed boat. On the dash of Gary’s boat is a brass plaque that reads “Gene Steinkamp – May his spirit be with us”. Gene is Gary’s brother who was in a wheelchair for 50 years because of polio from which he finally passed. He helped Gary build the Missile… you can imagine that this is more than just a “boat” to Gary.

speed boat

Gary’s Missile

Who can forget young 12-year old Collin who raced his 10’ Super Spartan up and down the lake all weekend. That boy handles his boat like a pro and had a ton of fun using it. I even understand he’s quite a captain with the bigger boats as well.

Super Spartan hydroplane

Happy boy in a 10′ Hydroplane!

Super Spartan Hydro

Fun and fast times on the Super Spartan!

For years, many of our WebLetter subscribers followed the stories of Ray Macke and his adventures in his Cabin Skiff. Ray logged over 27,000 miles and 1587 hours on his 16’ Skiff traveling various intercoastal waterways. For G4, Ray brought his new boat, the 27’ True Grit that he’s named “SeaQuinn”.

Trailerable Sportfish Utility Cruiser

True Grit

We’ve watched Ray’s build online and know that his wife is much happier with a larger boat with better accommodations. This isn’t just a boat—this is Ray and Vickie’s transport to worlds unknown, to adventures that await, to deepening the bonds of their marriage.

And of course, there’s Chris who came to his first Gathering last year with his wife Heather along with photos of the beginning of his boat. Chris is one of our younger builders and this year he brought his finished Zip which is one of our most popular 14’ runabout designs.

boat builder

Happy, happy man!

14 foot runabout

Chris & Heather in “First Born”

Chris gave ride after ride in his pride and joy which he named “First Born”. You could just feel the well-earned pride this young man has. He and Heather even took photos with Santa hats on for their Christmas cards.

Those are just some of the stories. There are many more and that’s to me one of the best things about our Gatherings; getting to know the people behind the boats. These folks are family to us here at Glen-L and we treasure the friendships we are building.

All I can say is that these boatbuilders have much to be proud of. They started and finished building a boat that they can be truly proud of. They had a goal, a dream and they saw it through to completion.

All of us at Glen-L are grateful for each of you who attended G4 and thank you for making this event the highlight of our year.

If you weren’t able to make it to this year’s Gathering, we urge you to make it to G5 because you’ll kick yourself if you don’t! See you next year!

Gathering Sunsets

Sunset on Nickajack Lake



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