At first he worked on his passion project on weekends, making steady progress, but various life events intervened and slowed him down. Now, two years into retirement, he’s been able to pick up the pace.
With the hull finished, the engine installed and the running gear in place, Brown decided it was time for a test run. So last Friday, even though the boat still doesn’t have a deck and the cockpit isn’t finished, he and his son took it up to West Coast Classic Boat Restoration in Vancouver, Washington. The owner made some adjustments, and then the three of them took the runabout for its maiden voyage — on the Columbia River.
Brown said he was nervous at first, but the boat performed like a champ.
“We were hitting some pretty good-sized waves, but this cut through them pretty well,” he said, giving the hull an affectionate pat.
Brown still has some work to do before he’s done with the project. The interior needs to be finished, including installing a dashboard, the two front seats and two sets of bench seats, and he hasn’t started building the deck yet. With luck, he hopes to have everything wrapped up by next spring.
After that? The real fun begins.
“I think it would be fun to take some friends out and just go for a nice cruise,” he said.