Motoring around Lake Hopatcong on any given Saturday or Sunday morning and you’re bound to see an old ‘woody’ puttering along, low and hard in the water. And thanks to the Lake Hopatcong Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, their presence on the lake is pretty much guaranteed for years to come.
The club is an international organization based out of the Thousand Islands. Lake Hopatcong is the first and the oldest chapter of antique boating in the country, born in 1975, said board member Bob Kays, who has been a chapter member for 31 years.
“You don’t have to have an antique or classic boat to become a member,” said Kays, who owns a 17’ Chris-Craft Runabout, 1957. “But joining is a good way to learn about the different boats,” he said, like Chris-Craft, Gar Wood, Century, Penn Yan, and Fay & Bowen.
This weekend the club holds its signature event, the annual Antique and Classic Boat Show, held at the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club. The four-day event includes a competition and public viewing on Saturday and a Sunday morning parade around the lake, also an event the public will be able to view. Events on Thursday and Friday are for members only.
This year’s event will coincide with the national organization’s summer quarterly meeting and will probably bring in more boats from around the country, said Kays. The show usually attracts about 40-50 boats, said Kays.
The club will host another, smaller boat show at the end of the season, sometime in late August or early September. That show will be at the docks of the Lake Hopatcong Mini Golf Club on Nolan’s Point Park Road. In the off-season the club holds a kickoff luncheon in February and a boat workshop sometime in April.
It is estimated that there are about 70 various types of antique wooden boats, including canoes and rowboats on the lake. According to Kays, the oldest boat currently known on Lake Hopatcong is a 1912, 26’ Fay & Bowen Special Launch, owned by the Kadimik family from Hopatcong. Also seen running around the lake is a 1913, 26’ 6” Matthews Launch owned by Sam and Jerri Hoagland of Hopatcong. The most unique boat is a 1961, 19’ Chris-Craft Runabout, the last all-wood runabout that Chris-Craft made, owned by Seth and Renee Katz. The boat, “Miss Mohawk,” was delivered brand new to Lake Mohawk in Sparta, NJ, and over the years has traveled the 10 or so miles to it’s current home on Lake Hopatcong.
At this year’s show visitors will be able to view, among the many boats, a single scull with rudder rowing boat built in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1910, the two recently restored boats from the movie, On Golden Pond, and a 1965 21’ Chris-Craft Capri from Midlothian, VA.
Schedule of events:
Saturday, June 22 at the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club
10 AM – Opening Ceremony
10:30 AM – Judging Begins
3 PM – Cruise By
Sunday, June 23
8:45 AM – Parade of Boats begins at the docks of The Windlass Restaurant in Nolan’s Point. It will take the following route, proceeding past the Main Lake Market, passing between Halsey Island and Prospect Point towards Raccoon Island.
The parade then heads south to toward Wildwood Shores and follows the west shore of Lake Hopatcong with minimal entry into the River Styx cove.
Continuing along the west shore, the parade follows the shoreline around Point Pleasant, passing near the State Park, and turning north to follow the east shore through King’s Cove. It then winds around Bertrand Island, and follows the east shore with minimal entry into Lee’s Park Cove.
It continues to follow the shoreline into Great Cove and out past the Jefferson House, and then heads for Byram Bay passing south of Halsey Island.
Note: Route will be modified en route to stay well clear of the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club sailboat races.