norwalk.jpg (44928 bytes)         owens1.jpg (49911 bytes)        owens2.jpg (43804 bytes)

 

These are pictures of two of my father's latest boats. This was where I got my first taste of, and where I kindled my love of boating.   It was in these boats, that my parents and I plied the waters of the Absecon inlet and the ocean adjacent to Atlantic City, New Jersey, back in the 1960's. The boat on the left is a 25' Norwalk (Not quite sure of the year), which could sleep 4, and was powered by a 318 ci. Chrysler "crown" engine.  I have cloudy recollections (I was about 5 or 6 then) of the strange dual side-draft carburetor system which was on that engine. My dad was a perfect example of someone inflicted with the "two-foot-itis" disease.  A seeming affliction where one is driven, by an unseen compulsion,  to keep getting a little larger boat every couple of years. The next two pictures are of his next boat, a 29' (Actually a 28' 6") Owens "Sea Skiff", which he traded the Norwalk in for in 1967. The Owens was powered by a Flagship marine 327 ci. Chevy engine. Flagship had an odd way of marinizing back then, and they actually mounted the engine physically "backwards. The flywheel became the "front" of the engine, and the transmission was bolted to what normally would be the harmonic balancer and drive belt pulley. Presumably this was done to get the correct propeller shaft rotation, without having to change camshafts and other parts to change the engine rotation.  Regardless of the reason, it looked strange in any case. My dad added many options to this boat in the 2 years that he owned it, including a homemade fiberglass laminated top over the cockpit, an electric refrigerator, a pressure water system, and an electric toilet. I also saw my first 8-Track stereo tape player, when he installed one on the boat.

In the middle picture you can see me at the controls, at the ripe old age of around 8, doing what I did best, and that was driving my parents around.  While I never thought much about it, the sight of such a young child at the wheel of such a large boat would draw the attention of the people on the tour boats, which ran from Captain Starn's marina, and they would often point or take pictures. Today, if I saw a similar sight, I'd give the kid the thumbs up, for I know first hand the thrill he must be feeling....

Unfortunately, the Owens was to be dad's last boat, as he suffered a sudden heart attack and died in July of 1969. There's no telling how much bigger his boats might have gotten, had he stayed alive for a bunch more years.

Like other things nostalgic, I often wonder what ever became of dad's boats. Have they all been broken up and scrapped, or has someone lovingly restored what is by now, a "classic" wooden boat? I'd love to find out....