I was standing on the rear deck of a friend of mine’s boat at the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show in Georgetown, SC in October 2010, talking to this guy named Ken that owned the Owens docked just behind us, when we saw an Elco coming up the Sampit River. I made comment that I’d like to see an Elco, to which he replied, “My father has an Elco” I asked what kind and he told me a 1930 27 ft Marinette. I said to him that it sounds like one that I used to own. I asked him where his father got it from and he replied, “Well from me kind of indirectly” After talking for a while it was determined that the boat his father owned was indeed the same one that I had owned back in the mid '70s that somehow went on a voyage of her own. I told Ken that I’d like to see the boat at some point but never was able to make it happen.
I saw Ken at the Fiddlers Convention in Galax, VA the next year and he told me that his father had passed away and his mother might be interested in selling the boat. I told him I’d take it. He suggested I look at it first, but I honestly didn’t want to. I just wanted the boat back and was afraid if I did look, I might change my mind. I bought her sight unseen based on Ken’s assuring me that the hull and engine were in good condition. After seeing her for the first time I was glad of two things: I didn’t look at her first because I might would have changed my mind… and the fact that I now owned a boat that I had truly loved and had thought I’d never even see again.
I spent the next three weekends traveling to where she was and getting her ready for the voyage home. That spring and summer were spent “fluffing her up” and using her as much as possible. She was hauled and transported to my home for restoration at the end of December. For the next six months all my spare (and some not so spare) time was spend doing a relatively major makeover. I can honestly say that no one was more surprised than me that the transformation of the old Elco happened as quickly and as beautifully as it did. It is almost surreal that she is now where she is, in the condition that she is in which was evidenced by her winning her class at the Southport Wooden Boat Show in September.
People ask me all the time, how I found her. My answer is always the same as it is when I ask myself the same question, “I think she found me”.