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Leo Bentz, Ski Nautique and Boat #1

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-03-2016 at 10:29pm
[QUOTE=TRBenj] I wouldn't be so quick to assume the boat had a 2-piece [QUOTE]
I don't see where anyone has assumed anything. All that's being done is looking at pictures.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jbear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-03-2016 at 11:42pm
Originally posted by quinner quinner wrote:



How he signed his name here, must be a nickname like Kevin is for you


you mean Kevin is not his real name?



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gary S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 1:25am
Neat story and nice project Alan. I think we can all vision on how it will turn out,it's in good hands.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SWANY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 2:04am
So being really interested in this history, I was wondering a couple things on the company name and if there was any ties to "Glass Craft" originated in Iowa? From searching the old interweb I didn't see any evidence of that. Did Leo incorporate his " boat company" before selling it to CC and there is no relation to the Glass Craft that was started in 1957.... I have a good guess to the answer to the next question but did the boat come with a title? Stating the manufacturer?
While searching I never saw any curved split glass windshields on any Higgins that look remotely close to the picture Alan posted. Ironically closest thing side by side comparison that came up was a barracuda without the side " Wings". Just thinking out loud... Stated before Leo built the boat before going to Correct Craft with the mold but something not to pass on lightly is that he ended up going to them eventually so he must have been following the company or keeping an eye on what they were building... not to mention they were in the same "area" where only certain products were easier available. Keeping in mind this was the 60's. Buying power, advertising, the amount of suppliers, etc. would have been completely different from what we are all use to in our day and age.
Leo being alive still, he can fill in the blanks and answer most of the questions rising?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 6:16am


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote M3Fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 10:25am
Originally posted by skutsch skutsch wrote:

If I am reading the history right this boat was NOT made by Correct Craft


WHOOPS! Not allowed at the reunion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 75 Tique Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 10:29am
Originally posted by jbear jbear wrote:

Originally posted by quinner quinner wrote:



How he signed his name here, must be a nickname like Kevin is for you


you mean Kevin is not his real name?



john


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 81nautique Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 12:57pm
The boat is titled in NJ where the Cleary's lived, this may be the original title but there is no date on it. Manufacturer says "GLA"   I haven't looked around to see if there is a hull number or HID placard anywhere yet.

I have sent Leo a list of questions about the windshield, which transmission it had, the disposition of the other 12 boats, what happened to GlassCraft. and I'll post back when I get a reply.

I've also sent him a link to the thread and urged him to create a user name and join in and comment, that would be a treat.   For 91 years old Leo seems quite tech savvy and I wouldn't be surprised to see him sign on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote C-Bass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 1:16pm
Awesome story Alan. I wouldn't have ever thought that boat was still out there.

Looking forward to seeing this one come back to life.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hollywood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 1:26pm
So is this really boat #0?

The Grimditch boat could be considered [production] #1....

or there are two #1s??
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 2:09pm
Originally posted by 81nautique 81nautique wrote:

what happened to GlassCraft.

There is a GlassCraft section on the Fiberglassics site. I wonder???


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 81nautique Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 2:40pm
Response from leo: in uppercase

1. First question is the originality of the windshield, the one on the
boat is a one piece windshield but the early photos you sent seem to show a
two piece, ie: split vertically in the center. Do you recall which one is
correct? ONE PIECE. I BELIEVE THAT CENTER STRIPE IS A REFLECTION FROM THE
CENTER CURVE OF THE WINDSHIELD ON THAT NIGHT TIME PICTURE.

2. Do you recall if the boat had a velvet drive transmission or a
Dearbomatic? I HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE.

3. Do you have any idea as to where the other 12 boats you built ended up?
TOUGH QUESTION, NEVER THOUGHT MUCH ABOUT THIS. THREE SMASHED INTO SEAWALLS,
ONE SMASHED INTO ANOTHER BOAT, Long stories on bad safety. ONE TO BILL
GRIMDITCH, ONE OR TWO TO MEMBERS OF MIAMI SKI CLUB AND A FEW TO MEMBERS OF
THE WEST PALM SKI CLUB.

4. What ever happened to Glass Craft boat company? Did you dissolve it
when you sold the mold and Ski Nautique Name? MOST LIKELY NOT A FORMAL
STATE REGISTERED COMPANY, JUST A NAME FOR A SHORT WHILE.

5. Lastly someone asked did you start the ski school yourself and why is it named Lee's Ski School and not Leo's.   Ha! Ha!, I HAD TWO OLDER SISTERS, HENCE, FAMILY NAME WAS "SONNY." I NEVER CARED FOR LEO AS IT, RIGHTLY, HAD A GERMAN CONNATATION AND MY HIGH SCHOOL DAYS WERE 1938 TO 1942, HENCE "LEE" AS A NICKNAME. Yes, I started Lee's Ski School, however, I had
previously bought a half interest in the Miami Beach Ski School for a winter
season, 1950-51?, before starting Lee's Ski School.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FamilyManCCF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 2:52pm
Alan, what a great piece of history! It is in great hands. Very excited to see the progress!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 2:54pm
Haha, great responses. Doesn't seem to have lost a step!

I'd be inclined to take his word for it on the windshield, though that particular picture clearly shows the 2-piece (the hardware where it meets the deck are the giveaway if the split is viewed as an optical illusion). I'd take the stance that this particular pic shows another early (non-#1) boat and go find a 1-piece screen if the current one can't be saved. There would be some obvious holes in the deck if a 2-piece was ever installed as the hardware is different and the footprints are not the same.

Transmission decision might be a little tougher if velvets weren't around in '59... If they were, that's the obvious choice without any proof to the contrary!

Original throttle/shift style and color/style of the boot stripe and bottom paint would be near the top of my list of questions too. What about the interior color? If Leo were to see some of the current pictures, maybe he could point out some of the non-original features?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Morfoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 3:03pm
Great Stuff Alan.....we all apprecitate the history research that you've done so far. Hope he is thrilled to see the boat safely in a collectors hands who wants to preserve and restore it's history.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tim D Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 6:33pm
Windshield zoom




I was looking at the different spray pattern the boat makes


Looks like the hull has a rib curled out on the bottom edge.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 6:43pm
Originally posted by Tim D Tim D wrote:


Looks like the hull has a rib curled out on the bottom edge.


That's the spray rail that CC maintained when they started building them. They were always the first thing to go since CC was making them out of wood.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tim D Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 7:10pm
Yeah, I've seen the wood spray rail on 60's Ski Nautiques, they are obviously wood, but I thought it looked like glass on this hull.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hollywood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 7:15pm
So this all white boat (presumably) in the pictures is or is not the prototype? It also doesn't look to have the spray rails. Was that a CC modification?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 7:30pm
The boat with the split windshield may not be #1 if Alan doesn't find any evidence of the other windshield style... That is my working theory, ha.

Based on the way the water is coming off that hull, it must have rails (difficult to see in the pic?). Take a look at the pic Wakeslayer posted of his 1gen with the broken rail... No reverse chine allows the water to come right up the hull and continue upwards rather than redirecting down. I'm not sure what was meant by "different spray pattern" but it looks normal to me... With that much hull visible it is probably in a mild right hand turn.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 62 wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 7:35pm
My 62 Higgins has wooden spray rails...how close are they to the early SN rails design?





Note , it also has a shorter.wider rail towards the stern. not sure if that is also for spray?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tim D Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 7:52pm
Rail shadow line?




Rail bump?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 81nautique Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 8:22pm
Originally posted by Hollywood Hollywood wrote:

So this all white boat (presumably) in the pictures is or is not the prototype? It also doesn't look to have the spray rails. Was that a CC modification?


I've been holding off answering until I get a chance to go and look at the boat again this weekend but sometimes these things take on a life of their own so here is what I know.

The boat I picked up was all white (off white) when built. when it went to NJ the bottom was painted by the Cleary's .   Leo said it was white with a red boot stripe. Leo says the boat in both photos is #1, does that mean the prototype or production boat #1 I don't actually know but I believe he is referencing the prototype.

As to the windshield, I will look for signs of other mounting holes. There are some patched holes where the windshield side frame attaches to the deck but I didn't put that together in my head until all the windshield talk started and I wanted to verify this before saying anything about it.   This may confirm that the boat was built with a deluxe windshield and it was changed at a later date.

The interior is an Aqua color and is how it was upholstered and interior painted. Leo painted the interior panels himself. The seat cushions I rec'd from the Cleary's are the second set the boat has ever had and Mark Cleary told me they were exact duplicates of the original. The cushions are in very good condition due to being stored indoors for 20 years.

The spray rails may have been added after that picture either by Bob Cleary(which I doubt) or by Leo as they were testing the boat. It was after all a "Prototype Test boat" as stated in Leo's letter to Bob so maybe they added them while getting to know the boat and how it handled.

As to the authenticity of the statement that this boat is the first boat out of the mold I can only go back to the letter Leo wrote to Bob in the 90's. He states quite clearly that the boat he sold to Bob was the first prototype test hull to come out of the mold built by Bob Conn. Bob Conn built the mold and one boat, after that Leo contracted with another boat builder to build 12 more. If there is an error in referencing boat #1 it's more likely that William Grimditch bought boat #2, Leo distinctly separates the prototype from the production boat though and considers the Grimditch boat to be the first production boat sold. William Grimditch for nostalgia sake also bought the #2 Mastercraft Bob Shirley built 8 years later. To go off on a real tangent I restored Mastercraft hull #13 many years ago.

My last thought on the prototype is that it was sold to Bob Cleary with the intent that he was going to try to sell the boat to dealerships in the Northeast, his first draft sales letter shows that. You could say Bob Cleary was the first promo boat owner, unfortunalety that opportunity evaporated when Leo sold the mold and name to Correct craft.

That's all I got for now but I'll keep digging and add info as I find it.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gary S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 10:55pm
Very interesting history Alan. One thing never mentioned and I hope you realize is that this boat obviously is a saltwater boat. If that becomes a problem,put me first on the list to dispose of it for you
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tommer12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 11:07pm
Amazing story! I moved to the Carolinas just a few years ago.   Been down to Hilton Head many times. You must have rolled right past us in Fort Mill on your way to Moorseville. That would have been a sight to see! We will be watching for updates here.. cant wait to hear all about it.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lewy2001 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-04-2016 at 11:38pm
It is the first boat out of the mold. I would say since we use a base ten numbering system it would be #1 if we used a binary or hexadecimal system it would be #0
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Old skier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-05-2016 at 12:39am
Great find. Art is the person that can get down to the true history of the Gen 1 Ski Nautiques. I have a 1964 SN 1378, and though it is not one of Leo's first boats, it is about as untouched survivor as you can get for a Gen 1 Correct Craft Ski Nautique. I am the second owner of the boat, and Art Cozier has helped me document it's history. I have the boat located up in Northern Wisconsin right now (in storage). Still has all the original panels, floor, and engine. If you need to look at it, during your restoration, I would make it available.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ArtCozier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-05-2016 at 12:53am
Whoa, time out for a bit of clarification: The boat at the factory is NOT a Leo Bentz boat. It is ONE OF the first that was built by CC after we took possession of the molds. We don't know whether it was THE first, but was very early.. The Cleary boat was in fact the first built by Leo. I sat with Leo last June and discussed a lot of details about the transfer, etc. He clearly remembers dealing with and selling the boat to Mr. Cleary. He is now 92, healthy as can be, still plays some tennis, and is still a practicing attorney!
More later after I have had time to read the above more thoroughly, it's 'waaaay past my bedtime
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote skutsch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-05-2016 at 1:51am
Originally posted by Old skier Old skier wrote:

Great find. Art is the person that can get down to the true history of the Gen 1 Ski Nautiques. I have a 1964 SN 1378, and though it is not one of Leo's first boats, it is about as untouched survivor as you can get for a Gen 1 Correct Craft Ski Nautique. I am the second owner of the boat, and Art Cozier has helped me document it's history. I have the boat located up in Northern Wisconsin right now (in storage). Still has all the original panels, floor, and engine. If you need to look at it, during your restoration, I would make it available.


Wow I would like to come see this, and maybe I will tow my Dad's up to line them up next to one another. Dad's is also pretty much untouched or at least could be put back to untouched with a swap of cushions (minus the carpet and floor). Who knew there was another Gen 1 so close to his which is located in Dubuque, IA. BTW, Dad's is a little older then your with hull ID SN1330...



Sorry for thread jack...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote btmachone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-05-2016 at 2:03am
Hey Alan, not really a CC guy but joined to follow this restoration. Saw it shared on facebook. Definitely a dream find! Can't wait to see it brought back to life, and love the dedication to putting it back as close to original as possible. You've mentioned a couple of past restoration projects through the thread. Any chance you could share a little of your past work for those of us that are new to the page?

Thanks, and looking forward to seeing more! Wow!
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