In what has, unfortunately, become all too common in the last few years, the plans for our annual boat show at Lake St. Louis included “what to do” if it rains. The predictions were fairly ominous and our choices fairly limited. Lake St. Louis is a private community who generously allows us the use of their lake once a year. Postponement was not an option, so the basic question became how much effort should be put into a show that could become a complete washout. Our decision was probably the same as most ACBS chapters which was go ahead with our original plans and cross our fingers that the weatherman was, once again, not completely correct. As the day began the weatherman was somewhat correct. The morning dawned with a heavy rain and a strong wind which made us not only wet but also cold. But to our great relief, shortly after 10:00 am the rain stopped, the skies lightened, the temperature rose and on went the show. The afternoon turned out to be a very nice day with sunny skies and very comfortable temperatures.
The rain we experienced during the show was just a continuation of very heavy rains that had gone on throughout the month. Many of our creeks and smaller rivers produced significant flooding and the stream that feeds Lake St. Louis was no exception. The lake was at a very high water level and because of potential damage to sea walls our cruising was limited to “no wake” speed. So no trying to see how fast you can make the “old girl” go on her first outing of the season. Leisurely cruising was the order of the day.
Based on my description so far the show seems to have been somewhat of a “downer”. However, the opposite was actually what happened. Most of the scheduled participants braved the weather and showed up as expected. We had twenty-five boats which for our size chapter and the weather prediction, is a decent turnout. At some point about two-thirds of the boats were in the water and the rest were land displays. One of the reasons we like the show at this time of year is that it allows most of us to try our boats for the first time of the season. Since many of us live fairly close to Lake St. Louis, we do not have to travel far to find out if we have problems that would cause us to simply turn around and go back home.
About twenty percent of the boats were new to our show. The variety was fairly good with the boats ranging from a two foot Chris Craft radio controlled model to a twenty foot replica “tugboat”. The smallest (the model) and the largest (the tugboat) generated great interest with the children, and the tugboat was by far the overall hit of the show.
The owner of the tug, Paul Fairchild is a highly skilled hobbyist welder and built the boat with steel. It weighs approximately 3 tons and is powered by a 2 cylinder 25 hp diesel motor. The hull is a Goliath Glenn-L design with his own super structure design. Construction started in October 2015, and when completed will have a galley, head, generator and sleep 3 people. As you can see from the picture he did a great job. As the boat was trailered into the parking lot, all heads turned and thought “you have got to be kidding”, we actually have a tugboat at our show. Paul was very accommodating and let visitors board the boat while it was still on the trailer. The children loved standing in the wheelhouse. The boat was then launched and was quite a site as it slowly cruised the lake.
As the weather turned good we were able to enjoy our surroundings at “Wind Jammer Point”. The point is a great venue for our show. It has a very nice set of docks, a good launch ramp, full restrooms, and best all a very nice pavilion for our lunch and pulled pork and “pot luck” dinner. Our lunch provides a nice way for the Lake St. Louis Water Ski Club to make some money and a convenient lunch for show attendees. They sell hot dogs, sandwiches, chips, cookies, and drinks with the proceeds going to their club.
After our dinner we held a short chapter meeting to discuss upcoming events. We then trailered the boats, packed up the displays, cleaned up the area and headed home with a thankful feeling for the change in weather and a satisfied feeling for another successful show.