family fishing excursions with Grandpa,
the sound of the rain against the trailer’s
Eventually, after her mother remarried,
and moved her two girls to Islamorada,
Florida, she kept up her family’s boating
traditions. Her stepfather Bob, a fishing
guide, would take the girls fishing whenever
he could. “Some of my strongest memories
are of growing up with skiffs and center
consoles in Florida,” Steph has told me.
So, I would’ve thought her boat preferences
would follow suit. But no. Modern express
cruisers hold zero appeal, despite their considerable popularity. When we were hunting
for a boat nine years ago, while we were still
just dating, she helped steer me away from
a very nice Sea Ray and toward an older, but
considerably more classic-looking Marinette.
The Marinette has since become a huge
part of our relationship – first as our weekend getaway when we were dating; later as a
test of our compatibility as DIY-engine-repair
projects stretched for weeks; it was even our
honeymoon vehicle of choice, on which we
cruised the islands of the Chesapeake.
Putting The Pieces Together
It wasn’t until we arrived at Ruby’s wake in
Springfield, Ohio, that the penny dropped.
There, among the photos being passed
around documenting her well-lived life,
was a shot of Ruby standing at the transom
of a 26-footer, one of the last boats Jim
bought. Ruby, who’d reached 94 years of
age when she passed away in 2010, was in
her mid-60s in the photo — her hair held
back in one of her favored scarves, smiling
in the knee-deep water with a hand atop
the transom, the look of pure contentment
on her face.
When we saw that photo, something
clicked for Stephanie. There it all was —
the engine box, the cutouts for the cleats,
the wide-open cockpit for fishing, the classic lines. All of these could be found …
on an Albin. What she’d been searching
for, especially with a new life entering the
stage as a beloved one was departing, was
a vessel that could hold safely within it
those precious family times, those feelings
of security and love. She’d been looking for
her grandfather’s boat.
Opposite page, Ruby on
her namesake with her
daughter Edie standing
at the stern. Above,
Edie and her daughter
Molly, with some
A recent photo of Jim’s second Lyman, a 1966, 21-footer, now owned by the Drossel family. Opposite page, the same boat in the summer of 1969, with John, Ruby, and Joan on Middle Bass Island. Jim West at he wheel of his third Lyman, a 23-Offshore, now owned by Dan Bracken.
TO REACH OUT TO LYMAN OWNERS, CHECK OUT THE LYMAN BOAT OWNERS ASSOCIATION AT: WWW.LBOA.NET
FOR MORE ON THE HISTORY OF THE LYMAN BOAT COMPANY GO TO WWW.CLINKERBUILT.COM