View Full Version : Anyone Know this Boat? Very Classic Looking.

01-24-2011, 08:17 AM
I was looking at a rather interesting website to do with the homes and boats of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The homes were breath taking enough on their own but what I found particularly interesting was what looked like a 50 or so foot steam launch with the lines and set up of a classic sea going Edwardian steam yacht, that is to say: clipper bow, fantail stern, stack amidships, two superstructures on deck, one mast per super structure, technically "schooner" rigged. This boat has really captured my imagination and I would love to know anything more about her that I could possibly find out. What is her name? Where is she from? When was she built? Who was she built for? Is she still steam powered? Is she still a private yacht? Who owns her now? Does anyone have any pictures of her underway? Has anyone on the forum ever sailed on her before? I'll take anything I can get, stories, pictures, whatever. I'm in love.

The website:

The Boat:

01-24-2011, 08:56 AM
Mail boat?

01-24-2011, 09:20 AM
I have a booklet called 1901 ALBUM OF DESIGNS by Fred W. Martin, who designed and built out of Racine, Wisconsin. That particular boat doesn't seem to be in the lot, but it is very like some that are.

James McMullen
01-24-2011, 09:52 AM
I think that is indeed a type of boat specific to that region. If I remember correctly, Phil Bolger has a chapter in Boats With an Open Mind about building an inexpensive plywood simulacrum of this sort of boat, and he includes some details and history in there.

01-24-2011, 10:08 AM
Just google "Lake Geneva mailboat" and you will find plenty of info.

01-24-2011, 01:04 PM
In doing some further research it looks like it might be a boat called "Sealark" built by a man named Larry Larkin more recently than the Edwardian era. I'm not 100% sure about that as it would not be out of the question to have two very similar looking boats on the same lake at the same time, even two boats as unique looking as this one. Whatever it is there is a very lucky boat owner somewhere in Wisconsin and I hope he appreciates it because I'm insanely jealous of it.

01-24-2011, 03:13 PM
Probably Larry Larkin's boat. Kinda looks like his docks and house in the background. He has a couple of such launches. I think they are "Racine" boats. He was making one too, a new steel hulled replica! The hull was made in Escanba, MI and he was doing all the fitting out at his home shop.

Mr. Larkin is a super nice person. I was in his home and boathouse and on one of his boats while at the dock. Never had a ride in one of the launches tho. He has a 30 ft. or so wooden runabout that I got a ride in once.

The Antique & Classic Boat Society is having their annual meeting and international classic boat show on Lake Geneva in September 2011. I know Mr. Larkin is involved in the planning.


01-24-2011, 06:12 PM
It looks a lot like "Sea Lark," but unless they've done a lot of work to her, it's not the same boat. Here are a stack of pictures of Sea lark - and especially the after canopy is different:



She almost looks more like this old girl, the Doreen:



But it you look very carefully at the stern of the black boat, the name starts with an "M." Almost "MIS" but certainly it looks to me like an M

Beautiful boats, looks like it's worth a trip to see them.

01-24-2011, 06:22 PM
Here's another picture of your dark hulled boat - but still no name - I'll keep looking:



01-24-2011, 07:18 PM
My goodness they are gorgeous boats. I love the additional photos you all have posted. Gives me the chills just to look at such a beauty.

04-04-2011, 06:34 AM
Greetings! I just came across this and joined the forum so I may answer.

This vessel is the Matriark, owned by Bill Gage Jr., owner of Gage Marine (http://www.gagemarine.com/) and the Lake Geneva Cruise Line (http://www.cruiselakegeneva.com/). I had the good fortune of working for Gage when it was launched following restoration and have been on board a few times. It was built in 1899 by the Racine Boat Company for Richard T. Crane, founder of Crane Plumbing Company, and was first named the Passaic. It is eighty-seven feet long with a thirteen-foot beam. The steel hull features 1/4 inch thick plating and she displaces more than fifty tons. She was originally fitted with a Racine triple-expansion steam engine. The Gage family purchased her in 1949, renamed her and she is now diesel powered. She is exquisite and is an absolute joy to operate.

The Sea Lark and the Doreen are different vessels associated with Larry Larkin. The Sea Lark is a more contemporary build while the Doreen actually met her demise back in the 1950's. I will agree with AndreasJordahlRhude that Larry truly is a super nice person and knows as much, if not more, than anyone on the history of Lake Geneva's yachts. He has written two books on the subject, Full Speed Ahead (out-of-print and very hard to find) and Grand & Glorious: Classic Boats of Lake Geneva.