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Making Waves

World's largest runabout returning to Clayton this week

First published: May 26, 2014 at 8:06 pm
Last modified: May 26, 2014 at 8:57 pm
Pardon Me pulls away from Clayton in 2012. The boat is expected to return this week after being away for nearly a year and a half.

Its been nearly a year and a half since Pardon Me, the world's largest runabout, was in Clayton. The enormous 48-foot long boat, that once graced the St. Lawrence River - most recently in the mid-2000s, will return from Brooklin, Maine where it has undergone extensive restoration work.

The Antique Boat Museum is preparing for Pardon Me's return this Thursday. The boat will go on display later this summer.

Below, curator Emmett Smith provides a small look into the boat and the project that will soon be celebrated.

By Emmett Smith, Curator

It has always been hard for folks to keep their hands off of Pardon Me. The 48-foot edifice of mahogany and chrome is intoxicating, it begs to be touched, heard, and driven. More than any other boat in the Antique Boat Museum’s collection, it seems to draw people in and hold them under its thrall. It has the same effect on us, too.

Last summer, Pardon Me received a new bottom at Brooklin Boatyard, in Brooklin, Maine, in preparation for a return to in-water use in 2014.

One of the largest boats ever built by Hutchinson’s Boat Works in Alexandria Bay, NY, Pardon Me was launched in 1947. It was the creation of John Hacker, and drawn to the specifications of Charlie Lyon of Chippewa Bay and Ogdensburg, NY. Known as the “Roaring Lyon,” Charlie liked to make big statements. Custom speedboats were an important part of the boating culture of the time, and a big custom job like Pardon Me was a sure way to make a splash on the summer scene.

Since arriving at ABM in 1986, the gift of Jim and Tony Lewis, Pardon Me has been used half a dozen times as a floating or running exhibition. A single-screw wooden boat with a 1600 hp V-12 engine, it has always been a challenge to operate. The new bottom is part of the most comprehensive effort ever undertaken to make the boat stronger, more reliable, and more runnable than ever before.

The project began at the Museum, with a full documentation of the boat and initial repairs. As so often happens with restoration projects, we found unanticipated structural issues and decided we needed backup!

Brooklin Boatyard, one of the most well-respected wooden yacht yards in the US, was selected to complete the hull work. The engine has been completely rebuilt and certain systems updated by Rocky Summit Performance in Tennessee.

This past fall, the boat and engine were reunited for sea trials, and we will have this iconic power craft back in the water for summer 2014. The sight of Pardon Me thundering down the River again is truly something to look forward to this season, and for this year’s historic 50th annual Antique Boat Show - August 1-3!


Break the winter blues

First published: February 07, 2014 at 2:00 pm
Last modified: February 07, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Ever find February break a bit a dull in the North Country? Kids are tired of sledding, skiing, and hockey is cancelled for the week. Parents don't want to travel during the break in case of inclement weather. So, what do you do?
This is where the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton fills a gap!
From Monday, February 17 through Friday, February 21, the Museum will host a drop-in nautical inspired camp. This two-hour craft and play time, from 9:30am – 11:30am, explores the St. Lawrence Seaway and how people enjoy the River. Each day children visit a different area of the River, while learning new skills. During the Great Lakes day, they will design a barge and find how many pounds it can hold. Building a model 1000 Island Bridge is the core activity for Clayton: Our Home Port day. Participants will also learn how to use a compass and read maps. They will decode nautical flags and go fishing. Each day is filled with games, activities, and crafts to explore our famous waterway. February Break Camp is just the thing to beat the winter blues and get ready for spring.
All school-aged children are welcome. Each session is $5 per child for members and $7 for non-members with a family maximum of $20 per family, per day. If you are interested in coming every day it is only $25. Children under the age of 7 must have an adult stay with them. Call Julie at 315-686-4104 or email at with questions or to pre-register.
Available Every day
Coloring pages, toy boats, dress-up clothes, nautical themed books

Monday, 17
Getting There and Here and Everywhere
- Learn how to read a map and use a compasses
- Paint Periscopes

Tuesday, 18
Long Journeys in Small Boats
- Fill the New 2014 exhibit passports
- Color a backpack

Wednesday, 19
Shipping in the Great Lakes
- Engineer a barge
- Learning fish species

Thursday, 20
Clayton: Our Home Port
- Design a bridge
- Creative boatbuilding

Friday, 21
Oh Canada!
- Build a canoe
- Paint souvenir paddles
Hope to see you there!
- Julie Broadbent, ABM Educator


Volunteering is key to North Country organizations

First published: February 04, 2014 at 10:00 am
Last modified: February 06, 2014 at 9:17 am
44% of surveyed New Yorkers say volunteering is "the right thing to do."

Tuesday morning, members of the Antique Boat Museum (ABM) staff joined a room full of Northern New York non-profit staffers at the Ramada Inn in Watertown for a seminar relating to volunteerism, which was hosted by the United Way of NNY and ADK. Bob Gorman, director of the United Way of NNY led off the event with a brief introduction and soon handed the floor over to Kathy Snow, director of development for the United Way of ADK.

Did you know that many of the non-profits in our region are in desperate need of volunteer help in order to operate?

The ABM, already the odd bunch in the crowd based on our organization type, chimed in during the introduction session and informed the group of the astounding volunteer numbers the Museum had in 2013. Since its inception, the ABM has functioned and grown because of the assistance of more than 150 volunteers. Just this past year, ABM volunteers contributed over 9,000 work hours - absolutely amazing. The hard work of those volunteers equates to more than a $70,000 savings in operational costs. As the group sat and listened to Kathy, it came to light as to what the various needs are by the organizations in attendance. A Boys & Girls Club about to open in Massena needs day-to-day help, emergency response groups need willing people trained and ready to be deployed in the event of an emergency, and the Girl Scouts are always looking for leaders and helping hands.

So, you stop and think to yourself... do I volunteer? If not, why? If so, why?

The United Way listed some of the benefits of volunteering:

a) Make new relationships/friendships
b) Develop new skills and experience
c) Create a better community
d) Personal satisfaction
e) Recognition
f) Possible entry into an organization for other opportunities (such as a future job)

At the ABM, we believe participation provides all of those benefits to those who assist us. Numerous relationships have been formed at the Museum, multiple skills are honed in all areas of the operation, a thriving ABM means a thriving Clayton community, smiles of satisfaction can always be found as a project wraps up, a hand shake or a simple thank you from our staff is the least bit of recognition we can give, and the opportunities for future involvement are plentiful. While our organization recognizes that we may be in better shape, based on the number of volunteers we have, compared to other organizations, it is still important to us to retain, maintain, and attract more to our already strong foundation.

In late 2013, the ABM launched V.I.P., a program aimed at achieving those three goals. The V(olunteer) I(nitiative) P(rogram) is in place to ensure we continue to have very important people at our side. Current volunteers have the ability to receive incentives such as wine and cheese cruises, t-shirts, and more for bringing a new volunteer to the team. Our staff's role in the program is to participate in outreach, much like Tuesday's event, in an effort to find new volunteers. As an organization, we should be thankful for the time that volunteers donate, however we must always be prepared to replace them in the event that their commitment to the organization can no longer be fulfilled.

The need for help will always be there - whether at the ABM or the Boys & Girls Club - and we hope that you will take a minute to stop and think to yourself... maybe I should become a volunteer today.

For more information on volunteer opportunities across Northern New York, log onto today!


Symposium 2014: Start Your Engines

First published: January 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm
Last modified: January 28, 2014 at 5:05 pm
Symposium 2014 will feature hands-on demonstrations relating to engine maintenance. Shown is the engine of Pardon Me being placed into the boat this past November while in Brooklin, Maine.

The Antique Boat Museum (ABM) and the Antique & Classic Boat Society (ACBS) will co-host a hands-on symposium this coming May 2-4 at the Museum in Clayton.

Symposium 2014: Start Your Engines will jump-start opening weekend activities at the ABM for the beginning of the 2014 summer season.

This weekend-long symposium is for people with a passion for boating and building boats, boat owners, and everyone in-between. Symposium 2014 will primarily focus on engines – covering all types including inboards, outboards, and diesel engines.

Sessions will be taught by experts in motor maintenance and provide participants with hands-on demonstrations, as well as instruction on how to properly restore and maintain a marine engine.

Instructors include:

Peter Hunn, author of The Classic Outboard Motor Handbook

Peter Leubner, Navy Point Marine Service Manager (Sackets Harbor, NY)

Tony Mollica, well-known boating and 1000 Islands author and historian

Dave Van Ness, owner of Van Ness Engineering

Hans Wahl: owner of French Creek Marina (Clayton, NY)

The weekend will also consist of speedboat rides and a tour of the ABM's Doebler storage facility.

Registration is only $199, if registered prior to April 20, and includes dinner on Friday night at The Clipper Inn, breakfast at the ABM on Saturday and Sunday, as well as lunch on Saturday.

To register online -

For more information or to register, log on to or contact Julie Broadbent at

Located on the St. Lawrence River in the 1000 Islands, the Antique Boat Museum features a collection of over 300 antique and classic boats, among thousands of recreational boating artifacts. In August 2014, the Museum will host the 50th annual Antique Boat Show and Auction, the longest running show in North America. For more information please visit the Museum's website at


We have arrived!

First published: January 27, 2014 at 3:00 pm
Last modified: January 27, 2014 at 3:29 pm
The Antique Boat Museum is home to more than 300 boats in its collection and will be hosting its 50th annual Antique Boat Show this coming August.

We have arrived!

We, at the Antique Boat Museum (ABM), are excited to be presented with the opportunity to join the Watertown Daily Times online scene and 'make waves' in the blog-world.

For years, the ABM has sat nestled along the beautiful shorelines of Clayton, at times hidden from those who may enjoy boats and boating. Perhaps those people might not have been aware of what we are, who we are, or where we are. This opportunity is just another new avenue for us to spread the good word and share with you all of the many unique and interesting things that make up the ABM.

The ABM is far from being old, dusty boats!

Yes, we have a collection of old boats. Over 300 boats to be more specific. However, the ABM has many other attributes that make it a special 'hidden gem' in the North Country.

Did you know the ABM offers multiple hands-on class opportunities? Did you know the ABM hosts an array of classes, camps, and events for kids? Did you know a number of events held at the ABM aren't strictly 'for members only' and everyone is welcome to attend? Ever take a speedboat ride through the islands?

If those questions caused for your eyebrow to rise out of interest in learning more, then be sure to bookmark this new blog and visit the ABM online at We look forward to teaching you a whole lot more about the ABM!

- Michael Folsom, Director of Marketing & Communications

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