HEALEY BOAT AT THE RENDEZVOUS
RICHLAND, WASHINGTON July 2007 - For the first time in the 33-year history of the West Coast Meet/Healey Rendezvous, a Healey boat was present at the event, held this year in Richland, Washington. Reid Trummel of Portland, Oregon, a member of the Cascade Austin-Healey Club – the host club for the 2007 Rendezvous – brought out his ultra-rare 1956 Healey Ski-Master boat, giving the event participants a look at another aspect of Donald Healey’s creative genius.
Donald Healey formed “Healey Marine Ltd.” in 1956 and produced about 1750 boats over a six-year period. Reid’s boat is one of the early ones, dating from 1956, using all-wood construction, and designed to pull two skiers. With its 55-horsepower Mercury Thunderbolt Mark 55E motor – the same vintage as the boat – the Ski-Master will easily cruise at 30 MPH. Made primarily of African Mahogany, the boat comfortably seats up to five: the “skipper” and four passengers.
In addition to the “first” of showing a Healey boat at the Rendezvous, Reid also struck on the idea of raffling tickets for Healey boat rides, adding another “first” with this unique feature of Rendezvous 2007. With the Columbia River next to the host hotel, and a boat launch just a little over one mile away, nine raffle winners got the actual experience of riding in one of Donald Healey’s watercraft. Additionally, anyone driving a Healey more than 500 miles to attend the Rendezvous was offered a boat ride, adding two more to the list of passengers during the week.
Tickets were drawn Wednesday evening, and on Thursday nine lucky attendees had the rare experience of actually riding in a Healey boat. Taking three people out on each of three 40-minutes rides, nine Healey fans can now claim to have “gone Healeying on the water.”
“The boat operated just perfectly, like it was still a new boat,” Reid observed afterwards. The passengers agreed. Reid took the boat out for a test run and photo session the day before the rides, and Bill Emerson videotaped and photographed it.
This 1956 Healey Ski-Master also won the “Other Healeys” class in the Popular Vote, and provided a stark contrast with the other class winners in the Best of Show line-up, where all of the class winners were presented Thursday evening. “It was fun to share this rare piece of ‘Healey history’ with so many other Healey enthusiasts. There is only one other known Ski-Master in the USA, and it was brought over from a museum in England a few years ago. Therefore this boat is likely the last surviving example of the model that was sold new in this country,” Reid commented. Judging from the comments about the boat, Donald Healey’s boats are still highly appreciated by those who also appreciate his cars.
©2007 Reid Trummel for British Car Week