Restoring a 1928 Ventnor Runabout
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Restoring Misleading Lady
At first glance MisLeading Lady looked all right. Closer inspection revealed many unusual features, a bottom covered with plywood door skin held in place with bronze ring nails and resorcinol glue and a transom covered with wood grained Formica for example. Even closer inspection revealed that the original boat had undergone some serious transformations over the course of her life. On two separate occasions a strake of planking had been added to her sheer. There were the remains of at least three different deck layouts. But hidden beneath all of this was a very rare thing, a Ventnor runabout dating back to 1928.

Ventnor was a boatbuilding company originally located in the New Jersey shore town of the same name founded by German immigrant Adolph Apel. Adolph had worked for Consolidated on City Island before opening his own shop specializing in racing boats and runabouts. Ventnor built lightweight hulls and experimented with new racing forms. The company’s most notable achievement was the invention of the three-point hydroplane in the mid 1930’s. Because of all this and the Workshop on the Water’s commitment to local boatbuilding history restoring the boat was eminently worthwhile. Fortunately the boat’s owner felt the same way and an extensive restoration project commenced.

First the boat was closely examined for any hints as to her original configuration. We had two photographs taken when she was restored in the 1940’s one of these showed the original deck height and a number of other details. The boat herself revealed a number of things such as a prop location and angle that indicated the original engine was attached to a V drive. We couldn’t find a picture earlier than the 40’s. Finding anything from the early Ventnor years is very difficult. The boats are rare mostly because they were built exceedingly light and could not last. Plans and pictures burned with the Ventnor plant after the company went out of business. A few pieces of ephemera turned up in local historic societies showing how the early runabouts looked. Finally another boat turned up in Connecticut, which was very similar in age, size and construction, she would provide the needed layout and construction details. All these pieces were fit together and MisLeading Lady had a set of plans.

Our first restoration efforts were dedicated to reproducing the original boat. Not much could be salvaged but much could be copied and put back into the boat. These pictures illustrate the process.