On Keuka

My dad, Ray “Spike” Leonard sitting in the family’s 17 1/2 foot, Penn Yan runabout with my grandparents Gladys and Stanley, and aunt Elaine around 1949. The boat was purchased by my grandfather from Rod Pierce of Pierce Freight Lines later known as Penn Yan Express. My father remembers that Pierce had a Garwood runabout that was the fastest boat on the lake at that time. The Gar had an V-12 Allison Aircraft engine which would typically catch fire while being started. The start drill was to have someone poised with a CO2 extinguisher. The Penn Yan runabout was designed with a rudder mounted on the stern to allow the prop shaft to extend further aft and reduce the angle of entry. With the prop in the very stern, the boat made 27 mph and rode very level. The family owned the boat into the 1950’s. During August 13, 1955 Hurricane Connie sent gust over 60 mph up through Keuka Lake swamping the boat at her dock. My dad recalls that the boat was in need of repair when two young guys bought the boat and drove it away as water poured in through the double planked hull. The Penn Yan Boat Company made the runabout in the same fashion as Chris Craft, double planked with canvas between the plank layers. As the canvas deteriorated the integrity of the hull was quickly compromised. The specs on the runabout are shown in the ad below.

Penn Yan Ad
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