How We Got Here....


On October 2, 2005 a reception was held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle to celebrate the completion of the restoration of the Miss Bardahl.  Following are the thoughts and comments by Skip Schott.


For those of you who do not know me, I am Skip Schott.  I was on the crew of the Bardahl in 1965 and I have been part of the restoration crew. 


Skip, 1965

Skip, 2005


I need to tell a couple of stories about why we are here tonight.  Some of you thought it was the food and wine.  That is one reason, but the real reason is, today is October 2nd 2005….On October 3rd 1965….40 years ago tomorrow four young boys and Leo Vanden Berg took the Miss Bardahl out of the water in San Diego….Dixon was directing the crane, David had the stern rope, I had the bow rope, Jerry Zuvich (who is also here tonight) probably had a red tool tray in his hands and Leo was helping Ron Musson get out of his life jacket.  The boat has not been in the water since….….


Jerry Zuvich (far left standing), Dixon Smith (far right standing), David Smith (left, kneeling), Skip Schott (right, kneeling) circa 1965

Dixon Smith, Skip Schott, Jerry Zuvich, David Smith circa 2005






Ron and Leo are gone and those four boys can now order off the Senior Menu.


Now you need to know how we got here….Well , it is Barbara Carper’s fault.  Barbara owns the Miss Thriftway.  In the spring of 1999 she called Dixon and said that she and Ike would be out of town during Seafair.  There was a scheduled Vintage Boat “Race” as part of the event.  She wanted to know if Dixon would drive her boat and he would need to provide a Crew.  Dixon thought about this for a second and said, YES.  Dixon called his brother David, and an old mutual friend Dwight Thorn.  He then called me and said: Do you want to go Boat   Racing!   I said: We did that 35 years ago…. He then said: This time it will be different, we will not work late or get dirty…I also thought for only a second, and said YES….…. 


We ran the Thriftway once before Seafair and everything went well.  On Seafair Sunday we had a small electrical problem, but that was fixed quickly.  When it was time to run, we put it in the water and Dixon was on the course with the rest of the boats.  There was some kind of “arrangement” as to the finishing order, but….….During the last lap Dixon had a “memory” problem and the Miss Thriftway crossed the finish line first.


Dixon taking the lead (inside) on the final turn.

Dixon, Skip, Dwight, Mark (Dwight's brother), Ryan, & David


That Sunday, was the first time in 30 years that Dixon, David, Dwight and I had been together…. We had a Great time….telling old boat stories to the delight of Dixon’s son, Ryan….I think that he actually believed some of them!  As the day went on the stories got better and better….….


After we cleaned everything up, we went to dinner at the Outback Steak House.  After several glasses of wine and prime-rib and more wine, the conversation turned to the subject:  “We should restore an old boat.”  “Yea, that sounds like a great Idea, but we should do it RIGHT.”….….Then Dixon said that he knew the fellow who owned the Bardahl and we should talk to him.  (Curt Erickson was the owner and Dixon had always said that if Curt restored the boat, that there would be an engine/gearbox available.)  Well, at this point in the conversation, (after more wine) I said:  “Well, if we are going to do it, we better do it now, before we’re too old and wished we had.”


In June of 2000, Dixon made a deal with Curt and we picked up the boat…Thank you Barbara Carper, thank you Curt Erickson…Five years later is what you see here tonight…It was been great to get to re-live ones youth……..but, we did get dirty and we did work late…………….


Cosmetically restored Miss Bardahl after pick-up from Curt, circa 2000.

Fully restored Miss Bardahl, ready to run, circa 2005.

© Ryan Smith, 2003-2012. All rights reserved.