When asked, Alan replied that “the idea of making something beautiful that was beat-up and ugly—that’s my hobby.” For Alan, the hunt and restoration brought excitement. He searched the country for boats that possessed:
He then worked with people like chief restorer Dennis Burns to bring his finds back to life. In doing so, Alan got a break from the stresses of his job as Vice Chairman and Director of Santa Fe & Southern Pacific while preserving the nation’s maritime history. Below are a few of the boats Alan helped to save.
1924 30' Stephens Bros. Launch
In 1924, Coach Ky Ebright signed on to coach UC Berkeley’s rowing team, but before agreeing to the job, he had a few requirements. Ebright asked for a boat that produced a small wake and had a forward cockpit for him to stand and coach from. Produced by the Stephens Bros, Oski III was the result of this request. Ebright and Oski III went on to coach Berkeley’s team to Olympic gold in 1928, 1932, and 1948.
By 1969, Oski III was done with her coaching career. The school described her as “unfloatable,” and sold her for $100 to a man that just wanted her engine. She remained untended until Alan found her in 1983. A UC Berkeley alumni, Alan purchased the boat and spent 4 years restoring her, and the promptly paraded her around the UCB campus for his reunion.
This Stephens Bros. runabout first came to the lake in July of 1926. The Tahoe Power Boat Commodore, Charles Townsend named her Kanigo (pronounced Can-I-Go) because of the many people begging him to take them for rides. over the next decade Kanigo took part in many races on Tahoe before Townsend sold her for a faster boat. Kanigo had several influential owners, and remained a fixture on the lake. It was this long history that appealed to Alan Furth. In an article published in a 1993 edition of Classic Boating, Alan recalled the response people had to this boat:"It is surprising the number of people who come by and tell me some unknown piece of history about the boat because they were at Lake Tahoe during its early days."
When Chloe first hit the water in 1934 the magazine Powerboating described her as, “The finest looking boat in the Gold Cup class.” Racing under her original name, Ethyl-Ruth IV, this beautiful boat never got a real chance to show what she could do. Chloe started one lap behind in the Gold Cup race of 1934. Her driver tried to catch-up by going full speed for two laps, but the strain was too much for the engine. Chloe withdrew from her first and only race. Alan Furth found Chloe in 1975. He brought her to Lake Tahoe from Lake Placed, and had restored her. In the years that followed, Alan had great fun speeding around the lake in his Gold Cup Racer.
Courtesy of Richard S. Clarke & Tony Brown Collection.