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July 27, 2013

Reconnecting with a dream boat

When Fred Olsen sold his classic boat in 1980, he thought he had seen the last of it. But he found the weather boat in disrepair almost 15 years later, had it refurbished and set out on a nostalgic voyage.

Fred Olsen knows what it’s like to own a dream boat.

When he started boating at Lake of the Ozarks in 1974, he owned a Century Arabian, a 31-foot boat “that was the class of the lake” he said.

“Every dockside restaurant on the lake wanted that boat docked there,” said Olsen, 80, who lives near the lake. “It was just a beautiful boat.

“It was made of all teak wood, it had a galley, and it had a lot of power. We had a lot of fun on that boat.”

Olsen sold that boat in 1980 and went on to other models. But that wasn’t the end of his adventures with his classic craft. In 2004, he was driving through a neighborhood of Glencoe, Mo., and he spotted a weathered, beat-up boat on blocks.

Inspecting the craft, he realized it was his old boat. He bought it and found a refurbisher who could restore it to its original shape. Then he launched the boat for its second go-around at Lake of the Ozarks.

“When it was refurbished, I think it attracted even more attention than it did the first time,” Olsen said. “It was just great to be back in my old boat, cruising around the lake.

“It felt almost like we had never been apart. It still ran great and it still turned heads.”

Olsen finally sold the boat, presumably for the last time, four years ago. Now he rents boats when he wants to go out on Lake of the Ozarks, but it’s not the same, he said.

“I’ll never forget how it felt to own one of the classiest boats on the lake,” he said.

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