There are vessels on Lake Lanier of all sizes, shapes and ages, but a boat moving to the lake next month might be the oldest of them all.
Forsyth County residents Katie and Taylor Grimsley will soon welcome their new 30-foot Vic Franck Sea Queen, a yacht built in 1928, to Forsyth County, where they are expecting it to become a common sight on the lake.
“We’re bringing it here to Port Royale, where we’ll use it on a regular basis and let everybody get to see it,” Katie said.
The couple have lived in Forsyth County for more than 20 years and have owned boats ranging from cruisers to runabouts to houseboats. They were looking to downsize when they found the Sea Queen.
“We both just kind of fell in love with it,” Katie said.
She said once they found the boat, they found out it was located across the country, in the Seattle area and decided “Oh well, let’s do it.”
“We pretty much have bought this boat sight unseen,” she said. “We just had to have it.”
When they found the boat, all they knew was “it was old,” and they soon started looking into all the information on the boat, its history and its make and model.
According to a 2011 article from The Seattle Times, the boat was meticulously repaired by Bob Irving, who originally purchased the then-derelict cruiser as a restoration project. There was no engine, rainwater in the hull and rotted wood.
Irving purchased the boat in 1993, but the project went on for 18 years, before being completed in 2011.
“The cabin was his idea. It just used to be open, then I think whoever had it before him tried to add a canvas to it, but what he has done is really bring out that classic ‘20s, ‘30s look,” Grimsley said.
According to the article, the Grimsley’s Sea Queen was one of only six to eight of the boats made on Lake Union in Washington by Vic Franck’s Boat Co. The exact number of boats was lost when company records were destroyed in a fire in 1938.
Grimsley said the history was a big factor in buying the boat.
“It’s the craftsmanship,” she said. “They don’t make (boats) like that anymore, and you don’t see them anymore, so whoever restored it, it’s nice to stay that way and make sure it doesn’t wind up in a boatyard again.”
While there is a lot of history to the boat, its 3,000-mile journey will be the first time it has left the Pacific Northwest and will be its first time being on freshwater full time.
“It is an ocean-fairing boat,” Katie said, “but on Lake Lanier, you kind of need one of those on a busy weekend.”
The Sea Queen is being transported by Scott Craig with Recreational Performance Machines and is expected to be in Georgia by mid-September.
Grimsley is a member of a group of owners of classic boats that meet at marinas around Lanier to show off their boats to each other and the community. The Sea Queen is a few years older than the current record-holder, Katie said.
“I think she’s the oldest on the lake,” she said. “There’s a sailboat ... that’s a 1934, I think, so this boat will technically be the oldest on Lake Lanier.”
She said that many people stop and ask questions about the boats. She’s expecting the same for the Sea Queen, too.
“It does turn heads,” Katie said. “We always get stopped and asked about our woody, so this boat, she’s going to really turn some heads.”