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3rdDonzi
04-14-2017, 10:56 AM
De winterization day is one of my favorite days of the year. It's always nice getting out for the first time each spring. Yesterday I went for about an hour ride, near sunset, by myself in no hurry at all, just good to be back on the lake. As I was idling through a marina I was flagged down by a man around my age (60) who was on the deck of a large boat having cocktails with a few couples. He wanted a closer look at my 18 and shared memories of the days when Donzi's were a really big deal and mentioned that although he never owned one, they had hugely impacted the memories of his younger days in South Florida.
After returning home, as the sun set, over a glass of wine I started pondering on what is so special about these boats to so many people. Why does a sixty year old man get so much pleasure from owning a boat that is small, cramped, not really fast by today's standards (mine is bone stock) and not practical at all? I guess there's a different answer for all of us all but I think I figured it out for me.
When I was a kid, Donzi meant speed! It also meant looks. I thought they were beautiful and dreamed of owning one. I still think it is one of the best looking boats ever built. Today, to go fast in a Donzi costs a lot of money and maintenance time. I appreciate and enjoy reading about the performance investments and results enjoyed by so many but for me, what does this boat do best? It looks pretty! It proudly radiates its heritage and reminds many of fond days. It also rides pretty good for an 18 ft. boat. That's enough for me.
The Donzi had its day and what a day it was! I enjoy celebrating it. Maybe it's just me aging but I consider mine a well preserved classic as opposed to a present day performance boat. (There aren't many bass boats my stock 350 mag could catch) As an avid motorcyclist the contrast is similar, If I want a thrill on a Ducati, I have to break the law really bad but I can have a completely satisfying ride on an antique Triumph and never approach the speed limit. The thrill is the nostalgia alone. Still enjoy and appreciate both!
Those of us that value these boats have a lot in common. I raise my glass to all that do, whether for performance, nostalgia or both.
3D

CHACHI
04-14-2017, 11:59 AM
I couldn't of said it better.

Ken

Rob M
04-14-2017, 12:15 PM
That's how I see it too. Most of these classics have no hope of keeping pace with modern boats, but they look cool as hell from any angle.

Morgan's Cloud
04-14-2017, 12:22 PM
I remember clearly when all of this 'change' was taking place and the performance boating world was re-defined when Dick Bertram came out with the Bertram 31.
Then it was the Formula 233 , then Donzi , Magnum , Cary , Cigarette , Nova and a few other early starters. They were like nothing else around even though by today's standards they were simple and almost 'basic' boats .

I'd rather have a 50 year old one of these beauties (which I do) than the characterless , heritageless , ugly things that are all over the place now.

If it aint at least 40 years old , I'm not interested in it !

FarPoint
04-14-2017, 01:50 PM
I'm of the same vintage, and can honestly same that Donzis had a very early impact on myself as well. The day the new 28 Donzi Sportsman pulled into our yacht club and moored in the shed next to us still reverberates with me. Well, literally. And the red 16 with the custom high gloss wood dash panel, which was then replaced by the blue 18 with the same dash...... Wow- 10 years old, and surrounded by Donzis, when all the other cruisers were going 12 knots. And "Speedboats" were doing 25. I've owned lots of boats since i was that 10 year old kid watching the 28 Donzi roar up behind our cruiser and jump the wake. And it's taken 50 years till i owned one. Now i have a 22 Blackhawk that I've never driven. Maybe this weekend is it!!! Its in my shop beside the Skater, and a couple of other performance boats. People always wanna see the Donzi 1st. So maybe it comes out to play 1st.
Kind of like a classic 60's muscle car- cant keep up to the new ones- but I'll take 70 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 over a Hellcat any day!!
I sense a 28 in my future......

3rdDonzi
04-14-2017, 03:15 PM
I guess we were all bitten by the same bug at an early age. I was 10 when I saw my first Donzi. I'll never forget the day, the smell of the new resin and the sound when it started.
We seem to have an appreciation in our bones for classics and the ability to quickly identify a future classic. Tends to transcend to cars, motorcycles and airplanes as well. I will take the classic any day! This disease has cost me plenty but I consider it a gift. I wouldn't take anything for the fun I've had with my hobbies. Sometimes I wonder about generations to come.
3D

Morgan's Cloud
04-14-2017, 03:24 PM
Sometimes I wonder about generations to come.
3D

They'll be fighting social dysfunction and disconnect as they try to get 50 year old smart devices working again .

se7en
04-14-2017, 03:51 PM
I agree, back in mid 60s, I was a 15 year old lad working on Saturdays and holidays at a boat shop in the East end of London, England .
They sold all the top U.K. brands of the day, and also imported "Mark Twain" boats from the states , and "Riva" from Italy, Then , around Easter 1965, a bright red 16 Ski sporter arrived......Wow......so different to anything available at the time in Europe, the boss had been to the Chicago boat show the year before and seen them and decided to give it a go.
To my recollection , there was only ever the one boat imported, they were very expensive by the time the shipping and taxes had been added, but it left an indelible mark.
It took 46 years, but I managed to find one, it wasn't so much being able to afford one, it was more, finding one in Europe to buy !! anyhow, my point is , some things just stick in your mind, and won't go way, from school boy (then), to pensioner (now), it still has the "Wow factor", and manages to excite..!!...

chip w
04-14-2017, 04:11 PM
It's great to read all of these stories and memories. I remember the first Donzi I saw in Upstate NY. I was about 10 and at a camp owned by friends of my parents. I was about 39 when I bought my 1969 Ski Sporter and it was one of my happiest days. I had a similar experience around 1968 when my scout leader showed up with a new 911. It became a life goal to have one (air cooled) and now they share a garage. It's the best place to hang out when I get home.

Thank you to everyone that shares their story.

Carl C
04-14-2017, 04:54 PM
They can keep up with newer, comparable hulls :). To me it's the joy of driving a performance boat that I had to take time to learn how to drive. It's about having a great looking boat that can take me offshore on the Great Lakes yet small enough for the local lake. I'm also a speed junky though and I need the rush of going over 80 and having good acceleration. I'm 63 and hope I don't slow down anytime soon. Nice post 3D.

3rdDonzi
04-14-2017, 08:54 PM
Thanks. I hope you don't either!
3D

yeller
04-15-2017, 02:33 AM
Nice post 3D.
+1
Enjoyed your obvious passion.


Kind of like a classic 60's muscle car- cant keep up to the new ones- but I'll take 70 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 over a Hellcat any day!!. 442 is my all time favorite......just because it wasn't mainstream. Kind of like a Donzi.
But, I wouldn't be opposed to a 442 with the Hellcat engine. :drive:

Capevettes
04-15-2017, 06:35 AM
Well said 3D. I agree with everything you said. Love my 18. The styling and the sound of the boat just never gets old, even if we do. I love my old Corvettes for the same reason. It's what I grew up with. Enjoy them while you can. Now I need to get the dock in the water and get that boat out.

3rdDonzi
04-15-2017, 10:04 AM
That's how I see it too. Most of these classics have no hope of keeping pace with modern boats, but they look cool as hell from any angle.


Beautiful Corsican!
I agree with you about the looks. It's enjoyable seeing the reaction and getting many thumbs up from people who are much too young to have been around in Donzi's heydays as I idle past a raftup of millenials. They don't know much about it or exactly what it is but they know it's retro and a classic.
3D

wwahl
04-15-2017, 09:46 PM
I'm on my third classic Donzi: A 1965 16' with a Ford Holman Moody, a 1970 16' with a Volvo-Penta AQ260A, and my present 18' with a 454 BBC with modified heads. I love them all but age is beginning to take its toll on the captain.

JimG
04-17-2017, 09:22 AM
Great post 3rdDonzi! I feel the same way! I don't run my old Donzi hard any more, I see it as a retired thoroughbred. I lope the old boat around the patch, and enjoy the craftsmanship and vision that created it. But I don't run it hard enough to break it, (or me!). I love to share the heritage at boat shows, and tell the story to youngsters who have never heard of Don Aronow and his legacy. Now, some of my best times with the boat concerns a cold beer and a fresh can of Collinite, preserving the shine of the original gelcoat. Or marina-hopping on Clear Lake, just visiting old friends...

Pat McPherson
04-17-2017, 11:43 AM
Common theme here among us Donzi enthusiasts.

I first started dreaming of owning a sweet 16 as a 12 year old as I cruised thru marinas in my 9ft Zodiac; that was 1979...:eek:
I bought my first Donzi in 1992, a 1975 18' Classic with a Chevy 350 and Volvo 280...:pimp:

This summer will be my 5th with Donzi #3...:cool:

Bobby D
04-17-2017, 11:57 AM
I couldn't have said it better as well. I remember being with my Dad and brother in a 1957 16í Whirlwind with a 40HP Merc when we saw a red/white Ski Sporter with a Ford V8 and a foot throttle at a small swimming cove on the Delaware River. My Dad knew the owner who was a member of one of the other yacht clubs, he was a young guy with a hot girl and he offered to take us for a ride and man that was it for me. When I was younger I ran everting like I stole it, now I rarely run the boat or the car hard and enjoy cruising and not working on them. However occasionally ill jump on both for a short period of time and itís a blast. Funny when we are out in the GOAT I now find myself driving a 1960ís technology car 70 mph and trying not to get run over by the soccer moms in the SUVís.

olredalert
04-19-2017, 09:53 AM
----Very nice Goat!!! Factory air and cruise control. Rare!........Bill S

3rdDonzi
04-19-2017, 10:55 PM
I couldn't have said it better as well. I remember being with my Dad and brother in a 1957 16í Whirlwind with a 40HP Merc when we saw a red/white Ski Sporter with a Ford V8 and a foot throttle at a small swimming cove on the Delaware River. My Dad knew the owner who was a member of one of the other yacht clubs, he wags a young guy with a hot girl and he offered to take us for a ride and man that was it for me. When I was younger I ran everting like I stole it, now I rarely run the boat or the car hard and enjoy cruising and not working on them. However occasionally ill jump on both for a short period of time and itís a blast. Funny when we are out in the GOAT I now find myself driving a 1960ís technology car 70 mph and trying not to get run over by the soccer moms in the SUVís.

Beutiful 18 AND GTO
thanks for sharing the pictures. Life doesn't suck!

woobs
04-20-2017, 07:20 AM
I didn't really grow up around boats. But, I did race cars for about 15 years. When I think of all the thou$ands I spent on 0.5 sec upgrades/modifications for the race car, it had a purpose that was measurable. Truthfully, the basic cars never felt THAT much different from a drivers seat of the pants perspective whether they were a class winning car or a mid-pack runner. Because we were right on the edge at the race track, I learned that this feeling cannot be recreated anywhere else and as a result, I am not an aggressive driver on the public highways.

When I apply this to my boats, it's clear that a good boat design and general set up is where the enjoyment comes from. I don't need to spend thou$ands to get the last 5mph out of my boat because I'm not racing. Plus, whatever I do, there is someone that has a bigger/faster boat. The enjoyment of good handling and good acceleration (driveability) at a pace within the performance capabilities' of the boat are a function of the basic boat/rigging. So, basically a performance boat is fun to drive even at less than possible all out, "balls to the wall" speed. Of course, that performance is still there for short bursts to make the grin a wee bit bigger but, I feel no need to drive at the top speed possible all the time.

The second part of my sermon is with regard to the "classic" aspect of these boats. "WE", (and I speak of us in general terms as an owners group) have learned to use newer technology with these boats that propels them way faster that they were originally designed for. First, this shows that the excellent design characteristics in these boats is of the highest quality of the time, and can be pushed way beyond the original foreseen parameters. Second, by doing this, we can experience the designed peak performance levels without pushing the machinery to the limit. The classic styling and design of these boats is what we like about them. Well, it's what I like about them. Enjoy it.

And if it's all about the big speed on a regular basis... buy a bigger, faster boat that was designed for it.

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