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Labor of Love

by Michael Cawcutt 13 May 2020

My love for lake-life started at a very young age. As a kid, I remember taking the “Margie B” over to the cove across the bay and around the point. The cove, “aka” swimming beach or later in life I’d learn where the adults unwind and crack open a cold one. The Margie B was your typical 70’s pontoon found at your grandparent's cabin in northern Wisconsin. It was a floating paradise composed of sunbaked night-crawlers, their remains smeared under the seats from grandchildren, PBR empties, and Planters peanuts. 

It was several years later my dad wanted to “hey, let’s try something” in our 1989 Bayliner Capri. 

Pause right here. 

So, it’s 1989, I’m 8 years old, curious and loving everything my dad was showing me about this Bayliner. The Capri was your typical 80’s bowrider. Straight out of an MTV music video—it looked like a boat RiffRaff would own today—complete with neon pink, electric blues with subtle whites and grays. My dad, half concert pianist, half now-retired papermill millwright wanted to further investigate the turning capacity and ascertain whether or not “she’d spin on a dime”. 

Okay … back to the story, so my 8-year-old self was sitting on the front port seat with my red Stearns life-jacket buckled ready for anything that was thrown my way (capital T on thrown). Well, needless to say, I wasn’t prepared for what happened next and definitely wasn’t ready for what was thrown at me (the boat). As dad “turned her on a dime” I was thrown into the stern, starboard side of the boat. 

Notice how I used the word thrown three times in the last few sentences.

It’s okay, I’m okay, I semi wanted to laugh, semi cry as my dad said looking back at me, “whoo that was fun, are you okay? Let’s do that again” …

Flash forward to 2013 where my wife and I purchased our first boat. Yep! You guessed it—a “newer” 1991 Bayliner 2020 Capri. She still had the traditional Bayliner blues and whites they were made famous for, however, it did lack in the 80’s nostalgic neon pink. For a first boat, this bowrider was rock solid. We paid $5000 cash and trailered it home in the rain uncovered from deep Southwest Wisconsin, through the roaming hills of Iowa. I sent a picture to my dad to boast about the newly claimed treasure I just paid cash for. He shared my excitement with a closing note on the phone of “don’t forget to raise your lower unit, it looked a little low”. Indeed it was low as I didn’t raise the lower unit on the I/O (inboard-outboard) high enough after the sea trial. For the record, neither the seller nor I thought to raise the lower unit and dragged the skeg up the boat launch after the sea trial! Let the fun begin!

This Bayliner was everything. Our first boat! The 5.0 v8 was rock solid, the interior—not so much. The first season was a honeymoon with our lady in blue. Countless memories were made and owning our first boat reaffirmed our family's foundation for everything boating, water, and lake-life growing up.

Skip ahead one year we wanted to “flip” the interior. Not knowing what I was getting into, I thought: “How hard could it be?”. My mother-in-law was a samurai behind the sewing machine, and with my sense of adventure, it was perfect. I reversed engineered the seats and was careful to not rip or tear any of our freshly made patterns that were previously sitting snug over sun and water dried foam.

Many hours later and a few curse words from trying to ensure a tight perfect fit for the newly glued carpet—the boat was coming together. All except for one little tiny part. The primary captain and port side seats. You see, all of the other upholstery and seating was very straight-forward. Rip out the old, trace our pattern and sew it back together. We even got the piping right, and it looked great! The captain's chairs, on the other hand, this was beyond our first-timer-boat-restoration expertise. So in full transparency, we did have those two seats professionally done by a seamstress, and they couldn’t have turned out better.

Looking back at the 5+ years we had that Bayliner and the countless memories we made in it—we couldn’t have had a better first boat. From our Rochester lake in Southeast Minnesota to countless 16-mile trips from Bayfield, Wisconsin to the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior—it wasn’t about where we were going, but the amazing memories we made along the way. 

(Yes, you read that correctly, we took that 20-footer 16 miles across the open channel in Lake Superior countless times—it was glorious.)

As of today, there is a stripped down-to-the-floorboard 1998 Premier Pontoon in our garage. I’m pleased to announce that we’re “flipping another boat” and couldn’t be happier with the process thus far. While this adventure hasn’t been short of snares and interesting moments, I can’t wait to reveal the finished product to you all.

So while this isn’t our first rodeo—I look forward to the challenge and learning experience this will bring. We have big plans and can’t wait to share them all. 

Come along with us on this journey as we document every milestone, win, and setback. Head over to @officialfullwake on Instagram for updates and our Youtube channel for official video vlogs.

See you on the water.

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