Here is a quick history lesson on the historical significance of Yellow Jacket boats.
First a little history of the company, Yellow Jacket boats founded in 1949 by Richard McDerby, or “Mac” was in business for 10 years. The boats made of molded plywood were known for their speed and durability. Mac entered his Yellow Jackets boats in countless races in the early ’50s capturing the attention of western movie star, Roy Rogers, who also was into boat racing at that time.
Rogers eventually became part owner and vice president of the company and his 1956 television program – “Fishing for Fingerprints,” featured a yellow jacket boat that can be seen on YouTube.
In 1959, the company invested heavily into fiberglass molds and dropped the all-wood boats from their line, which proved to be a huge mistake as dealers didn’t care for the fiberglass boats due to quality issues and forced the company into bankruptcy.
As a toddler, area resident Jeff Scott was introduced to boating, taking his first boat ride in his great grandfather, Cornelius Weidlich’s, 1959 Yellow Jacket Riviera boat. The family mainly boated at Berlin Dam, where the boat had a reputation as the fastest boat around. Over the years, the 1959 boat fell in disrepair and was eventually turned over to Jeff’s parents, Bernard and Beverly Scott, for restoration.
For one reason or another, the boat was never restored and at last year’s Antique and Classic Boat Show Jeff received a call from his father saying he was giving the boat to Jeff to handle restoring the boat making Jeff the fourth generation to own the vessel. His grandmother, Juanita Mooney, owner of the boat’s original Mercury motor, told Jeff she wanted to make the restoration complete and gifted him with the motor.
Jeff is a talented craftsman and commercial artist by trade, specializing in airbrushing, custom painting and custom-made guitars. He has built a 1/5 scale model of his 1960 Yellow Jacket Capri and will have it on display at the Antique and Classic Boat Show June 30.
He has spent more than 800 hours to authentically duplicate the Capri and used 60-year-old mahogany veneers found at a local flea market for the model. To duplicate the original upholstery he fabricated a steel notched plate to heat sink the original embossed square pattern into the upholstery. He cast and plated all the hardware on the model and then located a company who could duplicate the screen-printed water decals. His attention to detail is meticulous and he has documented his model work with a step by step photo journal that can be viewed at www.martyonline.com.
Jeff not only has a passion for restoring Yellow Jacket boats, but loves all things pertaining to the boats, including documenting the history, along with collecting brochures and maintaining his two Yellow Jacket boats.
Page 2 of 2 - At the Antique and Classic Boat Show, Jeff will have a life-size cut out of Roy Rogers at his display along with his prized 1960 Yellow Jacket Capri and 1/5 scale model.
While compiling this article he informed me he was on his way to Missouri, he located a very rare 1960 Yellow Jacket Fury that he will display at the boat show.
Jeff will travel far and wide in pursuit of his passion – Yellow Jacket boats.