At the southern tip of New York’s Lake George sits a boatyard with a very specific clientele. “We strictly work with wooden boats here,” says Nick Lamando, manager of Hall’s Boat Corporation, “I guess we’re kind of a niche business.”
For some, the term “wooden boat” conjures up images of languid summer days spent puttering around the lake in a flat-bottomed skiff. While they do a fair bit of restoration on crafts like these, Lamando likes to keep things interesting. He grew up in Poughkeepsie, NY, and has vivid memories of waterskiing on the Hudson “when the water was still cold. You know, in March.” An avid triathlete and trail racer, he loves the outdoors and owns a wooden powerboat himself. “We specialize in 22-30 foot launches,” Lamando says, “but we restore just about anything anyone brings us.”
The star of the boatyard this past summer was certainly unique: a 32-foot Elco electric launch called Wenona, which was built in 1899. Originally built to demonstrate the capabilities of the electric motor, Wenona was owned by the Stires family and operated on Lake George throughout much of the 20th century. Lamando and Hall’s Boat Works are in the process of completely restoring Wenona to brand-new condition, and is keeping the original 1899 Elco electric motor intact and functional. “The family took a lot of pride in this boat, it was in their family for three generations,” says Lamando. “We remember that when we’re working on something like this.”
While Wenona runs smoothly with an 1899 Elco motor, two similarly rare vessels are now powering through the chop thanks to Elco’s newest line of products: the Elco Electric Propulsion motors. Caprice and Ghost are both 29-foot Sound Interclub sailboats. Built in 1926 and raced in Long Island Sound by some of New York’s wealthiest yachtsmen, these boats are exceedingly rare today. Only five Sound Interclubs are known to exist, and both Caprice and Ghost received their first electric power thanks to the Elco EP-600s installed at Hall’s.
“You can install one of these in a day,” says Lamando. This customer wanted his peace and quiet above all, and now he can power his boat as quietly as he sails it.”
With a 40-slip marina, a boathouse capable of storing 75 vessels, and four craftsmen dedicated to restoring and building beautiful wooden boats, Hall’s is thriving under the Lamando’s management. “Living on Lake George, I can enjoy the outdoors all year round,” he says. Check out Hall’s Boat Corporation.