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1942, 33 ft. Cruisabout
Owned by member #716 Richard Diehr. The following is a reprint of a letter published in the Winter 1999-2000 Cruisabout
August 31, 1999
Richardson Boat Owners Association
Thank you for the hospitality you extended to me at your annual meeting in Watkins Glen, NY. It was a pleasure to be there with my son, Rich Diehr, a member of your group. My family has owned Richardsons since the 1920's, and it was wonderful to see your beautifully preserved cruisers docked in the marina. During the meeting, I was asked to tell the story of my having grown up with three Richardsons in my family. During and after the meeting, I was asked if I would write up my story for you. I hope you will find it to be as interesting to read as it was (and is) for me to live it.
In the mid 1920's my parents, Mathew and Bobby (Rena) Gallavan, from Elmira, NY, purchased their first Richardson cruiser, which they named the "Bob-O-Link". It was docked in Watkins Glen and had an open back. I believe it was 27'. I have pictures of it, including one of my father and some of his friends, out for a ride, all wearing the proper attire for such an event in those days-full business suits, including ties and vests! In 1934, my parents decided they needed more space. They sold the Bob-O-Link.
My father knew just the layout he wanted, so he drove to North Tonawanda every weekend all winter to watch his new cruiser being built. My parents became the proud owners of Bob-O-Link II in the spring of 1934. I believe it was 30', and it was also docked in Watkins Glen. They were members of the Watkins Glen Yacht Club. At the time there was a group of about 10 boathouses along the edge of the lake behind the Salt Co. The pilings from their docks can still be seen from the Watkins Marina docks, though the boathouses themselves are long gone. We had to get permission from the Salt Co. to walk across their land and the railroad tracks, carrying our belongings, as there was no road access to the boathouses. I spent summer weekends and vacations on this Richardson until 1943, when my parents again decided to get a larger, newer cruiser, and sold Bob-O-Link II. I have often wondered what became of this boat, and would like to find out. It had a cushioned seat across the stern, and the door to the cabin was in the middle. Down below, the galley was on the starboard side, with an upper and lower bunk bed just past the galley. I have several pictures of this boat, including ones taken in the summer of 1934 when my parents and grandparent (Edward and Christina Gallavan) went on a Richardson Sail-A-Way from North Tonawanda to New York City. There is a nice group picture taken next to one of the cruisers, with the Richardson Club banner in the background.
Bob-O-Link III was built in 1942. The man who bought it new only had it a few months when he was drafted into WW II, so he sold it to my father in spring 1943. At this time we changed from Seneca Lake to Cayuga Lake, and docked the boat in the only single boathouse in Johnson's Boatyard in Ithaca. Again, I spent weekends and vacations on this cruiser. I loved it. My parents were members of the Ithaca Yacht Club and we docked there often. When I was 12, we took a two week trip up the St. Lawrence River into Canada. At that age I thought it was so exciting going to a foreign country by boat!
In the fall of 1959, my father unexpectedly decided to sell the Bob-O-Link III, fearing that he might get sick while out on the boat and my mother would get so nervous she wouldn't be able to dock it. I think he knew his heart was bad, but he never told anyone. It must have been a very difficult decision for him, as this boat was his pride and joy. He died very suddenly of a heart attack in the spring of 1961, when my son, Rich Diehr, was 13 months old. Rich grew up hearing the stories of the three Richardsons and looking at the photo albums full of pictures of them. Several pictures hung on walls at both my mothers home and mine. My mother, my husband (Dick), and I often wondered what became of Bob-O-Link III, and went to Ithaca several times to try to find it in one of the marinas, but had no luck.
When Rich was in his early 20's he bought a small cruiser in the Montour marina, then later bought a larger one with an open back. And I thought, "How nice-like grandfather, like grandson-both love boats!" Then he decided he wanted an enclosed cabin, and again started looking at boats for sale in the Montour marina. One day my husband and I stopped by the marina to see Rich, and he told us about a cruiser with an enclosed back that he had spotted that was for sale, and asked us to take a look at it. We did. We walked around the dry-docked boat three times just to be sure-we couldn't believe our eyes! There was the Bob-O-Link III! We said "You're not going to believe this, Rich, but this was your grandfathers boat!" His reply was, "You know, I thought it somehow looked familiar-now I know why!" Of course, he bought it, and has been very happy with it for 11 years now. He recently reinstalled the original Bob-O-Link III compass which had been missing from the boat for 40 years. It was in his grandmother's home during that time. Rich's parents, grandparents, and great grandparents all cruised on the Bob-O-Link III before he was born, and now HE is the fourth generation to cruise on it!
We are delighted to have found the Bob-O-Link III and to have it back in the family again. It has now been renamed, fittingly, "Memories."
Renamarie Gallavan Diehr