When you dream long enough about the same thing, you just have to make it come true. 

That’s what happened to create this beautiful Contemporary Gentry 17′ Gentleman’s Racer crafted by Dean Wilson from a Glen-L design. The 2013 boat is powered with a 1964 Chevrolet 283 8 cylinder engine with 185 hp. She is named Bonnie Dean and is owned by Dean and Bonnie Wilson who are members of the Bob Speltz Land-O-Lakes Chapter of ACBS.

This is the story told by Dean Wilson:

Even before I graduated ffrom high school in 1963, I thought it would be really cool to own a wooden boat some day. Fast forward 47 years. When I found a 1963 Chevy/Chris Craft 283 engine at an auction, I knew it was time to build a boat, if for no other reason, because I could. Hence this 17 1/2′ Glen-L mahogany gentleman’s racer was started from a set of plans I ordered through the mail. Many trips to lumber and metal yards, many web searches and purchases followed over the next two years. Much stainless steel hardware fabrication, and wooden challenges and solutions were undertaken during those couple years of FUN boatbuilding,. That fun continues.

Bonnie Dean – Yup, it’s a family boat, grandkids and all!

You may have seen Bonnie Dean at the 2015 International ACBS Boat Show at Gull Lake in Minnesota.  Those grandkids love this boat, too, because Grandpa built it and he shares it to create wonderful family memories.


 Bonnie Dean  is in the Contemporary age classification which includes all wooden boats built within the most recent 25 years.

One of the Symposium topics at the 2017 International Boat Show in Racine, Wisconsin, will be “Building a Boat from Plans” presented by Roberta Hegy.  If you are interested in building a vintage style wooden boat, don’t miss the opportunity to learn from an experienced builder.


Please email the story and up to six pictures about your boat, a boat project, or a chapter event to [email protected]

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