GLORIOUS GAL is a 15′ 3″ single stepped, mahogany 135 cubic inch class racing hydroplane, built in the 1930’s by the Clinton Boat Works in Clinton, Connecticut. She was designed by Naval Architect Bruce N. Crandall, famous for his series of designs which he called “Flyers”. This is believed to be the largest in Crandall’s line of Fliers which today, are iconic designs, immortalized with a resurgence of Flyers being reproduced by small boat builders and model builders everywhere. Although many nice reproductions have been built from Crandall’s published plans, GLORIOUS GAL may be the only original Flyer that exists today.
Enthusiast Mitchel Garrett found GLORIOUS GAL in derelict condition around 1989 in the area near Wilton, Connecticut. He asked Joe Fleming, (a founder of the Antique & Classic Boat Society), owner of the Elco Boat Company in Highland New York to go with him to see the relic. A deal was struck and the boat was shipped to Joe’s ELCO Boat company, where a complete and masterful restoration was undertaken. During the restoration she was powered with a 4 cylinder Graymarine engine which pushed her to speeds of 35 MPH.
A few years later, when Joe retired from Elco, he called Mark Mason and asked if Mark would take care of Mitchel’s boat and help him campaign GLORIOUS GAL in Vintage Raceboat regattas. Mitchel then participated in Vintage Raceboat Regattas in Clayton New York and Wolfeboro New Hampshire. During these events Mitchel observed many Vintage Gold Cup boats such as BABY BOOTLEGGER, MISS COLUMBIA and became enamored with the beauty and performance of those larger boats.
Around the year 2000 Mitchel began conversations with Mark Mason that he would like to have a 26 foot Gold Cup boat, but was concerned if he was born with the skill set to allow him to handle one of the big Gold Cup racers. Mitchel asked Mason to re-power GLORIOUS GAL so that he could gain experience driving boats at higher speeds. With that as a goal Mason devised a marine conversion of the small lightweight 262 cubic inch 4.3L V6, utilizing the manual transmission and marine conversion from a flywheel forward 283 Chris Craft V8, which shares the common geometry front and back, with the 4.3L V6. A sweeter little engine is hard to imagine, weighing in at 510 Lbs, with an astounding power to weight ratio.
Once the engine was assembled, the installation was partially completed, when Mitchel became ill and died of Cancer on September 11, 2001. All parties were dumbstruck by this turn of events and understandably all work was stopped on GLORIOUS GAL. The project was abandoned and she was laid away in permanent storage.
More than a decade later in 2013, Mason asked Mitchel’s widow and the Executor of the estate for permission to pull GLORIOUS GAL from storage and complete the work which had begun many years before. Mason was happy that permission was granted and work was begun in earnest during that summer.
Being readied for her debut at the Wolfeboro Regatta in September, Mitchel’s family decided that they did not want her shown or run at Wolfeboro, perhaps because they could not attend. So Mason left her on her trailer until later in the fall. Finally with the threat of winter looming, Mason finished up the final details at his shop, fueled her with Aviation gasoline, test fired her on the trailer, breaking in the camshaft for an hour on her trailer.
On Friday November 22nd, the Ghost of Mitchel Garrett may have been smiling down on Lake Winnipesaukee as GLORIOUS GAL was launched into her waters after a 13 year absence. Bundled into the warmest clothes he could find, Mason piloted her for an hour, warming her up and winding up his courage with faster and faster runs until she was hopping, jumping, leaping and streaking across the water at nearly sixty miles an hour.
She was then hauled onto her trailer, drained, winterized and fogged with oil. She was washed and wiped down like a champion race horse. Then covered her up and rolled back into a dark storage shed, not knowing when she may ever run again.
Reflecting back on Mitchel’s concern that he not have the skill set to drive a Gold Cup Boat, Mason fears that Mitchel went to his grave worrying for no reason. Driving GLORIOUS GAL at high speeds was a terrifying experience for Mason, whereas a nice Gold Cup boat is a dream to handle.
The Ghost of Mitchel Garrett is respectfully submitted.