2017-08-26 / News

Hornet Wins ‘Best of 40’ Showcase Award at 40th Annual Boat Show

By Kevin R. Hess


Hornet, owned by Jay and Janet Stingel, was one of 11 past Best in Show winners returned to be showcased during Hessel’s 40th annual Antique Wooden Boat Show. Hornet is seen here in 2015, a featured boat of the show, one year after winning Best in Show in 2014. Hornet, owned by Jay and Janet Stingel, was one of 11 past Best in Show winners returned to be showcased during Hessel’s 40th annual Antique Wooden Boat Show. Hornet is seen here in 2015, a featured boat of the show, one year after winning Best in Show in 2014. Hornet, a 28-foot Gar Wood runabout owned by Jay and Janet Stingel of Mackinac Island and Nashville, was honored with the Best Showcase Boat award during the 40th annual Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show and Festival of Arts Saturday, August 12, at Hessel Marina.

For the “Best of 40” show, all of the past Best in Show winners were invited back to be showcased. Hornet was one of 11 past winners in attendance. The award is based on the combined scores of 10 to 12 judges who score each boat based on factors such as design, exterior appearance, framing, engine, instrumentation, interior, upholstery, and quality of finish.


Jay Stingel at the helm of the Hornet, which he purchased in 2013 and had restored by E.J. Mertaugh Boat Works in Hessel. (File photograph) Jay Stingel at the helm of the Hornet, which he purchased in 2013 and had restored by E.J. Mertaugh Boat Works in Hessel. (File photograph) “We were thrilled with the award,” said Mrs. Stingel. “Being honored with the Best in 40 is significant.”

The Stingels purchased Hornet in 2013 and had it restored by E.J. Mertaugh Boat Works in Hessel. It was awarded Best in Show in its first show in 2014, as well as Best of Class in the runabouts over 25-feet, People’s Choice award, and the Youth Judging award. It was a featured boat in the 2015 boat show.

Created by Garfield Wood, the Gar Wood boats are known for their unique design and speed. Mr. Wood became famous as the first man to travel more than 100 miles an hour on water. He was known for fitting boats with surplus World War I airplane engines that made his boats very fast.


Hornet, 2014 Best in Show winner and one of the featured boats of 2017, displays its Scripps V-12 engine for spectators to see at Hessel’s Antique Wooden Boat Show. Jay and Janet Stingel of Nashville and Mackinac Island own Hornet, a sleek, 1932 28-foot Gar Wood runabout. Hornet, 2014 Best in Show winner and one of the featured boats of 2017, displays its Scripps V-12 engine for spectators to see at Hessel’s Antique Wooden Boat Show. Jay and Janet Stingel of Nashville and Mackinac Island own Hornet, a sleek, 1932 28-foot Gar Wood runabout. Mr. Stingel told the Town Crier in 2014 that Hornet is like something out of “The Great Gatsby,” owing to its sleek design and Scripps V-12 engine.

In addition to Hornet’s success, the Stingels have also earned awards with Stork, a 1908, 17- foot Brooks launch named after Mr. Stingel’s grandfather and the original owner, Fred Stork. Stork earned second place overall and first place Launch Class in 2015 and earned second place in Launch Class in this year’s show.

Stork still has its original twocycle, two-cylinder, six-horsepower engine, making it one of the oldest engines still operating on the Great Lakes.

Mrs. Stingel said the 2017 boat show was one of the best in which she has participated. The show drew 7,200 spectators and 129 boats. There were 160 boats registered, but some may have been driven away by early morning rain. The rain did not last long, however, as the sun came out to provide a picturesque scene on the shore of Lake Huron as boats from canoes to luxury cruisers lined the docks of Hessel Marina.

“This show is a true representation of the antique wooden boat culture,” Mrs. Stingel said.

The overall winner in this year’s show was Antoinette V, a 1929, 26-foot Kramer/Hacker owned by John and Amy Zea of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. The gentlemen’s racer was designed by John Hacker and built by the Kramer Boat Company for Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak.

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