59 Herters Flying Fish

1959 Herters Flying Fish

No Reserve

Serviced by Dave’s Motor Boat Shop in June of 2017.  

Article:  Remembering his childhood in the 50’s, the age of tail fins on cars, Al Posnack looked all over for a “tail fin boat.”   But he did not expect to find exactly what he was looking for sitting by the road in Candia with a “for sale” sign on it.  In fact, he was so excited as he raced to the bank to get some cash for the purchase, that he got a speeding ticket along the way!

It turned out to be a very interesting boat.  The logo says “Herter’s.”  In the 50’s, the Herter’s catalog of outdoor equipment was second to none.  No matter what outdoor activity you were interested in – from hunting to fishing to camping to boating – Herter’s, Inc. had you covered.  So it was only natural that the enterprising George L. Herter would jump on the new fiberglass technology and add a line of sporty boats to his catalog.  You would order your boat through the mail or by telegraph and Herter’s would ship it out to you by truck or rail. List price for this one was $586.

“Nifty” was built in 1959, and still has its original Evinrude Lark 35 engine with Evinrude’s golden anniversary gold trim.   The full name of this unusual boat was the “Herter’s Chrome Fiberglas Duofoil World Famous Walk-Through Deluxe Model Flying Fish Runabout.”  Quite a mouthful.  The name matched Mr. Herter’s flair for the superlative.  His catalog described it as “. . .the fastest boat of its size in the world.”   He went on to say that “The Flying Fish does not skid one bit even on the sharpest hairpin turns.  It is safe and comfortable in quiet or rough water.  It will go anyplace any 18 foot boat will go with much greater comfort, safety and speed.”  It sounded like Mr. Herter left no room for improvement in performance and comfort during the next 58 years.   He did!

His superlatives continued, saying that “The forward part of the Flying Fish uses the proven design principles of the boat Slo-Mo-Shun, North America’s fastest boat and safest high-speed boat. The rear of the hull uses the design principles of the English Bluebird, the fastest and safest European Fast boat.”   He was referring to the same Bluebird that broke many world speed records, and in which Donald Campbell died at close to 300 mph.    Hmmmmm.

The most prominent feature of this boat is its use of “duraliminum” castings throughout, including art deco tail fin trim pieces with automobile tail lights, grab handles, and a glove box cover with molded-in drink holders.  Also featured was a truly unique “bow radiator” which “. . . allows a cooling stream of fresh air to run under the forward cockpit.”   To prevent cooling streams of fresh water, it could be closed with a dashboard-mounted control.

Looking at the boat’s construction, it is clear they had not yet figured out how to make a molded fiberglass hull rigid enough.  So, rigidity was achieved by fastening two long fore-and-aft aluminum rails to the floor inside the boat, and another outside which doubled as a skeg. 

Nifty is in all-original condition, except for the sides and bottom, which have been painted.  The fiberglass on deck and in the cockpit is all original, and still pretty shiny – the result of boathouse storage for its first 40+ years. 

Having owned the boat for 15 years, Al is ready to find a new owner who appreciates Fiberglassics as much as he does.  But first – – a few more sunset cruises this season with the Rock ‘n Roll music playing!