"Pardon Me", by David Kunz and Bill Simpson

By: Susan W. Smith

Volume 16, Issue 8, August 2021
"Lyon built her; Lock never used her; Beck ran the hell out of her; Lewis just donated her.
But this is just the tip of Pardon Me’s iceberg. Four decades swept by before the extraordinary Hutchinson runabout ended up at Clayton’s Antique Boat Museum in 1986. For nearly three of those decades, she languished in a dark boat house on the St. Clair River in Michigan and went by the unheralded name Lockpat III.
One-of-a-kind runabout, a truly unique watercraft designed by one of the greatest naval architects in the world, the story that follows is a closer look into her complicated past. Pardon Me tells the story of the world’s largest runabout, and her colorful owners.”   [Excerpt from "Pardon Me" Pg. 7]

Reading those three paragraphs made this book high on my "must buy and read this summer list." Anything made of gleaming mahogany usually gets my attention and “Pardon Me” is no exception. Not only have I watched her stream by and wished I was at the helm, but when I saw the book, I knew it was one that I, and many of you, would want on your coffee table, too.

First, the Cover:

Solid black with a black and white slightly tinted photograph of the 48-foot Hutchinson boat on plane – the name in gold– the two authors names. David Kunz and Bill Simpson. The texture of the cover is soft and even sensuous – not the usual glossy paper. Yes, elegant, exactly like Pardon Me.


David Kunz and Bill Simpson are no strangers to the boating world in the Thousand Islands. In 2017, they published Wooden Boats of the St. Lawrence. In fact, I reviewed the book in the  May 2017 issue of TI Life. At the time we learned that it only took one phone call to Arcadia Publishing to get them interested in publishing this important resource of boating history. Simpson wrote the words and Kunz supplied the photographs, many directly from his family albums– together they made that book ‘come alive.’

Now with Pardon Me, they continue the tradition. This book allows me, the commoner, to peek behind the curtain into the actual lives of the owners of the “fastest runabout”. Wealthy, yes, eccentric, maybe, but their definite appreciation of Pardon Me makes this book distinctive.


There are only a dozen pages of text in the 107 page book –  yet they tell the stories that will have you shaking your head and wanting more. Let me give you an example: "Fall of 1984 - Nick Beck's life was drastically changing. Beck himself was making plans to relocate to Italy. Unfortunately, this plan would not be in the best interest of Pardon Me. Needless to say, Nick needed to find someone he could trust would take care of the one-of-a-kind Hutchinson.  Beck took Pardon Me to the Miami Boat show and put her up for sale. He was determined to find a buyer who could not only afford to buy and maintain the boat, but someone who would appreciate the boat's pedigree. the asking price was 250K, with payment in silver coin, no exceptions." [Pg. 91]


Because the photographs and the stories that they tell are so exceptional, I had trouble selecting the ones for this review. I finally decided by flipping through the book, and suddenly stopping. Want proof, just purchase the book and see for yourself. You’ll thank me for it, I know!

Dick Locke all smiles at the helm of Lockpat III. It is true that he used his boat very sparingly during the 28 years he owned her. Don’t let that fool you though; he loved this boat more than anything, it was one of his most prized possessions.
Page 79: Beck changed the interior upholstery from brown to green, and the hull color form copper to green. 15 coats of hand varnished mahogany never looked better. 
The 48-foot Hutchinson is shown here in the Antique Boat Museum's annual boat parade at the close of the boat show 1983.

Did I like the book "Pardon Me? You bet I did!  Now, Mr. Kunz and Mr. Simpson, what's next?

By Susan W. Smith, editor, TI Life.  info@thousandislandslife.com

Pardon Me is on sale at the Antique Boat Museum. It is not too early to be thinking about that Christmas list now!

Posted in: Volume 16, Issue 8, August 2021, Book review, Sports, People, Places

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