Who Says You Can't Water Ski Behind Eight Horsepower?

| June/July 1991

126 MaGee Drive, Patterson, Louisiana 70392

Quite a few people, actually. These people say that it takes at least 35 outboard horsepower to pull a water skier. Picture #1 shows my daughter Nancy being pulled behind my 23 foot 'bateau' powered by an 8 HP Nadler marine engine. Picture #2 shows the Nadler engine, which was built by the Nadler Foundry of Plaquemine, Louisiana. This engine was patented in 1913 by Lockwood-Ash of Jackson, Michigan as model 68. Nadler bought all patents and manufacturing rights to the engines and began producing them sometime in the 1930's. These engines were built in horsepower sizes of 21/2, 4, 6, and 8.

My engine is 8 HP, 2 cylinder, 2 cycle, direct reversible. Bore and stroke is 4' x 4'. It swings a 15' x 15' propeller at 1,000 r.p.m. Speed is an honest 12 mph. This engine is a real pleasure to operate. It usually starts on the first pull of the flywheel and will reverse direction with a flip of the timer. Nancy weighs 110 lbs., and the Nadler pulls her up with ease.

The 'bateau' is a typical example of a type of boat used extensively here at the Atchafalaya Basin of South Louisiana in the first half of this century. It is built entirely of cypress and measures two feet in length. It is only three feet in width across the bottom and flares out to a little more than five feet across the deck. This boat was used by a commercial fisherman and has two watertight compartments in it for carrying fish and crabs. I salvaged it from Bayou Teche near Patterson, Louisiana and spent many hours restoring it. I have determined that this boat was built prior to 1930.