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Cetacea Page 28

December 02, 2000

Clark Roberts
and the boats of
The Spruce Creek Navy

How many people have their own Navy of classic Boston Whalers? Clark Roberts of Spruce Creek, Florida has owned over forty Whalers, known locally as The Spruce Creek Navy.

If you are like me, you are probably wondering, "Where the heck is Spruce Creek?" The answer, according to Clark:

"Spruce Creek is a tidal creek which empties into the Intra Coastal Waterway opposite Ponce de Leon Inlet at New Smyrna Beach, Florida. It is just south of Daytona Beach. It's only about fifteen miles in total navigable length, but it has over 30 Whalers in residence in its approximately three miles of inhabited shoreline."

Here's a look at the operation down there and a few of the boats recently deployed by Clark in the "Navy."


LOGO: Spruce Creek Navy Anchor Spruce Creek Navy
Clark's "Navy" even has its own emblem!


MAP: Spruce Creek near New Smyrna Beach, FL Spruce Creek
Pure tropical fresh water jungle at its head, Spruce Creek is a salty oyster bed at its mouth a few miles downstream.


[Photo: Aerial View of Spruce Creek and Navy HQ]
Spruce Creek Navy Headquarters
An aerial view of Clark's Navy Base. Operating in Spruce Creek requires shallow draft, a characteristic reflected in the boats in this Navy.
PhotoCredit: Clark Roberts - Scan: JWH


[Photo: 1977 Whaler 15 Custom Center Console and Clark Roberts]
The Old Man Himself
Here's Clark Roberts and his "killer" 1977 Whaler 15-foot Custom Center Console. On the transom is a 40 HP 4-cylinder Mercury engine on a 5-inch Jackplate. Also note the custom rails and swim platform. "A wonderful skiff," says Clark.
PhotoCredit: Clark Roberts - Scan: JWH


[Photo: Whaler 13 Alert Dive 1 on trailer profile view]
13 Alert Dive Boat, "Dive 1"
Clark bought this unique 13 Alert from Whaler Commercial Products Warranty Manager Jon Smith. Whaler built this one-of-a-kind 13 as part of some promotional activity, and they christened her "Dive 1." The boat had the inside and outside rails, but just two thwart seats. Clark added a custom side console, bimini top, relocated the inside rails, and powered the boat with a 25-HP short-shaft Yamaha outboard, mounted on a 10-inch set back Jackplate. "She screams," says Clark. "Alas, the boat now lives in Panama City. I should have kept her; she drew such a crowd!"
PhotoCredit: Clark Roberts - Scan: JWH


[Photo: Whaler 13 Alert Dive 1 on trailer stern view]
13 Alert Dive Boat
The 25-HP Yamaha hangs on a 10-inch setback Jackplate. With this set up the boat would run on plane in only ten inches of water!
PhotoCredit: Clark Roberts - Scan: JWH


[Photo: Whaler 13 Alert Dive1 interior]
13 Alert Dive Boat
Details of the interior are seen here.
PhotoCredit: Clark Roberts - Scan: JWH


[Photo: Whaler 11 Custom Center Console bow view]
11 Custom Center Console
An 11-foot Whaler hull turned into a custom center console. "Custom everything," says Clark. In the background, the fuel depot at Navy HQ.
PhotoCredit: Clark Roberts - Scan: JWH


[Photo: Whaler 11 Custom Center Console stern view] 11 Custom Center Console
"Custom everything" includes the console, its grab rail, the side rails, and the swim platform. On the transom is a 15-HP Mercury. I think that is the stern navigation light built into the engine cowling! Cool! Hey--where's the jackplate for this one?
PhotoCredit: Clark Roberts - Scan: JWH


Clark's current fleet includes a 21-Revenge, a 17-Montauk, the 15-Center Console shown above, and two 13-footers, one with 40-HP Mariner and remote controls and one with 20-HP Mercury and tiller steering. A 23-Conquest (that belongs to friend) is also currently at the dock.

Clark says the Montauk may have to go to make room for an old 19-Outrage project boat that he has an eye on, with plans to convert it into a 19-Lo-Profile. Stay tuned for more details and more pictures as the fleet changes.

Your Comments Are Welcomed

Please note that there is now a FORUM section for follow-up comments on these Cetacea photographs. Add to the fun and let us know what you think!

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Last modified: Sunday, 01-Jun-2003 14:56:37 EDT
Author: James W. Hebert