Celebrating its 25th year of bringing together ardent fans of the Donzi Classic series of diminutive sportboats, the Lake George Classic Donzi Club attracted 32 vintage Donzi beauties last weekend to its 25th annual Spring Dust-Off owners rendezvous on the Upstate New York waterway. It was the first of two events the club holds each year, one on Father’s Day weekend and the other on the weekend after Labor Day.
For Samantha Candiloro and Scott Pearson (front seats), last weekend’s Lake George Classic Donzi Club Spring Dust-Off event was particularly significant. Photos by Tim Sharkey copyright Sharkey Images.
Per longstanding tradition, the run was based out of the docks at the Algonquin Restaurant in Bolton Landing, which also happens to be the home of famed Performance Marine/Saris Racing Engines.
“What a gorgeous day we had for it,” said Sharkey, who captured the event. “It was picture perfect.”
Among the boats in the fleet was a 1995 model-year, 22-foot Donzi Black Hawk owned by New York’s Stephen Candiloro, a 59-year-old Donzi fan who died last year from COVID-19. Samantha Candiloro, his 24-year-old daughter, brought the boat to the event and ran it with her late father’s best friend, Lake George Donzi Classic Club president Scott Pearson.
Enjoy more images from last week’s Donzi Classic event in the slideshow above.
“They only made 37 of them, I think, and it was the first boat Donzi Classic we bought,” said Candiloro, who is in the process of restoring her own 18-foot Donzi. “We’ve had it for more than 10 years. We have over 11 of them in our boat barn upstate in Bainbridge.
“I love the boats,” she continued. “This was something my dad and I had in common, something we could share. It was really cool.”
Pearson was touched to share the cockpit of his best friend’s boat with his daughter.
“It was emotional, for sure,” said Pearson, who lives four hours away from Lake George in Monmouth County, N.J., and owns has a slew of Donzi Classics from a 14-footer built in 1960 to a 22-footer built in 1979. “We are the oldest Donzi Classic club in existence and we have just two events, the Spring Dust-Off and the Fall Picnic.
“Typically, we head to Lake George on Wednesday before each event and just kind of hang out as people arrive,” he continued. “These are very close friends that we don’t get to see very often, so it’s special.”
Matt Truesdale ran this 1979 Donzi Criterion with his father, Mike, who restored and owns the boat, and his children Abbigail and Grant.
Last Friday night’s catered barbecue in Treasure Cove attracted 70 participants, according to Pearson. The following day’s two-and-a-half hour fun run/tour on the pristine lake began with a morning drivers meeting and light breakfast and started and finished at the Algonquin Restaurant. The participants returned to the host venue that evening for an awards and dinner celebration. Among the annual honors bestowed was the “People’s Choice” award, which went to the Donzi Black Hawk now owned by Samantha Candiloro, the 22-footer she and her father enjoyed together for years.
“Being part of this is a great way to remember my dad,” she said. “It’s something he would want me to do.”