(MTN News-HELENA) Water sports are a big part of recreation fun in the state of Montana. Just about everyone owns, or has access to, some a watercraft.
One Helena man has spent more than 50-years working on boats.
Alan Kallio’s love for boats started early, when he was growing up in Butte and his Dad would take him to Georgetown Lake.
“It just releases a large amount of stress. You know, 15 minutes in a sailboat and you’re probably relaxed. Might even be asleep,” said Kallio
Kallio has spent most of his life on the water from boating, water skiing, rowing, and to ice sailing.
He has been building boats since he was 14 years-old and he took over Helena Boat Works in 1985 when it was known as the Caird Boat Works.
“Sailors pretty much are patient. When you go sailing you’re always want to plan on making lunch, because you don’t know how fast or how soon you’re going to get to, to be back,” said Kallio.
When we asked him, why boats, he laughed.
“Why not? It’s easier than airplanes,” responded Kallio.
Kallio is as interesting as the collection of boats you will find in his shop.
In the back of the shop is a Dragon Class sailboat that Kallio is rebuilding. He found the vessel in a shed in Townsend. Currently, the craft is stripped down to the wooden hull. Kallio said royalty owned this type of vessel.
“It was designed in 1928. It’s a Scandinavian built boat. And it was raced in continuous summer Olympics from 1948 until 1972. It’s very narrow. Very fast. It’s not too beautiful yet, but it’s getting there. So, yeah, I think it’ll be one of the nicer boats on Canyon Ferry when it finally arrives,” said Kallio.
On the other end of the shop is three hulled boat called a Trimaran.
“This belongs to a fellow from Helena, who is a psychologist,” said Kallio with a smile. “So it’s a handy thing to have a psychologist on board because he’s analyzing me and I’m figuring him out, and I lie to him a lot just to keep him confused.”
Next to the Trimaran is a classic from 1960, a wooden hulled motorboat built by Lyman.
“It was a gentleman’s sports boat,” said Kallio. “A sportsman’s boat. So, if you were a gentleman and had some money, you could take this boat out and go shoot deer, or go fishing or hunt ducks on the Great Lakes, where this vessel really earned its’ keep. It’s very smooth riding. Carries a lot of people. It’s like riding around in a grand piano. It’s very, very luxurious.”
Kallio has a number of ice sailing boats in his shop. He says he’s addicted to the super-fast and very cold winter sport. He says it’s frightening and fun.
Kallio also enjoys rowing sculls. He says rowing helps him beat the battle of the bulge in his midsection.
In the back corner of his shop, rests a unique craft, a snow plane, an over-the-snow craft propelled by a four cylinder motor.
Kallio said even if he didn’t own the Boat Works, he’d still be in the shop, puttering around with boats.
That’s what makes boat people special. Old or new, big or small, boats are where hard work and craftsmanship come alive on the water.
Reporter: Dennis Carlson