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Antique gem sets sail at Smith Mountain Lake

Antique gem sets sail at Smith Mountain Lake

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Antique gem sets sail at Smith Mountain Lake

Joe Liesfeld of Goochland traveled to Franklin County last weekend with his antique steamboat, Ruby.

Visitors and those living on Smith Mountain Lake got an unusual sight last weekend when an antique steamboat could be seen floating through the waters.

Joe Liesfeld of Goochland transported his steamboat, Ruby, to Franklin County for the weekend to visit friends and enjoy a couple days of relaxation on the boat.

The vessel is a Victorian reproduction built around 20 years ago by an Ohio couple living on the Great Lakes.

The engine is a 102-year-old Navy engine.

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Liesfeld, who said he visits Florida once a year, met the previous owners of the steamboat several years ago and became friends with them.

“The couple that built it was ready to let go of it and so we bought it from them,” Liesfeld said.

Liesfeld said he has another steamboat and likes to sail in Florida on Lakes Dora and Anna.

“We’ve also thrown dinner cruises on the James River in Richmond and in Rocketts Landing,” Liesfeld said. “This is the first time the boat (Ruby) has been on Smith Mountain Lake.”

Liesfeld said he has friends in Franklin County and decided to visit and take them for rides on the boat last weekend.

About a dozen passengers removed their shoes, rolled their pants legs up and boarded Ruby for a trip around the lake.

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