Posts Tagged ‘antique classic boat show’

First Niche Chris Craft

Words © Chris (seabuddy) Brown and photos CBMM
Chris Craft Corporation said this quote “Chris-Craft has the name, the prestige, the public acceptance. It has consistently advanced from the beginning and maintained the continued success for its merchants. Chris –Craft has been the leader, is the leader, and will continue to lead” in the early 1930s..
By 1936-1937 Chris Craft introduced what Seabuddy labels’ the first niche Chris Craft Runabout; the 19’ Special Race Boat. It had a cut down (lower) hull profile with less freeboard fore and aft. Plus, Chris-Craft boats used thinner dimension framing as well as thinner planking in the bottom for this 19’ Special Race Boat model. These changes made a big difference compared to their other 19’ by 6’2” sized runabouts that were made by Chris Craft boats for the masses. For instance, while there are different engine choices, it is perhaps fair to say that one of these boats were 20% faster.
Funny thing… Chris Craft made 51 of these boats, the same number of 19’ Chris Craft Cobras it made in 1955. So, this first niche Chris Craft Runabout is about a rare a boat as there is in the Chris Craft line-up ,just like a 19’ Cobra is! Note, they made some 760 plus units of this 19’ 0” by 6’ 2” hull in their standard models.
The Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the ACBS clubs St. Micheals Classic Boat Show had both of these rare boats, fully restored in its annual June event. They were displayed on the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum grounds over three days in 2015. It was a signature show! Seabuddy hopes that you made it to the show or plan on putting this show on your calendar in the future years.
Now, there is a new construction wood boat available for a custom new build with a period correct engine for the made-to-order newly built hull or a buyer can direct that a modern V-8 Seabuddy has seen this boat, it is a real head tuner. Please see… http://www.vintagewatercraft.com/classic_boat_construction.htm and scroll down on the left to the “1937 Special Runabout (19’)”.
It was only in 1930, that Chris – Craft Corporation was the boat building company’s new name that Christopher Columbus Smith started business back in about 1874. The name had changed many times to allow for various partners in the years between these dates. It (the name) was the family’s idea and a way to sell 1/3 of the company to Wall Street. That partial stock sale never happened. The family ran the company and kept it private until they sold the entire corporation in early 1960.

Cobra Chris Craft and Shelby Cobra 427 together at Classic Boat Show

Words © Chris Seabuddy Brown, photo by CBMM
A Chris Craft Cobra set to towed by a Carroll Shelby Cobra 427 at a Classic Boat Show. It was the winner of the Best of Show-Land Display at the Classic Boat Show. Only at a classic show would such icons of land and water, or keels and wheels, if you prefer would seabuddy see such a thing on a Saturday afternoon.
Boaters know the Cobra’s as the most collectible models of mid-fifties. Restored Cobra boats are the envy of most fans of the classic Chris Craft line-up. They were made in only one year and only in very limited quantities. These two models are rare Chris Crafts. They were style leader models, made to attract buyers to dealer boat showrooms and major boat shows of the Chris Craft models. These other roughly 150 boat models were each priced at a profit. Chris Craft was still privately owned by the descendants of Chris Smith (who had died in 1939 two weeks after being found in the Chris Craft boiler room bleeding from his nose) and many family members still worked in the business.
Chris Craft Cobras used gold finished fiberglass to fashion a big fin behind the seat that dominates the styling of both sizes of these boats. This was an early attempt by the world leader in wooden boat construction to use the new boat-building material. The fiberglass was made in one plant and the otherwise planked mahogany wood boat was made in another. Several fiberglass parts did not match up with their boat hulls when mated on the final production line, the trial and error of fitment was one of the first learning lessons.
The boats used some car parts like the steering columns and their steering wheels are said to be1949 Chrysler parts. Cars and their brand-leading styling like the Mercedes Gullwing, GM Corvette, and early Ford Thunderbirds with limited seating and more style than function are often mentioned with the Chris Craft Cobras. These models are runabouts. Get in, sit-down, and enjoy. One does not walk around in a runabout.
Now, for the other snake in this write-up.
The 289 Shelby Cobra had used the British AC Ace car that came to market in around 1953 which began with a 100 HP engine ant then later with up to 120 HP six cylinder engine. The first small block Shelby’s used Ford’s then new 260 cu. In. V-8 engines for 75 Cobras and then 289 cu. in. engines (about 525 cars). There were several changes in these cars over the production run including rack and pinion steering, inboard and outboard mounted disc brakes, wheel hubs, and various details like radiators.
The Shelby Cobra 427 was the big block Cobra that Carroll Shelby created. That car had a new chassis and coil springs (instead of the transverse leaf springs of the Ace and the Ford small block cars). That new frame and suspension were developed with Ford’s cooperation, (Klaus Arning and Bob Negstad at Ford and this suspension is similar to the Ford GT-40s) and it is best identified by the wide fenders and an even bigger radiator opening. The engine was both a 427 and a 428 Ford engines. The 427 was the more desirable “side-oiler” engine.
Both Cobras are show stoppers!

chris craft cobra shelby 427 cobra

rare Chris Craft Cobra ready to be towed by Shelby 427 Cobra

Classic Boat Show Award Winner # 4

Words © Chris (Seabuddy) Brown, Photos by CBMM

Trooper II is both the current and original name for the winner of the Competitors Choice Award – Cruiser. She is a 39’ custom yacht from the Consolidated Shipbuilding yard in NYC. Trooper II was custom built in 1935.
The Consolidated company was a multifaceted boat and yacht builder from around 1896 to as late as 1958. The company still continues as a yacht repair center in City Island, is seabuddy’s understanding..
Consolidated Shipbuilding has been a builder of custom yachts and commercial ships. In the 1890s they built steam-powered yachts and naphtha-powered launches as well as tugs, cutters, schooners, cat boats, torpedo boats, and yacht tenders. Following various mergers, the company operated under the cumbersome name of Charles L. Seabury Co. and Gas Engine & Power Co., Consolidated, but dropped all the old names and became just plain Consolidated Shipbuilding after World War I. Then after WWII, Consolidated bought the Robert Jacob shipyard on City Island in NYC and closed its Morris Heights yard.
In the 1930s, when Trooper II was made, boats and yachts from about 33’ to 154’ were custom made at the yard. Most of the yachts were one-off designs as well as lengths but some of the government boats were made in series. Remember, there was a depression throughout the world during the late 1920s and the 1930s. Chris Craft boats was still losing money in 1935.
Trouper II is a traditional wooden boat. This yacht is a sedan style, not a sport fisherman nor a traditional, raised deck cruiser. She was built plank on frame with a bright finished cabin/deckhouse. She is a comfortable cabin cruiser that is enjoyed by her long-time owners.
Note her substantial anchors and the forward bitt to secure them to while using this ground tackle. She likes to anchor out, up and down the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and the broad selection of the other mid-Atlantic cruising grounds. Also note her custom yacht opening forward windows that allows for a comfortable breeze in the deckhouse/main living area in the afternoon and early evening while swinging on the hook. Please remember, you are looking at a 1935 yacht!

tropper II CBMM image

1935 Consolidated yacht 39' custom wooden boat

wooden boat custom 39 plank on frame

Dressed for a Classic Boat Show

Classic Boat Show Award Winner #3

Words and photos © Chris (Seabuddy) Brown
The Judges Choice this year was a custom 1964 sport fisherman cabin cruiser. That is as they say… the boat that they personally want to go home with after the show has ended. She is a 36’ wood fish fighter that is the precursor which the modern sport fishers. This was the way one went after sailfish, tuna, and white and blue marlin for sport fishing fun. She has a flat bottomed transom (not a deep vee), no keel, and twin inboard shaft drives (no bullet to house the F-N-R gears of multiple outboard engines exposed in the wake of the hull, as the transmissions are inboard within the hull).
Her name is SAM V. She came up from Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Her owners are members of the Sunnyland Club of the ACBS as well as the Chesapeake Bay Chapter Club.
This 1964 yacht was built by the custom wood boat builder of Rybovich and Sons, of West Palm Beach, FL. as their hull number 58. First powered by twin gas engines, she has been re-powered years ago with twin Cummins diesels for a cruising speed of 23 MPH and a wide open throttle speed of 31 MPH.
Other features of this boat are her 1) Classic Rybovich broken sheer line. 2) “Palm Beach” throttles and shifts pod. 3) Open deckhouse aft “canvas wall” for free flow to/from the cockpit and the upper sheltered area (thus, she is a best called a “Day boat”, not a convertible or a sedan). From 1965 on, all Rybovich boats had an aft bulkhead.
She is like Miss Chevy IV, built in 1952 and not as close to mimicking Miss Chevy II, built in 1947.The 1952 Chevy IV has the broken sheer in the two boat photo.
Seabuddy brings these two boats into this discussion as these two boats set the pace for Rybovich sport fishers to come. Sam V has the early features / items and shares most of these key ingredients.

rybovich pod throttles shifts

custom Rybovich engine controls

rybovich bow

bow shot

dockside view rybovich sport fisherman

good side view

rybovich transom boat photo

transom photo wood sport fishing boat

side view wood boat

rybovich, custom wood boat,

Award winner presentation

Sunday Award Presentaion

Classic Boat Show Award Winner report #2

Words and photos © Chris (Seabuddy) Brown

 

Stephanie Rayan from VA. re-powered her Dorsett cuddy cabin model last winter and won three awards at the 2015 Classic Boat Show. Stephanie likes to use her boat, even as far away as cruising in FL waters. Thus, a modern engine made sense for her style of enjoyment of classic boating. Typical for her, she named her new motor. (her boat is named Sunburn)  The motor is called Neverude. This engine was also repainted to color coordinate it to the boat’s gelcoat.

 

Sunburn is an outboard-powered 1960 Catalina model.  The boat is perfectly restored. As an added plus, Stephanie displayed her entry in this popular classic boat show in-the-water-and-ready-to-go with great details like an “iced” drink cooler sporting the memorable “Coppertone girl and her dog”,  along with games, and functional items like a spotlight. The boat was a show-stopper that brought smiles and sparked conversations among many show-goers as they walked the docks of this 17-acre show.

 

Sunburn is now re-powered by a new outboard. This provides good power for the 16’ 8” LOA Catalina model Dorsett. The boat is finished in Pennant Red, one of the five colors that were offered in 1960 by the boat builder. This classic small cruiser boat sleeps two down below, out of the weather. Raymond Loewy, noted designer of a few early 50’s Studebakers as well as the Avanti cars developed the design for this and other boats for the Dorsett Plastic Corporation. Loewy used a 6’ 6-1 /2” wide beam for the 17’ model.

 

This fiberglass boat company started making boats in 1955, first calling them Endura Craft boats. By 1958, the all the boats were marketed as Dorsett Boats. In 1960 the company was sold to Textron, Inc., which kept the Dorsett name. By then they were selling about $3,000,000 in boats, which were made in three boat-building plants, located in nearby Cambridge, MD as well as in California and Indiana. In 1964 and then in 1968 the company was sold again. The Dorsett Boat name ended in the 1967-1968 timeframe.

 

Sunburn, Neverrude and her skipper were a hit at the show.

sunburn 1960 fiberglass boat

 

 

ACBS Classic Boat Show and Festival Award Winners #1

Words and photos © Chris (Seabuddy) Brown

A black hulled single engine Cigarette swept its classes first time out of the barn. While she was up against a fast Nova/ Allmand 19, the judges all agreed that Lotus was the clear winner. Everyone was pleased that the number of off-shore fiberglass boats in attendance was on the upswing at this year’s boat show. Each show of the 57 diferent clubs have a slant to their show. It looks like this Mid-Atlantic Father’s Day Classic Boat Show / Festival is beginning to get the go-fast in rough water boating crowd.

Lotus is not a race boat, just a high speed, wave splitter cruiser/day boat for a young married couple and their dog. The boat is re-powered with a replacement, updated big block 496 cu. in. Chevy engine with EFI, for the ease of starting and shifting. The newer engine takes away show award points, but the ease of use of the newer intake system makes for a better boat, day in/ day out.

What does not take away points is the black hull finish. This boat has over 1,200 hours of sanding to get that flawless finish, up from a production boat building level of finish. She was finish sanded to over 2,000# grit paper. It is a AWLGRIP finish that one sees now.

The deck, cockpit, and the wood trim also took lots of finish work. Basically, it is several layers of epoxy. The cockpit dash was also updated with new instruments and other details. However, the vinyl seats and trim are several years old. There is a longish vinyl pad under the foredeck. It is out of the weather and in a pinch, one could overnight in this limited cabin.

Figure on a 45 MPH cruise and about a 70 MPH top end as powered in this 1972 24’ classic GO-FAST cruiser re-do.

 

17’ Barbour wood boat 1958

speedboat water ski boat

 

This very nice Evinrude powered classic is what Seabuddy images when he thinks of a Barbour boat. Crafted in wood, mostly outboard powered, and under 25’ in length. Some inboards were in production, but they do not seem to have been collected / restored anywhere near as much as an outboard powered model. I also think of Barbour as a company of the 1950s-1960s, sort of near or at the end of the wooden runabouts era.

But, I would be wrong. This North Carolina boat company goes back to the early 1930s and it closed in the mid-1990s. World War II changed from a small builder to a large one with up to 1,200 workers. War contract work did it. Towards the end of the company’s business history, they built and serviced some of the ferries for the state of North Carolina’s ferry system. These were made of steel.

In wood, Barbour made runabouts and small cruisers for recreational boaters. The metal boats were the aforementioned ferries, tugs, research vessels, fire boats, troop transport vessels, fishing boats, and barges. Some of these were big boats. They made a 155’ tanker and 56’, 63’, 82’, 95’, and 100’ boats. Much of this steel production work started in a big way in 1957. It was the re-invention of the company that Herbert Barbour founded in 1932.

outboard wood boat

I like these restored wood runabouts, as Seabuddy’s first water ski boat was a wood one ( a made in NJ brand named Sea Mac) with a 40 HP Evinrude outboard. That boat got re-powered up to an 85 HP Mercury. I was a teen and that boat was my freedom before I got an car driver’s license at the age of 17 in NJ. I had taken the Coast Guard Aux course before the age of 10. I have boated a long time.

dash wood runabout ski boat

19’ Racing Runabout

wood boat photo chris craft post war

1947 Red and White Chris Craft 19' Racing Runabout

 

Seabuddy’s photos show a 1947 Red and White Racing Runabout (one of 205 painted and colored this way). Some 503 of these 18’ 11” runabouts were made between 1948 and 1954. The balance of these models was stained and varnished finished.

These post war 19’ Racing Runabouts was loosely based on the 19’ Special Race Boats of 1936 and 1937. Chris Craft had made some 51 of those. These earlier ones were 2” longer in length and an inch wider in beam. These were also paint finished according to Jerry Conrad’s Chris Craft The Essential Guide book.

This boat is being restored by Jerry LeCompte’s http://docksideboatworks.com/.  He showed the boat at the St. Michaels Classic Boat Show and his research is part of my write-up. He does great work. I have seen his boat’s decks still tight and show quality several years after he did his restoration magic.

Back to post WW II Chris Craft boats. War production was over but good mahogany wood and other materials were in short supply. This boat was cedar planked and came with a plywood deck by Chris Craft according to LeCompte. Thus, she was painted, not stained and varnished, as the cedar wood did not look right bright finished.

It would be smart to point out, that by this post World War II era, the Christopher Smith family had been through several tough times. They built boats to feed their family. They had shown strong growth and good profits at the boat business up to the early 1930s. The company made $308,000 in 1929 and then $51,204 in 1930. Chris Craft then lost money making boats until it went into the black again in 1936, with a profit of $213,131.  The model offerings had been cut down during this time. Now, 97 models were cataloged for model year 1937.

Then the war hit. Production went on a sort of cost plus and some profit basis. Anything over that was turned back to the government. At a high point, a record 602 boats were shipped to the military in one month. This was a record despite material shortages in armor plating, engines, and brass castings.

Chris Craft did not even mention any specific construction materials during this post war period. They never knew what they had to substitute in any boat. Lumber has been mentioned as the longest lasting shortage.

 

restored chris craft 19' racing runabout

Red and White Chris Craft Racing Runabout

 

The old photo is courtesy of the Mariners Museum in Newport News, VA.

 

mariners museum chris craft photo

photo courtesy of the Mariners Museum

Wooden Runabout by John L. Hacker

wooden inboard runabout john hacker new york thousand islands

48' Worlds' Largest Runabout "Pardon Me" at the Antique Boat Museum

 

She is big! 48’ long with a beam of 10’ 6” and sixteen tons in weight. Power is a single screw Packard 4M-2500 engine, a supercharged 12-cylinder engine. This runabout speedboat’s top speed is 60 MPH.

 

Brooklin Boat Yard did the latest restoration. Prior restorations/upkeep/maintenance and a repower was done at Mayea Boat Works and on the St. Lawrence River at the Antique Boat Museum. She was built in this same area of the 1,000 Islands as the Antique Boat Museum is located in at Hutchinson Boat Works or http://www.hbwboats.com/.

 

Built in 1948, she has had several owners. The last owners donated her to the museum years ago. Google search “ Pardon Me” or “World’s Largest Runabout”  or read pages 76-77 of Robert Speltz’s book The Real Runabouts from 1977. Seabuddy has a signed copy of his book dated 1980. Mr. Speltz has now passed on.

 

Hutchinson  Boat Works or Hutchinson Brothers built boats along the St. Lawrence River since about 1908. The business continued under new leadership after the brothers passed on. They now sell boats, but they were a wooden boat builder originally. They also offered wood boat repairs in oak, mahogany, cedar, and teak.  While they could build and repair all styles of wood construction, most of their boats were lapstrake style or “clinker style”, like a Lyman boat. Pardon Me is not a lapstrake design. She has the double planked mahogany construction method.

 

Pardon Me was designed by Hacker and built by Hutchinson for Mr. Locke of Oak Island in the Chippewa Bay area of the 1,000 Islands (summer home) and MI (his winter home). She did not handle well and never has been used much in her history. Her sheer size, transmission shifting, handling around a pier, engine cooling, and her massive engine torque were some of the reasons for this lack of use. Call it fine-tuning, trouble shooting, or tinkering, problems have continued over her history since 1948.

 

She is now back at the Antique Boat Museum in the Thousand Islands for the upcoming summer months.

88u

Gar Wood and Chris Craft

Gar Wood started in his winning ways on the water with the purchase of the 1916 successful Gold Cup race boat that was “a broken, battered hulk after the race, fit only for junk” put up for sale by Chris Smith, 53, who was down to seven cents in his pockets after losing in a poker game. Gar paid for the hunk with a $1,000 down payment and a note for $800.

That racer, Miss Detroit, had been built by Chris from a design by Joseph Napoleon “Nap” Lisee, who worked for Chris Smith’s C.C. Smith Boat & Engine Company. Right after buying the boat and engine of Miss Detroit, he went to the Smith factory and brought controlling interest in it. He figured that he could keep others from racing against him via this investment as it came with the talent of Chris Smith, his sons, Jay and Bernard, and “Nap”.

Next he commissioned the building of Miss Detroit II, a new race boat, using the 250 Hp. engine from the original hunk of Miss Detroit. That new boat set a speed record of 61.724 MPH while racing the next year. The first photo shows the 20’ single step 250 Hp. Miss Detroit II with Jay .W. Smith as the riding mechanic.

miss detroit chris craft 1917 record breaking wood race boat

seabuddy's photo of the Mainer's Museum Chris Craft photo

Together, Chris Smith, “Nap”, and Gar Wood won 5 straight Gold Cups from 1917-1921 and 2 Harmsworth trophies in 1920 and 1921.

But by February of 1922, Smith bought out Gar Wood and started a new company, the Chris Smith & Sons Boat Company in a new location. Chris, his sons Jay, Bernard, and Owen each owned 25% of that boat building company and started fresh with a new piece of land and and they built a brand new factory on it. In the deal, Gar Wood got the old C.C. Smith &Engine Company boat building plant. He built his race boats, the 33’ “Baby Gar” runabout that had been developed by “Nap” while still at the old company, high performance cabin cruisers, and the 28’ Baby Gar runabout model.

The 33’ Baby Gar was a outstanding design. It was a good riding, safe runabout that was a triple (3) cockpit boat and it’s bottom used all of the characteristics of the his Miss Americas race boats with the step. Gar Wood sold his boats to Edward Noble, William Randolph Hearst, John Dodge, Col. Vincent and P. K. Wrigley. The Chris Smith and Sons Boat Company sold more wooden boats to a broader range of successful folks.

These boats soon outgrew the boat building production plant. Thus, Gar Wood Boats moved into a new factory in Marysville, MI in 1930. This plant was capable of making 1200 top shelf wooden boats per year. Now 22’, 40’, 28’, 33’ boats were made. Some of these lengths were offered in a variety of model configurations. Later 16’, 18’, 19’, 22.5′, 24’, 32’, and 25’ models were added. Production of boats for Gar Wood peaked just before W.W. II.

Gar Wood, himself, retired to Miami at the age of 60, and the new management of Gar Wood Industries ordered a restyle of the boat line up and engaged Norman Bel Geddes, a noted industrial designer, for a new post war feeling.

post w.w. II bright finished wooden runabout on the chesapeake bay

Show winning 1947 Gar Wood 22.5' wood runabout

With high new design and jig costs, quality wood shortages, hardware out-of-stocks, and a somewhat distant management running the company, the company closed down in 1947. My Seabuddy photos show a restored 1947 Gar Wood 22.5’ wood boat in the brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay. She is an ACBS award winner down from CT.