Posts Tagged ‘chris craft’

Ibex is important for the Marine Trades

SNAG_Program-0416

All the new ideas and the networking opportunities within the Marine Trades will be at IBEX, coming up.

Show’s quote” Thousands of new products, advanced processe, and impressive innovations will be on display at the 2015 International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) taking place at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY, Tuesday, September 15 through Thursday, September 17. This year will bring together marine industry professionals to view the latest innovations and technology from over 550 exhibiting companies.”

 

Seabuddy will be there… will you?

 

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.

New marine fuel winter storage product

marine fuel stabilzer sta bil 360 winter storage boat

Sta Bil 360 Marine

 

Sta Bil 360 Marine adds new protection to your boat and its engine(s) for 2014. In many parts of the country, boaters have an off-season period. This can last four to 8 months depending on your home port. All you boaters that slip their boats in Key West, well Seabuddy is not talking about your boating fuel habits in a direct way in this write-up.

For the rest of us gas engine seasonal boat owners, let me suggest a few pointers.

Warning, I am not a chemist, I am simply passing on personal experiences and some advertising messaging put out by major players within the marine trades.

Put your boat away with the gas fuel tank 95% full.

At the beginning of your last fill up, pour in 1 oz. of Sta Bil 360 Marine for every 5 gallons of gas you intend to put in your boat.

Think about buying your Sta Bil 360 either at your nearest convenient marine store or at a low price shop. Google search “Sta Bil 360” at Walmart and Amazon.com. Watch your final costs including shipping and sales tax. Use half as much at every fill-up during the season.

Here is a quote from the fuel stabilizer maker “STA-BIL 360 MARINE offers comprehensive protection by releasing a microscopic corrosion preventing vapor inside the fuel system that coats ALL metals parts, including the fuel tank, fuel sending unit, valves, carburetor, fuel injectors and intake manifold. It’s like fogging oil for your entire fuel system, offering “360 degrees” of corrosion protection and is safe to use in all types of gasoline – from ethanol-free fuel to E85.

STA-BIL 360 MARINE accomplishes everything our current STA-BIL products offer, including keeping fuel fresh, removing water, cleaning the fuel system and more, but this revolutionary new product provides an exciting new level of protection for ultimate performance. For the first time, STA-BIL 360 MARINE delivers corrosion protection above and below the fuel line by releasing an innovative vapor that coats all metal parts within the fuel system to prevent corrosion.

Once poured into a tank of fuel, STA-BIL 360 MARINE will provide a vaporized corrosion inhibitor coating for up to 12 months in a stored boat or equipment.”

This product is new for 2014 and it won the International Boatbuilder’s Exhibition & Conference (IBEX) Innovation Award in the Boat Care and Maintenance category.

IBEX is organized by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and judged by members of Boating Writers International (BWI), the award recognizes innovative distinction from other products currently being manufactured, benefit to the marine industry and consumers, practicality and cost-effectiveness.

Chris craft center console Catalina 34 coming

triple engined outboard center console

rendering

Chris Craft joins the triple engine center console choices in an upscale, “Mega Yacht” type tender style, rather than as a pure fish boat. She is offered with 900 Horsepower in triple outboard engines with joy stick controls from either Mercury Marine or Yamaha. Expect the boat to be introduced 10.30.2014 as a 2015 boat model. Specs will be 34’ with a beam of 10’ 10” with a 21 degree deep vee bottom. The beam allows for a double sun lounger with arm rests, triple helm chairs, and a L-shaped bench across the transom that allows walk-thur access to the swim platform without removing seating cushions. A Glass Cockpit style of engine and electronic controls all displayed in two big, side by side 15” screens will be the way to go at the helm station.

A special optional feature is the “summer kitchen” with grill, inverter, refrigerator / freezer, sink and storage areas. What a way to entertain on the water! This should prove to be popular.

Note that Chris Smith built his first boat ( for hunting ducks) around 1874 at the age of 13 in Michigan. Speedboats/runabouts, and racers soon came along after that. By 1927 Chris Craft was the largest maker of wooden mahogany boats. Chris’ son, Jay, took over before W. W. II and did an outstanding job of running the family business. During the war, they build 10,000 small boats for the war effort. 1959 saw Chris Craft with 5,000 employees in over 10 plants. Hansen then took the reins and made the cover of Time magazine.

After World War II, Chris-Craft recommenced commercial boat production with renewed vigor. By 1959, Chris-Craft had 10 factories and more than 5,000 employees. Leadership of the company passed to Chris Smith‚Äôs grandson, Harsen. When interviewed by Time magazine, he attributed Chris-Craft’s success to the family rather than any individual within it.

After some hard times under various owners, Chris Craft has now had steady ownership and good management.

chris craft center console 34 fiberglass triple engined outboard

One of several top choices

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.

Arena Craft and the Chris Craft Cobra

There are four stories here.

classic 1950s restored fiberglass inboard ski boat Arena Craft Barracuda

seabuddy photo of restored classic fiberglass Arena Craft

 

custom tandem boat trailer wide white walls

Look for ripples in the boat's finish, there are none

First, the boat in seabuddy’s Photos.

This particular restored example has as a level of superior finish and detailing as seabuddy has ever seen on a new or restored boat. Please study the photos and look for waves or wallows in the finish or any reflections. There are none.

This ArenaCraft is a 19’ 6” Speedboat that was 5 MPH faster at top speed than the 20’ 10” Chris Craft Cobra of the same era with the same horsepower Both boat builders made their racy designs with a 6’ 9” beam. Most say that the Arena Craft handles better, also.

Both models were built with a full-width, single seat cockpit design. C-C mad their boats from wood with fiberglass touches in the deck design and ArenaCraft made theirs out of a fiberglass hull and deck molding with some wood and Hexcel stiffeners. Both were made to fit into a proposed racing class for Family Racing Runabouts.

Chris Craft was the largest boat company in the world with lots of dealers and sold far more boats of its model than ArenaCraft.

It is possible that this is one of only two of this boat model ArenaCraft that have been restored.

bow photo image restored fiberglass classic arena craft 1950s boat

close-up of the bow

 

arena craft runabout classic restored fiberglass runabout chris craft

close-up of amidships and the beginning of the fin aft tail

 

classic restored dan arena craft fiberglass 1950s boat inboard boat runabout

Lighted Tail Fins make a 1950s statement

 

transom classic restored fiberglass 1950s era ski boat v drive marine

transom, note the racing chines

 

cast name plate dan arena craft inboard runabout boat image photo marine

close-up of classic model name plate and exhaust pipes

Second, who is Dan Arena?

A boat designer and boat racing driver who competed head to head within the Gold Cup and Unlimited boat racing classes against Harold Wilson, Guy Lombardo, George Reis, Bill Horn, and Bill Cantrell, to name a few.

He is credited with designing the first Unlimited race boat to win with a modern power source.

He added to what Ventnor did with the three-point hydroplane boats by flattening his boat’s profile and packing more air between the sponsons, which reduced wetted surface.

His prop and sponson innovations led the way from the tail-dragging Ventnor’s that always had their prop submerged while racing to his boats that sporadically rode on their prop as one of their three points, to Ted Jones’ race boats that always were a prop rider after Ted’s Slo-Mo-Shun IV.

His 1953 Hydroplane design was built later line-by-line by Les Staudacher, which resulted in the boat that set the fastest straightaway Unlimited Piston Engine Hydroplane record speed of 200.419 MPH.

Dan Arena had a stroke in the 1980s and died in 1995.

Third, what is ArenaCraft, et al, as a boat builder?

Dan Arena was a racer first and a pleasure boat builder second. Dan built one-off race boats back as far as the 1930s. He started building pleasure boats in around 1953. He formed the ArenaCraft Corporation in 1955. It seems that he made the transition from wood to fiberglass boats around then. He sold that business to Reinell Industries.in 1969 or so. All ArenaCraft after that date were made by Reinell, not Dan Arena.

Mr. Arena could not stay out of the boat business, so about a year later, the Dan Arena Company was born and started making boats. This was a low-production boat builder that primarily catered to Lake Tahoe water demands. Due to the high altitude of the lake a fast boat was simply not that fast on the lake and some capable in rough water ability was valued. Thus, many of Dan Arena’s boats were capable of speeds to 75 MPH at sea level when powered up. Such a boat usually had a v-drive 425 Horsepower Chevy engine. Howard Arneson threw a turbine in his and went over 100 MPH.

This was a family business, with his son involved in the business. Chris “Kit” Arena eventually ran the production floor at the Dan Arena Company after he started right out of high school with his Dad. There were a few exceptions as the woodwork was done by Lief Lund and the fiberglass Lamination was handed by Earnest Jackson after Kit had sprayed the gel coat. Chris also did the hand lettered “Dan Arena” logo. There were no cast name plates on Dan Arena Company boats, unlike ArenaCraft boats.

Fourth, what is a Barracuda?

Almost all pleasure boat models that Dan Arena had a hand in were named “Barracuda”. He liked that name. Both ArenaCraft and Dan Arena Company boats have Barracuda named boat models.

Barracudas came in 18’ this 20’, a 21’, and 23-24 foot sizes, at least. He made single, twin, and open cockpit runabouts. Boats with and without opening windshields. Some sported Corvette car windshields.

He also made cuddy cabin boats. His cuddies were deeper (higher hull sided) than his runabouts. Since the decks were molded and he often used the same hull mold for both models, it was his son’s job to scribe, cut down, and hand fit a cuddy hull molding to a runabout deck, among many other jobs in the manufacturing the boats.

 

internet photo of running dan arena craft 1950s era boat

internet photo of the boat running on the lake

 

 

Gentleman’s Classic Outboard Runabout

chris craft james craft kit boat

She is a fun ride!

 

This is a Chris Craft – kit boat version. About 345 lbs. of speedboat in fewer than 14 feet. She is powered by a period correct Mark 55 Mercury Outboard of 40 Horsepower. She is just been restored in April of 2013 but this model was offered by Chris Craft back in the 1950s.

She is a great ride for the Captain and his passenger. Sporty, stable, and quick to maneuverer, this is a boat one launches for a fun time on the water. It is compact luxury craft that draws friendly smiles for her classic bright-finished good looks.

Her period correct Mercury Marine 4 cylinder outboard has been rebuilt by a pro and starts easily. It is the top power for the 13 1/2’ long boat. She is an opportunity to experience the classic wood boat life in a beautiful product of Chris Craft engineering.

In the restoration, this boat’s owner took advantage of all of today’s boat building materials. All the wood was sealed with Smith’s CPES and the joints of bronze and Stainless Steel bolts and screws were further strengthened with West System products. First class, top-of-the-line parts combined with a critical design eye and excellent skill towards making her a real beauty either on her trailer or out on the water is reflected the first time anyone sees her.

Boats like this Chris Craft were sold by them as complete kits in a box and this one was located already assembled, but in need of a complete restoration. That restoration took several years, not months. One just needs to see her now to enjoy classic boating at its best. She is the winner of the Best Outboard Boat at this year’s big Annual Antique and Classic Boat Society Show and Festival in St. Michaels, MD.

james craft runabout outboard boat photo image

She has storage under the rear deck

 

chris craft james craft kit boat model classic boat photo image

Note the level of finish inside this boat

 

chris craft kit boat outboard runabout boat photo image

Top level finish!

Seventh report, Sunnyland ACBS Antique and Classic Boat Show, Tavares, Florida, Chris Craft Cobra

One of the most recognizable “wow” boats ever offered for sale is the Cobra by Chris Craft. Chris Craft made this one model its image boat in the mid-1950s.

chris craft cobra classic boat photo image tail fin wood mahogany planked

The tail fin makes this Chris Craft classic Cobra boat model

Ever since Chris Craft figured out how to make money in a nation-wide depression economy every year since 1936, they then wanted to be THE boat builder for every man, woman, and family in the world. In a very wide mix of boat models, one boat model was selected to lead in its lust factor.

chris craft cobra script tail fin

close-up of the script on the tail fin

The profit from other models would cover whatever this one would cost. This one was the one that should turn heads on the water or at a boat show. Women remembered it. Kids stopped in their tracks when they saw one and talked about it. Men wanted it.

chris craft cobra classic wood boat photo image

fully restored and a real "looker"

For the underwater hull shape, Chris Craft used the same naval architectural lines of one of their existing boat models as the running surface.  They had already sold 503 of those hulls.

chris craft cobra dash wood classic runabout boat photo image

note the alligator texture touches in the cockpit

To that underwater running surface they crafted a sleek, stretched, curvy bright finished planked mahogany boat that started at the bow as high, wide, and bold and then  tapered aft to nothing. Next, Chris Craft took out the back seat. Then they added a “Chris Craft” gold fin. Finally, they added alligator upholstery touches. Like seabuddy said, it is a “wow” design themed boat.

chris craft cobra long deck boat model photo image

Just look at the finish of this boat, top shelf, in seabuddy's book

She was a 20’, 10” boat with only one seat, so naturally they put a big, loud, and bold 200 horsepower Hemi Chrysler in most of them. A few Chris Craft Cobras topped that engine with an even more powerful 285 horsepower Cadillac Crusader from Detroit car dealer Cal Connell. Only ten of the 55-56 boats built had Chris Craft six cylinder engines in them.

chris craft cobra wood planked boat model photo image

single cockpit seating

 

Figure on 45-50 MPH speeds out of a Hemi powered boat. Add another five MPH for boats powered with the dual four barrel Cadillac 285 engine.

chris craft cobra engine wood runabout planked mahogany boat image photo

restored engine classic chris craft cobra wood runabout boat photo image

Classic Chris Craft modified wood raceboat from Lake Dora, Mount Dora, Tavares Antique and Classic Boat Show 5th report

Sleeper is an antique and classic planked mahogany wooden runabout that has been modified into a race boat by Harold Bauer. She has a 1955 to 1966 racing career over which she was regional high points champion 4 times. This is a boat that raced against Curt Brayer and his Dancing Bear and Forest Johnson and his Prowlers in the F Service Runabout class.

chris craft racing runabout wood antique and classic boat image photo

unrestored Chris Craft twin cockpit wood boat modified for racing years ago

She is a hard riding, porpoising, but fast race boat. While top speeds were over 70 MPH, her crew reported peeing blood after a race. Powered by a 95 horsepower straight shaft inboard by Chris Craft when she was built in 1931, she was re-powered as a racing boat Chris Craft. First Buick, then 390 Ford engines got the boat’s speed up. These engines were moved aft within the hull, a Casalle V-drive installed with a jack shaft to a Borg Warner transmission, a Cary two blade propeller selected, and the two cockpits relocated into forward dual cockpits with bucket seats for both the driver and the riding mechanic, a fuel tank was located under the fore deck, and the hull was fiberglassed. So seabuddy labels her both a wood and a fiberglass antique and classic boat.

chris craft racing runabout transom wooden planked mahogany antique and classic

Note how much wider she is at the chines, which was an owner addition for racing

The boat also had her structure strengthened with extra bracing, while her chines were really widened (see seabuddy’s photo), and a cavitation plate was added for stability and control. This Chris Craft racing runabout is not a Chris Craft Racing Runabout model, she was a standard production pleasure boat modified by her owner.

chris craft racing runabout 390 ford engine f service runabout

Ford 390 vee-drive re-located aft engine

 

Wood Chris Craft Capri mid-Restoration

Chris Craft Capri 19 wooden boat restoration

She is right-side up now

Chris Craft made 786 of these 19 foot Capri wooden runabouts over four years in the late 1950’s. It was a popular boat model. With a LOA of 18’ 7”, she fits in many garages. At a weight of 2100 to 2300 lbs. she is easy to tow. Her beam of 6’ 3” makes her a good boathouse boat.

This one is shown mid-restoration here. She is having a “no soak” trailer able bottom as old wood needed to be replaced and the owner wants to take her anywhere, drop her in for a quick spin, and without any need to soak up or swell the bottom planks on this bottom.

Proper use of modern materials within the original Chris Craft mahogany wood planks and wood framing structure allow for the easy trailer, launch, and use of this classic boat. When this boat sits in the water, ready for a quick spin around the lake, one does not see anything different than what she showed when she was first built. She is an ideal Classic Boat Show boat.

classic chris craft wood runabout boat photo

She looks and is "as built" by Chris Craft boats in the 1950s

Ever expect to get to Annapolis, MD this spring? Stop by Dave Hannam’s boat restoration shop in Annapolis see this stylish Chris Craft Capri wooden runabout undergo its steps into a thing of beauty for yourself. More info here… www.classicwatercraftrestoration.com

Hey, go late enough into the spring-summer and Dave will maybe have some gas in the 20 gallon tank and you might be able to go for a final test ride with the boat owner.

Restored Chris Craft Capri Wooden Runabout

Restored Chris Craft Capri Wooden Runabout