Posts Tagged ‘maryland 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

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.

 

Washington D. C. and its Potomac River Canal

One does not think that a canal way that opened next to Washington D. C.s Potomac River in 1850 would still be a source of boating fun in 2014. But it was last weekend for Seabuddy. My photos contained here are from early November, 2014.

Canal Lock on the Potomac River

Canal Lock at Great Falls Tavern Visitor's Center

Today it is a paddling, canoeing, biking, walking, jogging, and scenic, tree lined adventure within Washington D.C. and onto Cumberland. The canal is now a park, with a fairly flat trail going along the old towpath and locks. This 184 mile long Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (or C& O Canal) goes along the river in its own hand-dug channel from Washington, D. C. to Cumberland, MD.  It was built and used as a commercial operation for this length from 1850 to 1924, when a flood damaged it beyond economic repair.

Seabuddy has studied cruising in canals for his book, Cruising Guide to New York Waterways and Lake Champlain. That book is a thick one, sort of like a Manhattan Yellow Pages on what to see and do by boat within N Y state and the states that its waterways share with N Y state. In other words areas of Vermont and Canada that share waterways with NY are also covered.

seabuddy book cruising guide N Y waterways and lake champlain

seabuddy's Cruising Guide book

My book is a firsthand account that details/covers about 1,100 miles of the popular waterways, including Lake Champlain, the Hudson River, the Erie Canal, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the Thousand Islands. My personal knowledge complements the data on the NOAA charts. Here is a link… http://www.amazon.com/Cruising-Guide-York-Waterways-Champlain/dp/1565542509/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415632393&sr=1-1&keywords=new+york+waterways+and+lake+champlain

 

potomac river visitor's center

re-done Great Falls Tavern Visitor's Center

Now back to the C and O Canal. I visited one of the visitor centers that is open year around; the Great Falls Tavern Visitor’s Center. There is a lock here, but the water level was at the winter, non-navigational level. But, some folks paddled their kayaks through the canal way even at this level when I was there.

map canal washington D C

Map of the C & O canal

George Washington first got the idea for a canal/shipping waterway about the time of the French and Indian War. He formed the Potomac Company to make the first start at it. That was not a fully separate ditch and proved to be not the way to go. By, 1825 the C&O Company was created to provide an economic trade route between the eastern seaboard and the West.

President John Quincy Adams put the first, ground breaking shovel of dirt in July, 1828. The full canal was completed and opened to commercial traffic in 1850. Traffic peaked with 850,000 tons of goods in 1871, spread out over 500 canal boats. This was mostly coal coming to the D. C. area. Then traffic went down slowly.

C & O canal boat model

model of Canal Boat

The main competition was the B & O railroad out of Baltimore, MD.  There also was the nationwide depression of the 1870s. Then there were two major floods, one in 1877 and then in 1886. B& O bought the canal company via buying its bonded indebtedness. The flood in 1924 ended the canal way commercial operations and closed it until the Park’s system re-opened it for boating fun.

washinton d C potomac river

downstream of the falls

 

potomac river

note this birch tree

 

Lock potomac river

Visitor's Center at Great Falls Tavern and Lock

 

lock

view of open lock at winter water level

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.

Classic Wooden Jersey Speed Skiff

wooden pappy seaman  jersey speed skiff race boat

restored classic wooden Jeresey Speed Skiff

 

A Jersey Speed Skiff in 2013 is either a vintage racer or a APBA modern race boat. What is the difference? To the casual eye the APBA boat has a roll cage and the Vintage or classic does not. #Seabuddy may be old, but not old enough to first-hand tell the full length story of Jersey Speed Skiffs.

Along the jersey shore since the 1800’s, men beach or inlet launched a human-powered (row) boat to ocean and bay fish from. Then a sail rig was added and the popular way to go fishing in New Jersey remained a small boat. Think of a flat bottomed, cedar-wood planked boat using ribs to help define and stiffen the boat shape. Some cousins or early examples of a JSS boat were the Sea Bright Skiff, the Pound Boat, and Utility Skiffs.

In 1922, Harold “Pappy” Seaman built a 16’ long one with a Gray Marine Engine inboard engine. That started the powerboat JSS class idea. His boat went 21 MPH. Fiberglass replaced wood in the 1960s. Bud Bender is the man known for fiberglass Jersey Speed Skiffs. Seabuddy met Bud at a past St. Michaels Antique and Classic Boat Show and Festival in Maryland. Today a skiff can break 80 MPH or more and they use a Chevy V-8 for power.

BTW, many of these early boats fished during the week and raced each other on Sunday. Pappy was from Long Branch, built some 102 skiffs, and the base of the sport seems to have stayed there in Long Branch, but with boat races up and down the east coast all summer long in both Vintage and APBA racing. The next Vintage Event seems to be at the Long Branch Ice Boat and Yacht Club on September 21, 2013 in New Jersey.

My photos are of SUDS, a restored, Pappy Seaman built, 1951 Jersey Speed Skiff. She is a 50 MPH boat. SUDS is powered by a 180 HP, 244cubic inch Fireball Graymarine 6 cylinder racing inboard engine.

She is a planked wood, no plywood anywhere boat. She has White Oak ribs and stem, and White Cedar hull planking, firewall, bulkheads, interior seating’s, and decks. The wood is held together by some 1,752 hand-peened copper rivets and 1,488 slotted screws. The boat was last in the water until the summer of 2012 in 1983. The restoration took 2,312 hours of labor.

#Seabuddy’s photos are from the Pt. Pleasant ACBS Boat Show. Historic photos from the web and other places.

 

Pappy seaman jersey speed skiff 1951 planked wood

Cockpit- note the firewall is planked, not plywood

 

wood restored classic jersey speed skiff

front cockpit

 

old wood from jersey speed skiff wood classic

sample of the old wood

 

Suds race boat pappy seaman

old racing photo of SUDS back in the day

 

jersey speed skiff in a racing turn

This is the way a Jersey Speed Skiff turns

Classic mahogany wood boat by Gar Wood

Gar Wood 18' classic 1932 mahogany wood boat photo image

one of five still remaining 1932 Gar Wood 18 wooden runabout

This 18 foot boat is a beauty. She is one of only 28 boats made in this model in 1932 by the famous Gar Wood boat building company. That makes her a rare piece of wooden boat building history. She is one of just five of these boats left still around in the world. That fact makes her super rare. Her condition then makes her even more of a sought after rare classic boat. This is as nice as it gets in an under 20’ classic boat.

It was in 1911 that Gar Wood got the racing “bug”. By 1916 he had bought a well-used Chris Smith made Chris Craft race boat. At that time Chris Smith was calling his company the C. C. Smith Boat & Engine Co. Wood also became the largest shareholder of Chris Smith’s company. He and Chris Smith split their boat building interests in 1921. Gar Wood then created the Gar Wood Company to build his pleasure and race boats. His first boat building plant was in Algonac, MI. At this plant was the start of the 33′ “Baby Gar” Runabout that was then and now so famous. That small almost custom boat building shop was supplemented by a bigger plant in Marysville, MI. Gar Wood in his Marysville plant made a 28’ runabout and a 22 footer starting in 1930. The Baby Gar thirty three foot runabout was still being made in Algonac along with a 40’ cruiser. It was in 1932 that this 18’ twin cockpit (or split cockpit) runabout shown here was introduced.

If this boat was a nice but not the best restored copy and perhaps re-powered with a more modern engine she seems to be able to bring around a $50,000 price today. This one; with its very high level of a truly total restoration, all correct parts, it’s level of fit and finish that must be seem to be fully appreciated, may very well bring more along the lines of a $250,000 price if it was to be a classic wooden boat for sale.

Volvo Penta IPS top pod system at Boat Show

boat photo volvo penta IPS underwater view

This is the revolution in boating performance that makes a new boat the right choice. While seabuddy often sees the Volvo Penta IPS at boat show. It often is an IPS 500 or 550 twin engine and pod drive system.

boat photo volvo IPS joy stick

This is for modern, top performance with a joy stick (also by Volvo Penta) for easy slow speed and around-the-marina maneuvering in a 40’ to 50’ boat. Volvo has now developed this system in different engine and pod sizes and in the number of engine installations per boat.
How about a triple engine set-up for more power in a larger yacht? A quad engine set-up is also done. A special mode of operation allows you to cut boat speed at engine idle speeds to meet “No Wake” zone needs. There is a “sportfish” package to move the boat around in its own axis to fight a fish in forward or reverse, make a clear wake via an exhaust bypass for best bait visibility, and allow for use of a single lever for all of the engines shifting and throttle settings.

four engine boat photo Volvo-Penta IPS boat power system

How much power? Volvo names each package by its approximate crankshaft Hp as compared to an straight inboard shaft set-up in a planning power boat. So, from a 700 Hp package of twin engines to a 4,800 Hp package made up of four engines, Volvo-Penta offers twenty power levels using three different sized IPS pods.
All the Volvo Penta IPS systems offer the top benefits of up to 40% longer boat cruising range, 20% higher top speeds, reduced fuel consumption, lower noise levels, predictable handling, and joystick docking.
seabuddy would like to thank Volvo – Penta for all of their photos.

cutaway boat photo Volvo Penta three engines three drives

boat photo triple volvo IPS engines and drives

Baltimore Boat Show see Mercury Marine 150 Hp outboard

2012 Mercury Marine outboard motor

Look for the lightest, newest, marine torque big block Mercury Four Stroke outboard in a small package that is on today’s outboard motor boating marketplace at the Baltimore Boat Show. It has shown to have very high durability partly because of its robust part choices where other outboard motors have had trouble. This outboard has almost 10,000 hours of engineer’s time and testing in the field to make a durable marine engine.

A goal of the motor was for it to weight within the weight of a battery and a two stroke outboard combined together and yet have the most displacement cubic inches for marine power in its Hp class. The Mercury Marine FourStroke 150 Hp accomplishes both goals. It weights around 455 lbs. while Honda’s engine weights around 478 lbs. for its 150 Hp.

On the water, expect less vibration because of the powerhead mounts and location. The transom brackets are heavier, too. It’s a good salt or brackish water engine, too, because of a new bonding paint system that is 18 steps in all and the engine has waterproof connectors and an electric system within the cowling that is sealed away more from water than most. She has a fresh water flushing that works at idle engine speeds and also when it is turned off.

Maintenance is once a year (every 100 hours) and every three years (every 300 hours) simple thing to do. On the Chesapeake Bay it is suggested that you apply anti-seize compound on the spark plug threads each year, for instance.

Mercury Marine covers the entire engine with a 3 year non-declining warranty backed by the factory.

New Boat Show

Local United States Yacht Shows, which produce  the oldest in-water boat shows in the United States, has announced  that it will offer  a spring boat show called the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show, featuring a special Cruisers University.

The new event will be held at the Annapolis Town Dock, plus Ego Alley, the surrounding city lots, the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel, the Annapolis Recreation Center, and a local Park.  The show is said to feature on  more than  80 sailboats, both mono-hull hull shapesl and multi-hull.

Admission is $10 for adults, $4 for youth 7-12, and free for children 6 and under for the Boat Show. 

For the Cruisers University, a separate tuition schedule will cover all classes, meals, demos, on-board instruction, and social activities. 

Additionally, a special Cruising Destinations Series will be available to all show attendees on Saturday and Sunday.

The new show is planned for late April, after the Bay Bridge Boat Show, which is about 30 years old which is also hosted by the same organization. United States Yacht Shows are every well respected by the boating public and each of their shows bring folks to Annapolis from up and down the East Coast.

By the way, Cruisers University is a four-day educational program designed to introduce people to life aboard a cruising boat.  Billed as “The Ultimate Aid to Navigation,” Cruisers University provides expert instruction in a wide range of subjects pertinent to long-range cruising, such as on-board technical systems, cruising destinations, insuring and outfitting your boat, as well as mastery level two-day courses on Diesel Maintenance, Navigation and Chart Plotting, and Electrical Systems Design.