Gar Wood, Chris-Craft, and “Nap”

Miss Detroit II

Miss Detroit II

Joseph Napoleon Lisee was the hull designer behind Chris-Craft and Gar Wood race winning days. He was nicknamed “Nap”. He was a master builder, designer, pattern-maker, wood turner, and had a reputation as a  real perfectionist.

He was born in 1891, died in 1946. He started working for Chris Smith in 1905. He designed Smith’s 1916 successful Gold Cup raceboat, Miss Detroit. That racer was “a broken, battered hulk after the race, fit only for junk”. After the race, Smith lost a poker game and only had pennies in his pockets.

Gar Wood brought Miss Detroit from Chris Smith for $1,000 cash and a note for $800. Soon after Gar Wood also bought a controlling interest in the C. C. Smith Boat & Engine Company, what we now call, Chris-Craft. “Nap” as well as Chris’ sons; Jay, and Bernard came with the percentage ownership interest in the company.

“Nap” designed another racer (Miss Detroit II) to use the 250 HP engine from the hunk of the original Miss Detroit boat. That was also a successful single-step Hydroplane. She was 20 feet long.  Miss Detroit II set a speed record of 61.724 MPH. Jay W. Smith was aboard as the riding mechanic when the record was set. All of the Miss America hulls were a “Nap” design, including Miss America X, which set a record of over 124.42 MPH.

Gar Wood had “Nap” design the hull of the famous “Baby Gar’s”. They were a 33 foot long and had triple cockpit layout, brought to market in 1922. They were the cream of the crop of luxury runabouts.  A second, Baby Gar, at 28 feet in length was introduced in 1927. In 1930, a 22’ speedboat came along. By 1931 an 18 and 25’ models were added. By 1934 a 16’ sports racer was offered, primarily in the Clayton and Alexandria Bay area. A 40’ commuter was also offered.

Open cockpit or a Utility cockpit design came in 1936 in two lengths 18’ and 20’. By 1937 a 24’ model was available.  Later 19’, 22.5’, 24’ , 25’, 32’ models were added.

Chris Smith exited his ownership relationship with Gar Wood in 1922. He built a new factory and Gar Wood got the old C. C. Smith & Engine

company location. Smith’s sons (Jay, Bernard, and Owen) stayed with him.” Nap” stayed with Gar Wood. Chris Smith, born in 1861, died in 1939.

By 1930 the demand for Gar Wood boats outstripped the old plant. A new plant in Marysville MI was built from scratch. They could build 1,200 boats per year here. Demand for Gar Wood peaked just before World War II.

Gar Wood born in 1880 and died in 1971. He retired from racing in the fall of 1932, and retired from his business interests in 1940. He bought Fisher Island in Miami, FL in 1946 for his retirement home. He invented and tinkered until near his death.

After War II, the people that ran Gar Wood boats had noted industrial stylist, Norman Bel Geddes, restyle decks of the hulls of “Nap” to update them. Gar Wood boats closed in 1947.

Miss America X

Miss America X

Gar Wood Baby Gar

Gar Wood Baby Gar

Gar Wood Baby Gar engine

Gar Wood Baby Gar engine

1946 22.5 Gar Wood

1946 22.5 Gar Wood

1946 Utility Gar Wood

1946 Utility Gar Wood

bow photo 22.5 Gar Wood

bow photo 22.5 Gar Wood

 

 

Pride of Baltimore II

smallest IMG_3791

 

A goodwill ambassador for the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland, generally in the Chesapeake Bay region. Shown here in Annapolis inner harbor, dry docked, and under sail she was on tour from her Baltimore home slip.

She is a 100 foot (on deck) by a 26’ 4” foot beam Topsail Schooner. The ship draws 12’ 6” and has a sail area of 9,018 sq. ft. The bow spar makes her 157’. The total height is 107’. The Pride of Baltimore II carries 40 tons of internal ballast, but also has 20 tons of outside ballast. She displaces 185 tons.

The ship has two Caterpillar 160 HP diesels in an eight foot long engine room. These engines can move her at an 8 knot cruising speed. She carries enough fuel for a 1,200 mile range.

She has the foc’c’sle that has six bunks. Plus, a double stateroom for the engineers and another double stateroom for teachers/instructors. Finally, there are three staterooms for three officers, including the captain. There are two additional guest cabins that are doubles.

Thomas Gillmer was the ship’s naval architect. Her ship builder was Peter Boudreau. She was built in Baltimore’s inner harbor, starting on May 3,1987 using modern tools. The ship’s maiden voyage was on October 23,1988.

Central American from Belize hardwoods for the keel and framing plus Douglas fir from the Pacific Northwest went into the masts, deck, hull and interior.

The original Pride of Baltimore was knocked down in a quick storm in 1986 about 250 nautical miles north of Puerto Rico. A squall knocked the Pride on its side within seconds, and it sank within minutes, it is said. Four members of the crew died in that tragedy.

The new ship is not a replica of that ship or any other. She does represent a “Baltimore Clipper”. Her masts are raked back among other things and she carries ten sails. The original clipper that was the inspiration of the two ships was a ship that sailed in around 1812-1814 out of Fell’s Point in Baltimore. She was the Chasseur. She, her captain, and her crew were nicknamed the “Pride of Baltimore”.

smallest 2021.07.04 pride of baltimore under sail

cropped smallest 2021.07.04 prideofbaltimoreii_a

 

smallest 2021.07.04 Pride of Baltimore dry dock

 

 

Jimmy Stewart and the JS class in Boat Racing

Jimmy is the National High Points Champion in his APBA racing class. Over a season of racing, Jimmie won 3,363 points for his various race finishes. (The fella behind Jim’s achievement won 2,555 points.)

This is a very competitive racing class: 19 racers won points in this class one year. These racers come from MD, PA, NJ, FL, MI, NC, & VA. As you can see, this Jersey Speed Skiff class is well represented around the Chesapeake Bay and beyond.

Here’s a brief history about the Jersey Speed Skiffs (JS):

Along the Jersey shore in the 1800’s, fishermen either launched their human-powered (row) boats from the beach or an inlet to fish in the ocean and neighboring bays 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’ boat 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 & 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 where he built some 102 skiffs. The center of the sport seems to have stayed there in Long Branch, although there are boat races up and down the East Coast all summer long in both Vintage and APBA racing.
Jersey Speed Skiffs (APBA racing class JS) is a very active racing class within the American Power Boat Association, and race at sanctioned APBA events primarily up and down the East Coast. These racing skiffs run under very strict APBA rules that have not changed much since the early 1990s. Roll cages and safety harnesses are required, engines are restricted to 283 or 305 cubic inches with very strict specs, and the hulls remain at 16 feet with very strict specs.

Some hull shape design changes, more powerful engines and “tricks” enabled the skiffs to increase their speeds into the 30 mph range in the 1930s.

 

Post World War II, a few skiff races made it to the west coast. But, Red Bank was their home base. Speeds were up in the 50 MPH range, by now. In 1948, JS became an official APBA race boat class.

 

Fiberglass hulls made inside a mold came along in the 1960s. Roll cages were added, a little later, too.

 

Today speeds are over 80 MPH on the straight-a-way.

sister ship

sister ship

Christmas on the waterfront.

Christmas on the waterfront. Being in a lighted Boat Parade is the way to go. Or enjoying a good meal at a harbor-front restaurant while decorated boats idle by is another way.

About thirty working watercraft, pleasure craft, crab, sport fishing, skiffs, speedboats, oyster, and charter boats paraded in the town harbor off the Wye River. The St. Michaels, Maryland Lighted Boat Parade was a first-year success. All the boats, their crew, and restaurant goers had a merry time and were in the Xmas spirit.

St. Michaels is a resort town of about 1,026 people. They have all sorts of tourist themed special events throughout the year, including during the celebration of the Christmas holiday. The lighted boat parade was one of the special events for 2020.

From a multi-decked charter boat to a well decorated sailboat the minds of show goers and show watchers were entertained. The lights were different colors and seemed to attract the eye to the harbor in town. All the various interpretations of Christmas Lighting on watercraft were on display.

Starting at 6 PM, the last boat went around the harbor by 8 PM on Saturday, December 12. It had been a sunny, warm day with light winds. By 5:30, the air had turned colder and the wind demanded warm coats and a scarf.

Dennis Glackin of St. Michaels, MD, USA organized the event. He did a yeoman job with these diverse boaters. He has held several positions within the town.

Amateur and professional boatbuilders had their work on display. There is a rich maritime heritage within the Chesapeake Bay in the town. It includes a significate story of boatbuilding now and in the past at St. Michaels. Wooden classics are valued.

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, with it’s 17 acre campus is a delightful trip when visiting town. They have a working boatyard. The lighthouse there is decorated for the season and shines brightly at night. Other seasonal touches are sprinkled throughout the grounds.

It was a cheery evening and very holiday inspiring.

Bay Bridge Boat Show, a do not miss event

bay bridge boat show 2018

See 400 boats for sale and boarding at Stevensville, MD (Kent Island) on the three days of April 27-29 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Boats will be in the water and on land at the Bay Bridge Marina. Add in tents of boat gear plus nautical accessories to add to the spring boating fun experience of the Boat Show.

From 8’ inflatables to 75 foot yachts a full representation of the magic of on water excitement will be on display. Seabuddy has this boat show on his ‘do not miss’ in his spring schedule. Center consoles, trawlers, wakeboard/watersports boats, pontoon boats, deck boats, express cruisers, and offshore fishing machines will be there A special, expanded fishing boat display of a 100 boats from three dozen boat builders will be there.

Free seminars and a big demo dock of boats are also be there. So, climb aboard the big boat show at the Bay Bridge Marina and have some boating adventurous fun this April 27, 28, and 29 on Kent Island, MD.

 

Hinckley Yachts introduces first 100% electric luxury yacht

overall 500

Twin shaft drive 80 HP electric motors provide strong acceleration that is unique. BMW batteries provide the energy. The helm instrument indicate and update the range available depending on weather, speed, and other factors to the skipper at a glance.

“The Hinckley Whisper Drive silent propulsion system combines the latest hydrodynamics, electric power and digital control systems to achieve the performance handling and maneuverability that discerning clients will expect,” said O’Connell, Hinckley CEO.

“Dasher accepts dual 50 amp charging cables, standard on most docks, so it can charge twice as fast as the most popular plug-in electric cars.  Dasher gains a full charge in under 4 hours with dual 50amp charging.  Her cruising speed is 10mph with fast cruising at 18-27 mph.  Range is 40 miles at cruising speed and 20-25 miles at fast cruising speeds.”

This model features Hinckley’s use of Artisanal Teak, a lightweight hand-painted epoxy composite that has Hinckley’s signature varnished teak look without the weight or maintenance costs of traditional varnished teak wood.

 

 

The carbon-epoxy hull with carbon stringers was designed by Michael Peters from Sarasota, Florida. He designed a displacement, easily driven, 28′ 6″ by 8’7″ yacht that is very high tech but almost motorsailer-like in shape. Dasher gives excellent performance for 160 HP in a 6,500 displacement yacht.

SNAG_Program-2815

resize

 

US Powerboat Show in Annapolis Oct. 12-15

SNAG_Program-2807

Dates: October 12-15

Location: Annapolis City Docks and St. Mary’s Cove

seabuddy’s recommendation: Get a two-day pass since it’s a bigger show this year. Single day and children rates are also available.

Lots of new power boats will be featured, from center consoles, day boats, ski/wake board boats and cruisers to runabouts–along with brokerage boats in St. Mary’s Cove. Plus  there will be booths for all boating accessories from engines, bedding, electronics, and safety gear to shoes. One entrance ticket gets into the entire show.

More info:
www.annapolisboatshows.com or call 410-268-8828

Winefest St Michaels

The International wine tasting event within Maryland starts in St Michaels next weekend.

SNAG_Program-1368 500 old brick inn

Marcus Notaro of Stags Leap Wine Cellars is coming in from Napa Valley, CA for this event and is one key Winemaker / Expert from this top shelf wine brand.

This event features hundreds of highly-rated International, U.S. and Maryland wines at tasting venues located throughout the town of St. Michaels. Walk or private bus between venues. All attendees will be able to “Explore St. Michaels” using a WineFest map as their guide or ride the shuttle buses provided by WineFest and food will be available for purchase at most venues. Venuses will be properly covered if it rains.

Two VIP tasting venues will be available for tasting premium wines often not available in Maryland:

  • Patriot Cruise Boat – Taste fine wines while cruising the Miles river.
  • Old Brick Inn – A rare chance for fine wine lovers to taste the very best.

All of the wines tasted at all the venues will be available for purchase at the Old Brick Inn.

Each wine venue will be retailing wine at special WineFest discount pricing. Some of these wines are in very limited supply and in some cases only available at WineFest!

Winefest Event parking is at 200 Seymour Ave, St Michaels, MD 21663, the St. Michaels Middle / High School. As you come into town early on (you will be on Talbot St.) Seymour Ave is a right turn. It is an easy place to find if you miss the turn. In fact, St. Michaels is an easy town to walk.

How to make a 24’ runabout out of two 20’ boats

Words © by Chris (Seabuddy) Brown

This classic 24’ inboard/outboard boat is waiting for a customer to specify a vee-drive shaft drive in the traditional inboard manner. All the other features and desirable traits of a runabout are in place. She runs, rides, and turns like a gem.

Sold 24' Runabout running

Sold 24′ Runabout running

The Cherubini 24’ was created by the company using their 20’ boat model. As a family, they have been building boats back to 1937. The current boat company goes back to 1975. Over this time they have worked their magic in many ways. This is an article about one of their magic moments in a long history of inspired boat building.

Hand crafted highly detailed and finished wood deck.

Hand crafted highly detailed and finished wood deck.

It looks like they bought the molds and rights to a water jet powered 20’ runabout from an out of business boat builder. They changed that hull to be a stylish, real sweet running I/O boat. Yes, other power is offered from the factory, but all the units seem to use inboard/outboard power.

Powered by stern drive, I / O Mercury Marine big block engine

Powered by stern drive, I / O Mercury Marine big block engine

 

I/O engine room

I/O engine room

I now want to drill down to how they created a 24’ boat. They took TWO examples of their sweet running 20’, cut them down the middle (but on an slant) added 4’ in the center, put this all into one boat and blended all of this using their boat building expertise into a 24’ boat. No flat spots, no seams, nothing that does not pass close inspection. I could not do this. Kudos to them.

Two aft sections and one bow of the 20' runabout, stacked on a trailer

Two aft sections and one bow of the 20′ runabout, stacked on a trailer

BTW, they went from a V-6 Mercury Marine GM block powered 20’ boat to a 496 cu. in. displacment, again Chevy GM block, Mercury Marine engine in the 24’. Both boats run much faster than most true classic boats. The 24’ can top 65 MPH with its big block engine.

prototype 24' runabout hull

prototype 24′ runabout hull

Has this type of thing been done before? Most say, yes. There are plans and drawings for the classic Donzi 16 and the Donzi 22 models. No drawing or plans for the Donzi 18 boat. The story goes that the 16’s bow and aft sections where cut and two feet were added in the middle to make the Donzi 18.

Prototype running under power

Prototype running under power

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is $39,900 for the boat, inboard motor, trailer, tower, bimini top, speed control, ballast, and music system.

SNAG_Program-0524

It is called by a new name, Wake Tractor. And it is coming in November. Wake Tractor is made by Bryant boats but marketed by a new company run by Ben Dorton. And as its own brand of boat company. BTW, his Dad, John Dorton, is chairman at Bryant Boats.

Manufacturer’s comment “It’s all about the wake,” John Dorton said. “The wake and the music.”

It’s powered with a inboard 5.7L engine from Crusader, one of Correct Craft’s companies. That is an inboard “ski boat” for under $40,000. That is a wow price.

She is said to have a rugged exterior finish, be easy to trailer, and have a durable interior. What is missing? Lots, but let us all wait until November to see. There is no question that the bow is clipped off to fit inside a garage and the seating is very different.

SNAG_Program-0520

SNAG_Program-0521

SNAG_Program-0522

SNAG_Program-0523

Manufacturer’s comment…” the Wake Tractor opens up a whole new realm to enable people to connect via social media, Ben Dorton said, using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and video integration with monitors.

“We knew we had to make it become that tool to communicate with friends,” he said. “They can connect GoPros to the tablet at the helm and record the ride. And when they’re done after, they can share it with everyone.”

The Wi-Fi-based boat will be driven off a smart tablet, where all of the gauge readings will be displayed. It will have Bluetooth connected to the system so the stereo head unit can be eliminated. We need to keep those millennials to continue to love boating.”

“The Dortons also see the Wake Tractor appealing to Gen Xers, and even baby boomers looking for second or third boats. But the design is geared to the Gen Y group, John Dorton said.”

“We need to keep those millennials to continue to love boating.”

This 18’ boat has the hull of a 21’ in the water, so it gives that quality of a 21’ wake. And it is lighter so the 350 inboard engine works perfectly with the passenger / ballast load.

Manufacturer’s comment “The boat has simple ballast systems. And Ben Dorton says it has a great ride. “It’s not as good as a $120,000 X Star, but I can go out and do the exact amount of tricks and flips and spins as I can do behind any other boat,” he says. “The wakesurf wake is as good if not better than most of the $120,000 boats.”

The seating configuration is social, passengers can easily watch the driver, and riders are easily able to get in and out of the boat. “They can connect GoPros to the tablet at the helm and record the ride. And when they’re done, they can share it with everyone.”

The marketing will revolve around video, Ben Dorton says, adding that the group has tapped a young marketing firm in Tennessee that is also run by millennials. The website is going to look more like a social media site than a traditional website, with live blogging. “It’s going to be very interactive,” he says.”