Archive for the ‘other classic boats’ Category

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

 

 

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.

Keith Black Hemi Engines

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A Hemi powered race boat gets respect. If it is a Keith Black Hemi engine race boat an entirely higher level of respect is given to the racer. In Hydroplanes and quarter mile race boats, a Keith Black Hemi is considered a top contender.

Keith’s first marine Chrysler V-8 Hemi was built in 1956. Black built this, his first Hemi, for his team of Black, Hallett and Greer for their 7 Litre Hydroplane. That boat, SEVEN GRAND, set a competition record of 86.455 MPH. Black’s Hemi made 375 Hp running alcohol through its fuel injection system.

Chrysler Corporation wanted to get more marine business for their Hemi engines. They made Keith Black the man to develop their marine Hemi. Black also made the engines for the Unlimited Hydroplane Miss Chrysler Crew.

Hydroplane Seven Grand

Hydroplane Seven Grand

He used two blown 426 Chrysler Hemi engines in the  Miss Chrysler Crew. Note, two Chryslers are only 852 cubic inches in displacement, against the 1700 cubes of the converted aircraft engines, used at this time frame in the Unlimited Hydroplane boats.

Miss Chrysler Crew Hydroplane

Miss Chrysler Crew Hydroplane

The Miss Chrysler Crew Hydroplane was a 40 % bigger version of the Miss Crazy Thing Hydro, which had one Hemi engine. Both boats were designed by Henry Lauterbach then of Portsmouth, Virginia. Henry designed a 29’ 2” long hull with a beam of 11’ 10”. Most other hydros were longer, up to 35’ in length.  U-77, her racing number, was also lighter by about 1,000 lbs. She also had a non-trip chine on the inside of the sponson. This allowed her to slide more in the turns. The engines and their Casale gearbox weighted in by about 300 lbs lighter, compared to an WW II aircraft engine and its gearbox. U-77, Miss Chrysler Crew won the UIM World Championship Regatta in 1967.

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With this inside track relationship at Chrysler, Black expanded into quarter mile drag boats and cars. The GREER-BLACK-PRUDHOMME  quarter mile land dragster in the early 1960s had a 236 wins to 7 losses. Greer, a successful machinist, and Black, the premier drag boat engine builder, proved the perfect match for PRUDHOMME to the young Van Nuys, Calif. driver.

Drag Boat w/ Black under a hat

Drag Boat w/ Black under a hat

 

Hornet II, a special Gar Wood boat

 

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Words © Chris (Seabuddy) Brown

29' Gar Wood wood boat on lake Tahoe

Stepped hull

Gar Wood designed and built Hornet II with a wood hull and deck. Her owner, Henry J. Kaiser, owned Kaiser Construction companies—which at that time built huge dams and roads, domestically and internationally—kept his Hornet II racer on Lake Tahoe. The story goes that she lost a race on the Lake, and Henry decided his boat needed to be re-made lighter to win in the future. Henry ordered a new deck and it’s rumored that Howard Hughes (of Hughes Aircraft) got involved in making the new deck and the deck’s aluminum framing. The top of the boat hull was replaced with a unique deck, cockpit, and tail fin constructed entirely of aircraft aluminum. Those replacement metal changes were in place on the boat for the 1939 racing season. She now won her races!

metal deck wood runabout

ready to race again

Who did Hornet II race against to launch the aluminum deck frenzy? A boat named The Mercury. “Originally named Cigarette IV, (The Mercury) was designed by pioneering marine architect Frederick K. Lord and built for L. Gordon Hamersley of New York City. Design and construction began in 1925. The boat was constructed at Brewster Body Works, a coach and auto body manufacturer in Long Island City. (they built automobile bodies for Rolls Royce).
“The double-ended, mirror-like hull is made from duraluminum, which is heat-treated polished aluminum. 979 pieces of duraluminum were fastened with 14,250 rivets, 7,087 bolts, and 238 screws; no wood was used in construction. Length overall is 35 feet with a beam (width) of 6’ 6”. The original engine was a Curtiss Conquerer built by the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company of Garden City, New York. The V-12 produced 625 horsepower. Constructed even before aluminum skinned aircraft technology was developed, this is the first all-aluminum race boat ever built. Most of her wooden competitors weighed in at 5 or more tons, the Lord/Hammersley contender “weighs only 2,000 pounds wet.”

Since Henry Kaiser was an industrialist, his companies made Liberty Ships and also got into the steel and aluminum businesses. He had a home on Lake Tahoe and liked race boats. He also was the owner the racing boat that Ted Jones designed, the unlimited hydroplane Hawaii Kai in the 1950s, among other race boats.
The Hornet II boat was “built by racer Gar Wood, is a 29.5’ stepped-hull hydroplane built around 1930. Anthony Mollica says only 10 hydroplane hulls of this length were built by Gar Wood between 1929 and 1934.” Gar Wood’s “stock” lengths were 33’ and 28” Baby Gar models.
Over the years Hornet II had a variety of engines. Listed here are two. “A Packard 1237 Model 1A-1237 V-12 aero engine restored for Hornet II. She is No. 4 of 55 manufactured beginning in 1921-1922. And It is the only one known to exist. The stock 1A-1237 engine was reported to produce 450 Hp (max at 2400 rpm), weighed 1168 lbs, and cost $8000 in 1922.”
But, that engine is not in the boat. Hornet II got a Rolls Royce Meteor V12 engine. “The 27-liter (1650 cu in) Rolls Royce V12 Merlin engine was first developed in England The Packard V-1650 was a version of the Merlin built in the United States By the end of the war this “little” engine was delivering over 1,600 horsepower (1,200 kW) in common versions, and as much as 2,030 horsepower (1,540 kW) in the Merlin 130/131 versions specifically designed for the de Havilland Hornet. Ultimately, during tests conducted by Rolls-Royce at Derby, an RM.17.SM achieved 2,640 horsepower (1,969 kW) at 36 lb. boost (103″Hg) on 150 octane fuel with water injection. First Packard-built engine, a Merlin XX designated the V-1650-1, ran in August 1941. Total Merlin production by Packard was 55,523.”
The restoration of the boat hull, metal deck, and engine went well, if the substitute engine is OK with you. BTW, The high level of finish on the deck was done using the Evite system.

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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.

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

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

New twin engined wooden Runabout

34 twin engine speedboat runabout

new wooden boat

see inside wood boat
deck members in place
swim step built in wood boat
wood boat swim platform construction detail
twin engine speed boat
at speed on the lake
new construction wood boat hatch
this engine hatch knocks my socks off

 

She is a new wooden inboard speedboat. Hand crafted by one of the few boat yards that still do this “creation work” as compared to “restoration work”. Although the shop does both types of work. http://cdacustomwoodboats.com/process/ 

 

She was created under the personal direction of Jim Brown the wood shop manager and who is a master craftsman He has been building wood boats full time since 1991. He provides expertise in every phase of wood boat construction, from the creation and design of a project through the lofting, building, rigging and finish steps of the process. He has a team of wood craftsmen at The Resort Boat Shop to create the award-winning Coeur Custom line of boats and offer restoration for antique and classic boats. His e-mail address is jbrown@hagadonemarine.com

Seabuddy loves the engine hatch on this luxury speedster on the water. Twin 400 Horsepower rated engines are under there. It is a very unique way to access the powerplants. Jim also builds single engine boats and in different lengths. He has even crafted a sailboat or two.

Here is the boat builder’s comment on this 34’ inboard runabout “Pure is an example of the “pure” definition of Gentleman’s Runabout. She is hand-crafted from imported African mahogany and Western red cedar; cold molded using vacuum bag technology to produce excellent weight to strength ratios. This amazing 34’ runabout is powered by twin 6.2 liter small block engines that rate 400 HP each.  The purposeful design of the hull give her amazing lift, maximizing power and achieving a quick plane and smooth, powerful cruising stability.  The Alexseal Blue Hull sides add to her unique attractiveness while providing added durability.  A custom signature stainless steel windshield with special bent safety glass, Livorsi gauge package with custom dial faces give Pure a distinctive look no other boat possesses.

Pure is, from stem to stern, one of the most sturdily built, luxuriously fitted and handsomely powered hand-crafted wooden runabouts we’ve ever created”.

 

 

 

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