Posts Tagged ‘wood boat’

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

 

 

Lyman wooden Boats – Clinker Built

Clinker built means that in this style of planking each board edge overlaps the other plank edge and they are clinched nailed to the ribs (plus, screwed to the frames) such that each plank edge is shown. Some feel that the horizontal lines of the side planking laps give a sense of motion or speed to a boat compared to a carvel-hull.

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These boats ride differently than a hard chine boat design. The hull shape uses a round-bilge shape and with the plank edge proud, they give good maneuverability, are seaworthy, and soft riding. Particularly in a good, hard chop. Take a ride and feel the difference for yourself. Other brands that built some wood clinker built boats were Chris Craft (in their Sea Skiff division in the Chris Craft plant in Salisbury, MD.), Hubert L. Johnson, Luhrs, Hutchinson, and Century boats.

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Most of the Lyman boats were finished with a a semi-gloss white paint on the lapstrake (clinker-built) hull sides. Today, many boats have been re-finished in high gloss white paint, when they are restored.

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These boats were finished with a special color Lyman exclusive formula stain and then varnished for their deck, seats, transom, and windshield. This Lyman mahogany filler stain with many coats of varnish over that would be the proper choice in seabuddy’s mind. Lyman boats was also known for its use of ribbon striped (sometimes called tiger striped) mahogany veneered marine-grade plywood on their fordecks. That material grade is more expensive, but to me it is worth it. Again, take a look for yourself at your next classic boat show.

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Lyman Boats made the most boats at its production peak in 1955, with over 5,000 boats produced in sizes from 13’ to 20’ in length. As the founding family died off and fiberglass took the lead as the quicker matieral of choice for small boats, Lyman Boats made their last boat in 1973.

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Bernard Lyman personally built his first boat in 1873 in his spare time, and then by 1875, he made boat building  his full time way to make a living, according to Tom Koroknay, now known as “Doc Lyman”, the Lyman expert. Special note: While Bernard was the brand’s founder, his son, Bill, led the company into a great boat building company during his time in running the company.

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Tempo VI race boat and Guy Lombardo

guy lombardo driving in Tempo VI

guy lombardo driving in Tempo VI

This racer was built in New Jersey. Owned and driven by Guy Lombardo, she won the APBA racing Gold Cup in 1946. This boat was a part of the way from stepped hydroplanes to three-point hydros where the boat rides on its front sponsons and either the aft tail end of the hull or on the propeller. Tempo VI was not a prop rider, she is of the earlier tail rider style, but newer in design than a stepped bottom hydro that had been popular in hydroplane racing before this. That final evolution came later in time and in other boats. Thus she is the middle of the evolution of Hydroplane bottom design, but clearly leading the way to our current Hydroplanes in the way they get their speed.

Guy Lombardo, it would be fair to say, got more publicity for boat racing in the general press than others as he was a public figure leading his band (The Royal Canadians) during the era when that music was popular. Lombardo lived in New York state (he was born in Canada and a naturalized US citizen) and held outdoor concerts on the South Shore of Long Island. He hosted full scale Broadway plays there with his band as the orchestra. He arrived at the show driving up in his mahogany cabin cruiser and the fans loved it. He would begin his performance by leading his band in its first song with him in its cockpit and then disembark from the boat to finish leading for the rest of the night’s performance.

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His 41 foot cabin cruiser (also named Tempo by Lombardo) was triple planked in Honduran mahogany with over 52,000 screws and rivets.  He bought her used in 1941 from Jules Stein of MCA. Stein had her custom built in 1935-36. She was powered with twin Packard “PT boat style” airplane engines, similar to unlimited hydroplane engines of the 1950s – 60s. The fully equipped cabin cruiser boat ran as fast as 60 MPH with Lombardo at the helm. This classic boat has now been restored.

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The Tempo VI race boat shown here was also bought used by Lombardo. She was built in 1938 for Zalmon Guy Simmons. He raced her. But, Guy Lombardo improved her and won races with her and made a mark in racing history for his efforts.

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Boat Trim Tabs: One System’s Ideas

IBEX is an annual marine trade event that provides an opportunity to interact with boat builders and other marine professionals worldwide, to collect immediate feedback, and to form lasting relationships in just three days. IBEX offers marine professionals a single platform to meet the North American marine industry face-to-face about the products that boating and boaters use.

Presented here is one idea that struck Seabuddy as newsworthy for a LinkedIn Pulse listing.

These folks make a system that retro-fit their marine trim tabs to other systems.

Manufacturer’s comment…  “Are you frustrated with your messy hydraulic pump unit? One of the biggest concerns with the hydraulic pump units are their possibility of messy leakage of harmful toxins to the environment. Not to mention the oily mess. But another big concern is the well known slow response of hydraulic units”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSQ3bumGE04

This is a good, short video to watch.

More from Lenco…  “The Conversion & Performance Upgrade Kit includes everything necessary to upgrade your current boat without any drilling or filling of holes. You simply discard the hydraulic pump unit and the two Bennett cylinders. Lenco’s new upper mounting brackets fit the existing Bennett mounting holes on the transom. Install the two Lenco electric actuators on your existing Bennett trim blades using the existing lower actuator brackets. Connect our actuator wiring to the existing harness. Jumper wires are included for attaching to current Bennett rocker switch. Complete your trim tab system upgrade with a waterproof Lenco tactile switch or our Auto Glide Boat Leveling System.”

More at … http://www.lencomarine.com/

 

boat trim tab

Marine Racing Duesenberg W-24 Engine

Horace Dodge, Jr. liked fast boats and Unlimited Class boat racing. He hired the Duesenberg Brothers Racing (Augie and Fred) in 1925 to design, build and deliver two of these W-24 marine engines. The W shape was made up from three double overhead camshaft straight 8 engines all going to a common crankshaft. There are the right, center and left banks of 8 cylinders to this engine.

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Mr. Dodge Horace Dodge Jr. (son of one of the Dodge Bros.) wanted this new boat racing engine for his racing activities. Besides racing he also was a production wooden boat builder (starting in 1923). His production boats were called Dodge Watercars. His first factory was in Detroit, MI. But, he is known for his Newport News, VA factory that he had built to his design specs and that opened in 1930. That business closed in 1936. Its building is now the home to the Mariner’s Museum.
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Two Duesenberg W-16 engines were delivered in the summer of 1926. However, the success of these engines came much later. That racing engine last win was with Dan Arena who drove one of his boat designs (Notre Dame) to First Place in the 1940 President’s Cup. Along the way, these engines had different owners, were installed in several racing boats by those engine owners, and had several famous racing engine experts work on them, various carburetor set-ups (both in number and throats of each carb), and supercharging. Starting out at around 450-475 Hp in the later 1920s, the final supercharged engine made 850 Hp at 5,000 RPM in 1940.

Engine specs for the W-24 Duesenberg were 623 cu. in. with a bore of 2.875 inches by a 4 inch stroke.

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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.

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

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

chris craft cobra shelby 427 cobra

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

Classic Boat Show Award Winner # 4

Words © Chris (Seabuddy) Brown, Photos by CBMM

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

tropper II CBMM image

1935 Consolidated yacht 39' custom wooden boat

wooden boat custom 39 plank on frame

Dressed for a Classic Boat Show

Classic Boat Show Award Winner #3

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

rybovich pod throttles shifts

custom Rybovich engine controls

rybovich bow

bow shot

dockside view rybovich sport fisherman

good side view

rybovich transom boat photo

transom photo wood sport fishing boat

side view wood boat

rybovich, custom wood boat,

Award winner presentation

Sunday Award Presentaion

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