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What would you do?

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What would you do?

Post by Ollon » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:39 pm

Spraying to all fields and asking for your 2 cents. Back in 1954 or so my Dad helped a friend of his build a 21 foot Chris Craft Sportsman Kit Boat. Dad ended up buying it from him a few years later. This became the boat I grew up on and got to know The Great South Bay of Long Island on. I caught my first fish on it and learned how to aquaplane and waterski behind it. Even though other boats small and large would come and go through our family's possession, this boat was the one constant at our dock every year. Countless trips to Jones and Tobay Beach, family picnics, and evening canal cruises.
Being a boat it also provided many memories of days that didn't turn out quite as planned, such as my older sisters 8th birthday. An ill advised water skiing run by my mother became an "I told you so" when we broke down in the middle of the bay and by time we got towed in, my sisters party was in full swing without the guest of honor. I think she still holds it against me but hey, we needed an observer. Of course you can never forget the sanding, scraping, painting and varnishing that was my after school routine every day in spring.
Dad always had a soft spot in his heart and a hole in his wallet for that boat.
In September 1984 I left for the Army. (I ended up settling in California only returning to Long Island once a year or so for a visit.) That November the boat was taken out of the water with a blown exhaust manifold and she sat in a cradle in the backyard ever since. Dad still had other boats to keep him happy on the water but he always said someday he was gonna get her back in shape. Over the years he would start working on her only to get sidetracked and end up putting the winter cover back on. For years my mother threatened to fill it with dirt and make a planter out of it.
Fast forward to this October. As did everyone in the area, my parents got hit pretty hard by Sandy. 3 feet of water in the house, 5 feet in the garage. The boat was lifted off its cradle and came to rest up against the garage.. Dad joked that she was still seaworthy after all these years and again pledged to get her going someday
Herein lies the dilemma.
This isn't a question of whether she is worth restoring. (I know it will cost more than it would ever be worth.) But more of how to go about it. Do I have someone do the work out there or have it shipped out here and do it myself. Rebuild the engine or replace. At this point I don't even know how much work is required. I do know that Dad has all the pieces and a lot of extras. As a kit boat it should be easy to do since it's plywood and I dont have to worry about "As delivered from the factory." Dad is 86 now and I'd love to see him at the helm of this classic again.

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Don Ayers
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Post by Don Ayers » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:25 pm

Great Story:

You should write this up for the Brass Bell someday.

I think you need to go into this knowing you will need to rebuild most of it.

If you have the time, talent and space then try it yourself.

If you have the money I would have a reputable restorer do the hull and then you finish it.
Don Ayers
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Post by James » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:55 pm

Great story Ollon! Good family memories.
Unfortunately, all of the logistics are against you.
Still, I would say that you should restore it (how hard could it be, right? ;-)
Don is right; you should expect that Everything will have to be done....
Maybe you could arrange a relay-tow cross country to Cali....
Imagine the look on your Dads face when you get him to Cali for the first ride in the resurrected boat! Mega family party time!
Vision without execution is hallucination.

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Post by dreed » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:16 pm

If dad says it needs to be restored, then restore it. Give him a thrill ride when it is done!!

There are some really good restorers in that area if you dont want to do it yourself.

Check the advertisers on this web site. They do good work.
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Post by boat_art » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:25 pm

Any boat with a family history like yours is well worth any effort to restore it! Kit boat or rare classic, your children one day will thank you.
I can see your children in 40 years asking the same question on this site and telling the story of how you saved this boat!
Best of luck!
1956 CC Connie 47'
1959 Caulkins bartender
1965 Cheoy Lee Frisco Flyer
1953 Chris Craft Holiday
1941 Chris Craft Deluxe
Plus 8-12 customer boats at any time
God don't count the days spent messing around in wood boats.

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Jim Godlewski
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Post by Jim Godlewski » Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:41 am

Hello Ollon,
Great story!
Just a word from experience. Our restoration took a total of 11 years doing it ourselves. Yes, we could have done it faster but you know how that goes. Life gets in the way.
Send it to a good restoration shop for an estimate to see if this makes sense and let them get it back is shape so you guys can take it for a ride knowing that this may not be a financially sound investment.
Also, I would have the engine rebuilt. Not sure what’s in there but for old time sake, keep it.
Good luck and enjoy the time with your Dad.
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Post by Ollon » Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:05 pm

Thanks for all the great responses. You have motivated me even more. I will contact a few of the local restorers out there and see what they have to say. I am trying to find out the logistics of getting it out here but haven't had any luck yet. I know I am in for a big project but at least if it's out here I can pick and choose just how much I want to do and then shop out the rest. The motor is actually a Willy's Jeep conversion. As a veteran of WWII and the Korean War Dad always had a special place in his heart for it. He has an extra block, transmission and lots of other parts but they were all in the garage that got flooded so I'm not sure what kind of shape they will be in. I have a feeling that being a salt water boat all its life, I'm better off replacing it with a good Chris Craft motor from that era that will give her more power as well as save time. Thanks again.

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