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Update to Membership from the BOD's April 2012

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Don Ayers
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Update to Membership from the BOD's April 2012

Post by Don Ayers » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:19 pm

CCABC BOD Update to Members April 8, .2012

The Board wishes to thank all members of the club for their patience as the challenges of stabilizing the club continue. We will summarize recent events below:

Articles of Incorporation & By-Laws:

New articles of incorporation have been drawn up, approved by the BOD and the filing process is underway. Among other things, these will provide, for the first time in the clubs’ 40 year history, for a member-elected BOD. The BOD will consist of 5 members with staggered two year terms, to ensure continuity of leadership and experience but also allow for change. As previously reported, the current BOD consists of Don Ayers, Don Vogt, and Al Benton. The BOD can report that CCABC member Paul Harrison has accepted an invitation to join the BOD, once the filing process for the new Articles of Incorporation is complete. Candidates for the fifth board seat are currently being evaluated. The first board terms expire at the end of 2012 so members will be able to vote on a partially new slate early in 2013. The current BOD was appointed as the previous articles of incorporation did not allow for any other mechanism to populate the board.

The Club Executive will be appointed by the BOD, and a committee structure has been adopted to oversee all areas of club operation. A completely new set of CCABC by-laws is being reviewed by the BOD, and this will govern all aspects of the clubs organization and the function of the specific committees.

Pursuant to the expected adoption of the new by-laws, and on a tentative basis, the Board contemplates appointing the following Officers: Don Ayers, President, Paul Harrison, Vice-President, Don Vogt – Treasurer Al Benton – Secretary. The existence of permanent committees will be codified in the by-laws and allows for an effective distribution of the tasks involved in adequately running the club. A finance and budget committee will oversee the club’s financial operations and BOD approval will be required for any significant items or decisions. The Articles of Incorporation and By-laws will be posted on the site for all members to read if they wish. These can be amended or changed in the future as required.


When new leadership was appointed by sole remaining Director Bill Basler in February, the club was in a very serious financial situation, with almost no working capital whatsoever. The Brass Bell delays impacted renewals and cash flow, and the situation was dire. This lack of money was contributory to the Bell production issues and it is an ongoing problem. The absence of club operating or Brass Bell production budgets has also posed a challenge in the evaluation of day-to-day club financial function. Club revenue is almost entirely received through membership fees and advertising sales in the Bell. Little such advertising revenue is available when the Bell is not being produced or is not produced when scheduled. We continue to rely on membership renewals for a large part of our operating capital, with renewals triggered by delivery of the Brass Bell. Delays in Brass Bell delivery create and then perpetuate a vicious circle of constrained cash flows, and it is the breaking of this cycle that is presently of critical importance.

The ACBS has provided a one-time grant as an expression of goodwill and faith in the new leadership, and for this we are very thankful. We are also working with past advertisers and sponsors in an effort to obtain commitments to continue their prior support, with encouraging results to date. We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to overcome the clubs’ current financial challenges.
The CCABC currently needs to form a full financial committee to establish a solid footing moving forward. The BOD’s sees this committee as critically important and we are seeking volunteers with bookkeeping, accounting, banking experience, and tax preparation etc. to work with the appointed Treasurer. This is a key component of proper governance and transparency.

Brass Bell:

The delays in publication were the most visible signs of the serious problems the club was facing. The Bell, while it is very highly valued and revered by members, was also produced to an extremely high standard, one which may have contributed mightily to our financial challenges. Some compromises within the Brass Bell will be required to enable the financial stabilization of the club, but we are resolved to publishing and delivering all scheduled issues. The next issue will be smaller than recent past issues; as certain content is being removed due to cost-containment efforts. However, rest assured that we are doing everything possible to retain as much of the look and feel of the magazine as possible. The full content for the Fall 2011 issue is now complete, and the layout and design process has been contracted. The BOD is feverishly working to evaluate printing and distribution quotes for the upcoming issue.

It is our hope to return the Bell to its’ former publication schedule by the end of 2012. Many of the valued contributors who made the Bell great are fully on board and Bill Baldwin is back as Editor. What we hope to present is a leaner Bell, one which retains the expected high level of content but does so in a way that meets the needs of our membership and our advertisers and is financially sustainable. We will have publication deadlines and budgets – things which were not previously present. A tentative goal is to publish the Fall 2011 issue by the end of April, with the Winter 2012 issue following shortly after. Content is plentiful and is not an impediment to publishing – the sole impediment is money. We need to raise more money in order to publish the next issue and most importantly that means renewals need to be handled with a sense of urgency by the membership. Other sponsorship revenue is being pursued and we are pleased to report significant progress being made on this front.

Paul Harrison is at present responsible for liaising with Bell advertisers. As is obvious, the needs of our advertisers were not being met with the delays and delivery problems of recent Bell issues. Retaining the support of our advertisers is critical, and we are happy to report that almost all of our biggest advertisers are supportive of the new board and our plans and are willing to once again take up advertising space. There is a deep well of goodwill and faith being accessed here, and we must be able to deliver a quality product and deliver it when it is supposed to be delivered. For an advertiser there is no other acceptable outcome. We thank our sponsors and advertisers for the faith they are showing as we work to regain the former and expected Bell publication schedule.


While operating the club as sole director in the Fall of 2011, Bill Basler raised the dues for US residents to $50, with notification being made in the Summer 2011 Brass Bell issue. We believe the justification for this may have been the Boat Buzz discussion on the topic in the fall of 2011, though we are not certain. Many people renewed at this rate, and the dues have been left at $50 for the time being. This will be subject to review once the club is stabilized but for the moment no further changes are contemplated.

IT Team:

Among the highest priorities for the new BOD was to build a committee of volunteers to analyze and evaluate the IT needs and capabilities of the CCABC. Previously, Bill Basler did almost all of this himself, from equipment initially located in his business, but later relocated to his home. We felt that this was not the best solution and efforts are underway to migrate the website, archives and all on-line functionality to an independent server hosted by a third party. The BOD believed that a totally independent IT operating structure was a necessary change. Through this undertaking, operational redundancy will be created as several IT committee members will have the ability to operate and support the website and equipment. This was not the case in the past as Bill looked after it all. We also expect the CCABC to benefit from significant cost-savings through this new hosting arrangement. We have a very, very highly skilled group of volunteers working on this: Matt Byrne, Chad Durren, Mark Christensen and John Stolte. These arrangements are absolutely critical to the function of the club and the BOD is very thankful for all the effort these guys are expending. The BOD is also thankful to Bill Basler for his efforts at assisting in the transition of CCABC on-line operations.

Show Presence:

The CCABC had a tent at the Sunnyland show. Materials for the tent were requested for delivery at Tavares prior to the show, but they did not arrive until 5:00 PM on the Saturday – timing which could not have been worse. Several members stopped by the tent and it was manned at all times.

The club has been asked to provide a presence at the upcoming Keels and Wheels Show at Seabrook, TX and we have accepted – Chris Craft is the Marque Class this year. The materials sent to Sunnyland have already been sent to Seabrook and both the President and VP of the CCABC will be at the show, manning our tent and maintaining a presence for the CCABC.


The Board wishes to keep club members as informed as possible, and will provide updates and new information whenever possible. As it becomes available, financial data and other important records and information will be provided on the website for members – this will be a departure from prior practice but transparency and visibility will be a high priority and will be maintained on an ongoing basis. The first 2 months since the new BOD have taken over have been a slog as things moved quite slowly. However, there is now a velocity to the pace of change and we anticipate being able to report progress and developments on a much more frequent basis.

The production and delivery problems of the Bell over the past year or so were the harbinger of serious organizational and administrative dysfunction in the club. Intensive and collaborative efforts to solve these problems led to a complete overhaul of the organizational and administrative structure of the CCABC, and we can state with total certainty that there was no other available course of action. The resulting operational platform will better serve the needs of the membership, our sponsors and our advertisers. There will now be member involvement in the operation and management of the club, transparency and accountability will be paramount, with planning and decision making being considered on a collective basis by all involved in the function of the CCABC.

Everyone involved with the CCABC is a volunteer – there are no financial or other benefits being accrued by any members of the BOD or the committees. There has been a tremendous amount of effort applied to get to the point where we are now. The next several months will continue to be challenging, but progress is accelerating and with the support of our members, our advertisers and the broad classic boating community, we see a very bright future for the club.

We invite anyone interested to contact any of the BOD members with questions, comments or concerns.

Don Ayers
1959 Riva Ariston

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Post by drrot » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:24 am

I would be willing to donate some time if needed.
Jim Staib

1947 Penn Yan 12' Cartopper WXH474611
1950 Chris-Craft 22' Sportsman U-22-1532
1957 Chris-Craft 26' Sea Skiff SK-26-515
1968 Century 17' Resorter FG-68-174

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Paul P
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Post by Paul P » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:17 pm

I appreciate the detailed letter outlining numerous issues, and the comments about transparency. I look forward to learning more about the mission statement and long range plan, and will do what I can to support these goals. I am optimistic.

The fact that the group is focusing on internal structure and not any one individual as “the reason” the club came upon hard times is also appreciated, because it appears that the internal operating structure is what let everyone down, resulting in one person taking on too many responsibilities (and much of the resulting heat).

Many people have served on volunteer boards over the years; and I know only too well (as many other members do too from similar experiences) that these volunteer organizations are staffed with honorable people who are willing to donate their time/expertise and in some cases personal resources too; but the operational structure must clearly outline what is to be done by each new board and support a loosely connected "non-business" entity like this. Just sharing a common love of boating is not enough.

ACBS does what they do exceptionally well catering to all brands, but the type of volume and deference we see within CCABC to Chris Craft boats and culture only seems possible within a specially dedicated Chris Craft focus group like CCABC. In that regard I hope CCABC has plans to guard its independence.

It is honorable and heart-warming to know ACBS has given a hand to an organization they could have (during different times) viewed as a "competitor" of sorts, this makes me very proud and I will send a letter of appreciation to Jim Mersman thanking him and ACBS for doing this. I am doubly pleased because I am a member of both organizations and have promoted both for many years with recommendations to join each organization.

Collaboration between antique and classic boating clubs and organizations has not always been embraced in the past but it sure is a good thing when you see it. A tip of the hat to Bill Basler for promoting this collaborative philosophy in the past; having fun, sharing information, and spreading good will does not appear to have any downside.


Good luck,

1956 17' CC Sportsman, 300-hp
1957 17' CC Sportsman, 95-hp
1966 20' CC fiberglass Sea Skiff, 210-hp+
1973 23' CC Lancer inboard project, 427/375-hp.
1966 38' CC Commander Express, 427/300-hp(2)

So many little time.....but what a way to go!!

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Post by gbraker » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:51 pm

Get after Jim Staib to help with the trading dock!!!

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Location: Calgary, Alberta

Post by Oberon01 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:37 pm

that is a very good idea, Gary. You can bet we will be looking for assistance with the trading dock, and if Jim is able to help, we would welcome his contribution.


Paul H.
1926 Mullins 16' Outboard Special
1940 CC 19'Custom
1946 Gar Wood 22' 6" Sedan
1946 16' Peterbrough Falcon
1947 CC 16' Special Runabout
1947 Chris Craft 22' Sportsman
1948 CC 25' Sportsman Sedan
1959 Feather Craft Islander Express Cruiser
1961 CC 21' Continental
1965 Glastron Futura 500 V -164
1965 CC Sea Skiff 24'

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my $.02 in general and about the Brass Bell

Post by wadecon1 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:24 pm

I am happy to see the report about the restructuring of the club. It would appear we are on a proactive track and the future looks bright for the CCABC.

As a life long classic boat enthusiast I have devoured publications about old boats since the seventies. Some of our classics weren't that old back then...Anyway, from The Legend of Chris Craft to Wooden Boat to Classic Boating to the Speltz runabout series and on through the vast wealth of internet subject matter related to our hobby. I would like to consider myself sort of an expert on reading about our boats. I have also owned, piloted and varnished my fair share too!

The biggest reason I love the CCABC is that it is CHRIS CRAFT! Finding the Brass Bell in the mail box brings me great joy. From the vicarious life I get to experience through the content to the nostalgic smell of the ink that reminds me to turn off the computer and pick up a book. Therefore, I would like to offer a few opinions and suggestions of ways to improve "The Bell" with no offense intended to anyone. I think these ideas may help to control cost and generate interest in the CCABC.

1) Limit content to mostly Chris Craft Stuff!!
( we all love Rivas, Gar Woods and Centurys, but they have there own clubs that I would join if I wanted to know more about them)
Exceptions of course, like show winners or special boats or events(i.e. Miss America,F. Todd Warner Auction

2) Trading dock...seems like there is a lot of room for improvement here. Current ads only would cut down pages, one could still go online to peruse the info. contained in out dated ads

3) Some of the tech stuff is probably to in depth for the majority of the demographic. I am a motorhead and it is still the last thing I read. Basic maintenance could fill volumes and might be more useful to most. Maybe more safety and navigation topics would be interesting.

4) How many pages of condensed build sheet info. do we need. We might be better served to have that on the web site.

5) Generally, I think the more high quality photos the better. I have never published anything in my life, but I assume that is the most costly part. It is the best part of the rag though. On the subject I also think a little more attention could be paid in planning the photo layout in relation to the spline. Not good when the main focus of the shot is buried in the folds...

That said, I love the Brass Bell the way it is and anxiously await the next 2 issues in whatever form they appear.

Again I would like to commend the new BOD on the progress made to date. And the past directors for bringing us to where we are now.

Thanks for listening, Chris Wade
Chris Wade
1973 23' Chris Craft Lancer 307QLV/Volvo 270
1964 21' Chris Craft Sea Skiff 327

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Don Ayers
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Post by Don Ayers » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:58 am

Chris and all;

Your comments are noted and you should know they are much appreciated by the BOD's. The fact that you took time to write them says a lot.

The BOD's and committee's are working everyday to move this club forward and we plan more updates within the coming days.
Don Ayers
1959 Riva Ariston

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Pete DeVito
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Post by Pete DeVito » Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:12 pm

Don and the new BOD
Thanks much for the update on the progress you have made thus far.
I completely agree with Chris Wade comments after reading about the reduction of pages in the BB. The magazine should be about Chris Crafts and let the other clubs write about their boats. If we have limited space I would rather read about Chris Crafts.
Good luck and thanks much for your contibutions.
Past Project 1948 17' Deluxe
Past Project 1957 19' Capri
Future Project 1955 17' Special Sportsman

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Post by Stovebolt » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:54 pm

As someone who has only been a member for a couple of years, I am not blind to the fact that on the totem pole of the membership...........I'm somewhere close to the bottom. So, as for as that is concerned, I speak more for the "little" guy.

Thank you to the new BOD for getting this boat back on track. I don't know alot about the maintanance, and staining, and all that good stuff that goes with boat ownership, BUT, what I do know, alot of it came from the more knowledgeable members of this club, and personal friends I have made BECAUSE of this club.

I am excited for the path we are on now, and I thank all that have undertaken this endevour. I would be saddened if we lost this very important recource.

Also, I would like to offer my assistance by offering my photos of any boat show we attend up here in BC/Pacific Northwest. I will do my best to make it to all the shows, but I can't promise anything. But the offer for what I get is there.

Good luck to everyone.

Tyson K.
1961 Chris Craft 17' Ski Boat
1973 15.6' Hourston Glasscraft

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Don Ayers
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Post by Don Ayers » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:23 pm


We continue to make progress daily. Very soon we should have some official progress updates on our major short-term objectives.

Hopefully by Friday we can put some more information out.

I can say this for sure. Your team of volunteers is working very hard and I appreciate each and every one of them and their contributions so far.

Don Ayers
1959 Riva Ariston

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Post by Tightline5 » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:06 pm

I would caution against reserving the BB just for CC. I have only been a member for 7 years, but I feel you need to show and feature ANY interesting boat in the BB or eventually you would just be looking at the same old type boats. You need to pull people in, not push them and there membership away. I own CC's but I love my Shepherd, bucket and all.
Phil Jones

1948 US Plywood Executive Runabout Hull #1 "WeldWood"
1954 Racing Runabout R-496
1957 Deluxe Runabout D-17-2062

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