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by Rob

Will someone please buy and restore this 35 ft. Longton Sport Cruiser (1968)?

March 27, 2020 in Uncategorized

This beautifully crafted, offshore racer has too much potential to lay languishing in a storage facility indefinitely.
Yes, it needs a new bottom and likely, new engines, but what a unique, eye-catching cruiser. The replacement costs for the Longton Sport Cruiser are estimated to be between $750,000 and $1,000,000. The asking price for the boat is now $25,000
Check out the two videos below. Further photos, details and contact information are available through this link.
Ad number pb780

(Updated video below: March, 2020)
Original asking price for the Racer: $50,000. New price: $25,000

by Rob

Chris-Craft boats, a history. (Part I)

February 17, 2020 in Uncategorized

Ernest Hemingway in an earlier duck boat. Note the duck decoys in the bow.

The Chris Craft dynasty really began in 1876 when Christopher Columbus Smith began helping his older brother Henry build duck boats and fishing skiffs for hunters and fishermen, and later for use as rentals in their boat livery at Algonac, Michigan. Time passed. In 1884, Chris  married Anna Rattray and went on to raise four sons and two daughters. When old enough, Chris employed the children in his workshop, helping to build rowing, sailing and small motor driven boats.

By 1906, Chris was building 26 foot boats that would reach speeds of eighteen miles per hour, fast for the time period.

In 1910, a wealthy theatre owner,  John Ryan,  engaged Chris to build a boat that would reach thirty miles per hour. Pleased with his new purchase,  Ryan soon offered to become Chris’ business partner, providing funds for the venture. Smith began building single-step hydroplanes, which promised speeds of up to fifty miles per hour. The $20,000 price tag for such a boat was an astronomical price in the early 20th century.

Boats built by Smith and his sons  won a number of races and the company’s fame grew accordingly.

After Ryan’s fortunes dwindled, Chris connected with a group of Detroit businessmen. They created the Miss Detroit Powerboat Association with the object of building a hyroplane that might win the 1915 Detroit Cup.
Their 25.5 foot Miss Detroit, with thrust from a 250 hp Sterling engine, bested the competition to become the Gold Cup Champion.

Following that episode, after which the Smiths were left with unpaid bills, Garfield Wood appeared on the scene. Already a factory owner, he inspected, then purchased Miss Detroit. Both Chris Smith and Gar Wood were creative achievers who loved fast boats. They both wanted to be the best in the world. W”Well’-heeled” Wood eventually bought the assets of the Smiths, relieving them of debt while allowing them to continue producing boats.

Miss Detroit II (and next year III)  designed by “Nap” Lisee,  was completed in time to enter the 1917 Gold Cup race, which she won with a record speed of fifty-six miles per hour. Success continued in the 1918 and 1919 Gold Cup races when they replaced the Sterling engine with a Curtis aircraft power-plant then a Packard built Liberty aircraft engine.


Note: Information for this article is condensed and  adapted from the book Chris-Craft Boats,  by Anthony Mollica Jr and Jack Savage. The book is available through MBI Publishing Company, Galtier Plaza, Suite 200, 380 Jackson St, St Paul, MN 55101-3885 USA
Stay tuned for Part II!

 

by Rob

A “vintage ” wooden boater tells his Gar Wood story.

January 15, 2020 in Uncategorized

Garfield Wood in action!

Many thanks to Neil T. Kuopas, for submitting his recollections of Gar Wood of boat racing and building fame. Unfortunately, Neil lost his home and personal artifacts in the Nov. 8, 2018 Camp 🔥 Fire, lived in Butte Creek Canyon one mile north of Paradise, California. However, now in his eighties, Neil still has very vivid recall.
“My young dreams were centered around boats and engines. Had many boats and engines until college. After college I came across a 1931, 28-ft Garwood double-plank mahogany runabout Garwood ( Ed. reportedly) lent to his mistress to watch the Detroit Garwood Gold Cup Trophy Unlimited hydroplane races in the infield of the river course. The Black River Marina owner, in Marysville, MI, had stripped down the finish and painted the boat black with gold waterline so Garwood’s wife would not recognizing it. It was ‘old man’ Baker’s first job as an 18-year old apprentice and he taught me the same methods at 85-years old to me in 1973. The Chris Craft straight-six (in the Garwood) had been replaced by a Packard straight-8, 356 cu.in., crowned pistons, separate sea and fresh water cooling systems, etc.
No one else knows what I am talking about! However, at the North Shore of Lake Tahoe there is a classic wooden boat shop which sponsors an annual gathering and parade of the classics. They don’t believe my story! Canadians get it and thought you might enjoy this. (A Garwood similar to mine is seen near the beginning of the video)

My own Garwood
I bought my Gar Wood 28-ft. runabout after it was taken out of storage and the transom was weathered to Bare Wood.
Also, the previous owner had docked it on two slings and the Chine-board and adjacent structure was dry-rotted!! If Old Man Baker hadn’t offered to show me how to fix it I would never have bought the boat.
Needless to say, three-months of hard and sometimes meticulous labor was required to make the repairs and start the process of staining and varnishing, and Baker still had enough of the original stain and varnish!!! What are those odds?
One more tidbit…the boat had a false deck below the inside deck  – just the right amount of space for fifths of liquor, as the boat was used as a “RUM-RUNNER” during the Prohibition Era!!

I have many more stories and should write an article to preserve the history.
Garwood was quite the character. He raced Dick Bertram of the deep-V hull-concept from Long Beach California to Catalina Island and back for a large amount of money in the mid-60’s with his Garwood Express Cruiser vs. Bertram’s deep-V race boat. The bet and time/day were finalized.
Garwood modified his Cruiser with hydrofoils and twin-Supercharged 440 V-8 engines, as I was told. Needless to say he won the race going away. Ha!! These are the stories you don’t read about. There are more to share with anyone who appreciates the classics.
I wrote to you last week hoping to contact Alan Empringham or his sons before I pass away, love Canada and many fine people across the Dominion.”
Respectfully,
Neal T. Kuopus

In one of Garfield Wood’s races, he broke the World speed record at 102 m.p.h

 

by Rob

A brief history of SeaBird Boats (Part II)

January 6, 2020 in Uncategorized

The War Years

Soon after war was declared in 1939, a call went out from the Canadian government for ships – large and small – for use by the armed forces.
Port Carling Boats Works (manufacturer of SeaBirD boats)  was one of the first companies to respond.  To supply the necessary number of watercraft, staffing had to be increased to several hundred employees. The owners promised the Government that they would turn out  boats of eighteen to twenty-eight feet at the rate of one per day. Port Carling Boat Works was soon awarded the contract for building smaller boats. To build the much larger Fairmiles, (coastal patrol boats)  the contract was initially shared with  Minett-Shields. The first Fairmile (Q 057) was prefabricated  at the Minett factory in Bracebridge, Ontario then shipped to the Port Carling Boat Works at it’s Honey Harbour factory on Georgian Bay. A total of thirteen Fairmiles were constructed.

The P. C. Boat Works also produced 20 foot utilities, first snapped up by the Air Force. These were followed up by crash boats, whalers, mine sweepers and Destroyer tenders, as well as hundreds of assault boats for the D Day invasion.
Government financial manipulation had the sad result of leaving the Port Carling Boats Works starved for cash at the end of the war in 1945.

Note: Photos in this posted were taken by the official Canadian Navy photographer, J.E. Russell.
Text for this post is condensed  from the book “SeaBirD“, by Douglas Garfield McCulley.

by Rob

Our newest listing: a Ditchburn launch, 27 ft. 1927

January 2, 2020 in Uncategorized

“Wasan”  an iconic Ditchburn launch; 27 ft., 1927

Wasan is truly a Muskoka treasure. This rare launch has been featured in Grace and Speed, as well as The Boat Builders of Muskoka. She is truly a collector’s item.
Wasan
was totally refurbished by Duke Marine in 2016/2017. and comes with a new 1944 Chrysler Crown engine.
This beautiful vintage launch, one of a kind, is in like new, “show” condition.
Please contact the owner for further details and pricing.

DItchburn Boats
(Editor’s note): Ditchburn boats are considered be the creme de la creme of the classic boating world. The Ditchburn company produced a wide variety of watercraft from the early 1870s until 1938, in their facilities in Gravenhurst and Orillia, Ontario. Their boats ranged in size from ten to one hundred and twenty feet. Henry Ditchburn built the first gasoline powered launch in Gravenhurst in 1893. Purchasers of Ditchburn boats included the Eaton family of department store fame..

By the time “Wasan was constructed in 1927, the Ditchburn company employed some 130 men in their 1.5 acre manufacturing facility..
It is safe to say that Ditchburn built boats are of “Concours D’Elegance” quality.

For further details and contact information, please click on the link. Ad number pb890

Port Carling Boats – Antique & Classic Wooden Boats for Sale