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I'm thinking of picking up a mid 80's ski boat, either a SN2001 or an American Skier, but I really don't like the aged look of either one. If I go the woody route I am definately goign to find myself one of those big horns to put on the closed bow. Price shouldn't be a concern because it's a friends shop wrapping it so I should only have to pay for materials, if that. Stipping the 7 layers of paint over the the original silver metal flake gelcoat currently (time consuming) and pulled the motor.
Chris Craft Corporation said this quote “Chris-Craft has the name, the prestige, the public acceptance.
By 1936-1937 Chris Craft introduced what Seabuddy labels’ the first niche Chris Craft Runabout; the 19’ Special Race Boat. Funny thing… Chris Craft made 51 of these boats, the same number of 19’ Chris Craft Cobras it made in 1955. 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.
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. 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.
The boats used some car parts like the steering columns and their steering wheels are said to be1949 Chrysler parts.
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. Seabuddy’s photos show a 1947 Red and White Racing Runabout (one of 205 painted and colored this way). These post war 19’ Racing Runabouts was loosely based on the 19’ Special Race Boats of 1936 and 1937.
It would be smart to point out, that by this post World War II era, the Christopher Smith family had been through several tough times. Chris Craft did not even mention any specific construction materials during this post war period. Warning, I am not a chemist, I am simply passing on personal experiences and some advertising messaging put out by major players within the marine trades. Think about buying your Sta Bil 360 either at your nearest convenient marine store or at a low price shop. Here is a quote from the fuel stabilizer maker “STA-BIL 360 MARINE offers comprehensive protection by releasing a microscopic corrosion preventing vapor inside the fuel system that coats ALL metals parts, including the fuel tank, fuel sending unit, valves, carburetor, fuel injectors and intake manifold. STA-BIL 360 MARINE accomplishes everything our current STA-BIL products offer, including keeping fuel fresh, removing water, cleaning the fuel system and more, but this revolutionary new product provides an exciting new level of protection for ultimate performance. This product is new for 2014 and it won the International Boatbuilder’s Exhibition & Conference (IBEX) Innovation Award in the Boat Care and Maintenance category. IBEX is organized by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and judged by members of Boating Writers International (BWI), the award recognizes innovative distinction from other products currently being manufactured, benefit to the marine industry and consumers, practicality and cost-effectiveness. Gar Wood started in his winning ways on the water with the purchase of the 1916 successful Gold Cup race boat that was “a broken, battered hulk after the race, fit only for junk” put up for sale by Chris Smith, 53, who was down to seven cents in his pockets after losing in a poker game.
That racer, Miss Detroit, had been built by Chris from a design by Joseph Napoleon “Nap” Lisee, who worked for Chris Smith’s C.C. Together, Chris Smith, “Nap”, and Gar Wood won 5 straight Gold Cups from 1917-1921 and 2 Harmsworth trophies in 1920 and 1921. But by February of 1922, Smith bought out Gar Wood and started a new company, the Chris Smith & Sons Boat Company in a new location. Gar Wood, himself, retired to Miami at the age of 60, and the new management of Gar Wood Industries ordered a restyle of the boat line up and engaged Norman Bel Geddes, a noted industrial designer, for a new post war feeling.
With high new design and jig costs, quality wood shortages, hardware out-of-stocks, and a somewhat distant management running the company, the company closed down in 1947. Got a wooden boat owner in the family and stuck on finding a different but memorable Christmas gift?
A six brush Epifanes Brush Keeper metal box is the correct way and professional way to store valuable varnish brushes. No one who gets one of these Brush Boxes for their fine varnish work will ever forget this thoughtful gift.
This particular restored example has as a level of superior finish and detailing as seabuddy has ever seen on a new or restored boat. This ArenaCraft is a 19’ 6” Speedboat that was 5 MPH faster at top speed than the 20’ 10” Chris Craft Cobra of the same era with the same horsepower Both boat builders made their racy designs with a 6’ 9” beam. Chris Craft was the largest boat company in the world with lots of dealers and sold far more boats of its model than ArenaCraft.
It is possible that this is one of only two of this boat model ArenaCraft that have been restored. A boat designer and boat racing driver who competed head to head within the Gold Cup and Unlimited boat racing classes against Harold Wilson, Guy Lombardo, George Reis, Bill Horn, and Bill Cantrell, to name a few. He is credited with designing the first Unlimited race boat to win with a modern power source. He added to what Ventnor did with the three-point hydroplane boats by flattening his boat’s profile and packing more air between the sponsons, which reduced wetted surface.


His prop and sponson innovations led the way from the tail-dragging Ventnor’s that always had their prop submerged while racing to his boats that sporadically rode on their prop as one of their three points, to Ted Jones’ race boats that always were a prop rider after Ted’s Slo-Mo-Shun IV. His 1953 Hydroplane design was built later line-by-line by Les Staudacher, which resulted in the boat that set the fastest straightaway Unlimited Piston Engine Hydroplane record speed of 200.419 MPH. Her period correct Mercury Marine 4 cylinder outboard has been rebuilt by a pro and starts easily. In the restoration, this boat’s owner took advantage of all of today’s boat building materials. Boats like this Chris Craft were sold by them as complete kits in a box and this one was located already assembled, but in need of a complete restoration.
Magnum Marine started life on 188th street with the “Maltese Magnum”, a 27’ race boat. Magnum had replaced Donzi Marine in Don’s daily life and in 1966 he went racing in that boat.
Seabuddy thanks Magnum Marine for their photos and the last one shown here is his favorite shot of this brand.
Boat racers were larger-than-life heroes to worship, and they all seemed to come from two addresses: NE 188th Street in North Miami, FL.
I was thinking about wrapping the boat with a custom wood pattern to make it look like an old woody ski boat from the 60's like the one below. It has consistently advanced from the beginning and maintained the continued success for its merchants. 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!
Micheals Classic Boat Show had both of these rare boats, fully restored in its annual June event. The name had changed many times to allow for various partners in the years between these dates. This was an early attempt by the world leader in wooden boat construction to use the new boat-building material. 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. That car had a new chassis and coil springs (instead of the transverse leaf springs of the Ace and the Ford small block cars).
It’s like fogging oil for your entire fuel system, offering “360 degrees” of corrosion protection and is safe to use in all types of gasoline – from ethanol-free fuel to E85. For the first time, STA-BIL 360 MARINE delivers corrosion protection above and below the fuel line by releasing an innovative vapor that coats all metal parts within the fuel system to prevent corrosion.
Chris, his sons Jay, Bernard, and Owen each owned 25% of that boat building company and started fresh with a new piece of land and and they built a brand new factory on it. It was a good riding, safe runabout that was a triple (3) cockpit boat and it’s bottom used all of the characteristics of the his Miss Americas race boats with the step. My Seabuddy photos show a restored 1947 Gar Wood 22.5’ wood boat in the brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
C-C mad their boats from wood with fiberglass touches in the deck design and ArenaCraft made theirs out of a fiberglass hull and deck molding with some wood and Hexcel stiffeners.
Arena could not stay out of the boat business, so about a year later, the Dan Arena Company was born and started making boats. Chris “Kit” Arena eventually ran the production floor at the Dan Arena Company after he started right out of high school with his Dad.
Sporty, stable, and quick to maneuverer, this is a boat one launches for a fun time on the water. All the wood was sealed with Smith’s CPES and the joints of bronze and Stainless Steel bolts and screws were further strengthened with West System products. He won, so naturally, folks wanted one for themselves and a building was built and a powerboat racing legend was born. This performance boat had a higher, rounded deck line primarily for more room in the cabin. That model boat was based on a shorten version of Jim Wynne’s winning race boat, the Wyn-Mill II. Chris –Craft has been the leader, is the leader, and will continue to lead” in the early 1930s..
Plus, Chris-Craft boats used thinner dimension framing as well as thinner planking in the bottom for this 19’ Special Race Boat model.
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. The fiberglass was made in one plant and the otherwise planked mahogany wood boat was made in another.
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. This boat was cedar planked and came with a plywood deck by Chris Craft according to LeCompte. Right after buying the boat and engine of Miss Detroit, he went to the Smith factory and brought controlling interest in it. Clean each brush with mineral spirits, clip their handles into the holding plate and lower the brushes into a bath of diesel or kerosene for long term storage.


There were a few exceptions as the woodwork was done by Lief Lund and the fiberglass Lamination was handed by Earnest Jackson after Kit had sprayed the gel coat. Since the decks were molded and he often used the same hull mold for both models, it was his son’s job to scribe, cut down, and hand fit a cuddy hull molding to a runabout deck, among many other jobs in the manufacturing the boats. It is compact luxury craft that draws friendly smiles for her classic bright-finished good looks. She is an opportunity to experience the classic wood boat life in a beautiful product of Chris Craft engineering. First class, top-of-the-line parts combined with a critical design eye and excellent skill towards making her a real beauty either on her trailer or out on the water is reflected the first time anyone sees her.
Don Aronow’s “Thunderboat Row” started to grow in stature and began to pull ahead of Dick Bertram’s efforts in time. Wyn Mill II was Jim’s racer as designed by Walt Walters with input from Jim and perhaps others. 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. 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. These were also paint finished according to Jerry Conrad’s Chris Craft The Essential Guide book.
I have seen his boat’s decks still tight and show quality several years after he did his restoration magic. Thus, she was painted, not stained and varnished, as the cedar wood did not look right bright finished. All you boaters that slip their boats in Key West, well Seabuddy is not talking about your boating fuel habits in a direct way in this write-up. He figured that he could keep others from racing against him via this investment as it came with the talent of Chris Smith, his sons, Jay and Bernard, and “Nap”. Due to the high altitude of the lake a fast boat was simply not that fast on the lake and some capable in rough water ability was valued.
She is the winner of the Best Outboard Boat at this year’s big Annual Antique and Classic Boat Society Show and Festival in St. It should have been a good seller but it was discontinued in 1979 after a six year production run.
This boat was originally called the Ski Sporter Donzi and later it was named the Donzi Sweet 16.
For instance, while there are different engine choices, it is perhaps fair to say that one of these boats were 20% faster. Seabuddy hopes that you made it to the show or plan on putting this show on your calendar in the future years. The family ran the company and kept it private until they sold the entire corporation in early 1960.
Chris Craft then lost money making boats until it went into the black again in 1936, with a profit of $213,131.  The model offerings had been cut down during this time. This was a record despite material shortages in armor plating, engines, and brass castings.
He built his race boats, the 33’ “Baby Gar” runabout that had been developed by “Nap” while still at the old company, high performance cabin cruisers, and the 28’ Baby Gar runabout model.
Thus, many of Dan Arena’s boats were capable of speeds to 75 MPH at sea level when powered up. She is just been restored in April of 2013 but this model was offered by Chris Craft back in the 1950s.
However, a few were raced without their cabin and fly bridge and with up to four outboards or two inboards. These new models were to be very high-style yachts that were eminently seaworthy in moderate seas with each having a good turn of speed. With its first Volvo engine and out drive set-up its top speed was in the 41 to 43 MPH range.
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 Chris Smith and Sons Boat Company sold more wooden boats to a broader range of successful folks.
Don had Walt Walters design that boat, make its running surface a winner, and draw up the plans that caused it to be built. It took a lake and bay boat that was nimble and easy to jump in and take off in for a fast ride to make Donzi. Jim had input, he was there, but Walt’s name is on the drawings that the boat was built from.




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