Kabot’s Habit – Can A Classic 1965 Sea Skiff Be Used For Live-ish Boat Show Reports?
During the Sunnyland Show last year (as you likely recall, Texx) I became impulsively interested in the Skiff style of boat, after seeing one at the show that had been very nicely restored. More than the boat, the story is about the sometimes simple pleasure that the founders of our hobby, people like Joe Kabot, got from these sometimes everyday boats. Thanks Paul… We had a copy of an original 1965 Chris-Craft Sea Skiff Brochure and thought it would be fun to see what the boat originally looked like when it left the Chris-Craft plant in Salisbury, Maryland back in 1965. Stay tuned for more updates from Lake Dora and the big Sunnyland Antique & Classic Boat festival over the next few days.
Although I never had the honor of meeting Joe Kabot, I know many of his friend’s in Michigan that have nothing but wonderful stories of him. After finding out that I need a new $6000 engine in my truck my spirits were bouyed by the user lapstrake in this story.
Thanks Texx- couple of points – I believe that Skiffs were produced at the Salisbury, Maryland plant. The re-paint of the hullsides was done by Mike Green from Maritime Classics at Traverse City, MI, right after I got it. Any one who has been at a show with the Harrison’s knows what a great couple they are and how lucky this hobby is to have them. I second that Brian – Paul will tell you a great story about Karen docking the freshly restored Gar Wood sedan at the ACBS International, just like clock work.
Aft Steering & Throttle Controls were an approved option by Chris-Craft in some Sea Skiffs and Utilities for fishing, so you could control the boat without having to move up to the forward cockpit area. By the way, today we figured out the side steering helm has a cigar lighter and a chart lite on it – never would have thought of that. We will anxiously await the arrival of the photograph, and please accept our sincere thanks for this wonderful gesture.
When you are in Photobucket, hover your pointer over the thumbnails, and a menu will pop up.

One of our many objectives this year is to incorporate a few short live-ish video reports into our regularly scheduled daily coverage, including audio… on Lake Dora aboard a Classic 1965 Chris-Craft Sea Skiff.
We bought it from Joe Kabot last year, and took possession just about 2 weeks before he passed away. I found Joe’s online through Macatawa Bay Boat Works and the long process of acquisition was initiated. During the period between when I became aware of the boat and delivery, the universally evident respect with which Joe Kabot was held by literally everyone in the hobby with whom I spoke with, convinced me that the boat should be preserved and used in his memory.
I should point out that because of long-term storage the paint was peeling and we had to have the sides re-painted (above the water line), and I don’t want people to think the paint is original when it is not. Now that some of my future weekends will not be in one of my user lapstrakes so I can cover the engine it is stories like this that let me live vicariously through others and the Woody Boater website. She was approaching the slip slowly and swung the throttle lever down instead of pulling the shift lever into reverse.
It is set up for a Johnston engine and all the original manuals and instructions are still with the boat. It is not an overstatement to say that all the comments we have ever heard from others about Joe have been very positive, kind and above all respectful. To get WoodenBoat delivered to your door or computer, mobile device of choice, etc, click WB Subscriptions.
I couldnt figure out how to make pics smaller from photobucket.I dont know if that would help me post more pics, any help would be great. He had owned it for a very long time – never really found out for sure but I think about 35 years. Unfortunately, though I inquired after Joe’s boat while still in Florida, I did not hear back from him for a few weeks.
It had been fully equipped for fishing by the original owner, with much dealer-installed equipment, including a 1965 depth finder and a very tidy side-steering arrangement for a trolling outboard -added at delivery. Also, a fresh coat of varnish was applied to brightwork but it was not sanded down to wood – just roughed up and varnished.

The boat has a number of items in place that are not on the hull card, but are obviously from that period.
He was indeed held in the higest esteem and it was an easy decision to name the boat as a tribute to one of the founders of the hobby that provides us so much enjoyment. The pic in the middle is a 48ft sailboat i pulled off the beach in beach haven NJ, summer of 2011.
It turns out that Joe was actually at Lake Dora for the show when I was inquiring after the boat but I did not know this. We have specifically chosen to do only the mildest possible cosmetic touch up on the boat in order to preserve it in the style that it was used for so many years by Joe and the original owner. After the show it will be taken back to Shuswap Lake, in British Columbia, Canada and used there. I think the orignal owner took delivery and simply told the dealer to fully equip it for fishing, and the side-steer for a trolling motor was part of it. Im a towboat US captain out of barnagate lt NJ, we had to bring in a second towboat to pull in tandem and got her off. This is sad because I never did get to meet him – he intended to meet me at the ACBS International at Bay Harbor, MI last fall when the boat was delivered to us, but he was prevented by illness from doing so. While not as delivered because of the dealer installed equipment, it is absolutely as-used. The original owner installed fitted coolers with full water circulation underneath both front seats, presumably for bait and as a live well. Those coolers will be used by Karen and I, but not for the purpose intended by the original owner!

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