1959 Chris Craft Sea Skiff 35' identity

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by erwin.tarr, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. erwin.tarr
    Joined: Dec 2007
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    Location: Patrick AFB Fl

    erwin.tarr Junior Member

    Hello all,

    I am contemplating the purchase of a 1959 Chris Craft Sea Skiff 35'. She has beautiful lines and her hull appears to be in good condition but as with all wooden boats, she has some rot around the cabin windows.

    That being said, I can't find any similar Chris Crafts. I found plenty of Sea Skiffs but none look like her. Is it possible that someone heavily modified her?

    Do any of you recognize her lines?

    Please see photos.

    Ray
     

    Attached Files:

  2. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    Nice looking boat. I love older woddys. Someone here on the forum will know about a cris craft club or history club where I know you can find out the details. Chris Craft built hi quality boats back then. If your only problem is some rot at the windows then you do not have a problem just some small repairs. I think you got yourself a great boat.
     
  3. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    From the one image with the tractor pulling her, I can see some distortion at the turn of the bilge, in the last third of the hull. This is a very common location for tension cracked or broken frames. Other areas where I'd typically find issues would be the garboards, particularly under the engine(s) where they planks get oil soaked, the stem, gripe and cheek pieces along the forward potions of the keel, transom framing, rub rail and sheer strake rot. This doesn't include the usually locations, such as the hood ends of the planks, working plank to frame and lap fasteners, transom corners, all deck structures, etc.

    Do not under estimate the amount of work, effort and time it takes to get this boat in just good condition, let alone restored or Bristol condition.

    If the investment is fairly substantial, then get it surveyed by a well qualified person, familiar with the type. If the price isn't especially difficult to manage, then be prepared for a lot of costly repairs. Only those with deep pockets, considerable repairing skills or the willingness to work hard for several years should take on a project of this scope.
     
  4. ned L
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    ned L Junior Member

    Those lapstrake Chris Crafts were well built boats (plywood planking 'glued' at the seams with polysulfide adhesive). As far as I know these boats were not prone to the same issues as say Egg Harbors or Pacemakers (this is good), but you should have her checked out carefully as PAR suggests. As for her originality, the only thing I see that raises a question is the rear half of the wheel house, I am not sure if maybe it has been extended. The trunk cabin is original, the two oval port lights are original & the side styling (window shape) is definately C.C. styling. Good luck, she may be a real diamond in the rough, just check carefully. If she is structurally in sound condition she may just need some good cosmetics. There is no rocket science about wooden boat maintainance, just a bit of consciencous work. Everyone did it before plastic boats.
     
  5. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I'm not sure at which point (year) they started to use polysulfide in the laps. An easy way to check is way up in the bow, look at the inside of the plank gains there. The polysulfide usually oozed out in this area and can easy be seen. The polysulfide was used only as a seam sealant not a glue. The laps were fastened.

    To answer the original question, yep, it's Sea Skiff hull with one of the higher trim levels, which were available on the larger skiff models.

    There are several Chris Craft sites with documentation covering these models.
     
  6. erwin.tarr
    Joined: Dec 2007
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    erwin.tarr Junior Member

    Thank you for the reply. You stated this as one of the Sea Skiff's "higher trim levels". Do you feel there is a value or market for a 35 foot Sea Skiff once repaired? I love her lines and don't plan on selling her anytime soon but it would be nice to know that the money invested isn't sunk into a black hole because there is no market for her.
    I ask because I haven't been able to find any information on this model of Sea Skiff at all. I couldn't find any recent sales or advertisements for sister boats for sale.

    Ray
     
  7. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The Sea Skiff was considered a "utility" vessel. They were used in many functions, harbor launches, water taxis, simple fishing boats, etc. As a result they don't have the resale value of other models or brands. This line of boats was the "Ford Taurus" of it's day. They made a bunch of them. They were light, handled fairly well, especially if twin shafted and everyone likes the lapped hulls.

    Below is a 32' skiff, though the styling changed as it's a 1961, very similar to yours in many regards.

    You can join the Chris Craft Antique Boat Club and find a wealth of information about the boat.

    Your boat is what I believe is called a Fisherman 35.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. ned L
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    ned L Junior Member

    Par - Thank you for the clarification, I didn't mean to imply that these hulls were not traditionally fastened, and I mis-spoke when I used the term "glued" - wasn't thinking that so many people today associate glued lapstrake with no fastentings. As you pointed out, I should have said that these are traditionally built lapstrake hulls, using steam bent oak ribs and plywood planking, which are assembled with polysulfide seam compound (which tended to glue the seams together - though not permanently). This made for a light, strong hull, which required very little (if any) time to swell up when launched in the spring.
    The Mariners Museum in Va. has all the Chris Craft historical information from that time period, and has a service where, for a small fee, they will send you all the build & option information for the boat if you send them the hull number (I think they still offer this).
     
  9. ned L
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    ned L Junior Member

    You might also take a look at the web site 'vintage marine sales literature' they have a LOT of original sales catalogs for sale. You can probably purchase an original 1959 C.C. catalog. They do not show pictures on their web site though. I have bought a couple of things from them & have been happy.
     
  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Ned, on this boat I'm fairly sure every third frame is sawn in the forward sections. These are also the locations of the deck beams.
     
  11. ned L
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    ned L Junior Member

    Par, now that you mention it that does sound right (about those few sawn frames up forward), never did fully understand the logic of them. (I guess its been to many years since I've been able to climb around one of these boats - forgetting the details.)
     
  12. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It's cheaper, faster to build and install sawn frames. You can also easily attach plywood gussets, instead of hanging knees for the deck beams. Chris Craft was one of the pioneers in this type of light weight lap construction with several other subtle, but innovative weight and part reducing methods. They were one of the first to use polysulfide in the seams as well. I have a 1960 Sea Skiff with original planking in many locations, with it's polysulfide still doing it's job, 50 years later. Not too shabby.
     
  13. ned L
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    ned L Junior Member

    Ah, hadn't thought about the ease of framing in the foredeck if you have a couple of sawn frames to work off of. I grew up on the Jersey shore where lapstrake construction ruled for over a hundred years, but i will have to agree that C.C. did a nice job with their lapstrake models (accept I'm sorry to say for those reverse windshield models in the 60's, I don't know what the designers were thinking of). I remember hearing that Chris Craft was so good on customer service with their lapstrake skiffs, that if one had hull damage, fully finished replacement planks could be purchased so the damaged planks could just be swapped out.
     
  14. Zappi
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    Zappi Senior Member

    not a chris?

    I'm thinking the modification that boat has had was someone put a Chris Craft plate on a Pacemaker. I have an almost identical 1960 Pacemaker 35 Sport Sedan. It looks identical except no flybridge and its lapstrake instead of the traditional Pacemaker carvel planking. She's also know as a Sea Skiff as the original Pace gauges say Sea Skiff on them.
     

  15. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Sea Skiff is a generic name given to lapstrake hull shapes of a common warped bottom model. The name is a bit convoluted now, but once was fairly specific. There are substantial differences if you look at lines plans to the various "skiff" like models offered from the manufactures of the era. An example would be the Lyman in comparison to the Chris Craft had a finer enter and more flare and a harder bilge turn aft. Both are still warped bottoms of similar configuration, but subtle variations to offer something different in the performance envelope. Of the two hulls mentioned, the Lyman was softer riding in a chop, but required 15% more power to get the same speed as the Chris Craft.
     
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