'64 32' Chris Craft Sea Skiff

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Eriefeeling, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. Eriefeeling
    Joined: Jul 2017
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    Location: Akron Ohio

    Eriefeeling New Member

    I'm considering buying a 1964 32' Chris Craft Sea Skiff. I've never owned a wooden boat before and was wondering if anyone could give me advice on what to look for. I have been searching all morning for a local surveyor to go check it out and can't find one (it's in the upper peninsula of Michigan and I'm in Akron, Oh 600 miles away). The surveyors I've found would cost more than the price of the boat for travel time and survey. Owner says it's in excellent condition and the pictures look nice but can anyone tell me what I should look for?
     

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  2. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Anything that looks rough in photos, always present rougher x 10 on closer inspection. The photos appear to be those of a maintained boat, though. Emma Chisit ? ( that is New Zealand talk = "how much is it ?" ) :D
     
  3. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welcome to the forum.

    Having never owned a wooden boat, let alone an antique, over a half a century old one, my advice is run as fast as you can, in the opposite direction. I love wooden boats and owned a Sea Skiff for over 20 years (1960) and there's lots of stuff to look at, most of which hasn't any varnish on it or is in plain sight.

    The bilge is where you need to look, particularly aft at the hardest portion of the "turn" where the frames tend to tension crack with age and moisture cycling. This particular Chris was built lightly, so it would perform well, but this also caused them to bust up with use.

    If the survey costs rival the boat, walk away. The Sea Skiff was a "utility" boat and considered disposable. They don't carry much value as a result, so you can get them pretty cheap, but if you want to truly learn what the word "BOAT" actually means, by all means, buy it and maintain a healthy wallet for her.
     
  4. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Is that clinker ? Diagonal strip ? Can't tell from the pictures. I'd guess if the former, any glassing over would have been difficult.
     
  5. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It's lapstrake over sawn and bent frames.
     
  6. Eriefeeling
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    Eriefeeling New Member

    $6,300 w/tri-axel trailer 6 new tires
     
  7. Eriefeeling
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    Eriefeeling New Member

    Ok, just put my running shoes on. Thanks
     
  8. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Cheap is only cheap if the thing is readily, and safely, useable. No mention of engine(s) etc, where expensive problems may reside. And PAR sounds familiar with the structural issues, which unless rectified over the years, would almost certainly be there in wait.
     
  9. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    OK, solid timber lapstrake or ply ? You'd have to think models of this boat of this age would be a small remnant population, the majority having succumbed to rot. Other than that, meticulously maintained at considerable expense.
     
  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    All the Sea Skiffs were made with custom plywood, sort of a single sided MDO to custom lengths. They survived quite well if covered and kept dry. If reasonably maintained they also held up well, after they started using polysulfide in the laps in the late 1950's. Again, they made a bunch of these, which were fairly cheap and considered utility skiff, used as harbor launches, economical cabin cruisers and the military also used a lot of them. Of the surviving wooden Chris Craft, the Sea Skiff is most prevalent. I know of several in my area, in various states of repair. There's one I had my eye on, with twin original 283's, but some previous owner tried to 'glass the outside, ruining the boat. My 28' skiff had an original 283 and all of her original planking, though shortly after buying her I replaced the garboards and broads, as they'd become oil soaked from leaking engine. The sheer strake needed replacing in the time I owned her, but otherwise quite original. I like these skiffs, though prefer the entry shape of the Lyman over the Chris Craft. The Lyman was a little heavier, with a deeper, finer forefoot, but was a true double wedge "sea skiff" hull form, which had the most comfortable ride, particularly compaired to others of the type (Owens, Thompson, etc.). She lost a little top speed as a result, but a few MPH, to get this nice soft ride was worth it. A lot of refinement went into these skiff hull forms (several decades) and Lyman seemed to get it right. I'd buy another one if I found a solid example.
     
  11. ned L
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    ned L Junior Member

    Unfortunately I have to agree that probably in most cases if you have to ask about owning a wooden boat, it may be something that is not for you. Working on wooden boats is an integral part of owning a wooden boat.
    I don't believe the trunk cabin or interior are original on this boat, neither are "Chris Craft".
    The chris Craft sea skiffs were 'good' production boats, and if taken care of can still give good service. This boat would have had SBC's (small block Chev's) 1 or 2 for power.
    .... I am a wooden boat person - just completed a 3 year complete rebuild of a 1957, 33ft cedar on oak lapstrake Jersey sea skiff.
     
  12. graywolf
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    graywolf Junior Member

    From the photos someone had made a lot of changes on that boat. Ruins any collectors value.

    Most likely problems: Rotted garboard strakes (next to the keel), rotted shear strakes (along the deck). Rotted transom. Rotted stem. Broken frames at the turn of the bilge. If those areas are okay, the hull is probably sound. The problem is that a lot of folks think using Bondo or fiber glass is a fix, it is only a band-aid. Folks who restore these boats have been known to replace 3/4 of the lumber in the hulls, an expensive proposition, and idiotic with this particular boat because it is not original.

    While I have not owned one, at one time the Chris Craft 32' Sea Skiff Express Cruiser was my dream boat. Nowadays my dreams, if not my budget, are bigger.
     

  13. sdowney717
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    sdowney717 Senior Member

    Collector value for most wooden boats, this should not be why your getting a wood boat.
    Anyone who runs away really should always run away.
     
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