CHRIS CRAFT COMMANDER FORUM ® .......A photo-intensive technical reference file and ongoing newsletter regarding the original fiberglass Chris-Craft Commander series. This is an independent not-for-profit and non-commercial web site, not affiliated with the Chris Craft Commander Club ~~ or ~~ Chris-Craft Corporation. Our mission here is to "have fun and share information" about the Commander series (and those associated fiberglass boats on the Chris-Craft family tree) for your individual personal use, and by doing so help promote the good name of Chris-Craft, and help preserve, restore, and appreciate Chris-Craft boats. The main reference feature is the ever expanding MASTER INDEX File which contains what we believe to be the world's largest collection of documentation photos and technical information on the Chris-Craft Commander line of boats, (like these original brochure scans, featuring the iconic first 38 Commander styled by Fred Hudson, and many of the great Dick Avery renditions that followed) , (a huge collection of Chris-Craft 427 tuning and specification information), and a few words about how to use the forum.

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* Update on the 20' fiberglass Sea Skiff project (an "almost Commander")

December 16 2006 at 5:23 PM
Paul  (no login)

First, here is a link to the thread "first look inside", showing what the boat looked like when it arrived in Nashville, after being shipped from the south shore of Lake Ontario.http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/message/1162070768



This boat was built in the Cortland, New York, Chris Craft Corsair Division's plant, where the 19' Commander Super Sport and 23' Commander were built two years later. 70 were built in 1966, and 10 in 1967.
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Well today I can announce that all the vinyl covered panels, all flooring, all interior trim of any kind, the gear selector, steering wheel, steering system, gauges, are out of the boat. It's basically a bare hull with lots of stuff inside now that needs to be cleaned up. I plan to take a pressure washer and shop vac to it tomorrow, but for today all the major disassembly is done.

The motor runs, the new (old) transmission is here, along with four spare exhaust logs and a couple risers.

The gear selector is from MORSE, and it's a good unit, but heavily pitted. I'm going to have it restored and replated instead of using a new one. The funky steering wheel is going to be powder coated and reused too. Gauges have been sent off for restoration.

I am quite amazed at the sheet after sheet of vinyl plywood that has come out of this thing! Two layers of side panels, one to line the inside of the long ski storage pocket, and they extend all the way to the bow of the boat. Numerous other fit and finish pieces, all wrapped with vinyl. Just looking at all those copper staples, now I know I must buy an electric staple gun for this project, because I don't think my hands will survive a million concussions with the old mechanical style. Since so much of this boat is flatwork, I plan to do that because it's so easy to do. I'll do that in my shop during the coldest weather of the season, and I'll be out in my "boat capsule" when weather will permit. The reassembly process should be very fast and rewarding.

Yes, I've purchased one of those (Cortland) New York boats built in the Finger Lake region, so the two guys who are most likely to see another one are Bill and Tom, because I don't think there would be too many of these that ever got south of the Mason Dixon line, and fewer that would still be on the water today. Our goal when finished, is to have "an original 1966 condition 20' fiberglass Chris Craft Sea Skiff" to dock along side our 1966 38 Commander. If the restoration is good enough, I'll be taking this one to the Mt. Dora 2008 boat show. The ACBS recognizes any boat of 1968 or older as a "Modern Classic" and I suspect there will be a lot of pretty informed boaters down there who have never even seen one of these low production boats. Most people would fail the test when asked "did Chris Craft ever build a fiberglass Sea Skiff". The correct answer is "yes" happy.gif

I am very impressed with the integrity and sensible construction used on this boat. It is VERY STRONG, and it is built EXACTLY like the Commander series. It has transverse and longitudinal hollow fiberglass box beams, just like a Commander. There is NO WOOD that comes in contact with water. The engine stringers are wood, but they are free standing heavy timber pieces that span from fiberglass to fiberglass.

Encapsulated marine plywood has been bonded to the inner wall of the fiberglass hull with polyester fiberglassed straps, to serve as a medium to screw into and hold those vinyl finish panels. They all look perfectly preserved.

The windshield has to come off in order to get the minor pitting out of the aluminum frame. The upholstry (seats) will be a pretty easy job, and it will have to match the motor box (which is presently intact, but needing a top and needing a through going over to tighten everything up.

I'm not sure if the motor will have to come out at this point or not. I was optimistic when I got it started, but the freeze plugs are steel and rusted out(the 327 block is an automotive transplant) and they are darn near impossible to get at because the motor mounts are in the way. The new Paragon transmission is a beast, and it won't fit onto the motor without the motor being lifted, so it looks like I'm in for a weekend of wrestling with some big iron. Not sure just how that's going to be done, but rest assured, "it will be done". happy.gif

Janet spent the day at the lake house with her family, and she said early this morning, "you have to work on the boat today". I smiled when I heard that, and I asked her to repeat it so I could savor the moment, ha !

I'll post some photos later this eve when I get a chance to upload them.

Regards, Paul

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After a year of restoration work, part time here and there, this is the almost end result. The windshield isn't installed yet, but as you can see, she's a runner! happy.gif I discovered the motor is actually an automotive block, with higher compression than the 8.0:1 Chris Craft 327F, this one has 8.5:1 and the lowest power rating for that motor was 250-hp. This boat will FLY !!
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Here are more brochures
http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840/message/1170963414

Here's what one sounds like (mine being test run while on the trailer)







July 2009 UPDATE: New Videos and Photos ! The boat is running great, and gets compliments where-ever we go. I have yet to compound out the hull and get the Chris Craft script rechromed.

Quiet morning July of 2009, birds were chirping, then the 327F was fired up.
Turn up your speakers for this one, even though it's a small block, it is a BEAST !


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Here she is July 2009 at speed on the Cumberland, in front of Alan Jackson's fish camp.









    
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on May 16, 2012 6:59 PM


 
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