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Getting bitten by the bug...again?

June 30 2012 at 8:54 AM
Roger  (Login Acadianlion)

Years ago I started my life over, and one of the first fill-in jobs I had was refinishing the topsides of a Thompson 19' lapstrake outboard boat.
My life restarting went pretty well, and about a dozen yeas later I decided I really wanted to be on the water the next summer. I answered an ad in a local sell and swap paper for a Thompson boat that was in a barn way about a hundred miles away. The ad said it had a 100HP Mercury with a bad leg. Lo and behold, it was the same boat I had worked on a dozen years before. In good condition, I put it on a used trailer I found a for cheap a hundred miles in the opposite direction, and brought the Thompson home. A rebuilt 115 Merc and a bunch of hours later with new finish on the deck and hull, she went in the water and I had a great time cruising around Mt. Desert Island and the area for two years.

Then I found the Slickcraft sitting on dunnage in Thomaston for cheap and I had to have it. The Thompson eventually was donated to a boat restoration 501C3 that bitched and moan mightily when they found out they needed to drive 150 miles and back to get the boat...I won't do that again.

The Slickcraft needed a new fuel tank, and a tuneup for the 305 Chevy, and a lot of messing with the OMC sterndrive. I won't do sterndrives again either. But a couple of good years with that boat, which was very ruggedly build and a pretty boat in the water. The final death of the sterndrive prompted the end of that one, and it went to the Owls Head Transportation Museum as a donation. I think someone got a nice boat that with real patience and some money could have been made to roam the bays again.

Then there was an 18' Grady White we had for a year which I sold. Nice boat, but just not quite big enough for where I usually like to go.

We sold off the waterfront a year ago. The time when I was going to put a mooring out in the bay and row a pram out to the boat was gone, and it no longer seemed worth the tax consequences of living on the ocean, so we moved off to this antique farmhouse which we are restoring.

But we are not that far from Penobscot Bay and I am feeling the itch again. I found this forum while investigating the Thompson/Chris Craft connection, after reading that Chris Craft produced some Sea Skiffs in the right size and length, and powered by outboard motors. So, here I am looking for more information. I have much to learn now about which boat if any should be the next one. This seems a good place to do so.

I think the next boat like all those in the past will be on trailers and not spend much time on a mooring anywhere. There are a lot of reasons for this, one of which is the ten miles that I am to the nearest harbor (Belfast). So, as a practical matter the boat will need to be in the 20-23 foot range, most likely, and not be a cabin boat for ease of launching and recovery.

While I am a wood boat type, and have a preference for the ease and simplicity of outboard motors, I have had a tad of experience with inboards. My observation which may be wrong, is that most of the Chris Craft boats with inboards in this size have relatively small fuel capacity. Thirty or forty gallons with a 350 cu in or larger engine isn't much, considering that along the coast of downeast Maine there aren't a lot of fueling points close together. My question is what sort of fuel burn do folks experience with the Sea Skiff and similar boats with inboard engines?

Realistically, I doubt that a new (to me) boat will appear for a year or so, as this house needs to be finished before I can play on the water again. But once the immediate projects are finished, I might get fired out to pour a slab in the back field and start the boat shed project, and the clock will start to run.

Any comments about outboard powered Sea Skiffs would be appreciated.Any encouragement will be appreciated too! So far I am enjoying reading the wealth of information on this site.

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