We extend to you a cordial "WELCOME ABOARD !" Come on in, make yourself at home, we are a friendly group of enthusiasts, and we also appreciate the classic Chris Craft Roamer, Corsair, and Lancer boats too , as they are all on the same family tree and share much in common !
45' Commander Tournament Fisherman (major refurbishing work under way now!)
June 13 2006 at 2:22 AM
Paul (no login)
I'm sure regular readers of the forum know Bill Thomas has acquired a Chris Craft Commander 45’ Tournament Fisherman, and he’s in the process of bringing the boat up to a high standard of finish. Here are some photos, hot off the press, and they speak volumes. I've often said "a photo is worth a thousand words" and these photos not only tell a story about the design and manufacture of the boat, they tell a lot about what it takes to own, maintain, restore, and refurbish one too. The boat appears to be in excellent overall condition, and in the hands of a good owner like Bill, is sure to be the pride of the fleet once again in the near future.
Projects like this separate the men from the boys pretty quickly, and just looking at that magnificent hull gives me some idea of the work, cost, and total commitment it takes to pull something like this off.
Seeing a 45 on a trailer like this, sure shows off the massive proportions of this boat.
Thanks Bill, for sharing this daunting project with everyone. We see photos of lots of great looking boats, but on occasion we get an inside peek at what it really takes to make them look so good.
It takes more than cash to take on a project like this and do it to a high standard. It’s like running a military campaign; lots of coordination, logistic problems everywhere, sourcing the proper parts and obtaining them in the proper time sequence, finding craftsmen who can help, doing lots of the work yourself, and having the personal knowledge about the boat. Oh yes, one more thing, bring lots of cash too, because everything about a boat is expensive, and when they come this big the issues are compounded.
These boats represent the height of Chris Craft Tournament Fisherman history, they’re very strong and they represent one of the nicest designs you’ll find anywhere. Of course they represent a tremendous value too. They don’t wash themselves, nor do they repair themselves, so that’s where the owners have to step up to the plate and take action to maintain the breed.
The boat probably has not received this much attention since it rolled out of the Chris Craft plant, but rest assured, there were a heck of a lot of man-hours and TLC put into the manufacture of this hull. Human hands were all over this one.
You certainly have my admiration and respect, Bill, not only for doing the job well, but for knowing “how” to negotiate through the minefield of problem solving it takes to actually get something like this under way. Congratulations, we’re anxious to see photos from time to time as the work progresses!
Some of the most fun times I've had working on projects, were taking on the big ones that seemed so difficult. When I look back I remember the experience, but some of the times I wished I'd taken a little more time to really savor the moment. Projects like this one are special, I hope you're stepping back and enjoying what has to be a heck of a lot of work (and hopefully fun too).
Regards, all the best,
FXA 38 3004 R
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Jun 13, 2006 2:26 AM
Re: 45' Commander Tournament Fisherman (major refurbishing work under way now!)
June 13 2006, 7:22 AM
Paul, your comments on Bill's boat ring true to my ears. Bringing these behemoths back to life is more than a cash commitment. Believe it or not, there is an emotional toll as well. There is elation and dissapointment, pride of ownership and thoughts of selling.
I have been restoring ours for a year now and we have spent a boat load of cash on her. Just when you think that the project is finished for the year, something else pops up. For instance, we now have a phantom leak that is letting apprx 20 gallons of water into the bilge overnight. Can't find it anywhere. Not coming from thru hull fittings, not coming from fresh water tanks or lines, not coming from black water tank or lines, not coming from anywhere we can see. Very concerning and quite frustrating.
Regardless, Bill, you have a fine boat and it is nice to know a sister ship is located here on LSC. Ours is docked at Jefferson Beach, E-125. At what marina are you docked? Looks like it could be Algonac Harbour Club. BTW, there is another boat like ours being refurbished up at Marine City. Saw it this winter via a friend of mine that has a 42 Commander, Don Endres. Hope to see you on the water.
Take a look at your muffler's and see if the drain plug is out had this happen to me. On our 42 the water would come in the exhaust pipe and into the muffler through the drain and into the boat .
if you could put something at a given test location that would be an indicator, that would tell which way water was migrating, then you could focus in on the location. Not sure I'd recommend food coloring in the water, but it would show a signature if water were flowing "from" the coloration. Naturally water will flow toward the bilge pumps, so in order to check the location of the inflow, you may have to shut off bilge pumps for a period of closely supervised time.
Kind of my idea too, Paul. I have some sandbags that I use for sighting in my hunting weapons. These are about the size of 1 pound bags of flour but slimmer. I intend to build three dams, one behind each bilge pump. That should sufficiently islolate the area of seepage. Afterwhich, we can concentrate our efforts on finding the "damn" water. Will advise as progess is obtained.
Finally found the leak. It was the on the water discharge side of the starboard engine. While changing out the gear drive on the tranny to correct a malfunctioning tachometer/synchronizer, I notice a stream of water flowing from rubber connecting sleeve. After contorting myself around the 6-92 to the hull side of the engine I was able to tighten the two hose clamps and extinquish the leak.
The reason we couldn't find the leak all this time is that it only occurs when the engines had been run or are running. Once they are shut down, the water build up in the engine slowly drained out this compromised seal. Those baby's hold lots of water. Now to bleach out the bilge, suck out the remaining water with a shop vac, deodorize and relax.
....always fun! I can get to the outboard side of my 427s but the entry and exit is a combination of ballet and gymnastic strength moves to avoid breaking anything. Good job, glad you were able to find it and fix it yourself! Always satisfying.
your boat sure looks great. I am also running a 45sf here in daytona beach. Were you ever able to determine the manufacturer of the large glass engine sea strainers? I need to pull mine apart but cant find gasket kit. I can sure relate about the neverending attention the boat demands, but you have got to love it to do it. One interesting thing about these boats is the neophytes inability to identify it. The people on my dock have mistaken it for a Hatt,. Viking and even a Rybo. But they sure do know their searays and silvertons Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated thanks. Paul
I've been aboard this one, it's extremely well maintained, and it is good condition too. It recently circumnavigated Lake Superior, and I doubt if it broke into a sweat doing so.
I have not heard from Bill Thomas in a while, recently sent him an email saying "how you doing, hope all is well" sort of thing. I'm hoping he, his family, and his boat are all doing well. I know this has been a long term project for him, and it was looking like the boat would be splashed this season. I hope he's offshore somewhere burning diesel right now!!
On a very minor side note, if you don't mind, please add a last name initial or some addl ID to your handle, so people can tell us apart when we two Pauls post, many thanks.
What is wrong with the cores? Mine are 30 years old and still in good shape. If you are talking about them being very difficult to use that is correctable. Dissasemble the valve by removing the 3 to 4 brass screws on the side of the ball valve. Remove the plate, tension screw and move open to close positions while pulling out. Inspect for cracks. Here is the trick. use some emery cloth and lightly dress sand the interior of the valve and all backing plates. Now Grease the valve with waterproof grease, or some use vasilene. Re install ball valve and i would recommend replacing the screw with new barass screws and lock washers ( found at any good hardware store) and install with a little greas on the threads. Now every 2 yerars re grease. Mine work like new valves. I have used grease on these fittings many times on other boats. As for new ball cocks guts i will make some calls.
They are the orig. groco bronze valve body with a cylindrical black rubber core with a fused bronze handle to the rubber. The rubber does degrade with 30 years use, and sure would like to find a supplier for cores rather than replace all sea cocks. I clean and lube every couple of years , but soon will need new cores. Thanks for the response...JG
The cores to the valves dont seem to be avaliable any longer. I am doing som research. Maybee we should ask other memebers to do a maraina sweep for old units? I havent given up yet and will keep you posted.
I just had the boat mechanic remove one of my originals, I hope that he didnt toss them. On the other hand I am torn between a single unit and seperate seacock and strainer. The old grocos will rot on the inside an the bronze seems to turn brittle.
Probable for cost reasons go with seperate sea strainers the original style ( if avaliable ) is more money. The one or two i have added have been seperated. You can also put the strainer where it is more convient for cleaning.
Didn't really want to get into this, but here is a long-winded explanation of what was involved in moving the boat.
Thursday we took the boat from the boathouse in Marine City to Algonac Harbor where we used the Travel Lift hoist to lift off the hardtop and set it on the foredeck. Algonac Harbor is the site of the original Chris-Craft plant. See http://algonacharbourclub.com The hardtop was made by Merritts in Florida, and it is heavy. Then back to the boathouse in Marine City to remove the new pipework which is mostly a duplication of the original Pipewelders (Florida) but actually a much nicer job than the original. The pipework was done by James Dearborn of Towers Unlimited of West Michigan. This guy is an artist, and he will travel to you. See http://www.towersunlimited.com/
Friday morning to Mac Rays to haul the boat and set it on the trailer. Then we used the big forklift (for launching go-fast boats) to lift the hardtop off the foredeck and set it on jackstands, to be trailered to the shop later. That trailer is the largest hydraulic trailer Con-O-Lift makes, and it was brought from the west side of Michigan to do this haul and one other large boat into the same shop. If you look closely at the photo of the boat on the trailer, you can see the bottom of the boat below the trailer and almost touching the ground. These 45TF's are deep boats. Setting the boat without a hoist at the shop requires a hydraulic trailer. See http://www.macray.com/harbor/default.asp
The boat was trailered to a secret location where it will be for at least a few months, probably longer.
All this was stressful but went well. Everyone involved including Greg at Algonac Harbor, the guys at Mac Rays, Chad the trucker, and the guys at the shop were good, professional, and absolutely competent. Unusual today. I also had a lot of help from my Marine City friend, Mike, who retired a couple of years ago from 35 years on the lake freighters. His last position was Relief Captain on the Paul R. Tregurtha, the largest freighter on the Great Lakes. For a look at Mike's boat see http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/prtrgrth.htm
Setting the hardtop on the foredeck:
Edit comment, photos archived.
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Sep 13, 2006 1:16 PM
You can't just take a break in the middle of this job either! Once you start, you have to stay with it. Lots of planning, cash, and committment.
People look at boats sitting around in marinas and most of them don't have a clue what's really required to service or restore/refurbish one this size. Thanks again for sharing the photos and info, Bill, this is some really good stuff.
Interesting links too.
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Jun 13, 2006 12:14 PM
I forgot to include a lot of others involved, such as a door guy who was waiting at the shop if the doorway needed more clearance - it did and he had to cut some cement blocks on the sides (diamond saw)and move the door away at the top to get the boat in. Also there was a lead truck to block traffic where the boat had to weave between traffic signals, trees, and wires. Again, these guys really knew what they were doing. I haven't seen the bill yet.
the trucks are a lot nicer today - here is Chad at the wheel:
Edit comment: Note from Chad added below ( New Telephone Number ) !!
I just realized looking through this forum, that the wrong phone number is on our truck.
If anyone is looking to contact Nautic Marine Transport, our number has changed from 248-673-4665 to 586-330-2200. We moved to Algonac, MI the summer of 2006 and work out of Sassy Marina ( Top notch facility). Our web site remains the same.
edit: photo archived
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Nov 24, 2007 6:09 PM This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Sep 13, 2006 1:17 PM
found one more photo on my digital camera - boat on the trailer in front of the shop - this photo really shows the lines of the 45tf, especially with all the rails and other things removed. The gray paint on the foredeck and bridge is AwlGrip 545 epoxy primer over a lot of glasswork.
edit: photo archived
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Sep 13, 2006 1:18 PM
I saw that posted somewhere on the forum, the 45 TF is really the tour-d'-force of the Commander line, and it may be the best design of all. Seeing the photos is quite an education, because I was not really all that much aware of the 45 TF in the first place, and I had no idea they had such a huge battering ram of a hull. Just beautiful. Bill, and Terry, you guys have a pair of great looking boats! Thank you for posting the photos!
If I could get some detail or close-up pictures of the galley.I don't think my salon will allow me to put the stove as it appears in the brochure. My electrical panel is located there. It appears as if the galley was on the starboard side as there is plumbing on that side in the wall.
Hope you and Donna are doing well. Just saw the link, looked through some of the photos, and they are a great documentation of the boat. Thanks for posting the info, it's of interest to all Commander owners, and worth its weight in gold for anyone working on a 45.
In a day or two I'll scan the CC brochure images big enough to post in this thread.
Over the winter I will be adding a lot of new photos. Some of older projects and some of things we are undertaking this winter. A few of our winter projects are block heaters, clensing the heat exchangers, possibly a new swim platform, new air conditioner and changing over to digital thermostats.
On another note, did you happen to attend any of the PCA events this fall. I found a new passion at a DE here in Detroit. Looking for a club racer this winter to get in shape for an 08 campaign.
Sounds like you have some boat work to keep you busy over the winter. Every boy needs a hobby, ha! From what I know about you, you don't let any moss grow under your feet, and neither do I
As for the PCA events, yes indeed, I actually hosted an event this season at Cedar Creek Yacht Club (our second annual "Wheels and Keels" rendezvous). I have not attended the local drivers meetings held at the race tracks for awhile.
Club racing can be tons of fun. I suspect you'll be going for a rear engine car, but the 944 is also a superb chassis for the track, and we have several guys here in this area who race them (as well as the 911 series, of course). All the best on the campaign. I love to attend the historic and vintage racing series, and SCCA finals, and the Walter Mitty.
Hope your Thanksgiving was a good one. Donna and I spent all day cooking for just the two of us. One of our nicer Turkey days in years.
Thanks for the video, I have saved it to my Favorites. Also the 944's are lots of fun. I have an 84 natural aspirated and an 86 turbo. Both were great cars. In fact, the 86 probably saved my life. A girl trying to maintain her baby in the passenger seat without a baby seat, crossed the center line and stuck me head on. It happened so fast that I barely had time to defect a direct hit. The car crumpled but the cockpit remained intact. After being cut out, I had no injuries and walked away. So, not only are they quick, they are safe.
just joined this forum, have a 1973 45 tf now since feb 1992, had your message has interest to me, i think it is time for heat exchanger work for me, at wot temp continues to climb, & it never did this...
I also find in summer (long island sound) i have to drain out the 50/50 out & put pure water as best i can, and nalcool. It runs about 10degrees cooler.
anyway i have been putting this off for 4-5 years and it is time..as summer goes on & makes the water temp of sound increase, i can see engine water temp approach 190-195
know the detroits do not like to run hot
did you have a nightmare pulling the exchangers? did bolts break? have heard horror stories. Of course salt water here!
this boat also has exhaust temp gauges and i notice port runs hotter, (the port is also the engine that runs hotter by 5-10 deg)i have as you probably do too, large gate valves w/ square nut that act as bypass for sea water, as i can see they limit the amount of sea cooling water (i think) to the exhaust elbows & muffller systems. this adjustment i dont think has an effect on engine cooling, but just exhaust temp. in other words, increasing the flow would only decrease the bypass quantity of water & lower the muffler/exhaust temp but not the engine temp.
by the way, nice boat you have, it is what we wish our outside looks like
Thanks for the pic's. My 45TF has 3 state rooms with the galley up except it was removed before I bought it. The port side is were I see the galley located in the brochures on the port side set up in an island arrangement. This doesn't seem possilbe on my boat because the electrical control and switch gear is located against the port wall where the stove looks to be and there is no plumbing on that side of the boat. I'm starting to wonder if this was custom built, no galley from the factory. I'm at a loss. I have even gotten build sheets that show the galley up models on the port side with a bar.
Restoration almost complete, X-mas week planned launch date.Hope to view fireworks show from offshore New Years eve.......
Good luck. It almost sounds like they gutted the galley and added a stateroom. Regardless, you will absolutely love that boat. Your moments of privacy will be few when pulling into new marinas. The 45's attract a crowd.
I thought I had some hardcopy I could scan for you, but can not seem to find what I am looking for. In the interim here is an enlargement of the photos already posted, but as you can see, they're starting to pixelate. I'll continue to hunt and if I find anything I'll post it here and forward a copy to your email address.
For comparison, here is the interior of a 42, from the brochure material. Thought this might be of interest too.
I'm adding this last image here because I noticed somethng about the range, etc., in the galley. If you are going to replace the range or redo the galley in any way, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND making the new range flush with the rest of the adjacent surfaces, and not a "drop down" as commonly seen. By doing so, you can place a wine glass halfway over the edge of the counter top and halfway onto the range top, without any danger of tipping, etc., and it makes the whole installation a lot more user friendly.
The photo below is from our 1966 38 Commander Express galley conversion, which was necessary due to the fact that the owner doesn't like worn out plastic laminate, and the old Princess range door was badly sprung, would not stay closed, and had the bad habit of slamming down while we were under way. This photo was during the installation, before final touch-up and clean up. It has since served us very well.
Interesting story. The 45 TF pictures (red curtains) (galley up) in this brochure is the personal boat belonging to then Chris Craft president Dick Genth. When he was hired away from Wellcraft, one of the perks was he could have any new Chris Craft boat he wanted (free) and he chose this 45 TF. He named it "Sorcerer" I think he owned it until 1985-86. I use to see it at the Chris Craft dealer meetings in Sarasota, FL