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 !
I just bought a 55 Commander and steamed her home to the Chesapeake Bay. I am looking for experience as to how I can replace the furniture in the upper salon area? This boat has a totally enclosed upper deck and was thinking that maybe a window had to be removed. The lower salon has a large hatch that I guess will have to be pulled out to replace engines and appliances so that is an easy one but the upper???
Hey we're always happy to see another 55 showing up.
Forty Three of these big cruisers were built between 1970 and 1977, all with what appears to be 8V-71N power. Weight is listed as 51,783 pounds. Length overall, 55', beam 16'-5", and draft 45".
Being a 1976 model yours is undoubtedly near the end of the production run, which is a good thing because any issues uncovered with the early boats would have been dealt with on yours. Do you know what serial number you have, we'll establish where it is in the production run.
Regarding the furniture on the upper helm, there are only a few ways in and out and the man-door access point is the prime suspect now. We have seen booms extended into cabins through windows for engine removal, etc. but to actually haul something out the size of a sofa I would think you should buy a couple six packs of beer and announce you need a little help to some of your extra fit friends, and enlist then to wiggle the contents out of the door without having to dismantle anything.
Contents will come out in pieces you know, so getting the contents out is not really the problem. Getting nice new appointments in will be an issue, but in some cases the items can be broken down to fit. In the end if you must, some of the enclosure can be removed to gain access but I would work extra hard to avoid that if possible. Send us some photos if you have a particular entry point you are looking at and I am sure there is someone here on THE FORUM who has already dealt with similar issues due to one reason or another.
The serial id # is Faa-55-0042F which I believe puts me seecond to the last one built, she has been kept in a shed since 1982 and overall she has a very miniscule amount of rot and the area around the windows is in great condition. We are looking forward to moving on her full time in the next couple months for a year or so while we renovate our historic home. I will snap some pictures to show the areas of entry. The boat is very familiar to the 77 that was posted on here for sale a while ago. Having been around high end sportfishers most of my boating career I must say I am incredibly impressed with the quality of the Chris carft of this era.
Hull #43 of the 55 foot Commanders is alive and well. In fact it sold last month for $38,000. That's right, just $38k. The boat was located in New Bern, North Carolina and was owned by the estate of an elderly gentleman who recently passed away. If you're a YachtWorld junkie like I am, always on the look-out for a big Commander (but unfortunately not actually in the market for one), you may have seen the listing.
It was originally listed for $89k. I spoke to the broker several months ago who told me that the estate had accepted an offer for $75k but the buyer could not come up with the funds and the deal feel through. The asking price was later dropped to $69k. I called the broker again to find out what was going on and he told me the boat had just sold that day for $38k. Apparently there were some issues with the engines as it would not go more than 8 to 10 knots and there was the usual disagreement between the buyer's and seller's mechanics as to what might be wrong. The estate wanted to be rid of it so it sold "where is, as is".
I actually ordered the hull card from the Mariner's Museum. The hull card is dated 22 Feb 1977 and it was originally delivered to Rex Marine Center in South Norwalk, CT.
What I especially liked about the boat was that it had an all Mahogany interior. Earlier hull numbers did not have this feature. The wood needed to be re-finished and it had mauve carpeting. All in all, it did not look like it would take too much work to bring it back to it's former glory. Then again, I didn't see it in person! The interior layout was exactly like MJ IV which I believe was hull #41 and owned by Paul Mathias' parents.
Good eye Keith.................thanks for the data on #43
July 24 2012, 11:55 AM
It is amazing that we now know where #41, 42, and 43 are located.
One thing about the diesels, they are like one of the cars I have called a Porsche 928. Last time in the shop it cost me $3800. You can buy em cheap, but buddy when it comes to working on them, you can learn what "bite the bullet" is all about. If you bought a 55 that was well cared for mechanically then it should run for a long time, but not without an annual budget. Running without an annual budget for proper care is running on borrowed time on diesels (and 928s). Now if you happened to buy one on the cheap that would be great, but if (if) the motors were not cared for properly then you could be faced with a very large repair or repowering issue. All said and done, however, once fixed you would have the pride of the fleet, no doubt!
Keith, the boat you are referring to is the boat I just purchsed! It is hull ID #42 not 43 and has a teak interior instead of mahogany like hull # 43. Most of the facts you stated are 100% correct other than that. She is now berthed in Havre de Grace Maryland where she will be my home for the next 12 months and then will serve as a B and B on the Chesapeake. The boat is in overall good condition and the woodwork is about an "8" The stateroom and one head had some rot issues that has been repaired and all the hoses coming from the drains have been replaced as these were the demons. With 2 1/2 days prep and three days running we have repaired about 80% of the neglect and with another 3-4 weeks she will have new flooring and curtains as well as new interior paint. I will be sure to post pics as she comes along
Re: You have the penultimate Chris Craft 55 Commander
July 24 2012, 11:55 AM
No I did not, I saw that one one here back in the archives, she was pretty rough and was involved in some sort of nearby boat fire but the gentleman who was selling her got her runnung again and it was advertised at 15k!. The one I bought is named Miracle III and she was an enclosed aft deck with a total teak interior as well
Looks like the yacht broker was selling the boat using photos he may have lifted from another boat.
The photos (of the boat under way) are of the MJ-IV, I know because I got them directly from the Mathias family and published them in my book. This sure seems to represent the MIRACLE-III would perform like the MJ-IV in the photos.
This guy is clearly using the MJ-IV to sell the MIRACLE-III, and I don't see any qualification statement.
Am I wrong?
This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Jul 24, 2012 1:40 PM
I believe you are correct as far as the running picture. The inside photos of the boat are representative of miracle three. In the archives I pulled up Mj and she was laid out a little different and it appeArs she showed some pretty bad smoke damage. Is this correct?
The only history I have on my boat is the fact she was purchased by the 2nd owner back in 1982 and he passed away last year.
Supposedly the boat was the last 55 mega built for the Miami boat show and of course it was the second to last built.
Question for you folks. She has quite an array of outdated equipment at the helm but also has a really neat analog engine monitoring system above the lower helm. Is it worthwhile to restore this analog system and/or outdated electronics? My guess is no on the old jailer and stuff but not so sure on the monitoring stuff. Also is there a place to get the old solidstate engine gauges of this era?
Yes some of the pictures that I took were pirated by the broker. MJ IV was hull 43 and has DD871 TI 435 hp. She was the last 55 built and a 1977, has a teak interior, factory enclosed deckhouse with line handling deck aft, and a factory flying bridge. She was never involved with a fire. Her name as changed an she in now in Florida with her new owners. My father still keeps in contact with them.
Paul A. Mathias
Thanks for the clarification regarding the 55 Commanders. I have been building a (somewhat limited) database of 55 Commanders and appreciate getting the record straight.
My source of information on Chris' boat was the Yacht World listing, and while it is gone now, I was fairly sure the broker had advertised it as hull #43. I didn't notice Chris' post that said it was hull #42. My notes had MJ IV as hull #41, not sure why. So this was how I got off track regarding hull numbers.
When I first talked to the broker, I asked him about the 2 pics of the boat running at speed and he did admit that they weren't the actual boat in the listing. I spotted that they were MJ IV from the pics I kept when it was listed a few years ago.
Chris, if I had realized this was the boat you had purchased, I probably would not have posted the back story that I got from the broker. I'm glad you have been able to work out most of the problems. I think you got a real deal and have to admit I'm a bit envious.
Paul, I have the Mariner's Museum info on hull #43 and I would be happy to send it to the current owner if they don't already have it.
As Forrest would say, "That's all I've got to say about that".'