If you think your runabout restoration project is overwhelming, think again. Take a look at some of the 50′ plus wooden yachts on the water today, and the work (and multi-year long journey) that has gone into their restoration, upkeep, ongoing maintenance and operation. I am of course biased toward the Chris-Craft Constellations, but there are a multitute of these amazing vessels on the water today, including the better knowns such as Trumpy, Burger, and Huckins, and some of the lesser knowns, such as Johnson Bros, Wheeler Shipyard and Consolidated. Many of these yachts have been painstakingly restored to their original glory…as anyone who has restored a wooden boat of any size can attest, this is an enormous task and very expensive undertaking.
So it is with great respect and admiration for the designers, builders, and current owners that we pay tribute here to some of these incredible yachts from yesteryear.
Regarding the Chris-Craft Constellation, my favorites are the 55′ and 57′ Connies from the 1950s and 1960s. One of the best sites I have seen devoted any one specific classic boat is Tom Kenny’s “Independence”, at http://www.ftkltd.com/, which covers in rich detail his 55′ 1961 Constellation. If you want to learn something about the restoration of one of these giants, this is a fantastic resource (in fact a great resource for wood boat restoration in general; see his list of links, books and other resources). Tom is nearing the end of his journey and will soon be cruising the Independence and savoring I am sure every minute. At about $90,000 in 1961, the Constellation was the megayacht of that era.
Hull Planking Repairs on Independence
55′ Chris-Craft Constellation 1961, Independence
55′ Johnson Bros 1964 Flush Deck Cockpit Motoryacht
63′ Trumpy 1939
65′ Wheeler Shipyar 1931 Raised Pilothouse Motoryacht
80′ Consolidated Shipbuilding Corp. 1937