In January Woody Boater published a story featuring the wonderful, fresh photography of Robert & Linda Miracle. For the story, Matt created a banner which highlighted a very nice Chris-Craft Sea Skiff, based on a Robert Miracle photograph.
We received a number of positive comments and e-mails from viewers about the Sea Skiff in the banner and thought it would be fun to learn more about the boat and it’s owners. With Robert Miracle’s help, we were able to get in touch with the owners, Alan & Faye Smith in South Carolina and what a great story it is – Here’s the story in their own words…
Alan Smith is the Great-Grandson of Christopher Columbus Smith who, along with his brother Hank established Chris Smith and Sons Boat Company in 1922. The company changed it’s name to the Chris Craft Corporation in 1930. One of Christopher Columbus Smith’s many sons was BERNARD (pronounced BER-nerd, not BerNARD). Bernard’s oldest son was Charles Christopher Smith who was Alan’s father. The current Chris Smith is the youngest son of Bernard. Chris and Alan were very close in age and were raised more as cousins or brothers than as Uncle and Nephew. Alan was the only one of his generation (4th generation) to work full time for Chris Craft. During Alan’s time working for Chris-Craft, he worked in Algonac, MN and Pompano Beach, FLA. A lot of the others worked part-time or after school jobs or summer jobs, but not full time employees.
“SmithSkiff” is a 1957 22 foot Chris Craft Sea Skiff. It was manufactured in Salisbury, Maryland in the winter of 1957 for a delivery to Northern Michigan in December making the skiff a 1958 Model. The hull number (meaning the production number) of the boat is SK 22-2165. Broken down, the letter designation of “SK” stands for Sea Skiff. The 22 in the number tells the length of the boat and the 2165 is the actual number of the boat off the production line.
Sea Skiffs were made as a cheap, throw away fishing boat. It has a mahogany frame, oak ribs, and fir plywood. Each of the plywood planks are screwed into each rib and frame with clinch nails used between the ribs. The lapstrake hull (meaning overlapping planks) was sealed inside and out. The boats came with different color hulls and the buyer had a choice of color. The earlier boats came with a Chris Craft K engine, later, as in our year, a Chris Craft 283 was an option. The inside of the hull (called ceilings) were sometimes planked over with mahogany, making the boat a “Ranger” model.
Our boat was purchased in Georgia. We first saw it on the internet and stopped by to look at it on a trip to the mountains. It was love at first sight. The boat is 90 percent original with the exception of the engine. The engine that came with the boat had been run in salt water and not maintained, it was a Chris-Craft 283. We decided to replace the old tired engine with a 350 for better speed and safety.
Other than hull and bottom paint every couple of years and annual attention to the mahogany brightwork (Bow topside, seats, covering boards, transom, and engine cover), the boat needs little attention. Actually far less attention than a fiberglass boat if is maintained properly.
It is a fun boat…. Perfect for hauling the grandchildren on skis, puttering to a picnic in one of the coves, and trying to outrun slower boats…. We have a wonderful boat.
(I also asked Faye Smith about the new book they created, named Transoms….Painting names on history)
Faye Smith commented… I had an idea a few years ago while at the Hessel boat show. We (the cousins and I) bantered around the idea for a while until we finally got serious. Between the 5 of us (Chris’ son Mark and his wife Alice, and Chris’ daughter Joy, Alan and I) we got busy, made our plan, and developed the concept and published the book. The book came out the first week of December in time for Christmas. Volume 2 is now in the planning stages.
If anyone is interested in ordering a copy (or 100) of “TRANSOMS” they may do so by emailing : [email protected] or by Sending a request in writing to:
608 Crescent Dr.
Holland, MI 49423
The books are $35.00 per copy plus shipping
We would like to invite anyone with a wooden boat or just an interest in wooden boats to contact us. We would like nothing better than to rendezvous on the lake for a picnic. If you are interested contact us by email at [email protected]
Alan and Faye Smith
Thanks Alan & Faye for sharing your story with us and we look forward to seeing you at a boat show in the future, and going for a ride in your beautiful, classic Sea Skiff.
The photos for this story were provided courtesy of Robert & Linda Miracle, at Miracle Photography in South Carolina.