Today we interrupt our regularly scheduled programming – Countdown to the 2013 Sunnyland Wooden Boat Festival series with Braking News about Captain Grumpy and his latest discovery. Today Captain Grumpy is “Captain Happy!” – At least for a Day!
Fellow Woody Boater Captain Grumpy has the unique ability to sniff out and save classic wooden boats up in the north east (New Hampshire / New England / Massachusetts). Captain Grumpy loves all wooden boats, but has a special love for anything lapstrake and also reasonably priced plywood classics from the 1950’s & 1960’s. Captain Grumpy is like a “wooden boat bloodhound” and can follow the scent of old varnish through snow, rain, wind, heavy bush, you name it… and the other thing he is really good at is that he remembers where they are for years after he first sniffs them out, and then monitors them until he can shake them loose from their owners.
And recently, he found this gem which was located at Riverside Marina, near Squam Lake, New Hampshire. – From what he can find out it’s a (circa 1956) Sears, Roebuck and Company 22-foot Cabin Cruiser Kit Boat (Kit No. 6833). Here’s what Captain Grumpy said in his e-mail…
Texx: I have been trying to buy this thing for 2 months. The marina advertised it as a 1962 Sears Kit Boat. Kind of odd. But we went over to look at it… And here’s what we found. It was tucked away at the marina behind a bunch of other boats…
Well its got a mid 80’s Mercruiser I/O which threw us off the scent for a few minutes… So I thought it may have been butchered. Well I did some checking with the marina for background. And they produced some original paperwork, manuals and even a set of original kit plans labeled August 1956 – 22’ Express Cruiser, some original I/O templates and manuals.
It was built in New Hampshire and the marina was selling it for the original elderly owner. So I bought it and then had to figure out a way to move it in the middle of winter from the marina and get it home.
I plan on just cleaning the boat up and hope to have her ready to use this summer. I spoke to the 75 year old son of the original builder yesterday. He confirmed it was built in 1956 from the Sears, Roebuck Kit made by Chris-Craft. He also said the boat started out with a single outboard and they then changed it to an I/O in 1962 and repowered it in 1995.
Well normally our first thought would be “Where have we heard that before?” – But hey, this is Captain Grumpy talkin’ here, and if he says she will be ready for next summer, there’s a good chance it will be, as he knows his stuff when it comes to these old classics. – Texx
Now I don’t know much about these old kit boats, but imagine what it was like back in the mid 1950’s to walk in to your local Sears, Roebuck store and actually order a kit boat, and then take delivery of a crate full of wood and fasteners, etc delivered to your back yard or garage, and then take on the challenge of putting one of these things together with a set of blueprints and paper diagrams? Here are a few photographs Captain Grumpy sent us – Like buying a boat from Ikea…
And after a winter of working in your garage with the stove going and a few dim lightbulbs, your new boat is ready to hit the water for the first time with the wife and kids, and Uncle Harry and his wife for a summer of fun cruising…
So the burning question we have to ask is “If you could walk in to Sears (or your local hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot, or even Ikea) and order a kit boat like this today, and then build it yourself in your garage or workshop from a set of paper blueprints and diagrams – would you be up for the challenge?
Congratulations to Captain Grumpy for saving another old wooden classic and thanks again for sharing this story with us here at Woody Boater. We look forward to seeing her back in the water this summer.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming and the countdown to the 2013 Sunnyland Wooden Boat Festival in Tavares, Florida.