Although I have never actually met Gil Grant in person, I feel like I have known him for years. We were first introduced to Gil and his beautifully restored 1960 Chris-Craft 25′ Cavalier through Robert Miracle’s camera lens back in 2011, when he was shooting classic boats on Lake Chatuge, Georgia for his website. Since then, Gil’s boat “Wooden Lady” has appeared here in a number of classic boat show reports from Robert Miracle.
Over the years, Robert & Linda Miracle have kindly shared many of their photographs from various boat shows and events with us here at Woody Boater, which we appreciate. The Miracle Photography website is loaded with wonderful classic boat photos, and a wide range of brilliant photography.
These days, classic wooden cruisers are being lost at an alarming rate due to the high cost of maintenance, storage and restoration – some are simply being abandoned by their owners. They are appearing weekly for sale or salvage on the various websites like Craigslist, Ebay, etc and it’s sad to see – but a reality. And once these cruisers are gone, they will never return to be used, seen or appreciated by future generations.
But this isn’t one of those sad cruiser stories. This is a story of a “basket case” wooden cruiser that was saved from the burn pile by fellow Woody Boater Gil Grant. Gil and his boat “Wooden Lady” are well received wherever they go and have gained quite a reputation in the hobby for being a class act. On Saturday we posted a few shots of the boat on our Woody Boater Facebook page and so far it has received more than 5,000 views, 250 likes, 65 shares and more than 20 positive comments.
The same day we posted the photos on Facebook, her owner Gil chimed in with an update on where they have traveled to (partly by trailer) – from her home in DeLand, Florida to the Finger Lakes Region of New York. So we communicated with Gil via Facebook yesterday, and have a fun update to share with you today. One of the best parts about this boat is that it’s big enough to be a cruiser, but small enough to travel by trailer. – Texx
Hi Texx – Thanks for the interest. “Wooden Lady” was brought to Florida from Wisconsin by a girl attending Embry Riddle College in Daytona in 2000, I bought the “basket case” in 2002 from her after they had taken her all apart, down to the hull (sad looking mess).
It took me four and a half years to bring her back to life – on July 4, 2007.
That summer we took her to New York (Wine Country was her first show) then up to party on the Rideau Canal system in Canada, and then more fun in The Thousand Islands. Then back to Western NY and the Buffalo ACBS show in September – then back to Florida.
The “Lady” is probably the most used classic boat in this great hobby. She is in the water almost all the time (St. Johns River) where I live. In 2009 we cruised the Erie Canal and Finger Lakes and met so many great people along the way. She has been in Lakes Erie, Ontario, Chatauqua, Keuka, Seneca, Cayuga, Smith Mountain, Lake Norman, Lake George (NY & FL), Lake Chatuge, Sinclair, Big Rideau, and a few I don’t remember…
Originally powered by a Chris-Craft 283, the 1960 Cavalier now runs a fresh, early 350 CID small block with all the original Chris-Craft parts and manual Paragon transmission – but still looks like the original Chris-Craft 283. Sorry I don’t have interior photos with me, as I am currently in Buffalo for the holidays with family. I will be at Tavares in March for the Sunnyland ACBS show, since it is only about 40 minutes from my home on the St. Johns River.
She has a good size cabin (V berth, dinette, galley, fridge, and head) so when I’m traveling, I can easily live aboard the boat which makes it economical. With all that, she also has a large cockpit (they didn’t waste any space). I also designed a mahogany swim deck that flows off the spray rails.
“Wooden Lady” has won many awards (Best Cruiser or Large Craft and Craftsmanship, Furthest Traveled, etc). I’m looking forward to getting back to Florida in the new year and back on the St. John’s River.
Thanks again for your interest, and hope to see you at Tavares in March.
Thanks for the update Gil – it’s great to hear from you and to know that “Wooden Lady” is being used and cared for once again. Great work!