Last year at the big Gull Lake Woods And Water event, we were lucky enough to meet up Dean Kent with and his cousin Wiley Mayne and had a chance to go out and photograph there cool boats. A 25 Sportsman and a very cool Blue Rocket. Wow. What a lucky bunch of kids, and had some fun running the boats out there on the lake.
Wow, it seems like it was yesterday, but we are already coming up on another Gull Lake Show. Dang, this is just a small taste of some of the goodies that come out to play in that neck of the woods. Here is the story about the Rocket, which belonged to there Great Grandfather Irving Sr years before. The story is below from Deans own finger tips.
My Great Grandfathers Chris Craft Rocket
I grew up around wooden boats. Sometimes I would go to our local boat shows, but it wasn’t until around my high school years that I found boats to be very fascinating. When I was in college, my cousin and I started talking about restoring a boat. A boat that came to mind was the boat my great grandfather, Irving Sr. owned, a 1947 Chris Craft Rocket. We thought we knew who the owner was, but when I called him, he informed me he had sold it to someone in the St. Paul area. After searching, we found out who the owner was. Eventually he put it up for sale after some minor restorations. After some talking with owner, I finally traveled to St. Paul, cash in hand, and made a deal in 2009.
The boat looked nice, but still was a major project. In the summers that my great grandfather had owned the Rocket (around 10 years), he kept it on a mooring buoy. It was used and abused by my grandfather, Irving Jr. and his brothers. They used it for skiing, fishing, transportation, and whatever other trouble they could get into with a boat. Family legend always said that it was a “leaky” boat. Since it didn’t have an electric bilge pump, someone had to psychically swim out to the boat and bail the water out of it with a bucket or manually driving it around for a while to release the water out of the syphon bailer.
Along with being the family ski boat, my grandfather was accused of monopolizing the Rocket when he was dating my grandmother. My grandmother’s lake cabin was on the other side of the lake, and Irving Jr. would frequently drive the boat over there in the summer. He would beach the boat, so it wouldn’t sink, and stay there until he was told to go home before the that “leaky boat” sinks!
The family history behind the Rocket may have been the biggest reason I decided to buy this particular boat. It is also one of the only boats left in the area that was sold by the local Chris Craft dealer. After running it in 2010, it was very apparent to me that it needed a complete engine overhaul. When my mechanic took the Chrysler Ace engine apart, he was amazed it was still running. After the engine was done in 2011, it occurred to me that putting in that engine of a very leaky boat wasn’t such a great idea. It wasn’t until 2012 that I took the boat to Don Danenberg to have a 5200 bottom put on the boat. When I got the boat back in 2013 with a brand new bottom, I worked on restoring the interior of the boat. For the first time in about 60 years, my grandfather got to ride in the boat, and of course drove it around to fulfill his memories. To this day it still has some work to be done before it is fully restored, but after getting it in the water in 2015, this last summer was full of fun and fantastic memories.