Fellow Woody Boater Francis Hopkinson picked up what could be a very special find. But he has questions. Here is his story.
I purchased a 1929 Chris-Craft 20ft Triple cockpit, model 100. Chris-Craft did not offer the model 100 until 1930, and the hull numbers start with 7001. My hull number is 7000. This is in quite a few places on the hull, stringers, floorboards, seats, hatches, etc. And on the plate under the engine hatch.
The Mariners Museum has no record of a hull 7000. I believe it is a prototype, partially due to the hull number and because the instruments (tach, oil, amp) are mounted directly on the wood dashboard, with no metal surround plate, as the 100s had.
The plate on the inside of the engine hatch shows an engine number of 00225. The engine has the number D225M stamped in it, so I am guessing it is the original engine. The engine itself has no plate on it, no maker information. The distributor is marked Chrysler, so I am guessing it is a version of the KM engine, which the 100s came with.
With the boat I received a letter, written in 1995, by the widow of the third owner, giving some history. It seems that the boat was impounded in Canada for rum-running during prohibition, and spent its entire life in Canada until I bought it in November of 2018.
I also have a photo showing the boat at some earlier time with the registration number 48E-394 on the bow. Is this Canadian? Ontario? Can it be traced?
I would like very much to have any records from the Chris-Craft company (like a hull card) or documents indicating that it was a prototype, etc. If anybody has a way to track down the registration number that would be very helpful.
I have written to a gentleman who has written books about liquor smuggling on Lake Erie during prohibition to see if he can shed any light on the rum-running story. This story has credibility because there is no seat in the rear cockpit, but rather a hatch covering the whole cockpit and fashioned to look like the rest of the boat (i.e. mahogany with grooves, chrome piano hinge, handle, trim.) The hatch area follows the lines of the engine hatches and shape. From a distance it looks like it was part of the original design.
Below is a bullet list of her history.
HISTORY OF CHRIS-CRAFT HULL NUMBER 7000
1929 20 FT TRIPLE COCKPIT RUNABOUT MODEL 100
Built 1929 (engine casting date August 29, 1929)
Used for liquor transport from Erieau, Ontario, to Cleveland, Ohio, sometime between spring of 1930 and fall of 1933 (end of Prohibition).
Caught and impounded, date unknown..
Sold at auction in Erieau to Sam Scoyne of Blenheim, Ontario – probably in late 1930s.
Scoyne moves to Port Stanley, Ontario, in 1952.
Sold to Robert Dempsey of Port Stanley, Ontario, in 1952.
Used by Dempsey family for many years, probably until Mr. Dempsey’s death in 1974.
Boat was named “Miss Maureen” after the Dempsey’s daughter. Boat was in storage for many years. Maureen died in 1991.
Mrs. Dempsey sold boat in 1995 to Ron Hall, of Chester, Nova Scotia. Mr. Hall began an overhaul of the boat, removing engine, seats, ceilings, floorboards, etc. Some work was done on the engine, and much new chroming was done, but he eventually lost interest.
Ron Hall sold boat in 2006 to James Matthew Durnford, who planned to complete the overhaul. Mr. Durnford never got around to the project.
The boat was sold to Francis Hopkinson, Jr., of St. Michaels, Maryland, on November 27, 2018.