We got this question from long time Woody Boater Rocket Man. Take it away Mr R Man!
First let me start by saying this is in no way a knock on Chris Craft runabout design. These boats are an engineering marvel and I love my Rocket. It rides like a Cadillac (where it was built) and is a dream to own. I know this boat inside and out after have done the full restoration myself and experienced all of the quirks of the labor force – all port side bottom screws straight and uniform while the starboard side was erratic and messy (probably one of those off season farmers or something).
I was poking around inside the cockpits (double cockpit forward) and looked under the gunwale and noticed what could be a design flaw or maybe just an oversight ?
What I found was that all step pad support structure is not the same. The forward cockpit step pads – both port and starboard – have a 1 ½ inch thick block under them. The aft cockpit has only the covering board directly underneath it.
This first photo shows the area in question under the gunwale and two of the step pad mounting screws protruding through the covering board.
This photo shows the forward screw protruding with a block just forward of it.
So I am assuming that the blocks that are there were put there to create the proper shape for the framing to help create the curve and also for strength in the stepping area but why on this model was one set directly under the step pad in one case and not in the other ? A design flaw or otherwise ? Seth Katz may have an idea from his Rocket restorations.
BTW – both step pads are in the same dimensional position relative to the cockpit (closer to the rear than middle) and I took great care to put them back in the identical position during the restoration (all was original when I started).
Also there were no drawings available for this model. The hull is very similar to the 17 sportsman but obviously the decking is very different.
I do plan on shoring up the area under the aft cockpit step pads as this is where I usually enter and exit the boat – original or not.
1953 Chris Craft Rocket “Rocket Man”