Algonac and the St Clair area is a living historical hot bed of our culture. Boats like todays feature boat are tucked away and the lifestyle they embody are alive and still going strong. Longtime fellow pal, and Woody Boater Robert Shapton is the absolute perfect person to have found this extremely special boat. WOW. Here is Roberts story. Enjoy.
This was Owen Smiths boat he ordered in 1937 for hunting and fishing. He added extras like the 6 gauge panel, banjo wheel, dual steering, KO engine(Owen wanted an opposite rotation engine for this particular boat house / docking), spray shield, live well (actually has a tandem water pump linked together, one for the engine and one for the bait box), extra framed step pads, additional ventilators (6) and a custom small cabinet below the deck on the port side for shotgun shells and flyfishing stuff. He called the boat Rusty Bill.
It spent it’s entire life on Harsens Island at one of the Smiths boathouses, which was purchased from the widow I got the boat from, this boat was sold with the cottage.
Tom Ayres rebuilt her in 1986 for the Goodwins, and they named it the TLC. Tom headed the planking department at the CC plant in the day, and tragically drowned shortly after while fishing with his grandson, never knew how to swim.
They frequented the Old Club with it, but never left the island other than a meeting with Chris Smith during the Algonac boat show in 2008 where he confirmed it as a family boat. The boats were ordered by the family but the company owned them
Apparently this boat was forgotten because it stayed on the island, but was well cared for. After years of light use and due to health issues the Goodwins decided to sell, moved to Massachusetts and before the sale the cottage and boathouse was broken into which prompted her to move the boat to Schneider’s Marine down the road for storage. A few neighbors tried to buy it and word was getting out slowly. Folks were sending Delanie checks and a few were pressuring her with bad advice. Luckily she found Jack Rogers (Jeff Rogers dad, 7 years past but still in the boat hobby!) business card in her late husbands file and started a chain of events in which I was able to get her contact.
Her husband had 2 wishes…
1. To be burned in the boat. (She took his ashes and put them in a model he had of this boat and will light them up this summer)
2. To be donated to a museum. This is where Clayton got involved and I thought I was out. I just asked her to have them guarantee they won’t sell or auction the boat, which they wouldn’t so I had to get a trailer quick! With the pics of the dogs and our family, she said I had the boat long ago, she just had to go through her list.
I found and old Loadmaster trailer, bought a Yeswelder and went to town moving the wheel arrangement adding some nice detail and created a suitable trailer for the TLC.
There’s more to it and I’m not a church person but it was close to a religious experience seeing her for the first time and getting to know her at Schneider’s, with my crew,
Jeff Rogers, Bob Vezina and Rob Schantz. They did most of the driving as I was so exhausted from pulling a few all nighters to get the trailer finished.
Just cleaning up the bottom for new paint, installing 2 new bilge pumps, replacing fuel tank sender. Hoping to getting it in the water next week. It’ll be at Algonac, Hessel and Vermont, as well as little shows throughout the state. It’s going to be fun sharing it. Delanie is a fabulous gal! She was ok with me changing the name to Owen.
YOU ALL ARE INVITED TO THE CELEBRATION. This will be the event of the 2022 year. As Biker Jacket said yesterday in the comment section. Algonac is a Museum In the making.
2022 Michigan Chapter Antique & Classic Boat Show
The 100th Anniversary Celebration of Chris Craft
“Where It All Began”
June 24 – June 26, 2022
Algonac Harbour Club, Algonac, Michigan