Is There A Perfect Classic Boat Bow?

Yannon Front

Regardless of in the water or in a workshop. This curved bow is stunning

Last week we posted a photo on Facebook that reached over 54,000 people, then the next day we repeated that shot and reached a quick 13,000 people, on Instagram the image had a nice response as well.


Its a wonderful rounded bow shape. A gentle perfect curve

alex header

Alex Watsons later Chris Crafts with a sharper bow design.

Bob blonde

Bob Kays and his BW girl friends out in his late 50’s Runabout with a sharper bow, these later Chris Craft hulls were VERY similar to Higgins Shaped.

Foxy Lady Bob Kays

This perfect Higgins Bow looks great and rides even better


The bow on the YNOT yacht guys Red And White is customized to perfection


Clipper bow with no cut water – Photo Steve Bunda

Cobra Hydro

Cobra clipper vs Pre war Hydro with cutwater


Side view of a clipper bow

Classic Boat lettering 3

Later Whirlwinds have an extreme pointed bow, where as the earlier ones are less raked.


This wonderful copper cutwater on a nice old stlyle bow

We have shared similar images of different boats, but nothing like this. Now, I know when we show images of Barrel Backs they draw big numbers. But others not.


Gar Wood Bow is very simular to the barrel Back bow. According to some Chris Craft borrowed the bow from Gar Wood

Chris craft Barrel Bck Bow

Same bow design

No matter how beautiful the photo, the boats bow and stern seem to draw larger crowds. The beautiful bow on the Riviera and late 40’s Customs, And U22s 25’s are pure perfection.

Bow Wow

Then there is the Bow Wow Wow…Wow!

Sure the more pointed bow on the pre wars is cool, as is the Clipper Bow, and more raked 50’s bows.  Do the likes and shares on Facebook tell us something? Do the general public have an image in their heads of what a Woody Boat should look like?

68 replies
  1. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    I am a big fan of the Clipper (Bull Nose) bow, but never really thought about how there was a change from a true cutwater to a half round strip. Interesting!

    As far as the bow of a Chris Craft being borrowed from a Gar Wood goes. Since Chris Smith built the early hulls for Gar Wood and Wood hired George Joachim and Nap Lisee away from the Smith’s it is hard to say who “BORROWED” from whom.

    Maybe they should have copywrited it, than we could have a huge discussion about it.

  2. Bill Hammond
    Bill Hammond says:

    I do love the Barrel Backs! There’s just no denying their beauty!! I can agree w/FB folks there.

    I have never heard the term “Clipper” bow applied to Chris Craft’s famous “Bull Nose” bow before. To me, this is a “Clipper” bow.

  3. Greg Wallace
    Greg Wallace says:

    It would be easier for me to name the “bow”(s) I did not like….although I can’t seem to think of any right now. Off subject…those “Math Captcha” questions are going to require a calculator if they keep progressing at current rate.

    • Alexander
      Alexander says:

      Hi everybody, this is Alexander from the Netherlands. Love this site. This is my swiss made 1967 full aluminum runabout. No working wood on this one 😉 yet it has the lovely hull shape. 😀

  4. Alex
    Alex says:

    Late 40’s Chris-Crafts, with that soft curvy bow. So pretty. I think we are biased to love the bow of the boat we love the best. For me, it’s the 25 Sportsman, of course. Strong, proud, yet graceful.

  5. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Take your pick, but the more raked the bow is the more contemporary the boat looks. So I’m a plumb bow guy, although the 21′ Cobra is the most beautiful raked bull nose bow.

    I don’t know what gives with Math captcha but according to my first grade math 1 plus 2 equals 3 but MC doesn’t think so, unless Matt has a new way of telling me I’ve posted enough b/s move along.

  6. David
    David says:

    I think the bow of Baby Bootlegger says it all. Photo credit is from Mark Mason, and the book Cutwater. This is the “fairest” of them all!

  7. Don vogt
    Don vogt says:

    Not surprised that no one posted a picture of the aircraft carrier nose of a century resorter around the late 50’s.

    Some bows are prettier than others but really cant be totally divorced from the styling of the rest of the boat imho.

  8. tommyholm
    tommyholm says:

    Don, you asked for it. It is design not function, although it does make the bow larger, therefore added function. Unlike that other mfg, not boring.

      • Alan Sisco
        Alan Sisco says:

        Please tell us about the boat!! We just bought one identical to URS and we want to know more information about it and it’s history!! Thank you so very much!! Please get back to me!!

      • Alan Sisco
        Alan Sisco says:

        Please tell us about the boat!! I just bought one and I would love to know some more information on the boat itself and it’s history!! Thank u and please get back with me! P.S. what do u think it’s worth?

  9. tommyholm
    tommyholm says:

    the Bow of all Bows. the Century Coronado bow incorporates a chromed ram jet intake to supply Oxygen to the power packed carb of the Cadillac V8 in the upholstered engine box. Most owners of the other mfg, have only seen the transom of this speedster.

  10. don vogt
    don vogt says:

    Well, Tommy, what can I say? the resorter deck is singular!

    I think the coronado deck makes my point that as exotic as it is, it works well with the overall design of the boat.

  11. Bone Daddy Deems
    Bone Daddy Deems says:

    This bow is no slouch either…my wife on the deck of…”Sirius” a 30′ Hacker Gentleman’s Racer up at Priest Lake, Idaho

  12. Warren
    Warren says:

    Best bow is the one on the trailer in your rear-view mirror on the way to the boat ramp.
    Seriously , I love them all

  13. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    ’39-’48 Chris Craft 25′ Express Cruiser “Red & White” – The largest cutwater of any Chris Craft production model, the first bullnose on a Chris Craft and the art deco influence seen in the split top of the cutwater – not to mention the rest of the boat.

      • Dick Dow
        Dick Dow says:

        Alex – The horn cover was on all of them and unique to the model as was the “Witches Cap” bow light, but the post war boats didn’t get that light for the most part – I suspect the expense of the casting may have had something to do with it – they just decided to use off-the-shelf hardware. Nice “Unicorn” the Benz…;)

  14. Maurizio Hublitz
    Maurizio Hublitz says:

    The most beautiful and most efficient is also the most uncommon. Due to the sinking of the Empress of Ireland with the loss of more than 1000 lives in the St Lawrence river we do not see reversed bows anymore. Although the loss of Empress of Ireland in 1914 did not attract the same level of attention as that of the sinking of Titanic two years earlier, the disaster did lead to a change in the design of ships’ bows. The sinking of Empress of Ireland proved that the reverse slanting prow, so common at the time, was deadly in the event of a ship-to-ship collision because it caused massive damage below the waterline. The bow of Storstad struck Empress of Ireland like a “chisel into tin”.As a result of the disaster, naval designers began to employ the raked bow with the top of the prow forward. This ensured that the energy of any collision would be minimized beneath the surface and only the parts of the bow above the waterline would be affected. After end of the 20s we do not see any straight or reversed bows anymore other than on race boats.

    • Alex
      Alex says:

      Fascinating. I was familiar with that Canadian tragedy having seen the Museum of Civilization’s (in Hull, Quebec) exhibit about it. But I was not aware of the role the bow design played. Thanks for posting.

  15. don vogt
    don vogt says:

    contrast the classic mid 30’s bow of the 17′ cc runabout with almost vertical stem, pointed bow, with minimum flair and overhang with the next picture of a later gar wood, next.

Comments are closed.