How’s Your Winter Classic Boat Project Going? Ya Better Hurry….


Russ Arrand With His Rare / Bare 1941 Century Sea Maid 16

How’s Your Winter Project Going?
By Tommy Holmes

I recently stopped in on fellow Woody Boater Russ Arrand to check on the progress of a restoration project. Boy was I treated to a special day. There sat a bare wooden 1941 Century Sea Maid 16. He had just finished sanding and the alluring sculpture of the boat almost knocked me over. Russ had just used his dust brush and the boat reached, once again, that special moment in its life: it was braaaaand new, wood only! No hardware, no stain, no imperfections; simply a craft of bare wood with shapely lines. The fore view (above) showed its slim pointed bow rising to the dramatic crown of the deck.

The aft view displayed the Century version of a barrel back stern developed by a tumblehome of aft sides and ultimately distinguished by the rounded chine at the bottom edges.

It’s not every day you see bare wood just before the staining. It was a sight to behold. The smell of fresh mahogany, the beauty of the grain lines, just the prettiest little boat one could imagine.

We placed some chrome on her just to get a peek into the future.

The double cockpit 16 footer is a rare Century as few were made just before the cessation of pleasure products prior to WWII. In fact the boat was finally delivered to its new owners in 1945 with a 1945 Gray Marine engine; so its original moment in time was time delayed.

The Sea Maids Perfectly Restored Grey Marine Engine

All in all it was a rewarding stop in Cadillac, Michigan that day to see just how the winter project was coming along. Hope your project had its moment as well.
Tommy Holmes

24 replies
  1. Chris Boers
    Chris Boers says:

    That is a beauty. I have a 1942 Utility 15 awaiting restoration in my shed which looks similar in shape. Notice on this boat there are only three very wide planks on each side.

  2. Frank Miklos
    Frank Miklos says:

    Looking great as do all of Russ’ projects… Yes 3 wide planks … Great little boat… Of all pre-war Centurys this is the one that I know of more examples than any other… Still not to many… about 20… (This model was only built one model year, 1941) Cool fact about this boat, I have a letter from Century that states early hull #s had some design problem in the bottom… Century sent out people to remove the bottom make the changes and re-install the bottom. I think the letter from Century said it would take 2 or 3 days…

    The 42 Utility is a similar hull but refined a little… Also in 42 Century made a Split Cockpit but no 2 cockpit forward on that hull…

    • don vogt
      don vogt says:

      a very neat boat. I hadnt realized that century had started doing geometric patterns on the rear deck prior to the war. Although this one is somewhat more restrained than the later efforts. I see don ayers has beat me to the punch as I am writing this asking which model it is. on the same wave length i guess.

  3. Alex
    Alex says:

    Very pretty boat. I experienced the same awe looking at a totally grey C-C 20 Custom. No hardware. No stain. No motor or interior. Heck, in several places, no wood. But even in that state, there was great beauty. Some boat designs are so gorgeous, they look like they were carved out of a rare species of tree called “unobtanium.”

  4. Don Ayers
    Don Ayers says:

    Frank; I think over the years Century had some fantastic designs. One of my favorites was a 1941?? split cockpit, I think 17′ or 18′. You could get it with the Gray FireBall and it was fast.

    Do you know which one that was?

    • Frank Miklos
      Frank Miklos says:

      The 1941 split cockpit was available with the Graymarine Racing 244, 3 downdraft carbs… around 175 hp.(I think). This was available in 1942 Seamaid 171. split cockpit.. not sure about 1941… In 38 & 9 another Gray racing engine was available in the 17′ Split… I think 225 cid for the 225 class runabout racing class… On those boats the lycoming racing 6 was also available… similar cid…

  5. Bartlomiej
    Bartlomiej says:

    WHO did the restoration on that motor! I have a 4cyl Gray as well that I would like to get restored! It runs perfectly but I would love to have it restored and repainted and all that good stuff! Can anyone point me in the right direction?


    • Frank Miklos
      Frank Miklos says:

      Just a point of fact Only the racing engines or fireballs were red… The rest of Century pre-war Graymarine engines were also custom color for Century … Dark blue except for the fireballs…

  6. Russ Arrand
    Russ Arrand says:

    Thanks for all of the kind comments.

    Here is the update since Tom was here. The boat has been stained, sealed, 10 coats of varnish on the boat and interior parts. We spray painted the bilge today. Mechanicals will start going in soon. A couple of more coats of varnish and the decks will be caulked and the names-numbers will go on. It is really starting to look good. It is probably going to Hessel, Traverse City, and Manistee this year. Owner lives in Holland, MI. A fun boat to restore. It has alot in common with the 1942 17 foot Sea Maid I did called Pipe Dream. I am looking forward to seeing how the round chine handles.

    Thanks Again Russ Arrand

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thanks Russ – The freshly restored Sea Maid looks great and thanks again to you and Mr. Holmes for sharing it with us here at Woody Boater.

      We would love to see some photos of the finished product when she is done, ready to begin the next chapter of her life.

    • Frank Miklos
      Frank Miklos says:

      Drove a 46 split cockpit with round chines and it handled like a much bigger boat… I was impressed for such a good ride out of such a small boat…

    • Bartlomiej
      Bartlomiej says:

      I tried to e-mail these guys with the e-mail that is on the website but it got kicked back to me. Any suggestions for contacting them? No one picked up the phone either!

      • chad
        chad says:

        Easier to just call them. Ask for Casey or Dave. They do fantastic work. I spoke with them the other day.

        (six one six) 662-1553

  7. Jack Schneiberg
    Jack Schneiberg says:

    It is a beautiful Century. I restored a ’46 Deluxe Utility 15 and it was similar in hull configuration to the pre-war utility and double cockpit Sea Maid 15. It had the round chines – as did the Century outboards up to the Palominos. Mine had the Gray Marine 4-75 in it and I had the motor rebuilt. The boat would do an honest 38 mph with the single carb setup. It handled very well with the round chines and I had that boat “at speed” in some very rough water that I probably should not have. I believe – that the only “red” Gray’s in Century boats (4 or 6 cylinders) were the “Fireball series” which were generally “hopped up” a bit. Thus, the twin downdraft carbs on the motor illustrated.

    • Frank Miklos
      Frank Miklos says:

      I agree the Chris Craft 17′ Barrel back does not even come close in design to the 1942 Century Seamaid 172 (Pipe Dream) or (Elwood). another note next to the above boat, the 1942 Seamaid 172 is the most common around 13 known…

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