Does Your Boat Have A Birth Certificate?


Hull # XXXX

With many of our boats about to turn 100 years old, they have no doubt lived a very full life, and of course along the way have had little “touches” done that over time become how it always was. The fog of change. Well, there is a very sound reason why as the factory built the boat HULL CARD etc is so important. Its like a reboot, clearing the Cache of its history. Unplugging and plugging back in so to speak. And for many boats, restoring it back to “original” saves the boat. After all, the second a dealer adds something, its no longer factory built.

The Birthing canal. Algonac Michigan – And yes, There is a big show celebrating 100 Years this year in Algonac.

Also by judging this way, it reenforces the factory documentation process. Which is in a way the birth certificate of the boat. If your utility now identifies as a racer, well, thats fine, and have fun. But, if you want to have it “judged” well then. Okay this is getting a bit metaphorical in an area that.. Okay, I am just going to say. No Judgements, unless you want to be judged.

Generations. History, and love. The Woods and Smiths got together and we all are now one family

Here is the point of todays story. If you want to be judged. Then there needs to be something to judge by. The laws of the land, and sea, and parking lot, and dock. If your dealer installed a large duck on your boat? Well.. you be the judge.

But I added it for “foul weather”

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

    Seems to me that there is quite a cross section of our community here.

    We have those who are extremely knowledgeable and skilled at keeping these boats “as original” and those who are simply out to enjoy the experience.

    Today you hit the nail on the head. If your here for the FUN of it, don’t bother being Judged.

    There is room for ALL of us!!

  2. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Matt, to follow up on your point, there is a big show in Algonac this year. There will be boat judging, but there will also be boat rides and a lot of people enjoying their boats!

        ART ARMSTRONG says:

        Molly-O will be in the non judging category but will be giving boat rides most of the day, which is a lot more fun than being judged!. I will be entering my 1952 CC Kit boat “Old School” with a 10HP CC 0utboard for judging ………….Happy 100th Chris Craft!!!!

  3. Scott K
    Scott K says:

    I frequently attend automotive concourse events where “correctness” matters and Goodguys hot rod shows where individuality rules. Love them both for what they are.
    Thankfully there is room for both in the collector car realm.
    BTW, the Goodguys events are a lot more fun.

    • Kelly Wittenauer
      Kelly Wittenauer says:

      If you enjoy car show type activities, you really should get to a vintage/historic race. All the visuals of a static show, plus movement, wrenching & the amazing variety of sounds.

  4. tparsons56
    tparsons56 says:

    I guess it just depends on “what floats your boat”. I enjoy entering classic and antique boat shows and usually get judged but don’t take it personally as we use our boats a great deal for pleasure cruises so they are not trailer queens.

    In regards to the hull cards that’s a hard objective as not many exist with the exception of Chris-Craft and maybe some other large manufacturers. Our Fay and Bowen is either 100 or 98 years old depending on who you talk to and the company went out of business in 1929. It’s been through an unknown number of owners who the majority have probably passed on to the great lake in the sky by now so getting any kind of history is pretty impossible now. With that in mind I have made some changes that I highly suspect are not original to the boat but who really knows at this point.

    We must have done something right as we took the peoples choice award at the Traverse City “Boat the Blue” show and second place in the launch category at the Hessel Show last summer.

    The ultimate goal is to just have fun!

  5. Dennis Bryson
    Dennis Bryson says:

    So this brings up a question. Who has the oldest Chris Craft? Anybody know?

  6. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Art mentions bringing an outboard for judging, which brings up an interesting point. From what I’ve read, most pre 1970s outboards went to the dealer sans engine, controls & some even things like cleats & lighting. The dealer rigged the boat with whatever brand of motor he sold & the controls to match. The dealer could add additional profit, by selling the customer on installation of lighting & hardware packages. As far as I know, there’s no “hull card” for my Aristocraft. Do any brands besides Chris Craft have hull cards available? Isn’t this hobby trying to be more inclusive?

      ART ARMSTRONG says:

      Kelly, there are NO hull cards for the Chris Craft Boat Kits either. I say CC “Boat Kits” because that is how CC marketed/sold them. Once the kits were assembled they became Kit Boats and that is how the decal reads which were included…….CC Kit Boat.
      Chris Craft did NOT actually send/sell them to their dealers so that the dealer could/would assemble them and then sell them. The idea was to have an individual buy the Kit and assemble it themselves.

      There was actually very little hardware/accessories that came with the kits, basically a bow lifting handle and two aft lifting handles for the transom and two ore locks. Note: Ores were NOT included.
      Yes an owner/builder could put whatever engine he/she wanted to, I just happen to have a restored 10HP CC on mine.

      • Kelly Wittenauer
        Kelly Wittenauer says:

        My dad said his 1st boat was a CC kit boat. No idea who built it. Dad bought it from an acquaintance, who’s family owned an Italian restaurant near where dad lived. Dad came to believe Nicky must have felt like he took advantage of him on the deal, as they gave dad many a free meal thru the years.

  7. Mike D
    Mike D says:

    … and of course we assume that what was put on the card was correct. Does anyone know when the cards were prepared, as construction took place or when the boat is loaded and ready to go out the door? Who prepared the cards, an apprentice or a manager? I have read how they used whatever they had while constructing a boat.

  8. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Judging based on hull cards makes sense in a Chris Craft only world…well maybe. For an antique and classic boat society that wants to appeal to more than Chris Craft owners? Not at all.

    If you look at the attendees at the award dinners, you will realize the point is moot. The people who are into the factory original judging part of the hobby will be mostly dead or out of the hobby in another 10 years.

  9. Waldo
    Waldo says:

    The Lake Ponchartrain Maritime Museum has the Madisonville Louisiana Wooden Boat Festival each year in October. We have members of the Bayou Chapter ACBS who have boats, I have a 1955 CC Continental that won Best In Show and First Place Runabout in 2010. I have restored my boat but have 5200 bottom and all new silicone bronze screws. Rebuilt KBL 131 an whatever else as close to hull Card. We have all kinds of boats that are judged from old wood trawlers to Biloxi built boats and lots of shiny runabouts.
    I am now a judge as of the last 5 years, missing 2020 & 2021 because of covid. We have a a list of 10 judged items that we look for in each class of boats. We do not have an official ACBS judging because out of maybe 110 boats, many would not probably qualify for judging. We have much fun and help the museum with the fundraising. No body gets bent out of shape because some things were changed. People who do not have fun unless they win a prize usually don’t come to our show. I do understand that up north where many of the preserved boats live that this is a live or die experience. The thing is to have fun, make new friends, see old ones and just enjoy having a wood boat to show.
    Hope everyone has a great summer with the covid thing hopefully behind us.

    • Thomas R Malko
      Thomas R Malko says:

      I have a 57 Chris Craft Sedan Cruiser. Hull # SC27688. The Hull Card provided from the Maritime Museum shows it as Duplicate, original card missing in November 1957. It has limited info. Will this impact the judging of it?

  10. RivaDella
    RivaDella says:

    Never being part of the mainstream….
    bought a rare classic boat
    did 20 years of research on it
    confident we discovered everything possible to know, esp. given that virtually everyone in the boats history has passed…
    we restored the boat with the best available professionals, spending 6 figures,
    never been shown or judged,
    did it for the sake of preserving the boat.
    Somebody else gets/suffers the joy/pain of judging….

    • MikeS
      MikeS says:

      Because it’s SUPPOSED to. Bow pole is part #12941, same as 19 and 21′ Capri and 20′ Custom. Stern pole is #13106, unique to the 18 and 20′ Continental.
      And HERE is the problem with judging. A well respected “expert” introduces doubt into the equation and has more clout than the owner. The owner can argue until he or she is blue in the face, and will probably never convince anyone that the expert might possibly be wrong.

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