Looking For Other F. S. Crate’s!
Fellow Woody Boater Andrew Robb, from ‘North Country Boatworks‘ in Bridgeport, CT. sent us this nice email requesting any more info that may be out there regarding the F.S. Crate & Sons. To be honest, Andrew seems to already know more that most. But ya never know. As Andrew points out there are still Crate’s Marinas and a history right here. For those of you that may think that the boats were made at a crate co. Nope, there was a Mr Crate. Fred Crate and his Sons… to be more specific. Mmmmm I wonder how the Company got it’s name? Anyway looks like they became Ontarios First Chris Craft Dealer back in the day. But thats all on the web page. Is there anyone else out there with a F.S. Crate boat? Any Crate history buffs. And no having a Crate Engine in your boat does not count. Take it away Andrew!
“There is not much information available on the history of F. S. Crate. They started out building small fishing vessels in the 1930s, transitioning into cruisers and runabouts by the 1940s, then ultimately becoming a marina and boat sales franchise by the 1950s and are known today as Crate’s Marine located throughout Ontario and Quebec.
As far as boat documentation, there seems to have been a fire in the 1950s that destroyed all of their archives and likely was at least partly responsible for their move into marine sales.”
Here is a little about.. Nezzie an amazing masterpiece of mahogany.
“Nezzie was built over the winter of 1947, delivered in 1948, she was a custom order for a Toronto family who vacationed on Lake Simcoe. After passing through several owners, she was found outside Boulder, CO and acquired in 2011 by the present owner. While in running condition, it was obvious that along with the usual cosmetic problems there were some structural issues that needed attention. She had a replacement epoxy bottom that was only around 20 years old but already rotting in many places.
We replaced the keel, stem, several bottom frames, all the bottom planking and fasteners with Honduran Mahogany and silicon bronze. The rest of the hull, framework, interior are almost completely original, so our next step was to preserve what we could while replanking the sides and deck. The interior received minor alterations to allow easier access to the systems and for future disassembly when it comes time for varnish and maintenance, all while maintaining original appearances.
We are finishing up this restoration within the next few months. “Nezzie” will be heading to her new home on Lake Michigan soon, a perfect boat for cruising big waters.
We welcome any knowledge of other FS Crate vessels, as there are very few documented in North America.
Iknow one thing. That’s a beautiful boat.
John Alkenbrack (International acbs directory) has restored, researched and sold an early crate..
Is that you? Glad to hear you are alive and (hopefully) well
Nice looking boat. It also looks to be a fantastic restoration job. It is very nice to see she is still sportin’ her original registration “50E” number.
Wish I knew more about Crates as boat manufacturers. We are quite familiar with their marinas in Keswick on Lake Simcoe and in Port McNicoll (home of the SS Keewatin) Georgian Bay.
There maybe some info available here :
Sitting on the trailer she looks like she has some Shepherd influence.
Great story, let us know what you find out.
Thought that boat looked familiar. Troy good eye, the Crate boat used Shepherd hardware, that’s how I first talked with Andrew. Seems he needed the plastic red and green running lights that are in the pockets in each side windshield bracket, and he contacted me thought the Shepherd website. Yes Matt I can make the shepherd lens for windshield or bow application, you just knew that didn’t ya.:):) anyway did not know about this new shop, but will be getting a tour soon, as I have to go to Grandby Conn. To have the Hemi installed in my 22 Shepherd. Will be there a week, might have to sleep in the crate a few nights. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get a ride in that Canadian boat. I’ve turned traitor, and gone north, for I think there is no comparison in style and function as those early Canadian craft. Just look at the lines, the vents even the hardware scream craftsmanship, not production, and the ride, difference between a VW and a Cadillac. Yea I’d say I like them a little.
I’ve always wondered what goes on in the mind of someone who starts a boat building company. Do they start off small and get their “legs” and move on to larger boats when they establish themselves? Or do they think they’ve got a better idea or just copy a similar model and make changes to suit a design they’ve envisioned. Where did they get their building experience and knowledge? Didn’t seem to be any boat uilding schools at the time and it sure is different than residential construction although handling the tools from that experience has done a lot to put restorers in that business.
Hope this helps… I have a 1959 Chris Craft Sportsman 20′ with a F.S. Crates marina logo installed on the dash. Back in the day, the boat was sold out of Crates Marina in Keswick (Lake Simcoe), Ontario. Still in Ontario the boat is used every year and is about to come out of winter storage for a fresh coat of bottom paint soon….
Here’s a close up picture of the dealer Logo on the dash…
Has the Crate got a tall freeboard? That certainly was a feature on the Shepherd boats. Lake Ontario can get pretty rough but so is Lake Simcoe!
BTW: Love the Dash plaque on the CC… very cool.
Windarra (26′) – on loan to the Antique Boat Museum courtesy of the 1000 Islands Antique Boat Museum Trust (Canada). The boat was given to the Trust by Dr. John Scott Cowan, Principal Emeritus of the Royal Military College,
Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the Princess of Wales Regiment, and former Chairman of the 1000
Islands Antique Boat Museum Trust.
The design of Windarra was conceived by Alfred Charles Cowan. He then commissioned F.S. Crate and Sons of Keswick, Ontario to build her and construction began in 1953.
Windarra was launched on July 20, 1954 and she is powered by twin Chrysler Crown 47S engines
Thanks for all the great input guys. I especially like that FS Crate emblem ChrisCraftAshley.
Ive been in touch with the Crate family – they have a restored 1930s “runabout” in their showroom (although I would classify it as a launch in my opinion). Lloyd Crate is still kicking around up there, he was 17 when he helped his father and uncle build this boat in 1947-8.
I hope to share with you all the finished boat in a few months.
Here’s one more picture showing the unique stern design.
I am a granddaughter of Fred Crate and grew up at the marina in Keswick I may have photos of the boats you are restoring.
Please contact me if you feel I may be of any help.