Packed With Features And Rarin’ To Go! – The Classic 1957 40′ Chris-Craft Sea Skiff


Sea Skiff Ad Copy

1957 Chris-Craft Sea Skiff sales brochure courtesy Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club.

We have a wide range of viewers here at Woody Boater, with even a wider range of interests and opinions when it comes to classic boats – which is what makes it fun every day. But the one thing we can almost always agree on, is that Chris-Craft Sea Skiffs (and lapstrakes in general) are great classic boats.

In 1957 the “Big Daddy” of the Chris-Craft Sea Skiff fleet was the 40′ Semi Enclosed Cruiser. The Chris-Craft sales brochure announced:

NEW CHRIS-CRAFT SEA SKIFFS… packed with features and rarin’ to go!

Beauty, performance and comfort in a magnificent 40-ft. open-water Sea Skiff.

All seams and joints in new Chris-Craft Sea Skiff hulls are bonded with the exclusive, new synthetic-rubber-based Sea Skiff Sealer – from keel to seat risers in 18-, 22-, and 26-ft. open models; from keel to sheer in 30-ft. open and 26-, 30-, 35-, and 40-ft. cruiser models.

Your choice of attractive hull colors – Grey, Buff, Yellow, Green, Blue, Black or White – at no extra charge if you make your color selection before the hull of your Chris-Craft Sea Skiff has been painted!

Kind of makes you wonder where all the big Sea Skiffs are today…

Sea Skiff Ad 2
These days, lots of big wooden cruisers are being lost forever due to neglect, or the high cost of restoration and maintenance – and sadly, we learn about those boats on a weekly basis.

But today we have some good news about a classic cruiser from fellow Woody Boater Brent Tippins in Ontario, Canada. – Texx

Skiff 1

The elegant 40′ Sea Skiff restored and ready for some serious summer cruising.

Hi Texx – We purchased our 1957 40′ Chris-Craft Sea Skiff in Clearwater, Florida on January 2006. I had it shipped to my home in Ontario, Canada where I spent the last 6 years doing a total restoration.

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After six long years of work “BRIANNA II” (named after my youngest daughter) was re-launched in July 2012. The big Sea Skiff won the award for Best Restoration in it’s class and the Head Turner Award at the Clayton Antique Boat Show in Yew York, presented by the Antique Boat Museum.

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Finally ready to go back in the drink after six long years of restoration work.

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I felt that there was too much wasted space on the boat, so I redesigned it to suit my needs. There were many times over the 6 years that I wanted to light a match under it, because the sheer size of the project was just so huge – glad I didn’t now…(lol). I re-powered her with twin 350 CID V-8’s.

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The big 40 footer has a roomy, one-level cockpit area and now looks fantastic – Texx

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I love the contrast between the beautiful varnished wood in the interior and the white painted hard top. – Texx

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The traditional dinette that converts into a berth if necessary.

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Some modern conveniences in the forward berth.

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The attention to detail on the interior is fabulous, retaining her original charm, design elements and overall functionality throughout the big skiff.

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This great photo Brent sent us (taken during a “cocktail cruise”) gives you a good sense of the big Sea Skiff’s vast forward deck. May take some practice pulling her into the dock. – Texx

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Family and friends sharing a memorable summer cruise on “Brianna II” last year.

The boating season was short in 2013, but very sweet. Lots of parties on board and plenty of room to relax with family and friends.
Brent Tippins

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The Skiff’s huge forward deck is also a great place to soak up some sun – they claim they are crew but…

As the original Chris-Craft sales brochure said – Beauty, performance and comfort in a magnificent 40-ft. open-water Sea Skiff.

Special thanks to Brent for sharing the story of his beautiful Sea Skiff project with us here today. You did a fantastic job Brent and it looks like all the hard work and dedication is now paying dividends and will be enjoyed for many years to come.


47 replies
      • Rick
        Rick says:

        Hey Texx, back 1 week now but busy as heck. Today and tomorrow all day seminars on Lasers. Fun but intense, lectures even through lunches.

  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Wow, what a georgeous watercraft. I have never seen one of these before. Lines almost remind you of a Martinique. I would love to see some before and during restoration photos.

  2. Troy
    Troy says:

    That Cruiser is GORGEOUS!

    I can’t even put up a picture to compete with your crew.

    About a year ago there was one of these on Craigs List in Connecticut.

  3. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Brent you win the Lapstrake Love Award. What a giant project. Whst a beautiful boat. So many details. All the little spaces between the bottom of the ribs and the inside of the strakes. Sir I salute you. You are the Captain of your own destiny.

  4. Sean
    Sean says:

    Nothing short of SPECTACULAR!
    The original lines and design are very pretty but, your attention to detail and quality of restoration work make this vessel stand out. Very nicely done…enjoy her.

  5. Alex
    Alex says:

    Beautiful, beautiful lines! Best looking Skiff I’ve ever seen (and I prefer the looks of the small Skiffs). So glad it survived. Big kudos to Brent for his vision, courage, skill, and persistence.

    Question. Why did C-C make it? Why would someone want a 40′ lapstrake vs a traditional plank on frame construction? Does anyone know the reason behind this model?

    • Cobourg Kid
      Cobourg Kid says:

      Alex this might be a partial answer. In the book “Planking & Fastening”, published by WoodenBoat Publications boat builder and author Ken Mobert observes that many mariners harbor the mistaken impression that “ lapstrake boats are slower because of the drag produced by the plank laps. …. but a smooth hull is not necessarily faster; in fact…’s slightly slower under both power and sail. At hull speed the lapstrake’s plank edges draw tiny air bubbles down their length, slightly reducing the apparent wetted surface. At higher speeds, the plank edges help the boat get upon a plane and generally keep the boat drier. The plank edges have the additional advantage of damping the quick roll so common in fast planing boats. This quick roll is not only damaging to speed and hard on gear, it is guaranteed to tire out the crew.

      • Doug P
        Doug P says:

        I have heard that the lapstrake hull was very suitable for Lake Erie as the distance between waves was less and therefor a better ride.

  6. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    For a cruiser guy like me…this ranks as the best story ever on this great site!!! OVER THE TOP job.

    What a way to start my day…. Many thanks!

    John in Va.

  7. Redbeardsraven
    Redbeardsraven says:

    It does my heart good to know that there are still people out there putting lots of time and money into keeping these old big beauties alive !!! MOER BIG CRUISER STORIES!!!

  8. Bartlomiej
    Bartlomiej says:

    Texx, It’s true what you say/ask: “Kind of makes you wonder where all the big Sea Skiffs are today…”

    I think about that a lot, if you google sea skiff semi enclosed you virtually minimal images and info. You see a lot of the smaller skiffs like the 18-28 footers etc. But what about the bigger ones?

    My girlfriend and I bought one last year and we love it! Mind you we used it throughout the season so we could get to know her and see what issues she may have and what needs to be done next etc. So far everything is great, it just needs a lot of TLC so to speak it certain areas that have been untouched in the last 20 years.

    Overall not bad though! Strong Hull and all! We put her in so as to just get her wet then we worked on her when she sat in the water. Putting on the rails and badge etc. A coat or two of paint. The attached picture is when it went in before all that work commenced!

    (see larger version by RIGHT CLICKING & selecting VIEW IMAGE)

    • Cobourg Kid
      Cobourg Kid says:

      Bartlomiej according to the fine print at the bottom of the page your image needs to be under I mg or it wont load

  9. Wilson Wright
    Wilson Wright says:

    Wow ! Gorgeous boat…As to why Chris Craft made a lapstrake boat….Because it rides so well…Ask young Chris Smith

  10. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Gorgeous boat! Congrats on an excellent restoration. And I love the photo looking aft down the centerline of the deck.

  11. Grant Stanfield
    Grant Stanfield says:

    Great story on a wonderful labor-of-love restoration of a very unusual and rare Chris-Craft! I have a big crush on boats from the CC Sea Skiff Division- wonderful stuff!

    The Sea Skiff WILL have its day in the sun…thank you WoodyBoater for your stories of ‘lapstrake love.’

  12. Randy
    Randy says:

    I remember this model when it first came out (1957), one year after MATTHEWS introduced the Martinique (1956). I still have that brochure too — spent a lot of time staring at both brochures comparing layouts. It did not take too long for the ‘convertible’ look on the Martinique to win me over.

    She is a gorgeous looking boat, with very few examples still alive for us to enjoy. As with the Martinique, the big ‘day’ boat features were just not that popular back then.

  13. Dane
    Dane says:

    Way to go Brent! And thanks for sharing the story.

    It looks like she moves right along and there doesn’t seem to be much wake for a 40′ boat.

  14. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Very, Very Nice! Having been involved in a similar project or two in the last couple decades, I salute you!

    That model carries much over from the late 30’s sports and double stateroom 33′-40′ Chris cruisers. – One of my all-time favorites is the 1937 35′ Sport Flying Bridge version of the DS – (pg 108 Legend of Chris Craft). Sheesh, if I ran across one of those…

    Brent, you are going to enjoy that boat more than you know. Congratulations!

      • Dick Dow
        Dick Dow says:

        Gee – Really??? 🙂 I’m curious – I just looked at the one(referenced above) listed in Traverse City, which now says “sale pending”. Did that happen today?

        Take a good look at that (very original) boat, then go back over Brent’s pics and you can really see the work and thought he put into “Brianna II”.


  15. Brent Tippins
    Brent Tippins says:

    Thanks ever so much for all those great comments,looking forward to 2014 boating season..Brent

  16. Bartlomiej
    Bartlomiej says:

    Damn that Sea Skiff from Traverse City sold! I should get a percentage for posting that bad boy and promoting it!

Comments are closed.