Clipper Crafts In The Barn?

1964 Clipper Craft

Photo of a 1964 14′ Sea Nymph lapstrake runabout by Clipper Craft of Canada. Weighed 445 pounds and could handle up to 45 h.p. – Photo courtesy of Bob Speltz The Real Runabouts IV Outboard Edition.

TODAY WE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE FUN to go behind the scenes here at Woody Boater, to ride along as we try to help a new viewer searching for information on a couple of old wooden boats.

While we are not in the business of helping people sell their old boats (we continue to receive e-mails / Facebook messages almost on a daily basis from people asking for help to sell their boats) we try to leave that to the specialty brokers who support Woody Boater, Ebay, Woody Boater classifieds, etc.

However we do try to help people (when we can) with information on what they have and how to move forward with the sales process depending on where they live and what they are trying to sell, or repair. This is an example of what comes in to Woody Boater HQ – and how we try to respond behind the scenes when we can. – Texx

Dear Woody Boater Gentlemen,

I just purchased an old farm that included a barn full of old stuff that was included in the sale. I purchased it from the children of the deceased father and none of them wanted the old stuff in the barn.

Anyway, there are three boats in the barn, two of them are wooden. I don’t know anything about boats and don’t know what they are but would like to identify them and sell them. Honestly, I was thinking they were worthless until I found your website but now I think it is important they go to someone who likes these old boats.

Was hoping you guys could tell me what they are and perhaps, how to sell them to someone that would appreciate them, and what they may be worth. I would very, very much appreciate any help or advice you could provide.

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About the Boats:

They are “clipper” brand and built sometime in the 60’s.

They are built out of mahogany, I believe, and are beautifully made. One has the matching motor, an Evinrude, that appears brand new inside and out.

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I’m not sure when they were last in the water, or when the motor was last started. They have been under covers in the barn for many years. I have included photos of the boats. Both are for sale, as I need the money to buy cattle.

Thank you,
Dylan Jones
Winlock, Washington

Hi Dylan – Thanks for the inquiry.

In regards to the Clipper Craft brand, we first referred to The Real Runabouts IV – Outboard Edition by Bob Speltz. And although there is very little information on the Internet regarding the mid-1960s Clipper Craft brand – sure enough we were able to find the following information on page 236-237 of The Real Runabouts IV. The Bob Speltz series of books is always a fantastic resource for us here at Woody Boater, and should be part of any classic boaters library.

The Real Runabouts IV

The Real Runabouts IV by Bob Speltz – Artwork by F.G. Thomas first printing 1982.

From The Real Runabouts IV – “The Chestnut Canoe Company who, in 1964, turned out a line of modern lapstrakes known as Clipper Craft. These boats are shown in a nice 10-page colored folder and appear to be as modern as any made here in the states at that time.”

“The 1964 models offered included the 14′ Sea Nymph; 15′ Sea Bird; 18′ Georgian; and 21′ Barracuda (as noted in today’s cover photo).”


1964 Clipper Craft 15-foot lapstrake runabout and 18-foot Georgian model with drop-down, wooden framed windshield. – Photo courtesy of Bob Speltz The Real Runabouts IV Outboard Edition.

“Another nice feature found on the larger Clipper Crafts was a drop-down wooden, framed windshield.”

“The Clipper Craft hulls were painted on the hull sides, while all bottoms were painted with copper anti-fouling paint. Decks were either all varnished or covered with white vinyl and varnished king plank and covering boards.” – Bob Speltz

Dylan – The only problem here is that from the photos you provided, these boats do not appear to be lapstrake construction boats. (Lapstrake or “Clinker” built is a method of boat building where the edges of hull planks overlap, called a “land” or “landing.” In craft of any size planks are also joined end to end into a strake.)

From the photos, the subject boats appear to resemble more of a plywood style of boat construction, which was also very popular in the 1960s. Also, the wooden style windshield appears to be a fixed style vs the drop-down version in the above Clipper Craft brochure photos. So more research (or better photographs) may be required in order to accurately determine what brand of boat you have in the barn.

We have a large following from the Washington / Pacific Northwest region, as well as from Canada – so they may chime in with additional comments / information on these boats. By publishing this inquiry today, hopefully we can try to learn more about what you have here. So stay tuned.


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

    I would call that a real “Barn Find”.

    Maybe Dylan should put one in the water and try it out, he may have inadvertently found a new Hobby/Lifestyle/Addiction.

  2. Briant
    Briant says:

    Question. We often see specs like above that claim that the little fourteen footer can “handle” up to 45 hp. So how exactly was that figure come to? Did they strap on a thirty hp and it performed ok, and then they strapped on a sixty hp and the transom was ripped off and sank along with the test engineers, so they they went down to a conservative figure of forty-five? Or was it all done on the engineer’s napkin at the Newberry’s lunch counter? Any ideas?

    • Brian F.
      Brian F. says:

      Brian, from my days as a design for Aluminum Chambered Boats, we had actual testing for every hull design to back up our HP ratings… Any new hull design was thoroughly tested with various motor options: single vs double, big single vs smaller twins, etc.. Then after testing was complete we would make an official HP rating that would be provided to the state agencies and engraved on the plaque that is found by the helm… Now this was in 2007 so I’m sure things were different in the 60’s but I’m pretty sure most manufacturers did some level of testing before setting their “recommended” HP ratings, also the recommendations are almost always quite conservative. I’ve seen old Skagit hulls rated for 60hp perform great with big 90 or even 110 motors on them… Having the extra power doesn’t mean you actually have to use it…

      • Texx
        Texx says:

        When I was putting the story together this morning, I remembered growing up as a kid with these old runabouts like this in the 1960s. Seemed like it was common to install a slightly larger outboard than what the factory recommended (i.e. we had a plywood Dunphy Imperial rated for a 75HP outboard (in our case an Evinrude) that worked great with 100HP Evinrude. That was a common practice around the lake back then and great for pulling multiple skiers.

  3. Texx
    Texx says:

    Dunphy Imperial brochure. During the summer at the lake the old Dunphy ran every day from sunup to sundown, and then some.

  4. Lee Wangstad
    Lee Wangstad says:

    From the type of material/manufacture and the boats location I might suggest a Lady Clipper, from Tacoma. I’m not from the west coast, don’t know what those guys out there know, but have seen a couple of these while out there visiting. I’ll bet Ron Stevenson knows! By the time I get this posted, one of the Pacific Northwest guys will more than likely already own it.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thanks Lee, great info. I was wondering if the brand was based on a similar name such as Clipper other than Clipper Craft.

  5. Dylan Jones
    Dylan Jones says:

    Hi guys,

    Thank you so much for the information about my boat. Very interesting discrepancy about the fold down windshield and hull construction, as my hull is plywood and the windshield is not drop-down. If it helps, here are two close up photos of the brand logo in the cockpit, and the hull construction on the inside. I will admit, the more time I spend with this boat I’m falling in love with it. It’s oozing with style and is the perfect size to take fishing in the lakes around here. But I need help. How do I know if it’s watertight and where do I go for information about care and refinishing for the wood? Is there anyone around my area (Winlock WA, between Tacoma and Portland) that could advise me what the boat needs? Thanks for all the help! –Dylan

    • Brian F
      Brian F says:

      Dylan, look up Rob DaPron. He is in the Seattle area and runs a professional restoration shop! Also, before you go starting that motor, you’re going to want to replace the water pump impeller! After sitting many years the one in there is sure to be dried out and that is the fastest way to kill a perfectly good outboard!! You may want to consider dragging the boat up to the LaConner Classic Car and Boat show next Saturday (August 1st) as there will be a whole gang of old outboard guys and several who know a thing or two about older, small, outboard craft from the 50’s and 60’s.

      • Texx
        Texx says:

        Great ideas Brian. I was going to say that from the photos, the trailer looked pretty good which is not always the case with old barn finds.

      • Troy in ANE
        Troy in ANE says:

        You may want to at least inspect, clean, and repack the bearings before towing them anywhere.

        (Photo from

      • Jim buschman
        Jim buschman says:

        clippercraft boats were built in Portland Oregon USA . I still have the receipt’s from when I restored one with my son in 1980. It was built in 1958 14foot came now with a Scott Atwater 40 HP I believe . ( many boats Ago) It was closed at the time I restored mine but they gave me amset of plans to restore mine and parts I needed .wonderful people . I believe they said started business in 1938. great little boat for 4.

  6. Reddog
    Reddog says:

    Dylan. Very nice boat you have there. Lucky find. Charge up the battery, mix up some fresh gas and oil in gas tank, probably could use some new spark plugs, put some hose muffs on the engine and start it. See what happens then put it in the water and stay close to shore. You just just found your next hobby. …..Matt or Text. Any more pictures or story from the S. Tahoe lake show from the Steve s

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Reddog – Thanks for chiming in re the barn find boats. Yes, Steve Natale is currently preparing some additional photos from the South Tahoe show for Woody Boater.

  7. Randy
    Randy says:

    Clipper Craft boats were built in Tacoma, WA back in the late ’50’s/early ’60’s. As I recall one of the last employees of the company bought it in the last 15 years and moved the operation somewhere around Portland.

    I will check my brochure collection to see if I have one for the old plywood line.

      • Randy
        Randy says:

        Texx — I have a 1957 ClipperCraft brochure and price list. These boats were built in Portland, OR and were offered anywhere between kit form to completed boat. I will send you pictures of the brochure package by separate e-mail.

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