Woody Boaters From Austin, Texas Have Moxie – Freshly Varnished And Ready For Sunnyland

Fellow Woody Boater Jim Frechette from Austin, Texas was looking for a small Chris-Craft triple cockpit runabout to restore as a personal “Daily Driver” years ago. In the spring of 1995 Jim received a call from a friend to inform him that there was a 1930 20′ Chris-Craft Model 100 Runabout for sale in Oklahoma City that he should check out…

Jim said – “I bought it from an antique car dealer in Oklahoma City in 1995 right after the devastating bombing of the Federal Office Building. The showroom windows of the dealership had been blown out and several of the cars were damaged. The old Chris-Craft triple was stored in the back of the dealership and undamaged, as if that would have made any difference as the boat was so rough.”

Jim bought the boat and hauled it back to Austin for a much needed restoration. Although rough, the boat was very complete, had all of it’s original hardware with the exception of a few things like the original Chris-Craft steering wheel which he was able to locate later.

Once back at his shop in Austin (Fleetwood Boats), Jim began work on the boat installing the new keel,  heavy duty frames for the larger V8 power, but was able to save much of the original wood on the hull sides. 

Here’s the freshly restored Chris-Craft with her woodwork completed, now ready for stain, etc.

Although the boat has reamined mostly original, as this was going to be Jim’s new “Daily Driver” the underpowered 75HP Chrysler was replaced with a modern 230HP Chevrolet 350 V-8 which now propels the 80 year-old runabout a little faster!

And in 1996/97 the little Chris-Craft triple, now named “Moxie” for her 230 horses of “Intestinal Fortitude” as Jim describes it, was looking good ready for her re-launch.

Since her re-launch in 1997 “Moxie” has been in continuous service around Austin, and attended boat shows in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri.  When we see the top up, I remember Jim telling me about days in Texas when it was  just to darn hot to go boating… Hard for a northerner like me to understand when we only have six months of good boating weather and worse yet, Alex only has six weeks of boating weather in Hessel… (sorry Alex)

“Moxie” has cruised the St. Johns River through central Florida in conjunction with the Sunnyland Antique Boat Festival in 1998 and was also used for one of Jim’s favorite classic boating events, the 400 mile Tennessee River Cruise a few years ago. The modern V8 power comes in handy for those long range, multi-day river cruises.

Here she is on display the last time she was at the Sunnyland Wooden Boat Festival in 1998, looking beautiful.

“Moxie” is also a celebrity… She was used in the 2005 movie The Wendel Baker Story which was shot on Lake Travis, near Austin. The film starred Luke Wilson, who also wrote the screenplay and Luke’s brother Owen Wilson, Eva Mendes, Kris Kristofferson, Seymour Cassel and Will Ferrell.  The film premiered at the 2005 South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas in March 2005.

Here’s a shot of Eva Mendez getting ready to shoot a scene in “Moxie” – Jim has some fond memories of making movies on the lake.

Austin, Texas is a wonderful spot to visit too, maybe a potential candidate for the upcoming WoodyBoaterPolooza in 2013… check this out from the local newspaper – Thousands of country music fans bobbed in the waters of Lake Travis on Saturday at AquaPalooza 2010, a free two-day music event accessible only by boat.

They came armed with canoes, water noodles, inner tubes and anything else that would keep them afloat while they waited for the big attraction: country music star Brad Paisley, who took the stage about 5 p.m Saturday.

Dubbed the world’s largest on-water celebration, AquaPalooza was expected to attract about 4,000 boats and 35,000 people.

Jim Frechette recently freshened up “Moxie” with a few coats of fresh varnish and will soon begin the long drive from Austin, Texas to Tavares, Florida to attend the 2012 Sunnyland Wooden Boat Fesival with his lomg time co-pilot Mark Fender, a veteran of many boat road trips, like Tennessee River, Grand Lake, Table Rock Lake and others.

It’s always a pleasure to see Jim and Mark at a boat shows and share some laughs together. They also know where all the good boater friendly, drive up restauraunts are in the area – Them and the Kadimiks from New Jersey.

For more information about the popular 2012 Sunnyland Antique Boat Festival in Tavares, Florida which runs from March 22-25 you can click here to go to their website. The 25th annual event on Lake Dora is once again expected to be well attended, it’s always well organized and central Florida is a perfect place to be in late March.

And if you are planning to be at the show, make sure you stop by the Woody Boater tent for a visit and talk classic boats! Stay tuned to Woody Boater for more pre-event updates as we get closer to opening day.


27 replies
  1. Kevin and Luci
    Kevin and Luci says:

    Great story and great boat. Looking forward to seeing it at Sunny Land. My wife and I are making our first trip there this year.


    • Texx
      Texx says:

      You won’t be disappointed Kevin, it’s a fun event with lots to see and do.  Make sure you stop by the Woody Boater tent and introduce yourself.

  2. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Always happy to see Moxie. She looks good in pictures the only way I’ll see her. The more the better. The best thing about Woody Boater. Thanks

  3. Don Ayers
    Don Ayers says:

    So, before Jim bought Moxie that boat was stored at my dad’s place for about two years. My dad knew the guy and they had some sort of arrangement for storage. The boat sat outside under cover for about a year and a half until the cover ripped off. At that point I got to see it and crawl all through it. I remember it well. I begged my dad to make a deal with the guy to buy it. For what ever reasons they could not make a deal. Eventually my dad told the guy to come get it as it was just getting worse exposed to the elements. That is why it went into the storage down town.

    so, Jim I had my hands on it before you!!! Ha!

    It was always great to see the boat restored at shows and remember crawling through it.

    Hope you kept the original engine

    • Jim Frechette
      Jim Frechette says:

      The original Chrysler went to another Model 100 in New Hampshire so it is still in the family.

  4. Rick
    Rick says:

    How cool would it be to have a large contingent of woodies at Aquapalooza. Talk about exposing the public. You could even have a couple of pontoon boats rafted together for a WoodyBoater HQ.

  5. Alex
    Alex says:

    Jim, it’s a beautiful boat. Kudos to you for saving her. She’s lucky to have you, as is any boat that makes it from “old” to “cherished.”

  6. Alex
    Alex says:

    Texx, boating season in Hessel begins in May and runs through October — about 5 months. The 6 weeks you mention are the prime of it — between July 4 and Boat Show, which is always the 2nd Saturday of August. That’s when the most boats are commissioned and seen in their boathouses or on the water. I believe Tommy Mertaugh has mentioned this before, but that short 6 week prime is the reason there are so many survivor boats in our area and so many ones with sound, original bottoms. So the price we pay for a short prime season with its limited, seasonal use of the boats, is more than worth it to have the ~200 survivor woodies in the area.

    One other thing worth mentioning. That 6 week prime season is beyond heavenly. Rarely too hot in the day, rarely too cool at night, rarely humid, and typically breezy. And the sunsets over Lake Huron, which many people watch from their evening boat rides, are simply stunning. Before that prime season, things are cooler and pretty quiet. After it, things are quiet again but the fine weather lingers.

    I say all this for the benefit of anyone who wants to visit the area and see woodies being used the way they have been for generations.

    Thinking about all this is making me salivate varnish!

  7. 72 Hornet
    72 Hornet says:

    Jim. I can’t wait to see Moxie in Tavares. Looks beautiful! It will be good to meet you as well! I am preparing for the trip from Iowa to Florida this morning. Tweaking the Continental, new motor mounts, and a few other minor details to make th river trip and show in Tavares. Safe travels to all who are attending the Sunnyland show and River trip.

  8. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    Good story Jim & Texx! Didn’t realize Don knew your boat before you. If we have a gathering in Austin it needs to be in early spring or late fall, because of the heat!!! A Margarita at The Oasis sounds pretty good though. Happy Trails to Taveras!

  9. John Kadimik
    John Kadimik says:

    Hey Jim, Moxie looks great,can’t wait to see her. I noticed the NY reg numbers,was your boat delivered new to NY? Our model 100 (7050) was delivered to Raquette Lake, NY on 6/6/30. 

    • Jim Frechette
      Jim Frechette says:

      Moxie is 7025.  I am trying to remember the safe place I put the hull card to get the delivery location.  I will keep looking.  See you soon.

  10. Tom
    Tom says:


    Nice boat can’t wait to see it along with all the other boat in Tavares.

    I like the top.  What Zipper Pull did you use?

  11. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    another neat story!   Thanks to all the contributed.

    Went boating today!!!

    John in Va.   

  12. ARRRGH!
    ARRRGH! says:

    Hey, Jim!  Loking forward to seeing you and Mmoxie again at Tavares!  And you too, Mark!  ARRRGH!

  13. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    I just realized that Jim’s other coopilot & travelling buddy Patrick is in one of the photos. I probably wouldn’t have gotten to know Jim without Patrick’s grisley charm!

    • Jim Frechette
      Jim Frechette says:

      Yes that is Patrick and we are on the northbound St. Johns cruise in 1998 after the MT. Dora show.  Some day you will have to relate to all of WoodyBoater-dom the story of the hamburger (or is that what it was?) that involved Patrick, on the porch of Arrowhead Yacht Club on Grand Lake.

      • Texx
        Texx says:

        Ha – Jim, if that’s the legendary story I heard in Lake Geneva it should be told to the public… 

        Can it be told with a “G” rating?  Maybe we can get some direction on that from ARRRGH…

  14. Skyler
    Skyler says:


    Absolutely amazing boat.

    Just curious if you ever do any private charters with Moxie or other vintage boats on Lake Travis? If so, I’d love to speak with you!

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