Thanks For The Arguments!

My favorite boat model. 25 foot sportsman. Mahogany sportsman.

My favorite boat model. 25 foot sportsman. Mahogany sportsman.

From time to time here at Woody Boater we dive into topics that cause some great debate, plastic vs wood is one of those debates. With classic plastic becoming more and more popular out there it has to be talked about. This same issue is being talked about behind the scenes at shows and the ACBS. Our wonderful debate can shed a light on how folks feel. In a sense Woody Boater sometimes can act as a focus group for the passion of classic boating. Your feelings can be heard and studied by the folks trying to make choices for the future of the passion of classic boating.  The debate can point of many things. Like we found out yesterday that most of us that have some cool woody, also have some sort of classic plastic. It’s the art of it that we like. BUT, there are lots of other places out there that talk about plastic, and we talk woodyness. The wonderment of wood, the glow of its intoxicating varnish wrap. The feel of how wood rides and feels to the touch. The way wood absorbs and retains the years of joy it has lived. Wood is life! Plastic is plastic. Don’t get me wrong. I love the design of some of the plastic boats. LOVE! But its the design, not the spirit. But I am not the final say, never have been and never would suggest that I am. But to our readers, we will always focus on the joy of mahogany, but we sure believe that great design is great design and will always feature what floats our boat. And these days, classic plastic needs to be a part of it.

19 replies
  1. Troy
    Troy says:


    That is very well worded.

    I have to say that I do come here for my wood fix, however my first LOVE in the boating world are the designs of the great C. Ray Hunt and the derivatives of his work. Of course Rays great designs would not have been possible without the work of William Hand who, as I understand it, inspired the work of Chris C. Smith, Bill MacKerer, John Hacker, Garfield Wood, and so many other iconic names in the boating world.

    As much as I love the feel (and look) of Mahogany when the waters get rough or the swells allow for a little “re-entry” the ’85 Formula make my heart throb.

  2. Alex
    Alex says:

    The photo at the top of today’s story (not the header one) was taken at Lake Geneva at the ACBS International show of 2011. The boats are, left to right:

    1. “Effie,” owned by Tom Whowell;
    2. “The Majestic,” owned by Alex Watson (me); and
    3. “Barnwood,” owned by Karen and Paul Harrison.

    They are 3 of the 4 Scripps 208-powered postwar 25′ Sportsmans known to be left with their original power.

    The 4th is apparently on Torch Lake, Michigan.

    (We are aware that Jim Frechette’s 25′ Sportsman was originally a Scripps-powered boat too, but that motor is long gone.)

    Do any WoodyBoaters know of any other Scripps Sportsmans out there? Not looking to buy (one Scripps is plenty, thank you!). Just wondering if any others made it to the present era.

  3. Brian Robinson
    Brian Robinson says:


    What about S-25-010 that Mitch Lapointe has for sale? It has its original 208 Scripps.

    Considering 38 were built with the 208 Scripps the survival rate seems low.

    S-25-113, ‘West Winds’ on Lake Tahoe (formerly HOBO) still has its original Scripps 302 V-12, although it was installed new by Tahoe Boat Co. because the boat left the factory without an engine. It is owned by David West.

  4. Sean
    Sean says:

    I didn’t grow up around the water and we never had a cottage so my love of ‘woodyness” was developed over a long time and not really formed from childhood memories.

    My favorite Woody is the last all wood Greavette made…the EXECUTIVE II. Only six of these beauties were made. They are as comfortable and elegant as any current luxury runabout today.

  5. Bob Kays
    Bob Kays says:

    This 1948 25′ Sportsman ( CC “W ” ) spent a great deal of it’s life on Lake Hopatcong. Owner, the late Craig Bradley is pictured at the wheel.

  6. Bob Kays
    Bob Kays says:

    The ” Irene ” spent many years on Lake Hopatcong. In the late 40’s and 1950’s it was the fastest boat on the lake. She had a V 12 Scripps. It is thought to be an early Sportsman. It left the lake for the Jersey shore, we don’t know where it is today.

    • Alex
      Alex says:

      Wow Bob. That’s one crazy 25 SP! Strange dash instruments. No windshield. And dig those crazy exhaust pipes! Am
      I seeing more than 2? Plus, what’s especially curious about Irene is the passageway to the utility area is on the port side. Factory Scripps powered Sportsmans have theirs on the starboard side, probably because the Scripps motor is so heavy on that side, it needed to be offset by the added weight of the bridge deck/cabinetry to port. The 12 cyl Tahoe boat pictured above also has the passageway to port, just like Irene. Could they be one and the same boat? Did Irene also leave the factory w/o a motor, only to have a Scripps 12 cyl dealer installed, just like the Tahoe boat? Very interesting to be sure!

  7. Doug Ward
    Doug Ward says:

    Here is another photo of the famous Chris Craft Sportsman’s
    from the 2011 ACBS International Boat Show at the Abbey Resort, Fontana, Wisconsin.

    “Barnwood” – 1948 25′ Chris Craft Sportsman
    Won Best of Show Preserved

    “The Majestic” – 1948 25′ Chris-Craft Sportsman
    Won Best Classic Utility Restored

    It was a great show!

    Doug Ward

  8. Sandy Squitieri
    Sandy Squitieri says:

    I couldn’t agree more! wood has a certain soul to it- the smell, the sound cannot be replaced with plastic.. however I own an elite craft Woodie look alike because I need a daily driver. I own an amazing wood boat- but its not as practical for everyday use.
    I can go night boating without worry with my plastic.
    And even though the look is almost identical to real wood- its not wood… nothing can replace the charm and feel of the real thing.When I start up the Saetta- the sound is what is really gets me…the sound of something alive and that’s wood.

  9. Bill Loomis
    Bill Loomis says:

    There is room for all both wood and glass. As we age we want the boats we desired as younger people, it’s a natural progression. We should celebrate everything nautical and appreciate the art that it is! Chris, Century or Donzi they all have a story to tell and need to be preserved. Design from WW1 to the automotive age we have plenty to appreciate. We love it all!

  10. Jack
    Jack says:

    My Classic is new (2001), has a fiberglass hull, Mahogany decks, Holly and Teak interior. The wood has been stained and sealed in automotive clear coat. Yearly maintenance is wash, wax, and polish. It is the best of both worlds.

  11. thomas d.
    thomas d. says:

    my ’47 C-C runabout has been accused of being plastic, some young people have never seen a real wood boat. one said to me it’s amazing what they can do with fiberglass now. go figer. about the only glass boat i’d have would be a gar form.

  12. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    OK, I’ve been reading everyone’s responses the last few days about wood vs. fiberglass. Lots of good points and a few sharp opinions. I really don’t have anything other than a couple of opinions to add…

    On the boats this site features: it IS People come here for the first time because a Google search brought them here. Most of those searches are related to some model of classic boat featured or mentioned on this site. So, the focus should be on the classic boats we all love. However, any good conversation needs some variation in subject matter to keep from going stale. Going off on a tangent and discussing more modern classics is OK. Just make sure we come back to the main subject.

    Second opinion, on a totally different subject: Even though most of the respondents here are male, there are female readers of Woodyboater on a consistent basis. There are stories we want our own boatresses to read. To encourage diverse readership and maintain the respect the site deserves, we might want to limit the bikini photos. Please understand that I appreciate female forms as much as anyone, but might not be the proper forum for viewing them. (At least not if they are on or near a fiberglass boat. HA!)

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