25 Sportsman, Interesting Insight.


I had a great call with Jim Staib from FineWoodBoats last night and we talked about 25 sportsman. Jim’s had about 1000 ft of them. And if you are one of the lucky few to own a wonderful 25 Chris Craft Sportsman, you no doubt have some sort of special detail on her. Special engine, special tackle box etc. How does this happen. Well, think like a boat dealer. Ya, put your head in the head of a boat dealer back in the day. You had a showroom, and volume is key. 17-19 ft boats all day long, various smaller ones, and maybe a Cobra to entice people in.

Chris Craft decade line up

The Corvette type excitement. This also explains Blue Arabians and Red White and Blue racers. They are Bait. But a 25 Sportsman was the big buck boat. And you may sell one or two a year. So why stock them. And here is the insight Jim had. They ALL were custom ordered. And that is a cool thing. They are even more personal than other boats, they embody the emotions and desires of the family that ordered them.

Still stunning, this one was ordered with a driver in a suit

Race? Fish? Family outings? Hunting? They are a very versitile design. Part Runabout, part utility. And that explains why many also have had such few owners. I am assuming. Yes Ass you and me.. But they were the old family boat and taken care of that way. Like WECATCHEM, she was very well taken care of. And I thank the family daily for that. And for ordering a wonderful set of personal items. Including her name.

Alex Watson has several, and each one is unique. Thats a 22 in the background

Twin engine perfection

This insane 25 Sportsman – I think as I recal might have been a Government issue one, then beautifully restored with a custom touch.

The perfect family boat.

This was for sale years ago. A project for sure. but sure worth it

Special engines!

For racing on Lake Hopatcong

IRENE was set up to perform. WOW

BARNWOOD The Harrisons stunning 25 Sportsman Sedan with a Scripts.

So I ask, did your boat come with some sort of special order? The good folks at Chris Craft and Gar Wood would customize anything you asked.

23 replies
  1. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    I recently re-read a beautiful ode to the 25-foot Sportsman by Alex Watson in The Brass Bell. Could you re-publish it? What a special boat. If you ever start musing about selling Wecatchem you should be committed.

  2. Scott Robinson
    Scott Robinson says:

    Matt, you were smart to scoop it, I looked at it while Ivan Phelps was working on it for the person you got it from, I almost bought it, darn ! Scott want to trade for Comfy ?

    • Dick Hansen
      Dick Hansen says:

      Scott, would you really give up Comfy for a Sportsman? That hardtop really extends your boating season up there in the cold country!

  3. Brad Ernst
    Brad Ernst says:

    Currently restoring hull number 25S197 1950 twin ML powered with red interior. I would like to find an original convertible top for it if anybody knows of one please let me know thanks much Brad

  4. Ralph Cattaneo
    Ralph Cattaneo says:

    Copasetic, hull # 111 started out in ’48 as a sedan (Streamline Cabin) and later the original owner had the top removed and a new windshield installed. With a fresh restoration just completed by Wooden Boat Restoration on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, we are very much enjoying our summer out on the Chesapeake. For more on the restoration click on this month’s issue of PropTalk magazine (www.proptalk.com).

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      I read that article, also on the cover. Great coverage for our passion and 25 Sportsman. Not 25 actual people that call them selves sportsman, the boats. Do I have to spell everything out I say wrong!

  5. JimF
    JimF says:

    Interesting to see that Jim’s boat had a second hull card. I wonder if mine did? My boat has third seat that is curved to match the curve in the forward edge of the aft deck. It certainly looks original in construction and was painted underneath in green paint just like all the other seats and interior of the engine box. My engine box has been modified to fit a 454 and add extra seating.

  6. KW
    KW says:

    Hi Matt the boat with the Birdseye maple is actually a prewar 22 that I highly modified 25 years ago. On a side note the post war 25 had 2 different hills 46-8 and the 49 and 50 were slightly different. One more thing Mike and I at the Wooden Runabout co have recreated the first version if any body wants a new one

  7. Bob Kays
    Bob Kays says:

    I had a blast driving you around the lake when you first got Wecatchem. So much fun to drive.

  8. Brad Ernst
    Brad Ernst says:

    Does anyone know why the Scripps powered models the walkway was on the starboard side and on the W powered models the walk-through was on the port side. I’m sure there’s a good explanation thanks Brad

    • Jim Staib
      Jim Staib says:

      Carbs are on the other side? One thing I have heard through the years is they had several Scripps left over after the war and they fit in 25SP. That’s why so many had them.

  9. Jim G
    Jim G says:

    On Mine 1946 the Chris Craft plate says it number 036. Came with the pre war Banjo wheel, 6 gauges and a MS engine. When I went poking around the hull I kept coming up with hull number 035. Called Mariner’s and they emailed me hull number 035. Turns out both were ordered by Mercer in Clayton, NY. Both boat completely identical. Both left the factory within days of each other. So I figure they got to the dealer. Took the engine boxes out of the boat to clean them up and check the engines over and got put back in the wrong boat.

    The rear seat was an option. There is a drawing for it at the museum. Its not a great one. But it proves they were real.

  10. JimF
    JimF says:

    Owners of these boats should also consider an “after market “ forward spray rail. My boat would deliver a bath to all when it came off plane. Think about the Century spray rail that goes to the bow. A 25 Sportsman needs this. Dannenberg sent me the drawing and I can probably find it if anyone needs it, which you do.

  11. thomas d
    thomas d says:

    i found two 25ft sportsmen on the back roads of middle Tennessee years ago but i can not remember now where that were and i’ve looked several times.

  12. Allen
    Allen says:

    Charlie Brown is buried in a pile among old cars in a quanset hut in Iowa…..i have photos.

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