The following write up is from Chris Smith detailing the history and work of the boat as it came into his possession:
Chris Smith's 27' Chris Craft Sea Skiff- Oddysea
A friend told me about a wooden Sea Skiff in a shed northwest of Grand Rapids. After contacting the owner, I drove over & discovered it was a 1961 27' Sea Skiff, hull #59, with a Chris-Craft 283 with 1.5 to 1 reduction gear engine, built by Chris-Craft at their Salisbury plant. After negotiating a price, I borrowed a trailer and hauled it home to a pole barn on my son's property south of Holland.
this boat had been in a shed for fourteen years and with the exception of two areas under the forward bunk where it wasn't padded properly, the hull was in excellent shape, In fact, after removing everything I could including the fuel tank and fourteen years of rats' nests, I only had to give the interior one more coat of varnish.
I purchased $1,000.00 worth of Philippine mahogany and had most of it planed down to 1/4 inch. this boat had a straight transom and I like a curved one, so I fastened curved beams down to the height of a swim platform, over perfectly good planking, then planked over this with 2 layers of 1/4, epoxied and stapled. A swim platform was added for looks and for a place to install a swim ladder.
Having no use for a stern seat in a boat, I removed the standard seat and added to the stern deck so the aft bulkhead would be vertical. I then sanded with coarse paper the decks, covering boards, and stern deck, ripped the 1/4 mahogany into 2" strips, made 1/8" strips of basswood for the false seams, epoxied and stapled.
For a more rakish look, I moved back and raked the standard windshield with mew side shields. The standard seat backs were up above the side decks and I wanted to deck the back of these. I also wanted to add a mid-ships seat, so I added a 3" combing all around the cockpit. This gave me somewhere else to fasten the side and aft curtains.
I disliked the plain fiberglass instrument panel and vinyl covered motor box. Seeing all the scrap 1/4 edging left over from ripping the decking on the floor by the table saw I decided to epoxy these scrap pieces to plywood forms, making what I think is a rather attractive instrument panel and motor box. I hat to throw mahogany away.
To cover the end grain of the decking and seat backs, Chris-Craft used a 1/2 round foam covered with vinyl. I did not have any of this material, so I took some scrap mahogany and whittled these trim pieces. While doing this, I incorporated some grab rails. At my age, I need all the help I can get.
I built frame work all around the inside of the cockpit floor. This allows the plywood floors, which I covered in Mahogany, to be removed for inspection of the hull or to refinish. I then put a massive toe rail around the sheer for looks and safety.
A new deck hatch had to be make. However, I was able to save the windshield and shipped paneling, and I make the new seat backs and bottoms out of the old flooring. The rest of the wood is all new.
All the hardware was re-chromed and the instruments redone.
After re-wiring and installing a battery, I discovered the engine would not turn over. At this time, I only had 1 week before I was to leave for the Clayton show. Luckily, my son had 2 of these same model engines he had just overhauled and he talked me into using one of his engines so that I could make the show.
I started in September and had the boat running by the end of July. I only had worked about 4 hours in the mornings and really enjoyed it. I am not too happy with the workmanship (don't look too close), but I am pleased with the overall look.
Eric Robinson or Jeremy Pearson 616 796 0505
1111 Ottawa Beach Road
Holland, MI 49424