This Custom Craft Thunderbolt “Seagoing” was manufactured as a kit boat in New York now resides in Washington State.
C-Rea, a 15 foot outboard is now owned by Thom Head and Cathie Rea who are members of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society.
C-Rea was shipped to Port Orchard, WA where someone had the sense to save it and keep it in a garage. An acquaintance discovered it and did the major part of the restoration, he even managed to refit the deck with 3/4″ mahogany (it had been plywood), before he ran out of time, patience and money. The hull is ply with and Armor Glass (early fiberglass) cover.
I purchased it in 1984 and finished it, my first restoration. It needed major restoration as the back half rotted away. I just performed it’s 3rd restoration, sanding to bare wood and staining and finishing with 9 coats of Epihanes. We refinished the hull: new patches of fiberglass and added new gelcoat. We also had new upholstery designed and added this spring.
The motor is a 1958 Mercury Mark 55 Thunderbolt restored to factory fresh condition. Doctor Frankenmerc of Shelton, WA did the mechanical work, I did the paint and decal work.
Custom Crafts Thunderbolts were known for their wrap-around windshields and their cutaway sterns. The trailing pontoons act as trim tabs and bring the boat up and out of the water effortlessly.
The C-Rea (pronounced Searay and named for my wife, Cathie Rea) turns heads wherever it goes. Mostly confined to Diamond Lake 44 miles north of Spokane, it is a daily runner.
It is the last of the kind. I belong to the Custom Craft club (mostly glass boats) and no one has ever seen another one.
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