By Tom Rusert, Niagara Frontier Chapter
My wife Peggy and I joined ACBS Niagara Frontier Chapter in 1978 and have been active members ever since. In 1981 we were looking for a boat bigger than our 16-foot Starcraft to accommodate our growing family. We found a 1963 Roamer Silver Comet that was sound but cosmetically rough. All woodwork has been refinished at least once over the years with hull, cabin top, decks, and factory optional hard top painted about every 7 years.
The 1963 sales brochure stated that Comets are “Sea going hot-rods with speeds up to 35 M.P.H”. The original twin Chris Craft 283 engines were rebuilt by me and a friend in 1990 keeping the speed statement true. Chris Craft Roamer Division built 220 Silver Comet and Custom Comet hulls between 1962 and 1963. The Comet models are 27-feet in length and were only available in aluminum. Chris Smith attended the 2013 Niagara Frontier Chapter boat show and in conservation he thanked me for keeping our Roamer in pristine shape. I thanked him for building a boat that was celebrating its 50th birthday. His response was up until 1962 Roamers were only made of steel and the Comet line was their first attempt with aluminum, “we did not know what the hell we were doing”. Obviously, they did something right!
We keep the boat at our home dock in Grand Island, NY and turn heads wherever we cruise, be it the Niagara River, Erie Canal, Buffalo Harbor, and the Canadian shore of Lake Erie. On May 12, 2020 we launched for our 40th season.
Beautiful boat. I can remember as a kid seeing these at the Jersey shore and bugging my dad to buy one…..having no concept of money. There used to be a thought that cabin boats were 1,000 dollars a foot. 40 ft/40K. That was probably wrong but it helped me learn math with a pleasant purpose.
Great looking boat!! Thanks for sharing!
You’re right Tom! In 1954 my uncle purchased a 35 foot Hubert Johnson and I clearly remember it cost $35,000. One thousand per foot.
It was at the time the Bentley of boats. Some of my greatest memories of my childhood we’re on board that boat.
wow! Great story and cruiser….John in Va
Captain Tom, great story, glad we are members of the Niagara Chapter with you and Peg. Captain Keith
Great boat. It is nice to be in such good company at the NFACBS!
I have a 1962 model that I am just in the process of selling. It is a great running boat and well built (Other than the leaky cabin windows) Totally agree regarding the speed. Mine really can move but I rarely run it that fast. Spent over 20 years restoring it so sad to see it go…. This is my ad in case you are interested in seeing pictures of it.
Where did your find the roamer burgee?
Search The Flag Chick. Pamela does a great job.
Looking for a hard top for mine if anyone has or knows or one.
Well that is a gorgeous Silver Comet! I found my Silver Comet Hull ID RXB-27-0112R in my neighborhood marina. It sat idle for many years, heavily neglected sitting in salt water. The result was a lot of corrosion, seized rudders and engines. 8 years later I have a pair of factory identical 350 engines with manual reverse gear transmissions running and ready to install. Now I’m slowly replacing aluminum on the boat.
I’m looking forward to turning heads on Galveston Bay.
I have a 1963 Chris-Craft Roamer Silver Comet for sale in Milwaukee Wisconsin this boat is a project about as it comes with no Motors the hull is perfect original interior serious inquiries please call 414-218-7375.