By Steve Murphy, Heartland Classics Chapter
My wife and I own and maintain a 1971, 31-foot sedan style Chris Craft Commander. It’s powered by twin 383Q’s (formerly 327Q’s) and has a flybridge. We’ve enjoyed Edelweiss for 9 years on Table Rock Lake in Southern MO.
After months of searching for the “right” boat, we found one in Two Rivers, WI. It was an emotional, online purchase, and with one click, we were the proud owners of a classic Chris Craft! We acquired a slip at Kings River Marina in Shell Knob, MO, and contacted Jim Burt with Great Lakes Marine Transport to deliver it. He picked it up and brought it to one of his facilities for staging in Port Washington, WI, where we saw her for the first time. The boat was then named “Surf Dragon”. We decided to change the name to something more meaningful to us and chose Edelweiss. The Edelweiss flower signifies deep love and devotion. In Alpine lore, a man would collect the flowers from precarious cliffs where they grow to show his beloved bravery and deep love. Edelweiss translated means noble and white, which seemed fitting, and I bought this boat for my wife, Sunday.
The boat had everything we wanted, a toilet and a shower, a fridge, air conditioning, a brand new never installed water heater, and the promise of endless relaxing days on the water. The original owner was a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary on the Great Lakes and had outfitted her with all required first aid, safety, and rescue gear. Grandpa Joe, as we call him, also had furnished the boat with duplicate critical engine parts, an updated electrical system, radio, and GPS. He was a detailed record keeper. Everything we needed to know about the boat engines or any installed component was in a drawer fully documented.
In 2011, during our first season, we met several people from ACBS at the International boat show held at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, MO. We joined Heartland Classics shortly after and have enjoyed meeting people from around the country. At the end of last season, we pulled and reinstalled both engines. We couldn’t have done it without help, most notably from our friends, the Caddell’s! We just replaced the A/C and are now in the process of replacing the fridge. Regardless of the project, the boat is a consistent source of inspiration and mechanical education. The time we spend on it allows us the opportunity to reflect on the priorities in our lives and on our relationship with each other. We stay on Edelweiss as often as we can and are looking forward to many seasons to come!