By Tim Matyn, Michigan Chapter Member

Being from the metropolitan Detroit area, I grew up watching boats from the time when I was a young boy, visiting Kean’s Yacht Harbor in Detroit with my father to watch the big unlimited hydroplanes being prepared for the races.  I knew that I would probably never be able to afford an unlimited, but I also admired the beautiful mahogany runabouts that were also harbored there.  I vowed one day to own one.

That day occurred in 1971 when I saw the boat for sale at a St. Clair Shores marina. It was a 1941 Chris-Craft Utility, powered by a 95hp Chris-Craft model K engine. The price was only $999, including the trailer.

I took the boat home, knowing little about boat or engine maintenance, but soon after launched it into Lake St. Clair.  It was then that I discovered how small the boat was compared to other vessels I encountered but I was undeterred, and used the boat sparingly over the next several years, picking my times and spots for cruising on a lake which I soon came to know could be often too rough for the small boat.  Over those many years I Iearned much about boats and made small improvements to the boat without changing its basic appearance. 

I subsequently owned two other larger boats, but I kept the little Chris-Craft, and trailered it to northern lakes on vacations with my family, where we had some great rides on both Higgins and Mullet Lakes.

Last year my oldest son, John, bought a house with his wife, Tracey, on an inland lake in Waterford, Michigan, called Schoolhouse Lake.  It seemed like the perfect size for the boat and my son suggested that I dock the boat there behind his home.  We both enjoyed riding around all summer, giving rides to family and friends, and I think the boat now has the perfect summer home!


  1. My friend and I also have woodies that spent the majority of their lives on School Section lake. Mine a 16’ 1955 Century Resorter, and my friends 1941 Christ Craft Barrelback.

  2. How long is my sweetie? My dad bought a 1939 utility that’s 15.5 long. yours is a couple feet longer but similar style.

  3. Hey, I know who took that picture! My Sweetie frequently joins our Phoebe (formerly SeaBerT) on Schoolhouse, Loon, Wermer and Mohawk lakes for evening cocktail cruises. How cool to have two 1940 woodies call the same lake “home”?! We are SO glad to have the Matyn’s as neighbors and what a treat it is to hear that flathead rumble by our dock in the summer and wave us out to join them for a cruise!

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