by Kenneth Moeri member of the Lake Hopatcong chapter
My dream of owning a classic boat became a reality in July 2010. I acquired Hornblower with love in my eye in beautiful Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey from an ACBSLH chapter member. Hornblower is a 1954 20 ‘Chris Craft Special Sportsman had been basically restored to original condition and only needed some corrections for completion.
Hornblower was built at the Chris Craft Cadillac Mi. facility and delivered to the dealership Armstrong and Gilbraith in New York City on May 18th, 1954. For approximately 20 years it cruised across N.Y. and N.J. waterways and lakes. Sometime in the early 70’s I believe, she was found in a vacant lot in Brooklyn, N.Y. The new owner had connections with the South Street Seaport Museum in NYC. The museum took on the project to teach restoration of a classic boat. Not really sure how long it took to restore but the boat was rebuilt with a West System no – soak bottom and all new mahogany.
It was then taken to Northwood Marina in Lake Hopatcong for motor installation and final appointments. From then to present Hornblower has been part of Lake Hopatcong history with several past owners. Through my years of ownership. I have made several upgrades and corrections to keep Hornblower in service for years to come.
As for me, Hornblower has been fitted with new Marmoleum flooring, the correct color Chinese Red. My most recent upgrade within the past couple years has been the motor. At time of restoration the original KLC was lost and replaced with a 4-cylinder motor. I removed a 283 from a 1965 C.C. Cavalier, and with much help and encouragement from fellow Lake Hopatcong chapter member, Mike Schillizzi, rebuilt it to new condition. It was installed and greatly improved the performance of the boat.
As all antique and classic boat owners know, upkeep and upgrade projects for historical and manufacturer correctness never end. This is the labor of love that we all intensely desire.