by John Beekley, Adirondack Chapter
Better Already is a 22 foot 1947 Chris-Craft Sport Utility, but her story actually begins in 1929. That is the year that my great-grandfather built a unique and wonderful boathouse on northern Lake George. While visiting my aunt and uncle, who had owned the place since 1969, my aunt mentioned they might be interested in selling the boathouse to me. Thus began a multiyear project to buy the place and do a major restoration, both below and above the water.
My wife and I realized very early in the project that we needed a way to entertain visiting family and friends (not to mention ourselves!), and to escape the construction mayhem. So, we commenced searching for a boat, and to prevent my grandfather from rolling over in his grave it certainly had to be a wood boat!
Our ideal criteria for our boat were as follows, she had to be a boat that could take a bit of knocking around, rather than a collector-type boat. She had to be a social boat, comfortable for six people, and feasible for eight people. She had to fit into the narrow slips of the boathouse. She had to be in lake-ready condition without a restoration or major repairs, and had to suit our tight budget. And, of course, she had to be a thing of beauty!
Fortunately for us, Nick at Halls Boats had the perfect boat for us. Better Already is a Chris-Craft SU-22, a postwar model built of cedar and painted white, rather than built with stained Philippine mahogany, which was in short supply after the war. She spent most of her life on Lake George, and has been restored at least once. Her engine is the original Chris-Craft in-line six, which starts dependably and runs smoothly. Other than minor repairs, we have not done any work on her.
Better Already is a perfect Lake George boat, great for cocktail cruises, camping trips to the islands, excursions to the Algonquin for lunch, or even as a base camp for a rock climbing expedition on Rogers Rock. Her summers on the lake are very busy indeed; she has already provided countless smiles and wonderful memories, and she turns heads wherever she goes!