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!


  1. Wonderful story and pictures. We think the same of our white sided (1947) U22. We use it weekly in northern Michigan with an annual trip north to the Hessel Boat show.
    Just curious, what is the hull number? Ours is 584

  2. Although the 99 point boats at Coeur d’Alene epitomize the high points of the ACBS authenticity ethic, John Beekley’s Better Already epitomizes the core user boat ethic. Nicely done from where it all began.

  3. Putting the “utility” in Sport Utility, and so handsomely!

    And at the northern end of the lake, one can still hear that C-C 6 cyl. bark to life, all across the bay! The way it is supposed to be!

  4. Wonderful user boat story! From your last photo I am going to say this is the magnificent old Henry boathouse just south of Hague, beautifully restored. I spent many summers in that boat house, late 80’s early 90’s, storing my 1955 Chris Craft 25′ Continental there and working on the Penny, your grandparents original Hacker. A 58 Capri I own lived in the back canoe basin underneath the quaint shed for a few summers. I might be completely off base here but the beautiful stonework and square posts, cedar shingles take me back to those memorable blissful days.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great story. I’m familiar with the boat house from my early days at Silver Bay and acquaintance and friendship with your family. The boat house is a property of distinction on LG and now complete with Better Already.

  6. Great to see your connection with the past and your grand father etc hope the boat and the boathouse stay in the family for many generation . You are lucky ,nothing left from my family other than souvenir from our summer house .My kids won’t have any thing or souvenir behind me.
    Now when i buy a new car i keep the olds ones ( like new) for my kid and a house in Florida ( the lot on the water came from my father and i built a house) for them and hope for my grandchild.

  7. So many memories! My grandfather had a beautiful house just across from Hauge in Glenburnie! Eddie Henry and I were friends, along with many of my age back then. We had a ’47 GarWood 19′ runabout, Moms Mink. Many know of it. Also a 15′ Lyman and a 10′ Penn Yan dingy. Hague used to have many memorable restaurants and bars which many of us from Glenburnie would frequent. Places like Scotty’s Dock and Dine, The Cave, Fitzgeralds Groceries, Hauge Supermarket, others. Was really sorry to see most are gone. Glenburnie folks had Hackers, Lymans, Fay and Bowens, Thompsons, Chris Crafts, and more. What a time to grow up on the most beautiful lake in the country!

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