by Daniel Michalak, member of the Tidewater chapter
My love for wooden boats began at the age of 8, when I was first offered a ride on a 1950 Chris Craft Ski Boat on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Nearly 40 years later, while paddling in a canoe on the same lake, I noticed a heavily used Grand Craft beached in the sand with a “For Sale” sign on the windshield. Before I was able to make an offer to purchase, the iconic George Johnson bought the boat and to my good fortune, sold it to me the very next season in 1996. Soon thereafter, I learned that the boat had been used extensively for water skiing in its early years and that its original name was “Rum Runner”. The purchase price for the boat was $20,000 and the following year, Robert (Bob) Mueller of Wolfeboro, NH completely refurbished it back to its original beauty.
I named it “Danny Boy”, my wife’s nickname for me. The boat was then moved south and has been enjoyed every summer by our family, where it still resides on Lake Gaston, North Carolina. The Deitrick convertible cloth top is made of sturdy white oak bows that are bent into shape and covered snugly with a durable fabric. This covering makes for comfortable riding in both very warm and very cool weather. The wonderful Grand Craft still has its original 350cc small block Chevy Marine engine.
Both memorably and notably, Danny Boy placed second in the 26th Annual Antique and Classic Boat Show in Meredith, New Hampshire Lake Winnipesaukee in 1999. She also placed first in the RDU North Carolina Triangle Chapter of the Annual Antique Classic Boat Society show held old Lake Gaston in 2016. What a joy and a treasure it has been.
Grand Craft boats hull construction in its entirety is built with solid mahogany. All Grand Crafts use a West (registered trademark) System bottom to create a strong watertight hull.
Grand Crafts are known for their stylish appearance, soft ride and excellent handling.
“Danny Boy” is a 24′, triple cockpit, upswept classic model with leather upholstery, Kapon cushions, a banjo steering wheel, copper exhaust pipes, chrome hardware and a full instrument panel. It has seating for eight, a beam of six feet four inches, a weight of 3700 pounds and a 40 gallon fuel capacity. The boat is housed in a covered boat house and continues to perform well.
As always, she creates memories that provide our family with hours of fun each and every time we put her in the water. While turning many heads, we also see many thumbs up throughout our journeys across the lake.
Great looking boat! Would love to see the top in the “up” position – any pictures?! Since we’re on Lake Norman, with a 1947 22′ Hacker Craft,… maybe we’ll have to com-on over to enjoy its graceful lines and beautiful wood work!
Daniel: Beautiful boat. The Smith Mountain Lake ACBS chapter has it’s 30th annual boat show on 17-18 September. The featured boat is a 1990 Grand Craft “Deelited”. We would love to have your Grand Craft at the show. If interested, go to our website “woodenboats.net.