By Bob Schoepe, Penn NE Harveys Lake Chapter
My stewardship began unexpectedly in 2018. Her name is August Belle. Oh my! I am the fortunate recipient of previous efforts that I knew nothing about at the time. The pictures you see here were all taken before I came along. She is hull #52535, a 1940 15.5 foot Chris Craft utility runabout. If you google 1940 15.5 foot Chris Craft, you will find her. Some may recognize her from her pics on Woody Boater when she acquired a set of original 1940 cushions. Originally from Yellowstone Lake, Wyoming, she now runs regularly during the summer months on Lake Harmony in Pennsylvania. People still flip when she shows up.
There is a crazy before photo from the Macatawa Bay Boat Works website
That’s her on the flatbed in white, as in fiberglass, uh-oh! To this point, we have spent a fair amount of time together. I tend to do things rather in depth. Haha. A few key words come to mind. Like zinc, phosphorous, ethanol, Auto-Lite, limber holes, and flame arrestor. How bout babbitt and microfarad. There are many, many more. We did her sea trial on Lake Anna in Virginia. Head torque, shaftlog drip, shift lever pressure, just to name a few. I was at the start of something really big for such a really small boat.
I am a motorcycle person generally, and it surprised me how this little boat captured my undivided attention. Most recently, I’ve learned about the little washer on the condenser mounting screw. Ok, it’s an internal tooth washer used in electrical applications. Who would know? Well, Studebaker knew in the 1920’s. Now we ALL do…again. Here’s another. Don’t turn on your ignition key until you are ready to hit the start button. That can cause damaging arcing in your distributer, points, etc. Don’t run out of gas or otherwise slow down too quickly. Most of us do not have flappers on our exhausts and the rush of water hitting the transom/exhaust can damage our engines.
Uninformed, and trying to keep her looking great, I asked the previous owner, Nate, what to wax her with. Ok, I know, I know. But now what? I use fresh water and dry with microfiber. Small finish issues usually come up great with a microfiber that has some dryish liquid polish and liquid compound on it. I’ve gotten POOR results using Murphy’s Oil Soap. She spends her down time, approximately 8 months a year, in a temperature controlled garage where various small projects have been undertaken. Like valve adjustment. Who knew tenths and thous could be so interesting? So a rabbit hole here, and a rabbit hole there.
I really have to chuckle at what goes on. Could anyone really be bothered if they were warned in advance? Truth is, I was warned, but fools rush in… August Belle is more than ready to kick it this summer, and I am already considering the topics for exploration afterwards.
See you out there.