by Alan Dowsett member of the Rocky Mountain Classics chapter
I found out about this 17’ SS Chris Craft in 2012 as it was for sale by owner who lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We live in northern Colorado, 2 hours from Colorado Springs. I was marginally interested in looking at it, but I had a trip to the “springs”, so I thought I’d at least check it out. I did a little research prior to on this boat as the Owners were also members of the Rocky Mountain Classics Chapter here in Colorado.
Upon seeing it, I was less interested as it was stored outside, uncovered with many of the planks separated, 2 bilge pumps which tells you something and looking very tired. It was immediately clear; this was a total restoration project which I wasn’t sure I was ready for as I recently had my 1947 Garwood Commodore restored.
Upon examining her further, I did see all the original instruments were intact, all the hardware was there, the wrap around windshield was in good shape, the engine turned over and the trailer was in pretty good shape. What I found out prior to my visit is there were only 10 of these models made, and this was hull #6, CUI – 17 -0006C built at the Cadillac plant and shipped in April 1968 to the Lake Side Enterprise dealership in Addison, PA. With a bit more exploring, I wasn’t able to locate any of the other 9 hulls, so possibly this was the only remaining hull/model. The Owner indicated I was her last option as she had exhausted all her efforts, or it was going to the dump.
Even if I wasn’t ready for a project, I wasn’t going to let this gal rot away and die. So, we made the purchase and began a 100% keel up restoration. Restoration included replacing the upholstery to match that of the original brochure with critical input from the Mariners Museum.
We finished the restoration in 2013, and as my Dad who is my inspiration for boats, the ocean and boat restoration said, name a boat after your wife, this way she’ll be happy with your next restoration. It took me 60 years to figure this out and way more than a handful of boats. The boat is named the Sandy Kay.
We are members of the Rocky Mountain Classic Chapter and live in Windsor, Colorado. There are several beautiful lakes to enjoy here in Colorado, including one of our favorites, Grand Lake at an elevation of nearly 8400’. Boating anywhere is great, and Colorado offers a wonderful option, especially in the high rocky mountain lakes in autumn.
The Sandy Kay was recently sold to a couple new to woodies here in Colorado and super excited to be a part of the Rocky Mountain Classics.