By David Price, member of the Hudson River Chapter.
I hope the title of my story proves to be not true but, as of today, it seems entirely appropriate, especially to my wife and friends.
My wife Barbara and I joined the Hudson River Chapter of ACBS some 16 years ago after Barbara bought, on the spur of the moment, a 1956 Chris Craft Sea Skiff because “it reminds me of my childhood on Conneaut Lake (PA)”. This was done in a matter of moments when buying a new pair of shoes takes 3 or 4 visits to the store! Needless to say we love the boat and have used her reliably every year on the Hudson River ever since.
A year and a half ago, a friend mentioned that a “friend of a friend” had heard of an “old boat” stored in Connecticut that might be for sale. After some investigative work, we got a contact and decided to take a trip to see this “barn find” and pass the information on to our classic boating friends in case someone had an interest. Of course, at first sight, I told Barbara that we had to have it, that this was a fantastic find, that being recently retired it was just what I needed, it was a great deal, etc., etc. Barbara was somewhat less enthralled but acquiesced in the end, probably thinking a project would keep me busy and out of her way.
Anyway, we acquired the boat in December of 2017, a 1951 Century Resorter Convertible and rebuilt Greymarine Fireball Six 140 still in the crate, and stored for the winter with FWBs (friends with barns). Work began in the spring of 2018, which consisted mainly of disassembling what hadn’t already been taken apart, cleaning the flora and fauna from the interior and inventorying everything. Fortunately, the previous owner had made a good start on the restoration but had put it aside in 1994. The hull was in good shape, the bottom redone with the original batten and plank system, a couple of missing hull planks had to be fitted and the decks replaced but the boat came with a supply of avodire to replace the deck planks. All of the hardware was included but needed re-chroming, new upholstery would be required and a total rewiring.
I should mention that all of the work is being done in our driveway as we have no garage, no barn – I do suffer from barn envy – and we had the wettest summer in fifty years in this part of New York. Progress has been made, but slowly and, of course, now the boat is back with FWBs for the winter. I hope to tackle the wiring by the warmth of a fire this winter and prepare myself for the next round of restoration next summer. I am not sure when or if I will complete this project, but I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work on such a wonderful boat. So is Barbara. Time will tell if I am in over my head.