Information for this report has been furnished by David Funnell, Michigan Chapter.

In David Funnell’s membership file is a picture of a J Craft. It’s a brand new boat with a pretty new motor, (2012 Evinrude 115) but the hull design is probably 50 years old.  In the 70’s the J craft was the definitive Ontario water ski boat.  Funnell’s is one of two made in 2017. 

“John Jones was the original owner of the J Craft company.  He started the company in the late 60’s and apparently sold it and bought it back at least once.  John Spaeth, the current builder, did not know all the details.  I can’t remember not seeing J Crafts on our lake, and I am 59.”

A 1993 brochure from the J-Craft company describes the 19′ Pro Ski model which is replicated in the current model.



For the last 20 years or so J Crafts have been made in small numbers (2 this year) by John Spaeth.  John was originally contracted by the founder, J Jones, to build the hulls.  In the 90’s the Ontario boat industry was decimated, and J Craft went bankrupt, along with most of the other manufacturers.  After that, John continued to build the boats with the blessings of Mr. Jones.  I’ve known John since the early 90’s, but never bought one of his boats until this year.

J Crafts were the definitive Ontario water ski boat for decades.  In the 70’s (and maybe the 60’s) they were also used as speed boats in inboard, outboard, and jet form.  There were several versions of my boat:  16′, 17′, and 19′.  The 19 came in short deck and long deck versions.  Only the 19 short deck is made now.  It has a relatively short bow (deck) which improves the cockpit space and moves the driver/spotter weight farther forward for better planing. 

J Craft also briefly made some other models.
Here are a few pictures from the manufacturing process for the current boat.  John’s boat is manufactured with wood underneath, including balsa coring and some mahogany reinforcing the bow. Then the boat is finished with fiberglass.


J-Craft bottom and turning fin  

J-Craft stern interior details

More information about the J-Craft 19 can be found in an article published in the Canadian Yachting Onboard Newsletter.

Learn more about the age classifications for Antique and Classic Boats.  Today’s featured boat is Contemporary, but a replica of a Late Classic which would include boats built between 1976 and 25 years prior to this year.  In 1918, boats built in 1993 will be included in the Late Classic age classification.

Be an active part of the website of the Antique and Classic Boat Society community. Email your pictures and stories to [email protected]


  1. John Jones was an amazing builder… his passion showed in his work, by far one of the best built boats… ever!

      • J-Craft are exhibiting this week (Jan 21, 2019) at the Toronto Boat Show. They do not have brochures yet but are showing two very well made prototypes. New owner is Chris and he will move production to Parry Sound this summer. Looks good for the future.

    • Hey ! If you need transom repair for a J-Craft you can call Chris Whitney @ 905-252-4407 he was a employee at J-Craft factory with John Spaeth so they know what they are doing

    • Hi Brian. I don’t know if you have fixed your J but I worked at the factory in Pefferlaw where your boat was built and quite possibly was one of the guys who put it together! I still work in composites and have a business about 10 minutes away from the shop your boat was built in. I have extensive knowledge of J-Crafts and can help you out. give me a call at 905-722-9892. Chris Whitney

      • Hey Chris! This is incredible – you’re just the person I’d love to chat with. I’ve got a 17′ and a 19′ that I’m working on, and would love some help if you’re up for having your brain picked. My phone is +16474069061 if you want to flip me a text, or if email is better: [email protected]. Happy to text you if you’d prefer, I just didn’t want to do it unannounced and risk being annoying.

      • Hey Chris, I have a 1989 J-Craft 19 that I just bought and would love to have you take a look at it for a potential facelift over the winter next year. It needs a bit of gel work. Do you have any pics of a J-Craft that you have done some work on? It’ got an 89 Merch 200 Black Max but the compression in 2 of 6 cylinders is lower than what they should be so may also be looking to potentially replace that motor with a newer 200 20 shaft if you know of any.
        Thanks Tom

  2. Hi I am on my forth J-Craft 19 ft. and I can not seem to get away from it because they are good ski boats for water ski and pleasure tubbing . I know there is lots of different boats out there but the 19 J -Craft has to be the best and with a 175 HP and its good looks makes it a hot rod on water

  3. I live in the Orillia area & am looking for a 19’ short deck. Can anyone give me a lead on one? Have owned 2 in the past & now have a 16 year old grandson skiing with the North Shore Ski Club. I’d really appreciate any input.

  4. I worked for Kennedy boats in Toronto built the marlin I got 36 years exp in fiberglass are you looking for exp worker or forman

  5. I built the marlin for kennedy boats 36 years exp in everything in fiberglass if you still need exp worker or layup forman please reply

  6. 1972 16′ J-Craft on Lake Rosseau looking for restoration ( & power – 140 Johnson lower unit shot)….overall decent shape, but would be concerned with transom upon new Engine, probably consider new Evinrude.
    Exciting to see a comeback in Parry Sound [ there were sightings on the Muskoka Lakes last summer – obviously the new prototype 19’s!]

  7. Did you know if J-craft builted small trailer for Jetski boat . I have one in fiberglass and someone told me that trailer was builted by J-Craft

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