by Mark Smith member of the Water Wonderland chapter
What do you get when you combine an artist, engineer, and a craftsman? Answer: My dad Chris. Like all boats he has touched, our Rocket turned out to be a jewel of a boat. Quite different from what was delivered from the factory.
Our very good and generous friends, Ben and Myrna Huizinga gave the boat to dad as he was ready for another project. It was a grey boat with missing hardware, no engine or windshield.
The cedar planking was removed, many frames repaired or replaced. Cracked stringers repaired and “beefed” up. The inner chines on both sides were broken so they were replaced and slightly modified toward the bow. During this process the stem was raked forward, and a curve put in the transom. A molded in swim platform was added, and to support it, the hull sides were extended aft which terminate in a visually stunning rounded curve. What began as a 16’ cedar Rocket, morphed into an 18.5’ “one of a kind” Rocket.
Chris is now 92 years young and unable to climb in and out of boats. My wife Alice and I are honored to be the current caretakers of this special and historic Rocket. We will maintain and preserve this jewel of a boat for future generations until it is time to pass the responsibility on to someone much younger.
It’s great to see that this wonderful boat is in good hands and being cared for. I know Chris’ Skiff Odyssea is in the same good hands with her current owner in Port Huron. Please say hello and wish Chris well for me!