by Mike Fogarty member of the Indian Lake chapter
The small Lake n Sea Boat company, located in Boca Raton, Florida began producing three, 15′ fiberglass boats in 1956. Two models were outboards and the third was powered by the Crosley-based 35hp Fageol “44” vertical inboard.
Soon, hull failures occurred due to the fiberglass delaminating from the wooden framework. Chris-Craft saw the opportunity in December, 1957 to buy the troubled company and get into the small fiberglass O/B boat market. This was about the time the 19’ Chris Craft fiberglass “Silver Arrow”was introduced for 1958.
After only one year, Chris-Craft sold the company to John Parsons of Traverse City, Michigan after producing only 300 boats. Parsons was a brilliant pioneer in fiberglass products dating from WW II.
He set about redesigning for 1959 the hull of the 14’ to 18’ models which sported patented grill-like transoms and modest fins. The quality of the fiberglass rose dramatically due to John Parson’s experience building military-related equipment which left no margin for error. The 1960 “Caribbean” listed for $1,095 which was a bit pricey at that time.
I found my 1960 “Caribbean “at a yard/moving sale in October, 2006. The woman who answered the door stated, “It has to go because we are moving in 3 days”. I might add that no man was present when the decision was made. That was lucky for me. I paid $200.00. The boat was complete but covered in mildew and full of twigs, leaves, and mouse leftovers. When I arrived home, my wife “questioned my judgement “in bringing such a boat home, After a thorough cleaning, I could tell the boat was solid with a strong transom. Over the winter, I sanded and painted the bottom half below the side molding with Petit Easy Poxy gloss white. The top half was painted with Epiphanes # 30 gloss enamel using foam rollers and brushes. The result was amazing.
Since the Johnson 40 and trailer which came with the boat were unusable, I sold them for parts. Searching locally, I found a 1962 Mercury 450, 45hp engine and a vintage Tee Nee trailer which I painted John Deere Yellow, a close match to the original.
I like the lines of the boat but knew nothing about Lake’n Sea until I looked at the Fiberglassics.com website. The ACBS directory informed me that Mr. Geoffrey Reynolds of Holland, Michigan is the president of the Lake’n Sea marque club. I contacted Geoffrey and he researched some original company memos from Parsons Corporation. Using my hull number, he discovered that my boat,although sporting a plate showing Traverse City as the place of manufacture, was actually built in Holland by the subcontractor, Michigan Fiberglass Company, during the change of ownership
to that company in 1961.
In June, 2007 my wife, son, and I took the boat to Indian Lake (Ohio), home of our ACBS chapter, for its maiden voyage. We had a great day cruising on the lake, receiving lots of “thumbs up “greetings and talking with people at the launch ramp about the 1950’s styling and color.
This experience confirms to me that ACBS is smart in promoting the restoration of these affordable classic fiberglass boats.