By David Dickens, North Coast Ohio Chapter

As I kid, I had the good fortune of spending the summers at my grandparents lake house on Lake Geneva, WI. I vividly remember going to bed at dusk and hearing my parents head out to the end of the pier as a boat would arrive to pick them up for a sunset ride. The sound that their friend’s Chris Craft made as it pulled away is a thing of beauty. From that point on, I have always loved wood boats.

When my wife and I purchased our lake home in Ohio, I started keeping an eye out for a wood boat. I have always loved the look of the Continental and Holiday boats. I find the bull nose and aggressive windshield design striking. In 2013 I saw a listing for a 1952 Holiday in Chautauqua NY. A friend of mine was coming back from his ski cabin in the area and I asked him if he could stop and look at the boat. The owner was kind enough to take him out in it and my friend shot a video. I quickly put a deal together and purchased the boat. I came to learn that she is hull #68 of just 88 23-foot Holidays built by Chris Craft between 1950 and 1952.

She has had two renovations done both by Wooden Runabout in Holland MI. Mike had done a restoration of a Holiday just prior to my purchase and the pictures of his work were impressive. He did a great job working with a newbie owner and helping sorting out a game plan for Simpler Times. The first year she had a strip and re-stain to the proper factory color along with a mid-seat installation on a rail system. The following year, Simpler Times was converted over to a 12 volt system, had a new West bottom and side planks done. We take her out everyday that we are at the lake. The number one comment about the boat from people is that they love the sound that a Chris Craft makes; some things never change.

9 Comments

  1. Love the story.

    I purchased hull number 75 about five years ago – previous owner used the boat on Lake Geneva.

    Is the original MBL with the boat or has it been repowered?

  2. I, too am hoping to enjoy the sound of the flathead 6 in just a few weeks here on Indian Lake. Everyone is more than ready to get out on the water and put this past year from hell behind us.

  3. Great story, I too have a 23′ 1950 Holiday. I hope to pass it along and keep in the family for as long as possible.

  4. My childhood evening story of Chris-Craft is a bit different. On Lake George, we kept our 1956 Continental in Kattskill Bay, and when I reached 14, I was permitted to take the boat across the bay to a Casa Bianca, where the female owner allowed my teen friends to gather on the screened porch (apart from the bar) and eat pizza and drink soda. I had no curfew hours, but what I did have was my father’s instruction to come back across the dark bay “not above an IDLE,” and to ensure that, he reminded me that “I’ll know the minute you hit the starter” and that flat-6 barked to life.
    Today, my 1955 Continental 22′ has been repowered with a V8, but thankfully, that single, big old exaust pipe has been retained through some complex 2-into-one plumbing inside the hull.

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