By Edgar D. McKean, III, ACBS Member
Having grown up in Pittsburgh, PA, I was not exposed to classic wood boats as a youngster. My exposure began at Keewaydin Camp, a wilderness summer camp on an island in Lake Temagami in northern Ontario. Sprinkled about Temagami were a handful of classics which caught my attention, along with their owners’ rustic camps.
Through college and law school, I dreamed of a classic of my own, and a camp on an island. That dream gradually came true in New Hampshire. First the camp on Mark Island in Lake Winnipesaukee, and then, finally, the boat.
In the spring of 1990, I got a call from friend Mark Mason (well known old boat restorer and builder) telling me: “I found you the right boat.” Just one look, and I was in. Mark had maintained the boat for an older gentleman on Squam Lake who was ready to sell. My choice: 1937 19′ Chris-Craft Custom Runabout. All original, very good condition.
My two prior boats on the Lake had both been second hand glass runabouts, so I had to learn to drive my “new” boat the old way. No problem. The rumble of the straight six was like a symphony; the way she cut the water was artistry. My love affair with Sitting Pretty had been launched.
The affair has continued to this day. She is not a show boat, but a daily driver. However, she has always been well cared for and the look today is as good as it ever has been. I have watched my three kids grow up going on rides with me all over Lake Winnipesaukee, routinely accompanied my wife, the patient Louise, doing the navigating whenever the skipper might need some help. Ever present, as well, was our Labrador companion.
A highlight has always been having Sitting Pretty in demand from visitors to the Island, begging for a ride on this special boat. I could never resist accommodating a request to fire her up for a run. There truly is a magic to these boats that will never die.