by member Tim Pratt member of the Bay State Classic Boat Club
I came upon acquiring my 1963 20’ Chris-Craft Holiday by sheer chance in April of 2009. Sitting on a bar stool waiting for a pizza at a local restaurant, I started a conversation with an older chap next to me and not before long the subject turned to boats. Owning a wood boat was never on my radar however after our chat, and finding out he was selling the before mentioned Holiday, I became intrigued.
After relaying my conversation to my better half and receiving no deal stopping feedback, I decided to take a look at the boat and find out whatever information I could regarding her history. At first sight, I found her to be in relatively decent condition as she was restored in the mid 90’s however she hadn’t seen water for several years.
After a few calls I was directed to our regions foremost wooden boat restoration professional located on a lake just a short drive from mine. Fortunately, the pro was familiar with the boat and gave it an overall clean bill of health. With some trepidation, I decided to take the plunge and become the proud owner of a then 46 year old mahogany Chris-Craft.
Arrangements were made to have the boat transported from storage to his shop to bring her back to life. As my only experience to date was with fiberglass boats, I recall commenting that perhaps we should just put it in the water for a test run to see what problems my surface. He replied that one problem would be that the boat would “sink to the bottom” if it was not properly swelled first! Thus began my education to the world of wooden boat ownership.
The boat was built at the Cadillac, Michigan plant and was shipped to Irwin Marine on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. I’m her third owner and over the years I have repainted the bottom, replaced the transom, replaced the alligator vinyl seating upholstery, and administered many other cosmetic fixes yet she is due for another full restoration. The engine, a 275hp 431 Lincoln with low hours sounds absolutely incredible and we are consistently greeted with enthusiastic waves from shore (and other boats) as we cruise the lake.
She will be 60 in three short years and I hope to have her back in show condition for that birthday.