by Francis Hopkinson member of the Chesapeake Bay chatper
In November of 2018 I was made aware of an interesting boat for sale. It was a 1929 model 100 Chris-Craft (20′ triple). Because it was located near Halifax in Nova Scotia I was somewhat reluctant to follow up on it. However when I saw some photos and learned a little about it, I became intrigued.
I contacted the owner, Matt and had several conversations. He forwarded a lot of photos and we had several more long conversations. After we agreed on a regarding price, transportation to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, preparing for shipping, and getting it through border customs, etc. I decided to purchase it.
A start of a restoration had been made. The engine was out, the varnish had been removed from the hull, every piece of external metal, almost every bit of internal workings except the instruments,the majority of the wiring, and hatches, seats, ceilings floor boards and seats had all been removed. Matt assured me that all this material was present and that most of the chrome had been replated.
Matt, the trucker and a customs agent were all extremely helpful in organizing the transportation. Matt went to extraordinary lengths to pack every piece in protective wrapping, put it in the boat and shrink wrap it all. The engine, on its own cradle, was separate, but also shrink wrapped.
The trucker, making his way through Nova Scotia, Maine and New England in early December had to stop twice for ice and snow, but eventually arrived in Maryland on December 5th.
Conversations with Matt, various documents that came with the boar and correspondence with the Mariners Museum uncovered some intriguing information. The hull number of this boat is 7000. All records indicate that the first model 100 had hull number 7001. No evidence of a number 7000 has been discovered.
The first owner, probably a Canadian, removed the rear cockpit seat, or there never was a seat, and built a large hatch to cover the cockpit. The boat then went into the business of running illegal liquor across Lake Erie during Prohibition. The boat was caught and impounded and stored in a warehouse for a number of years, eventually perhaps sometime in the 1950s it was auctioned off. There followed the boat to Canada which used for a number of seasons for recreation. Due to a death in the family, the boat was put into storage for a number of years, finally selling it in 1996.
The next two owners, both in the Halifax area, each owned it for about 10 years. They both planned to do a thorough restoration, but only a little work was done. I am now doing the thorough restoration that it deserves. I am trying to make it as original as possible, including the hatch/cargo space in the rear cockpit.
Some of the dates and information are still sketchy, and research is still going on. The unknown hull number may be due to it being a prototype or it may have never been documented because of its illegal purpose. I have inquiries out to try to see if the Canadian Coast Guard has any records of this interdiction and impoundment. Meanwhile, restoration proceeds apace.