by Jim Russell member of the Chautauqua Lake Twin Tier chapter

My wife and I became first time boat owners April of 2017 after a longtime fascination with classic wooden boats. Our local paper had a listing for a 1956 Chris-Craft, Mahogany Sportsman Runabout completely restored with trailer. I called the seller and after he e-mailed me pictures. We purchased the boat the very next day. The seller stated that it took him 10 years to restore the boat and gave me 2 very large folders containing all the receipts and contact information from all the restoration dealers he used in restoring the boat.

Below is the e-mail I sent the seller to share our first experience on the water:

Hope this e-mail finds you well.
On May 24th, 2018, after a long year waiting, we took her out on out maiden voyage on the 3 Rivers around Point State Park here in Pittsburgh. We can’t express our gratitude enough on the wonderful and meticulous job you did on restoring the boat. We had it stored over the winter and commissioned for the summer season by Washington’s Landing Marina and was very surprised that 3 of their team were there to see us off their dock. The boat turned every head and we were waved at by everyone as we elegantly cruised around Point State Park.

We had to hold her to under 1k RPM’s as she purred like a kitten down at the Point because that area is a “No Wake Zone”. We proudly allowed her to take in all the attention that only you can be given the credit for.
Although, we did not get a pix of “her” in the water, I did attach a pix; right before we did open her up a little and got the thrill of a lifetime.
We had a custom mooring cover made a few weeks ago and are planning to take her to lakes around our area.

Since our maiden voyage, we have taken our Chris-Craft out as much as possible and enjoy boating on the 3 Rivers here in Pittsburgh and get the same reaction from fellow boaters and passersby. Our Marina offers dry stack valet service and puts our boat in the river on an hours’ notice because we do not want to keep her in the river water. Indeed, we have taken her to Deep Creek Maryland on 2 occasions and to Beltzville State Park, Eastern PA. and are currently planning to take her to Chautauqua Lake this season. See you on the water!

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