by Ron Chaverin member of the Blue Ridge chapter
She was named “Lady C” by my mother Lee Chaverin for her owners surname, Chris-Craft, and her home of 43 years, Lake Chautauqua, NY. The boat has had 5 owners in her 81 years, of which we know 4, the original being Mr. Anthony Pietrafesa, who enjoyed the boat with his family on Lake Cazenovia, NY southeast of Syracuse. Mr. Pietrafesa designed and special-ordered 2 removable hatches from Chris-Craft that cover the center cockpit containing the engine enclosure that also included two seats, one port and one starboard. He also ordered an optional second deck horn and windshield-mounted searchlight, making Lady C unique among the 70 Model 807’s ever produced, hull #19541. This model also has a rear-facing aft seat, designed for fishing and observing aquaplaning, a new watersport in the late 1930’s. Anthony’s son Richard kindly provided us with digitized 16 mm film of the brand new boat, then named Louise I, running on Lake Cazenovia in 1938, images that we treasure.
Lady C came to my family in 1978 when my father Carl Chaverin purchased her from well-known Chris-Craft restorer and expert Charlie Cross at Holiday Harbor in Celeron NY. My Dad had seen the boat on Lake Chautauqua and fell in love with her lines and unique configuration. Our family enjoyed cruises and even water-skiing behind Lady C from 1979 to 2006. Dad did extensive research on this model, compiling and publishing a registry of the surviving 19’ Sportsman 807’s in the fall of 1995. Fifteen boats were located at that time, with three more unable to be verified. Lady C was featured in the Brass Bell in 1995, and again in Issue #4 of 2017, then making the cover.
When Dad passed away at age 83 in 2008, the boat came to me. She remained in storage in New York until 2016, at which time I brought her to Lake Norman, NC near my home in Charlotte so that my family and friends can enjoy her beauty and history. I am a current Member of the Blue Ridge Chapter of the ACBS, and plan to continue to enter and display Lady C in antique boat shows in the southeast U.S.