by Thomas Drozd member of Blackhawk chapter

“Golden Gal” is owned by Tom Drozd and Georgia Raymond. She is a 1961, 23’ Chris Craft Sea Skiff Ranger bearing hull #SUD23-048. It turns out that Chris Craft produced 56 of this model in that particular year, so it is a fairly rare boat as far as production numbers. Golden Gal was originally equipped with a 283 engine and now sports a 350 Chevy under the motor box. Chris Craft produced this model for 3 years, 1960 through 1962. There was a total of 180 combined produced.

As a newly acquired boat, we had purchased it to use specifically in Tavares, Florida. We were looking for a boat that we could pile the whole family on (including the dog) and be able to walk around, take a nap and even go to the washroom. Yes, it’s got a head. That’s a big deal at times. So, when a friend of mine, fellow ACBS member, Nick Arnone, told me about this boat I just had to go look at her. But there was one problem. Since I have boatidus (you know, too many boats and always see the next deal), I had to sell one in order to buy another. So, miraculously I was able to sell my 1941-16’ Century Sea Maid the same week I bought this one.

We purchased the boat in Green Bay, Wisconsin and ended up taking possession during the ACBS International show in Racine Wisconsin back in 2017. Not knowing its seaworthiness, we decided to leave her on the trailer for the show. I was hesitant to attend a show with a trailered boat, but it turned out to be quite fun. We met so many new folks who shared time with us on and around the boat. There seems to be a lot more room in a parking lot than on a dock. You get to walk around and get a closeup look at the hull, underneath, and if you bring a ladder you can sit in the boat and play Vroom, Vroom. You guys know what I mean.

The next step was to get her all checked out, cleaned and make any necessary repairs before the trip down to Tavares from Chicago. After some vanish, paint, some adjusting and a few modifications we were ready for the trip. With a boat weighing in around 3,500 lbs. and a trailer of around 1,300 lbs., we towed a load close to 5,000 lbs. We had to make sure all our plans were in place. Extra bearings, brakes, spare tires were all insurance issues as far as I was concerned. A good plan is necessary when it’s time for the long haul.

All went smoothly when we hauled her south. No issues at all. The stress is all gone now.

The name “Golden Gal” was named after the woman from whom I purchased the boat. Her husband had passed away a couple years ago and she held onto the boat until finally deciding to let her go. The name was chosen by her husband because his wife was an original “Golden Girl” cheerleader for the NFL Green Bay Packers under Coach Vince Lombardi. Now this is back when cheerleaders were somewhat new to football, at least in the NFL, so it was a big deal back them. Now, being a Chicago Bears fan, this was a hard pill to swallow but it’s a great story to tell. So, as part of the deal when I was negotiating the price, I promised I would keep the name in honor of her. I believed she was more worried about the boat being taken care of (since it was her husband’s baby) than keeping the name. I assured her I would take good care of her namesake “Golden Gal”.

When I brought the boat home my wife looked at the name and asked, what are we going to name it? That’s when I had to explain to her about keeping the name and what I had promised the Golden Girl. But, with us both being rivals of the Packers (us being Chicago Bear fans), it was hard to accept at first, but the story is one that has a great meaning so we there we have it. What’s your boat’s story?

For those of you who don’t know Green Bay Packer history, Golden Boy was the nickname of former Green Bay Halfback and Hall of Famer, Paul Hornung. So, the name Golden Girls seemed to fit the cheerleading squad just fine. The Golden Girls stayed in place from 1961 through 1972.

Wonder how many boats out there are named after an NFL Cheerleader? Ours is…

See you on the water somewhere on the Harris chain of lakes or the Dora Canal!

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