Aspire Magazine Issue 1 - Page 94

WATER WARRIORS ALL THAT GLITTERS: Lake Winnipesaukee living is defined by classic Chris-Craft cruisers. M ahogany runabouts have plied the deep waters of New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee for at least a century. It’s a legacy that carries on today, infusing Lakes Region living with a dashing dose of retro. In today’s era of jet-skis, paddleboards, and the ubiquitous pontoon, heads never fail to turn when a classic wooden Chris-Craft, Century, Gar Wood, or Hackercraft burbles to the dock with gleaming varnish and chrome. And while there’s no question that modern fiberglass powerboats have the advantage in pure numbers on the water, classic wooden runabouts continue to define image and lifestyle around the lake. In the 1920s, armed with surplus World War I airplane engines and a pedigree building racing runabouts, Christopher Columbus Smith and Gar Wood gave birth to a boating revolution. By marrying style and volume production, the gentleman’s 92 ISSUE ONE | ASPIRE runabout for everyman was born, identified by well-varnished mahogany, leather upholstery, and polished hardware, and a promise of heart-thumping thrills on the water. These were relatively big boats, 26 feet, destined for boathouses on big lakes. Lake Winnipesaukee was then, and remains today, ideal: Created by glaciers, it’s more than 20 miles long, nearly 10 miles wide, and hosts 258 islands. Along its southern shore is the Belknap Mountain Range, home to Gunstock Ski Area and one of the most popular short hikes in New England, Mount Major. From the peak of Mount Major you can glimpse a birds’-eye view of Lake Winnipesaukee and the famous White Mountains to the north, including the highest point in the northeast (6,288 feet), Mount Washington. One of the earliest dealers for the fastest-growing runabout company, Chris-Craft, was Irwin Marine on Lake Winnipesaukee. Irwin Marine became one of the longest-running Chris-Craft dealers, representing the marquee until the late 1980s. Irwin still thrives today, as does Chris-Craft, represented on Winnipesaukee GETTYIMAGES.COM/DAVE SHAFER CLASSIC BOATS CAPTURE THE ESSENCE OF LAKES REGION LIVING IN NEW HAMPSHIRE BY JACK SAVAGE ASPIRE | ISSUE ONE 93