Aspire Magazine Issue 1 - Page 96

THE CLASSIC BOAT EXPERIENCE For years Irwin Marine maintained a stable of upswept triple-cockpit ChrisCraft runabouts named Miss Winnipesaukee that were run as party boats and thrill rides. As many as seven Miss Winnipesaukees were operating on the lake at one point, turning one-time riders into must-have boat owners. Today you can still take a ride on a classic boat without owning one—in Meredith, innkeeper Rusty McLear operates Miss Meredith, a 1931 Chris- A CLASSIC WINNIPESAUKEE CHRIS-CRAFT ACQUIRES THE PATINA OF AONTHOUSAND MAGIC MOMENTS THE LAKE—A SUNSET CRUISE, THE AFTERNOON ICE-CREAM RUN, GETTING CAUGHT IN A THUNDERSTORM OUT IN THE BROADS. by Lakeport Landing Marina. The wooden powerboat era took off in the 1920s, survived the Depression and World War II, peaked in the 1950s, and then wound down in the 1960s as fiberglass took over the boatbuilding industry. The Smith family that founded ChrisCraft in 1922 sold the company in 1960. The last wooden boat to come off the Chris-Craft line was a cruiser in 1972. Classic wooden boats typically come in a few different styles. A runabout has decks that create defined cockpits for seating—with single-, double-, and triple-cockpit versions. By the 1950s, Utilities became more popular, featuring a more open hull practical for family boating, waterskiing and fishing. Cruisers exchanged speed for amenities, available with as much luxury as one could afford. It was Chris-Craft stylists—often influenced by trends in the automotive industry—who set the design standards. Today 94 ISSUE ONE | ASPIRE the barrelback stern, the seductive curve of a v-windshield, a chrome cutwater, the blonde kingplank or a bullnose bow are icons of industrial design. Moreover, they are symbols of luxurious fun to which we can’t help but aspire. Chris-Craft may have been designing, building, and selling boats but they were also marketing a lake lifestyle. While other production boat builders came and went, Chris-Craft established the boating culture on Winnipesaukee and other lakes—selling some 100,000 wooden boats from 1922 to 1972 worldwide. For many, owning a Chris-Craft became a tradition. Over generations, a classic Winnipesaukee Chris-Craft acquires the patina of a thousand magic moments on the lake—a sunset cruise, the afternoon ice-cream run, getting caught in a thunderstorm out in the Broads. That personal history makes an old wooden boat worth restoring beyond Craft triple-cockpit runabout, from its monetary value. One island family still has a 1927 Chris-Craft that they first purchased (used) in 1930. It almost succumbed to a hurricane in 1954, but was refloated, resuscitated, and still rides the waves of Winnipesaukee today with the great-grandchildren of the couple who first brought it to the lake. And then came another revolution in the 1970s—the restoration movement. As fast as worn-out wooden runabouts were rotting behind barns, enthusiasts started rescuing, then restoring, them. The general public may have embraced the lower-maintenance mantra of fiberglass, but the aesthetics of wood remained a siren call. Decades later, some properly restored Chris-Crafts command six figures. Hardly a weekend goes by without an antique and classic boat show attracting thousands of dreamers—Winnipesaukee boasts three or four each year and nearby lakes have their own. Museums, including Winnipesaukee’s own New Hampshire Boat Museum, have sprung up around the country.  There’s a growing niche market for reproduction runabouts, which can be hard to distinguish from a well-restored original boat. Today Lake Winnipesaukee is one of the national centers of antique and classic boating, history, and renovation. Not everyone has an antique boat keeping their modern fiberglass boat company at the dock, but just about everybody wishes they did—varnished mahogany, chrome, and the throaty r յͥɥɔѥ)ݡЁѡ]ͅխ屔()ѡ́ȁ́ ɍ1)ѕ5ɕѠɽ́ѡ)]ɼѡ9܁!͡ɔ) Ё5͕մ́ɥ́́ɕ)ɥЁ!ȵ Ʌа5)ɽѡѽݸ́ɥѡ)յȁ͕ͽ)Q9܁!͡ɔ Ё5͕մ)͕͕ٕ́٥ͥЁ́ݕչ)Ȱӊéͼձȁѡ)ѡ͕մ́ɭե)܁݅ѕəɽЁ䁽 ) 䁥]ɼ=ѡ)ͥɅѥ́́ѡ͕յ)ѡ͔ѽˊQ٥ѥՔа)͔Qɗéѽ䁽)Ʌ]ͅխٕ)ݼ啅́ѡ5͕մͼ́)YхIЁIфɜ()aAI%9 ]9P5=I=Q!)0-]%99%AMU-)1%MQe1Y%M%P5I%Q! e9 =4()MA%I%MMU=9((((0