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1953 Chris Craft Sportsman (U22)

A beautiful classic from Chris-Craft that fell into disrepair over many years of use. When we first received this popular utility it was only scheduled for a new 5200 bottom, refinish, and upholstery. There was actually some duct tape on some of the bottom seams and had two bilge pumps (one fore and one aft) to keep up with the stubborn leaks. Once we began poking around some discolored areas on the hullsides and deck we soon discovered most if not all the planking was completely rotten. Some areas were so bad we could actually poke our fingers through it.

After bracing up the interior structure with 2x6s we rolled her over and began removing the bottom. Bad is an understatement. Worst bottom we’ve ever encountered with multiple cracked or rotten frames, knees, shelf, and even the stem was crumbling. The inner planking was completely rotten as well. Before installing the new 5200 bottom we decided to remove all hullside planking to get the boat straight. Then we started with the hullside planking to firm up the structure before proceeding with the bottom. New Philippine mahogany was used for battens and planking. All fairing was completed while the boat was upside down, as it’s much easier on the arms that way.

She was rolled over and all but two planks on the deck were replaced. The seat frames were also badly cracked and those were repaired. Gauges were restored, the MBL engine was gone over and converted to 12V for more reliable operation. New ‘Marmoleum’ flooring was installed, hardware either re-chromed or stainless polished, a replacement for a cracked windshield frame, new handle fabricated for the deck hatch, all new switches, and Iva-Lite relocated for proper placement. Owner also had us fabricate a custom ¾ seat to sit in front of the engine box. Ten coats of varnish and buffed decks brought her back to her former glory. We were pleased with the outcome, and so was the proud owner.

Time to completion was fourteen months.

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