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The worthiness of the classic fiberglass Chris Craft Commander, Lancer, and Corsair as restoration candidates.

Chris-Craft is a remarkable company today, producing fabulous boats of the very highest quality and value, coveted around the world. The company enjoys an um-matched history of producing great boats of all sizes, and I am very pleased to see the new boats being produced today paying such deference to the glorious company history of the past. Their quality and performance is considered to be at the top of the boat manufacturing industry today. Well done Chris Craft!

This enviable company history was earned over a period of many years, first producing wood boats for 70+ years, then venturing into metal, and eventually starting into volume fiberglass production in 1963. This was after a bitter lesson was learned in 1957 when approximately 266 15' outboard boats called the

"Lake-N-Sea" were built, using plywood bonded to fiberglass and causing many problems; the Lake-N- Sea operation was sold in 1958. In 1963, however, Chris Craft was much better prepared for fiberglass, they did their homework and research very well, and boats from this era are exceptionally solid.


Photos this page: 1968 23' Italian manufactured

fiberglass Chris Craft hull under complete restoration in France by Mr. Thibaud

Special Interest...

A Guide's Guide to Proper Boat Launching Etiquette and Practices By Steve Hancock

As anglers and boaters we all look for- ward to that day out on the water during these warmer water months that are upon us. Along with this warmer weather comes the sometimes crov/ded boat launches, and depending on the size and type of vessel, it can be a time- consuming and arduous process of launching your craft from the local ramps. I'm sure you all have experienced someone ahead of you who takes entirely too long, or who is inexperienced, or someone for whom, no matter what he or she does, it just doesn't go smoothly. Here are a few helpful tips to help the launching process go a bit more smoothly for you.

1. Try to get as much of your fishing gear, life jackets, coolers, or anything you are taking out with you for the day into the boat before you pull into the loading zone (Remember, safe and ef- ficient launching techniques mean more time on the water for everyone.).

2. If you are not ready and the people behind you are. by all means wave them ahead of you so they may launch.

3. If someone ahead of you is by himself or seems to be inexperienced or having trouble getting his watercraft launched (remember when you were in his shoes?), simply offer to help out by holding a dock line/launching line for him as he backs into the water. Believe it or not kind- ness is contagious! 3. Another tip if you are by yourself and you want to make this process a bit easier and speedier: attach a length of rope V/2 times the length of your boat with a carabiner or spring clip on both ends and attach it to the bow ring and the other attached to the boat crank handle or attachment point near there. Once securely attached, pile the rope onto the deck so that it will be able to freely fall off the deck and into the water as you slowly back the water craft into the water. Just as you see that the watercraft is leaving the trailer pull the vehicle forward slightly, then put the vehicle into park and apply the parking brake. Get out of the vehicle and walk back and detach the line; by this point the line will have tension on it. Detach the line, then simply pull the boat in toward shore, off to the side of the trailer, and tie off to a dock or anchor to shore. Then simply get in your vehicle, remove the parking brake, and pull the ve- hicle forward (don't forget to take off your parking brake). The first couple times you may want to try this with a friend, or when less crowded, until you get the hang of it. 4. Upon taking out at the end of the day make sure to pull forward far enough or into a vacant parking spot so others behind you have enough room to take out as well. In conclusion safe, courteous, and efficient launching practices will allow everyone just a little bit more enjoyable time on the water.

Published: Fishing Magazine - May 2010

Article by Steve Hancock of Susquehanna Fly and Spin Guide Service lie

Pilot 2


Pilot 3


The small-fishing-boats ideal for insore fishing

Westport Marine

Pilot 3

Boat test

Total Sea Fishing - 20 Juli 2009

Mike Thrussell thinks that the Westport Marine Pilot 3 is ideal for insore fishing and it may just fulfil the small-boat angler's dream of being afloat with no fuss.


Pilot 3

, designed by Plymouth-based Charles Broughton, of Westport Marine, is a craft that will appeal to estuary and inshore bass anglers looking to work tight in shallow areas. The boat is designed to be both easy to row and to give maximum speed and fuel economy with smaller-sized outboard engines. With a length of 13ft 6in and a beam of just under live feet, the Pilot 2 is designed for carrying three crewmen and can take outboards up to 15hp.

A strong, simulated, clinker-type hull is formed from a chopped-strand matt lay-up. Core matt material is also placcd between the laminate to act like a foam sandwich to give improved rigidity. Bow features include a small hinge-up anchor locker, as well as a large storage locker with enough room for stowing loads of additional gear - plus the locker top acts as a comfy seat. The deck is finished in a non-stipple effect and also carries neatly raised foot bars that you can brace your feet against when rowing for maximum power effect. In the middle of the boat you will find a full-width seat that's wide enough for comfy seating for long periods. This is also a handy work base when making-up rigs and sorting tackle with only two of you onboard.

For a boat of this size, the gunnels are nice and high and give you a feeling of security. There are rowlocks fitted in the middle gunnel tops, but the rear gunnel tops also carry additional, short, stainless steel safety rails, which provide additional onboard security and also add to the overall looks of the boat. The safety rails, though, are optional extras, but well worth it. The transom is formed around a full-width seat with spacious locker facility underneath for the fuel tank and further stowage of tackle and equipment. This is neatly divided into a short section on the starboard side, and a long section to die port side where the fuel goes, veiy neat! There's a narrow splash well at the back and the stern quarters carry stainless- steel cleats for tying off. It has to be said that the overall finish is exceptional throughout. When you jump aboard the boat it looks a class act, plus it feels strong underfoot. Nothing gives when you move around the deck and everything feels solid. Finished with a blue hull and an off-white topside, that's designed to minimise sun and light reflection, with black fendering, this is a boat that turns heads as she passes by.


The Pilot 3

is deliberately designed with a shallow draught and slim width to increase speed with smaller motors, hut remain a stable craft. During the test we were swapping places stem to bow quite a few times, and it remained very stable - that said, she's not designed for continual standing, more for fishing when seated. Fitted with a tiller steering Honda 10hp, the boat will take a 15hp if needed. With the lOhp she really flies along, so if you need to cover some distance to reach your fishing grounds this is a speedy boat for its size. Underway the boat sits rock steady with medium power on. The bow stays down, but raises just a little, as you'd expect, as you puL full power on but you still retain full forward vision. With two aboard she rides very well with a crewman up at the bow. The boat leans a little when under power and turning in a tight circle clue lo her deliberate design, but you soon become used to this and she remains very predictable throughout all major manoeuvring. Punching forward into small waves, the hull cut through very cleanly and at no time at all did any water spray back inside the hull and onto the occupants, though the wind was only light on the test day. With the lOhp engine and just the helmsman onboard she achieved a steady cruising speed of 12 knots, and flat out peaked at a speedy 15 knots. Fuel consumption would be around 17 litres per hour. If you use a 5hp motor on this boat she'll still do 7 knots. Stick a 15hp unit on the back and the boat will really shift up in to 20-knot-plus bracket. You could also fit an electric moLor for use when sneaking in to shallow bass marks - just another option to consider when looking at craft of this ilk.


I think some anglers intending to anchor a lot may choose to fit short stainless-steel safety rails at each side of the bow - just for additional security when working hard to retrieve a resistant: anchor hold for instance. Adding two more short safety rails the same as those on the rear gunnels would add further security if you intend to have the kids aboard, plus Lhey will add even more good looks to an already stunning looking craft. There is no T cleat on the bow for tying off, but this is a small addition and easy enough to fit. Although the middle seat was comfy and felt strong enough to me, Charles Broughton, the owner and designer, told me that he intends to strengthen the seats a little more. Sea anglers tend to be big lads, so I take his point!


For the fishing described - sheltered estuaries, shallow water tight into shore, evening mackerel sessions, fly and plug casting for bass - Lhis boat offers a lot of advantages. The shallow draft means you can move into those little-fished areas that other, bigger, boats can never approach. With the ability to be easily rowed, or with the electric motor fitted, you can also creep up and ambush bass without them realising you are near to them. She accommodates two anglers with masses of room to spare and a load of gear, but will easily fish three. The boat is quick and gets you from mark to mark to keep pace with the moving fish. A big advantage is that she's easy to launch on your own, either direcL off the trailer or from a launch trolley. You could nip home from work, grab some tea, and still sneak off for a few hours fishing on a summer's evening with the minimum of fuss and preparation. She's also a joy to tow behind a normal family car, so could be taken on holidays with you too. Those of you comparing other boats of this type need to check this one out before you make your final decision!

Westport Marine

Pilot 2

Total Sea Fishing, 20 Juni - 2009| Boat test

Westport Marine is already famous for its highly popular Pilot 4 and 6 boats, reviewed last year in TSF, but the company has now added a smaller version to the range as Mike Thrussell explains...

The Pilot 2

is an open dinghy that's suitable for estuary fishing. It will be of special interest to bass fly fishers and pluggers looking to work in shallow inshore reef areas with maximum stealth from a boat that can be easily be launched single handed. Ex-naval design architect Charlie Broughton designed the boat, and modern technology is used within the build format. This includes advanced CMC machining, using a computer-controlled robotic ai m to cut the full- size patterns, giving greater mould quality to gain a very high standard of finish. The build includes a chop-strand-matt lay-up, plus a core matt material that sits in the middle of the laminate acting like a foam sandwich to give greater hull rigidity. The hull is a clinker-hull design, which, in itself, increases strength. The engine sits on a plywood insert that's moulded in to the transom for maximum strength.


Pilot 2

has a length of 3.6 metres with a beam of 1.6 metres, approximately 1 lft 6in x 4ft lOin. She is equipped with a stainless-steel towing eye at the bow, plus a spacious bow locker with room for an anchor, chain rope and other additional storage such as baler and other essential items. The hinged top of the locker is also a forward seat for one. The middle seat is a bridging board that is open underneath. This currently screws to moulded gunnel boxes so is a fixed item, but in future Charlie may have this as a clip-in system so that the middle seat can be removed to gain extra space if required. In testing I found the seat was not in the way and was, in fact, handy not just for sealing, but also as a worktop for tying rigs and so on. The gunnels carry rowlocks as, obviously, a boat of this size can be rowed.This will appeal to bass anglers who often use the motor for gaining closer access to a mark, but then either row in, or use an electric motor to finally move into position without scaring the fish. The stern quarters are fitted with stainless-steel rope eyes for tying off, which are all that's necessary on a boat of this size, though you could opt for small T-cleats as an alternative.

The boat also features a full-length transom seat; this hides a spacious inner locker with room to accommodate the fuel tank and spare fuel, plus other equipment.

The deck has a stippled finish for grip and also has raised foot-grip bars to facilitate easier rowing. You can put your foot against these when rowing to provide extra grip to maximise the power of the rowing stroke. The test boat featured a dark-blue hull with off- white inside. The off-white inside cuts down on sun reflection and glare when fishing, and is also much easier on the eyes when fishing in bright sunlight. The Pilot 2 is exceptionally well finished and uses all top-quality stainless-steel fittings throughout the build. In fact, the overall finish is as good as we've seen!


This boat is a doddle to launch on your own, you can launch off a trailer or use a launch trolley, plus she has minimum drafL and can be launched in just inches of water. It's ideal if you're looking to launch in 'out of the way' places to reach the best bass spots without access to a slipway. What impresses you when you initially jump aboard is the amount of space that the boat gives - even with the middle seat the deck space fore and aft is huge and completely uncluttered. The gunnels are good and high for the size of the boat and you feel very secure when sat for fishing and when underway. The stability is amazing and two guys can stand up in this boat in a calm sea making her an ideal platform for fly fishing and casting plugs and lures. The test boat was equipped with the tiller-steering Honda BFSp outboard. Easing on - the power the boat lifts slightly at the bow, but rides nice and flat giving good forward vision foi the helmsman.

She is nimble and responds instantly to the tiller. Keeping the power on you can take tight turns without Lhe boat healing over at a sharp angle and the boat is extremely stable when underway and manoeuvring. Although designed for sheltered water, the boat was jumped over small waves and didn't let a single drop of water back in on deck. Such is the shape and design of the bow that water is deflected away as the wave'is cut. The Pilot 2 achieved a top speed of nine knots with one person aboard, and seven knots with two occupants, but the fuel consumption will be miserly! She could be fitted with a lOhp engine option and this would give a top speed around 17 knots!


Charlie thought that the middle seat might be strengthened on future boats, though after sitting on Lhem for a length of time they felt strong enough to me. Tf you plan on taking the kids, even though the gunnels are high for a boat of this size, you might consider fitting additional short safety rails just in case they should stand up and topple over. For looks, the test boat was all white inside, but, looking at the brochure, Westport has also done the middle seats and locker tops in the same blue as the hull. Some may prefer this colour layout, as it looks very classy contrasting with the blue hull, white topside and black fendering.


An excellent example of what a small angling dinghy/ runabout should be! She's built to a super standard and is very stable and roomy for fishing. Her stability means that you can stand to fly cast without the boat rocking from side-to- side to any degree, though most would sit to cast.

The Pilot 2 is predictable when underway in open water and on the drift, she's also easy to manoeuvre when dodging between mooring buoys and other surface obstacles. The boat also has ample stowage space with easy open access direct from above so the boaL is simple and easy to launch on your own.

The Pilot 2 is ideal for one or two anglers for short-session fishing inside sheltered water such as estuaries, shallow bays and close inshore reefs in calm seas close to home for bass, flatfish and mackerel. She would also suit the angler who wants to trail a small boat for summer holidays and mix a little sea fishing with piking in lakes or on the Norfolk Broads, or trout fishing on the big Scottish lochs.


Charles Broughton, Westport Marine,

7 Old Stables,

Crownhill Fort,

Plymouth PL2 3DJ.

Tel: 01752 772224