SK-57 Flash Back

A Correct Craft flatbotton race boat running a 392 Chrysler Hemi

Owner/Driver - Donnie McLean

In September of 2011, Donnie McLean acquired Flash Back from long time friend Jeff Magnuson, and Donnie is now busy repairing the V-drive and getting ready to run at Clayton next summer. Please check back often to follow our progress as we begin a new chapter for Donnie McLean and Flash Back - on the Vintage Race Boat Circuit !!!




Flash Back, something about the name!


I was born and raised in Fort Myers Florida and started boating as just a little boy on the Caloosahatchee. Most people refer to that great river as the “Caloosahatchee River”. In reality Caloosahatchee is a name given to the river by the Calusa Indians, literally translated “River of the Calusa” and interpreted by some to mean “Beautiful River”.  I always smile a little as modern use of the name Caloosahatchee River literally translated would be “River of the Calusa River” or “Beautiful River River”.  Well enough about the Beautiful River except to say that growing up there was wonderful and had everything to do with my love for boats of all kinds, but especially for high performance boats.


Growing up, my brother and assorted friends and I were always figuring how to make the little outboards go faster or pull better. I learned to water ski behind a 13’ Boston Whaler with a 40 horsepower Evinrude and trust me it was a struggle to slalom behind but we did.


As we got older putting small V8s into fairly light plywood boats was the thing to do and was a lot of fun too. We built a GlenL Cracker Box in the late 1960s, the plans called for a straight 6 cylinder Chevy but of course a 327 Chevy V8 was chosen.


My first encounter with a real performance boat was in a 19’ Howard flat bottom SK with a 427 Chevy. It was an honest 115 to 120 mph boat, I experienced somewhere between those numbers and was hooked. The crackerbox was immediately reconfigured to the smallest rear engine V-drive flatty SK I’ve ever seen. We cut the freeboard down by 5”, moved the engine to the rear and re-decked it similar in appearance to a very small (15’6”) Rayson Craft. Much fun and other boats including “squirt boats” along the way!


Fast forward to 1996, Bill John and I met at work and started a friendship that of course had to do with boats and in particular his boat Obsession. In 1997 we went to Valleyfield Quebec with a group of people that Bill knew but that I would be meeting for the first time. In that group were Geoff and Barbara Magnuson and their step bottom race boat Arab IV. Once again friendships were made because of the boats. I should add that there were many wonderful friendships made on that trip that endure to this day for which I am grateful. Through the years we’ve all visited and shared ideas about projects and the like, and I’ve always been impressed with Geoff’s projects, and I’ve learned a lot from him. 


One of his projects just happened to have been a Flat bottom SK boat named Flash Back started in 1983 almost by accident. Geoff had gone to a local boat yard to pick up an engine that was still in the 1957  17’ Correct Craft. The yard owner told Geoff that he’d have the engine out pretty quick that he was going to cut it out with a chainsaw. Geoff said that if that was the case he would just take the whole thing.............another wooden boat saved from the burn pile.


Geoff used that hull to build a California style SK boat fulfilling a dream to build and drive a   California SK boat. There are subtle similarities here to my experience with the crackerbox and it’s re configuration to a California style SK.  

The Correct Craft, 17’ modest standard inboard set up changed to the slightly more “wild” rear engine V-drive set up with a big HEMI.


The Cracker Box, 15’6” very modest standard inboard set up changed to a “wild” rear engine V-drive set up with a Chevy V8.


Acquiring Geoff’s boat is a “Flash Back” to the late 1960s for me, how appropriate, I’m truly honored that this boat came my way!

Donnie McLean

Reflections of a Riding Mechanic - 2002

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