Modified Chris Craft Speedster
This photo was taken on Alton Bay, on
beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee, and shows Ken Sandhage driving his
Chris Craft Speedster. Ken did all the restoration work himself, and
did a very nice job converting the original Continental utility design
to a single aft cockpit speedster. And last summer, Ken worked with
the Vintage Race Boat Shop to improve the performance of the boat -
by upgrading to a new technology 4-blade stainless steel prop. We
first tried a 13x14 prop, but the 318 Chrysler motor was not quite
strong enough to handle the load, so we downsized to a 13x13 prop.
That was it, the motor was very happy, and with the additional
transom lift of the 4-blade technology, the boat ran very flat and
And then on 2/19/2005 the boat was
transported to the Vintage Race Boat Shop for some additional
performance work (bottom blueprinting) and some fresh paint and
varnish. The first step was to move the boat inside the shop,
hoist it off the trailer, and setup for work. Then we took some
"before" photos and shook hands on the project. Note the
expression on Ken's face - was he concerned !!!
Then the work began, removing the
remaining hardware and a thorough sanding of the deck. The
previous coats of varnish were not very smooth, so we spent
two days sanding, starting with 120 grit, then 220, followed
by 320 and finished up by hand sanding with Scotchbrite
After sanding, the deck was
vacuumed and then the areas where we "sanded-through" the
stain were touched-up with a special mixture of stain. Note
the owner "helping" to make sure Donnie matched the stain
Finally, after many hours of
sanding, stain touch-up and prep work, we applied the first
coat of Epifanes varnish. We used our "rolling & wicking"
technique and put down a very nice, thick coat of varnish.
This was the first of 4 coats, and of course Ken Sandhage
was there to observe and critique - and he approved of our
While we let the first coat of
varnish on the deck cure for a week, we attacked the bottom,
perhaps the most important part of a wooden boat. A thorough
survey verified that the bottom was in very good shape, and
was actually replaced several years ago with a plywood inner
liner and planks on the outer layer, with 3M-5200 adhesive
in the middle. This construction method produces a very
strong, flexible and leak free bottom. But the bottom
surface was not smooth, so we spent 2 days aggressively
sanding the bottom. The first day we sanded with 60 grit
paper and the second day was spent with 120 grit sandpaper.
Remember - if you wanna
be fast, you gotta be smooth !!!
After sanding, the bottom was
thoroughly vacuumed, tacked and taped.
And then is was show-time - time to
"roll & wick" the Interlux Brightside paint. This method
applies a very thick and very even coat of paint, and the
resulting finish looks sprayed on. The first coat was
allowed to dry for one week, then we scuffed the glossy
finish with Scotch-Brite Pads and applied the second and
The hull sides were a little rough,
so we had to spend two days sanding and fairing to get them
real smooth. After Ken removed the lettering decals with his
trusty hair dryer, the first day was spent with 120 grit
paper, and the second day was spent with 220 grit, followed
by hand sanding with Scotch-Brite Pads. Then the covering
board edge seams were cleaned and filled with 3M-5200
Adhesive. This is a very important step that takes a little
time but is worth the effort, as any open seam is an entry
point for water to enter and cause wood damage.
The hull sides were then thoroughly
vacuumed, tacked and taped, followed by the first coat of
paint - Epifanes #1 Off-White Enamel. This was applied using
our usual "roll & wick" method, and as the photos show, we
put down a very thick and very even coat of paint.