It was January 1974 at the Chicago Boat and Sports Show. Eddie Smith (the president) and Wiley Corbett (the general manager) of Grady-White Boats were walking the aisles, looking at the displays. The veteran builders were struck by a boat they saw, a cuddy trihull powerboat with an unusual design feature: The side decks and foredeck were recessed, forming a single-level deck that wrapped around the cabin behind a thigh-high bulwark. They’d never seen anything like it.
It took most of a lifetime, but Tom Hannon finally got the Chris-Craft he always wanted
Tom Hannon had time on his hands, and he was thinking about boats, specifically a runabout for himself, wife Mary Ann, and their grown kids and grandkids. While he was shopping around and pondering the “right” boat, nostalgia took over. His mind kept returning to childhood memories of summer days spent aboard a wooden 16-foot, late 1950s-era Chris-Craft Holiday owned by his father’s friend, who vacationed with the family.
History tells us that luxury and center consoles don’t go together, but this new 32-footer proves otherwise
Once upon a time, center console boats were bare-bone machines dedicated to the requirements of offshore — and inshore — fishing. Rod holders perforated the gunwales on both sides of the cockpit, and rod racks nestled in the hollows beneath. Hinged hatches in the cockpit sole opened a bait well here, a fishbox there. Hardcore center consoles had a dual seat at the helm, with a fold-up cushion that became a leaning post for runs out to the fishing grounds. Forget seating in the rest of the boat. That would infringe on the square footage of the deck and compromise the 360-degree fish-fighting arena.
A 1987 article in the Chicago Tribune was frank in its assessment: “The E.C. Collier is dying.” The 52-footer is a two-sail bateau, a vee-bottom deadrise type of centerboard sloop known as a skipjack.
Sweet Freedom is a boat of a different color.
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