Whether it’s a beautiful varnished mahogany runabout cutting across a glassy lake or a sleek center console taking on a tumultuous inlet, Chris-Craft boats have an unmistakable look and impeccable style, in large part because the builder has been refining its designs for 144 years. The history of this iconic builder is chronicled in the pages of Nick Voulgaris III’s Chris-Craft Boats: An American Classic. The 224-page story starts in Algonac, Michigan, in 1874, when Chris Smith built his first wooden boat at age 13. The rest of the Chris-Craft story spans world wars, economic crises and political upheavals, and includes photographs of hundreds of models produced by the company over the decades. The stunning photography in this hardcover edition makes this book an excellent addition to any coffee table. ($65, Rizzoli)
One in a Million
Kaci Cronkhite wasn’t looking for a boat when she fell in love with a 1930s Danish double-ender. Classified as a spidsgatter, which translates from Danish to English as “two pointy ends,” and named Pax (Latin for “peace”), Cronkhite found the 28-foot wooden sailboat in Cadboro Bay in Victoria, British Columbia. She fell in love with the boat as well as its past. She spent seven years traveling around the globe, unraveling Pax’s history and finding that the sailboat had touched many lives since it first splashed in 1936. The more Cronkhite dug into the boat’s past, the more relationships she built with the people and places connected to the boat. Each chapter in the newly expanded, 256-page edition describes an aspect of Pax and the people who have sailed her. ($18, Adlard Coles)
Small Boats, Big Ocean
Riding the Wild Ocean: Around Cape Cod in a Small Sloop and Other Adventures begins as the author and a friend navigate Massachusetts’ treacherous Stone Horse Shoal in a blow, and ends with an almost theatrical broach in Block Island Sound—all in sailboats less than 20 feet in length. The book is a lifelong account of Paul S. Krantz Jr.’s adventures from Cape Cod to Florida’s Dry Tortugas. It’s intended to be a manual for sailors planning an open-ocean voyage in a small vessel, and it includes how-to’s about equipping a boat for adverse weather, sailing during day and night, and gaining confidence in a variety of sea conditions. Tropical Storm Hanna makes an appearance during a race to Provincetown, Massachusetts. And in another chapter Pollock Bar and Chatham Rip near Chatham, Massachusetts, also make the author’s life very difficult. ($22, The History Press)
This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue.