The Cruis Along Sedan 31 made its debut in 1959, offering all the cabin-cruiser amenities of the day (though not the final letter of the word “cruise”). The convertible yacht had a raised bridge deck that was well protected by a woodframe windshield and streamlined wheelhouse. Fold-back doors opened from the cockpit to the saloon, with a sofa and carpeted sole. The U-shaped galley “up” came with a stove top and an icebox, and a dinette that seated four. The master stateroom was forward with a V-berth and an enclosed head. The saloon sofa and galley dinette converted to bunks to sleep a total of six.
Things appeared to be going well during the late 1950s for the Solomons, Maryland, boatbuilder that George Townsend founded in the 1940s. Century Boat Co. of Michigan bought Cruis Along in 1958, and the merger looked perfect. Century was known for smaller runabouts and sport boats, and Cruis Along built bigger cabin cruisers, including the 33-foot El Dorado and the Bluewater 31.
While optimism was high, economic forces would lead to the company’s demise. The postwar boom was slowing, and Cruis Along failed to turn a profit in 1960. Century kept Cruis Along afloat for several years, but pressure mounted from other boatbuilders with new designs and manufacturing methods. Labor problems developed as workers sought union membership. Eventually, Cruis Along was sold to the Ventnor Boat Co. in New Jersey. That company, known worldwide for its innovative speedboats, closed during the late 1960s, taking the Cruis Along name with it.
There was an attempt at reviving Cruis Along, but the company finally closed for good in 1973. To read a full history of Cruis Along by Robert Hurry, visit calvertmarinemuseum.com.
This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue.