Depression year of 1928 the Chris Craft Co. brought to market Model 276,
a 38 foot "commuter cruiser" , which was the first cruiser to be added
to their product line. It was designed to carry 20 passengers in comfort
at speeds up to 30 m.p.h.
In 2005, she was purchased by Les and Betsy Gunther from Hollis Baker at Harbor Springs, Michigan. Patrick Curry was brought in as a partner with the responsibility for restoration. She was trucked out to Friday Harbor, Washington in May of 2005 and launched at Jensen's Shipyard. As she had been stored in a hanger in Harbor Springs for the previous three years, her seams were open and it was believed that once she was in the water that they would swell and become water- tight.
Though the water intake slowed there was enough flow to cause concern and she was taken to Jensens Motorboat Co. in Seattle, Washington for inspection.
Most of the problems were located under the fuel, water and waste tanks and were not visible until approached from below, hence not becoming evident in surveys. No rot was found, however previous repairs had been
inadequate and poorly done and much of the damage was from age and hard use.
Because of the excellent condition of the boat from the water-line up and the fact that she is rare and of historical significance, it was decided to completely rebuild from two planks above the water-line down. The chine logs, all the frames and floors, the stem, the lower half of the transom, the inner and outer hulls, the dead wood and shaft log, the engine beds and mounts were replaced.Casting of a new propeller shaft strut was made and installed. There is not a square inch of wood below the water line that dates prior to 2006. With the use of better materials and techniques she is a far stronger and better boat than the day she was built.
was re-launched in April of 2006. Her repairs proved to be excellent and
she was entered in the Seattle's Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival in
early July where she was awarded first prize in all categories. She was
then entered into the Victoria Classic Boat Festival where she earned
The Best Power Boat award. She also took first prize at the 17th
Annual Chris- Craft Rendezvous in Port Orchard and at the La Conner
Wooden Boat Show.
After ALTHEA won at Victoria where the competition is fierce and the judging rigorous, the head of the board of judges was asked why they chose her over other fine entries and he replied " It was because she has not been loaded up with all the modern conveniences and that she was being used for what she was intended, fast transportation in luxury".
ALTHEA has established her credentials at the boat shows she will
temporarily retire from competition. Though she has four bunks, a small
galley and a head, all are minimal. Her water taps are hand pumps, her
stove is portable and the ice box is old fashioned and requires block
ice. In other words, she is configured as was intended in 1929. She is
not a house boat or a long distance cruiser, but she will get you to
where you want to go in a hurry and in style, and wherever she goes she
gathers envy and admiration.
This is in no way the end of ALTHEA'S story....