1965 Chris Craft Constellation, Flush Deck Motor Yacht
Introduction / General Specification
‘UNFORGETTABLE’ is a 1965, 57 ft Chris Craft Constellation, commonly referred to as a ‘Connie’, hull number CAC570733A, Coast Guard documentation number 503908. She is constructed of batten seamed double planked mahogany planking over white oak framing. Planking thickness is 7/8” sides, with double planking below the waterline of 1½”. Primary framing is 1½”x 3¼ on 24” centers with intermediate frames of 1¼” x 2 ¼”, also on 24” centers making the frame spacing every 12”.
She is powered by a pair of 318hp, GM 8V71N Detroit Diesels through Allison 2:1 reduction gears, with 1 3/4" stainless shafts, turning 28" bronze propellers, resulting in a comfortable cruise speed of 11-12 knots @1400 rpm. With twin aluminum tankage totaling 560 gallons she has a range of approx 350 miles. 110V electrical power is provided by a 12.5Kw 4 cylinder Westerbeke diesel generator.
She was built in Algonac, Michigan, hull 33 of 36 built that year, as acknowledged by Charles W. Stager, a Master Carpenter of Chris Craft. She is one of 262 57’ hulls built during a model run beginning in 1963 and ending in 1972. During this long production run, only minor changes were made, mainly a few alternative aft cabin arrangement plans, hardtop choices and equipment options. The last wooden boat produced and
delivered by the original Chris Craft Corporation was a 57 ft Constellation, shipped on Nov 4th, 1972. Needless to say, these boats enjoyed, and still have, a loyal following.
UNFORGETTABLE features a forward cabin with upper/lower berths with its own head and shower, a complete lower midships galley (to starboard) with convertible dinette that converts to a double berth (to port). The original overhead enclosure that enclosed the galley and dinette has been removed providing a drastic change in light and air. Four steps up is a spacious 12x14 ft saloon with a built-in custom mahogany settee, four steps down aft are a day head (to starboard), followed by a railroad ‘Pullman’ style sofa that converts to upper and lower twin berths, separated by a privacy curtain. Opposite the Pullman (portside) is a private twin guest cabin enclosed by a sliding mahogany door on the passageway, with additional access to the master shower. The aft master stateroom boasts abundant storage, built-in make up table, chest of drawers, twin beds (starboard and port) and its own head and shower (with access also from the guest stateroom). Aft of the master stateroom is a lazarette, accessible via twin hatches from the main deck. Engine room (under the main saloon and of similar size) is accessed both via under stair entries from both the galley facing aft and at the beginning of the rear stateroom corridor facing forward. Up four stairs from the saloon (starboard side) and moving aft is the pilothouse with steering station, rear facing wet bar, port and starboard wing doors and the protected afterdeck. Forward near the bow, the house enclosure offers a large settee facing forward with room for additional deck chairs along with access to the windlass and anchor. In total she sleeps 10, down from the 12 she was originally advertised to accommodate.
Sold new by the world’s largest Chris Craft dealer of the day, ‘Rodi-Chris Craft’ in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to E.D. Swain of Wilmington, North Carolina, May 16th, 1966, and christened “RIBEYE II”. She was originally delivered as an Express model with a short hardtop w/o bulkhead. On August 30th, 1968 Swain sold her to Norman D Groh of Norfolk, Virginia, who renamed her “PATIENCE II”. Groh later married Barbara C Groh who became a joint owner November 23rd, 1970. February 16th, 1972 she was sold to Walter C and Betty Jane Rose, of Oswego, New York,
who renamed her “BLUFFER”. May 21st, 1974 she was traded in to Emperor Yachts of Wilmington, Delaware, who resold her to Jack and Shirley W. Harris of Asheville, North Carolina on September 5, 1976 who named her “SHIRLEY JANE”. July 15th, 1978 she was sold again, this time to Barbara J Sayer & Marcel E Drapeau, who renamed her “CHERI 1” and operated her briefly as a charter vessel in Fort Lauderdale, dba Cheri’s Charters, Inc., a Delaware Corp. January 5th, 1981 she was sold to Victor Y. Ellias who shipped her from Florida to Portland, Oregon where she was boathouse kept and renamed “LADY ANN’, until December 14th, 1993 when she was gifted to the Boy Scouts of America. Until her shipment to Portland she lived in Florida waters. During her stay in Portland, she had a custom hardtop extension with wing doors added, providing full after deck protection for her bow to stern full teak decks (a new model feature for 1965) along with the addition of a side/rear curtain enclosure, permitting the after deck to be fully ‘open air’ or enclosed for inclement weather protection. Her custom hardtop extension is unique with a noticeable swept back ‘coupe’ like curvature falling off to the stern. Factory extensions were flat, square with a heavy side “v” pillar on port and starboard sides where the deck wing doors are located and typically included permanent or semi-permanent glass side enclosures. January 9th, 1996 she was resold by the Boy Scouts (San Gabriel. California Council) to David G Moore of Newport Beach, California who renamed her “BEOWULF”. Mr. Moore kept her in Newport Beach, California and embarked upon a passionate and complete long term restoration/update/modernization of her over the years of his ownership, spending in excess of $1.5M including a complete hull refastening, paint, engine rebuilds, new generator, along with restoration and or replacement of all other ship’s electrical, plumbing, interior and exterior wood work, instrumentation, electronics, interior furnishings, galley update, etc., with the bulk of the work performed in the 2010-2013 time period in Long Beach, California. During this period, Moore employed a full time project manager, John Adams, to insure all the work and every detail be of the best quality possible. Upon her completion, Moore sold her on September 4th, 2014 to Neil W Herman of Phoenix, Arizona who moved her to San Diego, California where he used her briefly as a waterfront condominium. Having little boating experience and realizing maintaining her was beyond his desire or ability, she was soon put back up for sale.
Having owned a number of smaller boats, including a much smaller Chris Craft, we decided in 2014, as becoming ‘empty nesters’ came onto the horizon, we were ready for a new life adventure/project. Lifelong boaters (with one of us 4th generation Seattle) we launched an investigative search in earnest, examining a wide variety of vessels, eventually narrowing our search to a handful of models suitable for our past cruising style
with friends and family in the PNW with plans for extended summer adventure in the far north. After a large amount of education, learning (with much more still to come!) and self examination as to the responsibilities of large wooden vessel caretaking, our search narrowed to finding a well kept 57’ Connie that was as unadulterated as possible while having been updated. We ran across an online listing for the then BEOWULF in
November, 2016. After several trips to San Diego, beginning in June, 2017 a haul-out, survey and sea-trials, we finally closed on her on December 17th, 2017. Upon our purchase, she was moved to Ensenada, Mexico and transported via a dedicated yacht transport ship to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, off loaded, and reimported to the US at Roche Harbor, San Juan Islands, Washington on December 27th, 2017. After delivery to us at Roche, we began the journey south with our new pride and joy arriving at her new permanent home port December 29th, 2017.
UNFORGETTABLE is again under cover at her new permanent berth, at the Seattle Yacht Club, Main Station on Portage Bay where we’ve been club members since 1994. Now renamed UNFORGETTABLE, she is undergoing additional detailing and upgrading with the intention of returning her to a ‘like new’ Bristol condition.