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Lapstrake Boats                                                                             2020

There have been well over fifty builders of lapstrake boats that sold their products in the recreational boating market. Using this method gives the builder and user a number of benefits including increased hull strength, allowing the use of fewer side frames which also reduces weight. This design gives a rounded chine, which results in an improved ride in rough seas; also the edges of the planks act as splash rails keeping the riders dry.

The largest builders of these boats were Lyman Boat Works of Sandusky, OH; Thompson Bros. Boats of Peshtigo WI; and Chris-Craft  Corp. of Algonac, MI.

Lyman was founded in 1875 by two brothers; they built wood boats into the early 1970s. The Lyman Boat Works built over 60,000 lapstrake wood boats between 1929 and 1973.  The smallest was an 8 ft. speed tender, and the largest (6) 35ft Express Cruisers built in 1971-72. Lyman also built larger carvel planked boats up to 47 ft. during the 1930s.

 The six Thompson Bros.(and one sister)started 80 years of boat building in 1904. The Thompson family eventually formed two more boat companies, T & T Boats and Cruisers Incorporated, all in Wisconsin. Most of these were powered by outboard motors. Cruisers Yachts is still in business in Wisconsin building fiberglass boats.

 Chris Smith built lapstrake rowboats for his boat livery on the St. Clair River in the late 1800s. His family grew that business into the “World’s Largest Builder of Power Boats”. In 1953 they started building the Sea-Skiff line of lapstrake boats, and soon after started a new plant in Salisbury, MD where they built over 12,000 lapstrake boats ranging in size from 18 to 43 feet. Chris-Craft is under new ownership and currently building fiberglass boats in Sarasota, Florida.

Lapstrake boats have served their owners well providing strong, safe, and dry hulls for fishing and pleasure boating in both calm and rough waters.

Please consider bringing your lapstrake boat to Hessel this year. A special award will be given to the one judged “Best”.