finding and fixing of the Chris Craft Commander called “La Donna”
by Russell (Chipper) James
(Campbell River BC Canada)
"La Donna" Sitting on the hard
waiting to go home with me.
Bow view...love that bull nose
More Photos of "La Donna"
The Way She Was
Getting the Winter Tarps Off
I have recently come into possession of a 1957 32' Chris Craft
Commander named La Donna.
The price was awesome...
but what is that
Free probably means that she is going to be very expensive to
Well...hopefully not. I did a pretty detailed self performed
took my wheel?
appears that the bow has some refastening to do and of course she will
have to be re-caulked.
I found 1 small area of rot...on the starboard
side of the cabin window.
Other than that I can not find any soft
spots. We shall see when I get her stripped down.
pic...cushions in place
She came originally with 2 flat head 6's but someone has swapped them
out with 350's.
They did remove the carbs, cut the propeller shafts and
removed the beautiful port hole above the V Berth.
Some people's children...sheesh!
This is my first wooden boat project so, so far I am still
bubbling with excitement.
I will post more pictures as we go along and please be ready
jamsrussell (at) yahoo.ca
Photos of "La Donna"
Let me start by saying thanks to everyone from DIY Wood Boat
for the emails, advice and links.
Here are 2 more pictures of our dream boat on the hard in our
yard before getting tucked in for the winter.
I am currently looking at structures that I can put up around
her so I can start working now.
It has to be tough enough to stand up to our sometimes
vicious winters and yet inexpensive enough so my co-captain, (wife),
Here is also one from the 2006 Chris Craft Rendezvous when she
was looking smart and sassy, sleek and classy.
I have started corresponding with the owners from then and
they have been eager to answer all of my questions.
Still loads to read and learn before the work starts but I am
having a great time doing it.
PS…love all of the restoration stories and pictures on DIY...
Keep them coming.
Got up this morning as the sun was rising.
Today is the day to wrap it up and put it away for a few
I wish I could get started on the reno yesterday...lol. I
still have lots of learning to do before I tackle her.
The Way She
I met one of the former owners today, Gordon...
He showed me
pictures of great times, large salmon and one incredible Chris
These 3 pictures are how she gleamed in 78-99.
I think it made him a
little sad to see her today.
We did not go aboard just looked from the top of the step
Gordon told me of additions and things missing,
He mentioned that the
original port hole actually could be a fire hazard.
It worked like a
magnifying glass in the sunshine.
After he left I started to peel the winter wrapping...I hope I
can do a
great job with her.
the Winter Tarps Off
Lots of air to her for a week or two.
I might be facing some rot in the
transom...fingers crossed that we don't
Next step is
either put up a pole shed over top or just start working away...lot's
of prep work to do.
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La Donna Comments June 28 2014
Well I think that my 1957 commander The Rum Runner is sold.
I have a firm offer from a friend with the transaction to …