Chris-Craft was once the world’s largest manufacturer of mahogany runabouts, although today the company offers only fiberglass lookalikes of its original wooden boats. The company got its start in Algonac, Mich., when 13-year-old Chris Smith built his first wooden boat, a skiff, in 1874. In 1881, he joined forces with his brother Hank to build standardized runabouts full time. The actual company of Chris Smith and Sons Boat Co. came to be in 1922 and offered 24- to 33-foot runabouts. After World War II, Chris-Craft got back into pleasure craft, offering more than 100 different models, from do-it-yourself kits to plywood to aluminum and steel, and finally to fiberglass. Its 50-foot Constellation model, built in mahogany, ceased production in 1971. Today, the Capri 21, which debuted in 2013, most closely resembles the runabouts of the 1930s, with a vertical bow and stainless-steel bow plate, along with a sloped tumblehome. And while it is built of fiberglass with all of the modern amenities, the Capri 21 features a wood deck and fittings, and styling reminiscent of the 1930s. The starting price is $68,730.
Showboating: The 22-foot U-22 Sportsman was the model featured in the film On Golden Pond, which renewed interest in all of these beautiful mahogany boats.