Boat Renovation: Zon-Zon

By Philippe Boulanger, Montreal, Quebec

Renovation of a 42-foot 1970 Chris Craft Commander Sport Cruiser.

It's been said many times that you're not just buying a boat, you're buying a lifestyle. I bought my 42-foot 1970 Chris Craft Commander Sport Cruiser in 1992 for $55,000, and while I knew it needed work, I never expected it to take as long as it did to bring her back to the condition she's in today.

Zon-Zon during renovation

Zon-Zon helm during renovation

Everything, and I mean everything, was stripped from the boat. Starting with just the hull and deck, I rebuilt, replaced, or refurbished everything. The interior was completely replaced with custom teak cabinets and furniture; a pair of 315-hp, 6-cylinder turbocharged diesels; and new wiring, electronics, upholstery, and paint to the hull and deck.

All told, I spent 24 years and almost half a million dollars to bring this grand old lady back to showroom condition. People who've never seen the boat are astounded that I put so many resources into the restoration, but I always tell them, "If you could see the boat, you'd understand."

Zon-Zon deck after renovation

Zon-Zon after renovation

As a builder and contractor, I had the tools and skill to do the work myself. It's been a labor of love, and I'm totally smitten. I love the boat as much now as I did when I first set eyes on her all those years ago.

We normally keep the boat, named Zon-Zon, in Montreal, but we've been as far afield as Florida in her. We may have bought into the lifestyle, but it's been money well spent, and we've loved every minute. 

— Published: October/November 2017

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