George and Lynn Shanks live in Huntsville, AL and boat on the Guntersville Lake which is part of the Tennessee River. They own Slowmotion, a 1972, 45 foot Commander. They bought the boat in October 2002 and have done a complete interior restoration.
Slowmotion was purchased in Pascagoula Mississippi and Captains Billy Martin and Larry Long brought the boat to Guntersville. There was only 72 hours to get the boat 100 miles inland due to a Hurricane Lili, offshore and heading towards Mobile, AL. There was no running water; no working toilets and the mattress were so old they were flat. The trip was quite the adventure and at a stop at Bobby's Fish Camp on the Tombigbee River, the batteries were so dead the engines and generator would not shutdown*. Bobby called a trucking Company to drive back to Mobile to get three new batteries. In George’s own words, “All I could do is think dollar signs!” Luckily it only cost $500 for the batteries.
There were more problems in Florence, AL where Billy left the channel, only by a few feet, to avoid a Barge and hit the bottom bending a shaft and prop. After limping back to Lee Spry Marine in Iuka, Mississippi the problems were fixed and the bottom was painted. Two weeks later it arrived at the Lake Guntersville Yacht Club where it has been since. The whole trip took about three weeks.
George’s first boat was a 1966 37 foot Chris Craft Roamer (steel hull). It was like most old boats a fixer upper. He lived on the boat at the Yacht Club for about three years and this is where he met his wife Lynn. When they first met, she had a 48 foot Ocean Alexander Motor Yacht. Lynn sold that boat and bought a 370 Sea Ray Sundancer. Lynn and George got married in 2000 and soon after George sold his Roamer. “We kept the floating fiberglass bathtub for a couple of years but we agreed that was not the boat we wanted,” George recalls. Billy Martin, with YachtSouth, found the boat they have now. “We were looking for a galley up, full size master bed and diesels engines. The 48 foot Flush Deck Motor Yacht had the layout we wanted,” George stated. The interior was a wreck so they had to complete refurbish the inside. It was a major two year project!
Of course, like all good restorations, something must go awry. The master stateroom was almost finished when a leak in the starboard fuel tank was found. This was not easy job and to get the tank out, the wall coming down the stairs and a closest had to be removed. But the trouble didn’t stop there, once the tank was in the salon, the door to the deck had to be cut out and the back glass removed on the enclosed deck to get it off the boat. George ended up with an enlarged opening and replaced the old door with a clear Plexiglas door and hatch.
A few of the restoration projects included installing or refinishing the mahogany plank flooring (with 65 coats of varnish!), removing all the wallpaper and painting, completely gutting the kitchen and two heads and replacing most of the headliner. The bridge and outside are still being worked on.
George’s dad was an avid boater and owned many boats in his life. His Dad’s first boat was a 19 foot 1950s vintage Chris Craft runabout. He also owned a 32 foot Chris Craft but quickly moved up to a 36 foot Chris Craft (there is a pattern here!). He went big in 1962 and bought a 42 foot Chris Craft Connie in Holland, Michigan. George’s parents and two friends, Frank Lindstrom and his wife Woodie, sailed the boat back to Guntersville. But, two foot itis struck, well more like six, so he traded that boat for a 1966 48 foot Roamer (aluminum hull with Detroit Diesels) and sailed it back from Holland, Michigan with the same friends. “So that’s why I like Chris Crafts, that’s my childhood story!” George stated with a grin. The original bill of sale includes the entry “Fill W/Fuel”. The cost was $121.60! George would love to find this boat. It is hull number RAP-48-1503R. Does anyone happen to know where it is?
George participates in the Wounded Warrior program each year by hosting several warriors and their families on board for a boat ride to a ceremony downtown. The boat picture to the left was taken on the trip this year.
*Yes shutdown. These Diesels engines and generator have switches to shut them down and without battery power it has to be done manually.
/ Marcia Elkins, CCCC Membership-Chair