I have a love hate relationship with Century boats. I grew up in Michigan in the 1950’s & 60’s believing that Century’s were better than Chris-Crafts. A claim that I have since eaten many times over. Back in the day I thought Centurys had the style, the grace and the speed with the power to back it up. Back then they seem more elegant. They were stained with deep rich colors and they always had the biggest and the hottest engines.
Boy was I mistaken on one major point that was overlooked in the eyes of me as a teenager and probably in the eyes of all who loved Century boats. In the passage of time, we all discovered that they had terrible bottoms. But for those who share my love for Century boats, we have all found ways of overcoming the bad bottoms……
Here is the story of my Century Resorter: When I was age 12 I spent many long summer days at my grandparents cottage on Brown’s Lake near Jackson Michigan. One of our neighbors across the lake had a Century Resorter with yellow & green upholstery. They also had a daughter in college who was 8 years older than me…. 20 when I was 12… She was a sorority gal & cheerleader at University of Michigan. And she was beautiful. And she had a long string of boyfriends who would come to visit her at the Lake that summer. And she would “court” her boyfriends in that Century Resorter with the yellow and green upholstery.
At age 12, I would sit at the end of my grandparents dock, with my feet in the water trying to keep my body temperature down and my raging hormones under control. The seeds of my earliest um, err, fantasies took place watching that 20 year old cheerleader courting her boyfriends in that Century Resorter with the yellow and green upholstery.
Well, for the next 30 years I forgot about that cheerleader and the Century Resorter. I was out looking for 30 foot Hacker Crafts and Gold Cup Racing boats. While looking for more important boats, I must have walked by dozens of Century Resorters with Yellow and Green upholstery in the water running and for sale for four hundred dollars. But fade to around the time I was 45 years old… I began to have an uncontrollable urge to find a Century Resorter with a Yellow and Green interior. I couldn’t rationalize this urge to my boating friends. They thought I was crazy. Even my friends that loved and restored Century boats would say, “Maybe a Coronado or even a Sea Maid, but not a Restorter!!”
I eventually found and restored the boat of my dreams. A 1953 18 foot Century Resorter which I purchased from an 84 year old dentist who was the original owner. The boat had only 108 hours on the hour meter. Even with that light use over nearly 50 years, the Century bottom had run its useful life and needed to be replaced. We cured the infamous Century bottom construction, with an epoxy vacuum bagged, cold molded bottom. In my mind at least, we installed a bottom that would last one hundred years. After something approaching a thousand man hours of reconstruction, re-powering, re-upholstering and rewiring and refinishing, my wife Bonnie and I and went for our first ride, where we live, on Lake Winnipesaukee which has long open stretches across her length of 25 miles. That day the Lake surface was what would be considered normal, with a light breeze and a 2 foot chop, along with monster wakes from cabin cruisers that criss-crossed the Lake. In that first ride, my wife and I realized that an 18 foot Century has no place on a big Lake. So the BON-BON as she is called now lives in Florida on a small Lake at Mount Dora where she is perfectly matched to the smooth waters of Florida. We use her at every opportunity. We’ve run her close to 20,000 miles since she was launched and she’s a great joy on glass calm water.