The Hunt for El Chalo


My father-in-law and I have begun searching for an old family boat, El Chalo, in hopes of either restoring the original boat to its former glory or possibly rebuilding or restoring another boat of the same specs. The problem is that we didn't know the maker, the model, the year, the engine, the length, or the hull number of the vessel.


To the best of my father-in-law's recollection, the El Chalo was approximately 24 feet long and based out of the Detroit Yacht Club, in Detroit Michigan. It was used by Kermath Motors (owned by their family at the time) as a testbed for different engines geared for military usage during the early 1940's during World War II.

(8/7/2003) So, starting at the 2003 Consours d'Elegance Wooden Boat Week in Tahoe, with only a 3/4-rear black and white photo of the boat and some childhood memories of my father-in-law, we began probing the westcoast wooden boat community to see if anyone could identify the maker and model of the boat. Unfortunately, there was no real consensus, so the search continued...

What We've Learned So Far

(8/17/2003) The boat resembles some photos of a 1942 24 foot Chris-Craft Clipper Cruiser, found via an internet search at the Mariner's Museum page of Chris-Craft cruisers:

(click to enlarge)


(12/1/2003) With the help of Jerry Conrad from the Chris Craft Collection at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, he was able to find the original boat equipment order for the El Chalo that included:

• Confirmation that the boat was a 25-foot special enclosed Chris Craft cruiser delivered to Kermath in Aug 1941

• Hull #= 54166 ; BSO #= 8476

• Engine= Kermath Motors Sea Chief ; Engine # ?41917? ...


(12/27/2003) We later found a marine engine manual for sale for the Sea Chief, and that we now believe the engine was a straight-8 cylinder.