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Boat Renovation: Zon-Zon

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.

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."

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.

Philippe Boulanger

Award-winning BoatUS Magazine is the official publication of Boat Owners Association of The United States. Published six times a year, it provides boating skills, DIY maintenance, safety, news and more from top experts.