Restored 20 SeaCraft is a Classic Beauty

A father and son spent years restoring an old SeaCraft to its former glory, with modern updates that make this classic model truly one of a kind

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The restored 20 SeaCraft out on the water. Photo by George LaBonte
The restored 20 SeaCraft out on the water. Photo by George LaBonte

Throughout history, certain boat models have gained cult-like popularity for both their performance and aesthetics alike. One such model is a Carl Moesly design dating back to the late 1960s: the 20 SeaCraft. 

A Mercury 200 Pro XS provides the power. Photo by George LaBonte
A Mercury 200 Pro XS provides the power. Photo by George LaBonte

Originally designed as a 21-foot offshore race hull, this model quickly gained notability as one of the earliest center console fishing boats and introduced the world to the concept of the “variable dead rise” hull, which propelled the ride quality in choppy conditions to new heights. 

Over recent years, Florida has seen explosive growth in the idea of finding an old boat in disrepair and completing a total restoration. Arguably, one of the most impressive transformations ever completed on a 20 SeaCraft happened right here in Stuart, a years-long project by a father-and-son team. 

Chris Collins grew up boating in the area, and in high school, he took ownership of a 1984 20 SeaCraft—a dream for many teens in Stuart. The boat carried him on many fishing adventures, but an encounter with a piling one dark night inflicted enough damage to the old hull to justify significant repairs. Collins’ father, Randy Orr (who works in the commercial construction business), decided to take on the challenge of giving this old boat the total restoration it deserved.  

A new bimini shade and ample pole holders. Photo by George LaBonte
A new bimini shade and ample pole holders. Photo by George LaBonte

Work demands, along with Collins going off to college, put the brakes on the project. Weeks turned into months, and ultimately, years passed. The boat languished in Orr’s backyard in Port Salerno for more than a decade with only the fiberglass work completed. Finishing the job correctly would require fairing and paint, rigging all electrical and mechanical systems, the fabrication of a new top, and the installation of accessories and upholstery. Each of these steps required time and resources unavailable to the pair at the time.

Simrad electronics in the console. Photo by George LaBonte
Simrad electronics in the console. Photo by George LaBonte

Fast forward to the present: A graduate of FAU, 32-year-old Collins has built a successful video production and digital marketing company producing content primarily for the boating and marine industry. Among its many accomplishments, Deep See Visuals and Mission Boating produced two long-running television shows related to boats and the boat restoration market. Now, with the knowledge gained in the process and the relationship capital built in the industry, along with Orr’s craftsmanship ability, father and son resumed the project with renewed enthusiasm. 

The list of improvements made to this classic design is staggering. While the original hull design remains a main attraction, many features above deck have come a long way over the 40 years since she was originally built. The transformation is so incredible, anyone would be hard-pressed to recognize it as a boat of its age. 

Father and son out fishing on the finished boat. Photo by George LaBonte
Father and son out fishing on the finished boat. Photo by George LaBonte

Each detail—from the modern metal fabrication and AwlCraft paint with real teak accents throughout, to the Simrad electronics and Infinity audio system with Shadow-Caster LED light show, to the fully closed transom with Armstrong bracket—plays a part in transforming this SeaCraft into equal parts nostalgia and modern technology. 

Blending the past with the present has resulted in a showpiece that will surely turn heads for many more years to come.

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