the research, in 1931, FLASH was sold to John Bernhart
of Rushville and Clarence, NY. John was a teacher
in the Clarence school system but spent his summers
running a speed boat concession at Roseland Park at
the north end of Canandaigua Lake. John owned five
Chris-Crafts, all 22-ft. triples except for the longer
FLASH. In the early '70s shortly before John died,
Mo Sherrill had tracked him down and recorded an entire
interview with him which Mo passed along to me. My
wife, Janet, has offered to transcribe that interview
and when she is finished, you will see what I mean
when I say, "It is a real treasure."
In the interview John talks about changing out the
original 150 HP Kermath for a Chrysler Royal 8, not
realizing that the rotation was different on the Chrysler
-- until he put it in forward and went backwards!
He had two boathouses on Canandaigua's City Pier where
he kept the ride boats and always had a replacement
engine ready to go. John ran the concession at Roseland
until 1960, and because so many people took rides
on FLASH, we often have people come up to us and say,
At Hammondsport last summer one person told how as
an eighth grader, he remembered wrestling with a friend
to ride in the starboard stern seat. Another woman
fought back tears as she recounted her recollections.
Many of our friends remember parents and/or grandparents
taking them to Roseland and going for a ride in FLASH.
And our son-in-law's 94-year-old father vividly recalls
his rides in FLASH. We happily took him for another
ride last summer and, for him, it truly was a flash
back in time.
After her long career at Roseland, FLASH was sold
to John West in 1960, and he offered her to Mo Sherrill.
At that time, Mo was recently married and he did not
have any place to work on or store an old boat, so
he had to pass on the offer. She was then sold to
Robert Brubaker of Pittsford, NY. In 1970, Mo found
her in a field behind the Shepard Marine on Routes
5 & 20 in Canandaigua in terrible disrepair. He
bought her from Brubaker, paying $50 for the boat
and $700 for the Kermath engine. There is not a lot
of information available for what happened to FLASH
in the decade between 1960 and 1970, except there
is a story that a young man dove off the boat one
night and drowned. One of our WCCB members, who was
also a young man at the time, was involved in the
search and was the one who found the body.
When Mo bought FLASH, the decks were rotten as was
most of the transom. With only a Yankee screw driver
and a Craftsman saber-saw, he replaced the deck and
transom over the next several years. In 1976, FLASH,
renamed OPUS III, won her class and best Antique Runabout
at the Clayton Boat Show. This past July, thirty years
later, OPUS III, renamed FLASH, won the Peoples' Choice
and the Commodore's award at the WCCB boat show at
Hammondsport. FLASH is truly a boat to be proud of
and to admire. She is still running on her original
bottom and shows no signs of quitting. We use her
almost daily where she can be seen going up and down
Canandaigua Lake. Janet and I are the sixth owners
and plan to run her for many years.
One chapter of her history that is missing is her
hull card. When Mo contacted the Chris-Craft Corp.
in 1972, he was informed that the hull card along
with many others was lost in a fire at the Chris-Craft
offices. We know the 26-ft. runabout was built from
1922-1930. It was the first production boat built
by Chris-Craft and there is no record of the number
of hulls built. There were 999 hull cards assigned
to this series which included Sedans, Yacht Tenders
and some "special-builts." Approximately
324 hull cards are missing and no longer exist, and
144 hull cards do not indicate which model is represented.
This past summer FLASH was the poster child for the
Wine Country Boat Show, something that Janet and I
are very proud of. I presented David Senn one of the
numbered and signed prints of the original art used
for the poster painted by noted area artist, Bob Gillespe.
Mo Sherrill has also been given one of the prints
as a way of saying "Thanks" for the care
he gave her over the thirty-five years he owned her.
During the show, David Senn rode with us in the parade
and fly-by on Keuka Lake. And the following weekend
David's daughter and granddaughter, Eugene Senn's
granddaughter and great-granddaughter, came to our
house and took a ride on Canandaigua Lake.
FLASH was 80 years old last year and there is no reason
why she won't be running when she turns 100. I can
only hope we still own her and will be the ones driving
her on her 100th birthday.
Many thanks to Bob Korts for this
article about a wonderful piece of Finger Lakes history.