After the first season that I was a partner in the Chief, I learned two things.
1. - How to start it. Was no different that what I used for the champ in later years, but was quite easy. A couple of shots of prime, six or more blades with the mags OFF and the throttle open and then 1/4" on the throttle and mags on, an it would start in 2 blades. Hot or cold.
2. - I thought it was kind of piggish getting off the water using the normal procedure (CARS) and it would mush around to get on the step, until I tried something else - Instead of Full Stick (Yoke) back, I only used half and with just me on board, it would pop on the step and I was always off in 6 seconds. 10 seconds with me and a passenger. The high angle if generated with full stick back was just too much resistance.
Since I have never flown your J-4 I can not comment on it, but I have flown Bob Everts J-4 with a C-85 on many occasions and it did not perform for me any better than the Chief did. Next time you fly Gene's Chief, try the above and then re-comment on the performance. In the air it was a dog, but then so was the Champ.
You also need to keep in mind that when Dick the Dick, Don and I finished the Spec Out for the rebuild, I had intended to take the plane from time to time to the lake at Warwick and flying in that area meant a transponder was necessary with an electrical system. so in addition to all the padded side panels, the Bender Com and the Bender Transponder, we were heavier then we needed to be. The floats also were painted adding a little weight.
Years back I did like the 7CCMs that the Dunham's had at Little Ferry, but they were C-90s on 60-1320s and stripped of every possible thing to reduce weight.
I did enjoy flying Fil's 7GCBC though too.
SUPPORTING MEMBERBobWest Nyack Aviation, L.L.C. New York, New York - East Hampton, New York & Warwick, New York firstname.lastname@example.org