Apr 30, 201301:00 PM

Odduck: Adventures in Boat Restoration

Sometimes a Great Notion is a Bad Idea

(page 2 of 3)

I also have to fess up to being a bit driven to the offbeat, so simply buying a competent, standard, small trailerable fiberglass production boat just didn't fit my style. And as my wife says, I'm also prone to "getting a wild hair."

But still, I took an old house that had had minimum upkeep and maintenance but had a glorious untouched oak interior and renovated and remodeled it to the point that, even though we no longer live there, our whole family still has strong emotional ties to it.

I started really “messing with boats” with an old 25-foot Carver flybridge with lots of exterior teak. I re-did all that, then built a swim platform from cyprus. It also had a badly scarred transom, and rather than gel-coating it, I had a boater friend who teaches auto body spray it with automotive paint. Scott Kave did a masterful job of blending colors, and we were sold on the value of using paint on boats. We used that boat to take a break from hauling our kids from this practice and that game, so because my wife's nickname is Duck, it was called Sittin Duck.

The next boat was a 26-foot Carver flybridge that had sat uncovered for a couple years before we bought it from the bank. The key to restoration on that boat was the extended use of a pressure washer to blow away the years of dirt and grime before I could start rebuilding. That one was tagged Duck Tape.

Then came our 32-foot Marinette. Even though I'd sworn never to do a project boat again, I bought this after it too had sat pretty much unattended for a couple years. The first thing that came out of that was the holding tank, which rotted through and emptied into the forward bilge as we were bringing it home from Lake Michigan. Twelve years later, there's little original left on the boat except the hull. We called Scott back a couple years ago to repaint the bridge and main cabin. I chronicled that affair for HeartlandBoating, pointing out the various errors I made in the process. Again, Scott did a great job of covering my inept preparation.

Crestliner re-build on trailer

That's part of the background of why I started to re-build what we are calling Odduck. I tried to get out from under it shortly after buying it but couldn't get the job done. I traveled 500 miles to northern Michigan to pick it up, had my heart broken when I first saw what shape it was in, and then white-knuckled my tow vehicle and boat over snow-packed and windy roads for 45 miles, sliding out of control at times, to a town where we stopped for the night. I called back the seller and told him I'd sell it back to him for $500 less than I paid. I never heard from him, so we towed it home, where I  despaired over what I'd done.

There's little on the boat that is re-usable. The engine block is cracked, the condition of the drive is unknown, all the upholstery needs to be replaced, there's no canvas, etc.

About This Blog

Follow longtime HeartLand Boating contributor Gary Kramer on his latest undertaking: rebuilding a 1987, 24-foot, aluminum Crestliner Sabre Mid-Cabin Day Cruiser from the hull up.




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