Jul 23, 201311:13 AM

Odduck: Adventures in Boat Restoration

The Best Laid Plans...

As a result of the serious illness of a family member and a knee injury I incurred in mid-June that led to surgery on it mid-July, progress on Odduck slowed.

The biggest step forward was having 57 holes in the boat welded closed. The transom had 15 holes from a speedometer and its cable, a transducer, maybe some anodes and a couple of lift rings I wanted repositioned. There were also multiple holes on the rear and side decks where a loran antenna and fishing equipment brackets had been. I'm changing the forward navigation lights, so those holes needed filling, as did several others on the bow where a horn had been repositioned. So, as long as he was welding the below-water holes, I had him do them all.

I ground them down with an electric drill and coarse sandpaper. For the tight areas, I cut down a round sanding pad to just a few inches and also used a small, triangular sander. I finished off with progressively finer paper and then used a lightweight, non-clog auto body filler from Evercoat to fair some of the the welds. I wasn't too concerned about the ones below the waterline, because the hull will get coated with an epoxy barrier coat called Tuff Stuff from Sea Hawk Paints, then their Mission Bay bottom paint, which is for both fresh and salt water. Likewise, those on the flat decks will be covered by a non-skid rubberized product called Tuff Coat, so a perfectly smooth job wasn't required.

Crestline renovation holes

I've had a couple canvas people come in to look things over, and both agree it is a complicated job to construct a two-section bimini top/camper top combination. The problem is the two deck heights in the cockpit. The helm seats will sit on top of the mid-cabin, which measures about 44 inches back from the door to the cabin and about 26 inches above the height of the further aft deck. The cockpit depth there is almost 36 inches. That is part of the reason these were great fishing boats used on the Great Lakes. To get any kind of headroom at the helm means the bimini level is far higher than the aft-end camper height. Making that transition between heights is tricky, so both canvas guys asked if I could find any pictures of how it was supposed to look from the factory.


I have posted photos and asked for help on the www.retrocrestliner website, but so far have gotten no responses. The factory has no photos, but I have asked my contact there if he has the name of any retirees who might have worked on these boats. I have numerous questions I'd like to ask someone familiar with these boats, of which there were few made.

I just posted on the www.iboats.com site under the Boat Restoration and Building forum and am hoping that might bring some responses.

I've also been working with Alan Ray at www.rubrails.com to find replacement inserts for several places where there are rub rails and insert trim pieces. Given the age of the boat, it looks like some are available, but for others, there is a stiff cost to reproduce them, so I'll have to figure something else out.

As a diversion from the big stuff, I have also been experimenting with removing some of the hull striping, some of which had been painted over. Very little of it easily peeled off, so in some places I chucked an eraser wheel used by auto body people into my drill and went to work. On some tape, it worked great. Other areas, not so great. At certain points in the sides where the hull has some undulations mimicking lapstrake construction, the wheel couldn't get to the tape, so I had to painstakingly and slowly use a razor blade and a plastic scraper.

Having the boat outside covered by a silver tarp has been a big obstacle. Finally, Bill Norris suggested I might fit in a 12 by 25 foot aluminum carport he was using to store a yet-to-be rehabbed old Mark Twain. Rehabbing and restoring boats is part of his business. He currently is selling, for instance, three beautifully restored boats. One is a woody – a 1967 15' Century Resorter. Another is a muscle boat, a 1988 Four Winns Liberator 211 and the other one is just for fun – a 1988 Four Winns 160 Freedom.

I jumped at the chance to use the carport, but my boat sits higher than the framework, so it needs to be raised off the ground about one foot. He thought I-beams constructed of a 2X6” base, with 2X12s standing on edge and a 2X4 top would work, so as long as the carport is his, I agreed and went into general construction mode.

That three-sided frame is now set in place next to the carport, so when my knee heals, we will attempt to lift the structure up and, hopefully, slide it over and back on top of the beams.

Like much of the rest of this project, it will be a one-off operation with no previous experience, so will be an interesting task.

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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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