Ok… So we’re a little off topic here, but we’re nudging summertime, and the following is probably going to be more valuable than some may care to admit…
You know that decade-old 18′ fiberglass skiff that you picked up up for a song? You know… The one that looks ok, but always seems to be dripping on the trailer… It’s the one that seems sluggish in the water, has the spongy (carpeted?) deck, and rides low in the stern… It probably shudders a little in even mild seas… Yeah, that one… Here’s how you fix it if you care and are willing to work your butt off…
- Get a marine architect to confirm that indeed the boat is waterlogged and the transom core is rotted. Get him (or her) to tell you where the flotation belongs. $100 for one hour of “hands on” with a marine architect or engineer is the best money you’ll ever spend.
- One your “bargain-basement beauty” is confirmed a sponge in polyester sheathing, start taking pictures and don’t stop throughout the entire process. Take lots of pictures including measurements. (Be sure to make measurements of the beam… You’re about to perform major surgery.)
- Be sure the boat is on solid footing stern down.
- Alrighty then… Rip out all seats, the motor, the electronics, the controls… Everything must go.
- Next, rip off the cap (the fiberglass “hood” of the boat that probably extends from the bow through the gunwales.) Be careful… This will need to go back on.
- But don’t stop there… No… Rip up the carpet and tear into the deck itself — experience the smell of rotted plywood, rotted stringers (the longitudinals that used to support the deck and stiffen the boat), and the stew of fetid flotation foam. All must go.
- Ahh… More fun… The transom core itself is probably rotted and will need to be drilled/scraped out from above… Lucky you…
- Okie dokie… Time to start putting things back together… There are epoxy products that can rebuild the stern… Query on “rot doctor” for just one example. iBoats is another fantastic source.
- Before a new deck can go on, new pressure-treated stringers have to be installed. (Aren’t you glad that you took pix for reference?)
- Load the flotation per your engineers suggestions. Don’t be stupid — do this.
- Put the whole thing back together again in reverse order using marine ply as a starter on the deck… And for heaven’s sake, skip the carpet! Install quality water-tight deck plates on a sand floor and use those plates to ventilate the bilge.
There… that was so bad was it? Two or three hundred hours and a grand or two, and you have an almost respectable boat…
Just licking fur by the feeders…
Two cats blogging…
* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.