Today was the end of the parts boat. After tearing the top off (see previous blog) it was time to get rid of the hull. My friend Robert came over and we went at it. The basic plan was to saw until it was gone. The plan generally worked. Many thanks to Susie for being the in-progress photographer. I love her.
In the last month I have been picking apart the purple Tree-Nautique (as I have come to call the tree-damaged boat I purchased). Some of the parts on this boat are duplicates of parts I already own so I’ve been selling what I don’t need. Note for all my readers: If you’d like to get a lot of email, just mention in the right places on the internet that you are parting out an early 90’s Ski Nautique. So far I’ve only sold roughly a dozen parts. Largest item has been the windshield, and the smallest a couple of hinges. The most common ask is for the control throttle, which had already been removed from the boat when I got it.
As I disassemble I am carefully going slow and taking a lot of pictures. I don’t know how people could ever put together a boat without seeing how it was together when it was new. There are wires, tubes, and fasteners everywhere. I have probably 100’s of pictures like these now to help me remember where everything goes and is connected:
A friend came over and helped me take a bunch of parts off last weekend, so I’m basically down to the point where it is time to pull the engine. THAT will be interesting, and I’m sure worthy of a blog of its own.
Not much to update on the boat lately. I’m basically working to save my money so I can purchase the next big item on the list: carpet and a new rub rail. Both run roughly $250 – $350 (depending on what I get). I have experimented with a few things while saving up. I finally got out my polishing equipment and went at a couple of spots on the hull. Polishing gel coat is amazing. I drug my son, David, out to the boat to show him the first spot I sanded, polished, finished and waxed. He said exactly what I was thinking, “Wow, that is really shiny.” It looks incredibly different when the hull is polished up; as though you had just painted it. While I had the polishing compound out I also went after the severely water-stained glass on the windshield. It looked awful when I removed it from the boat. I am very pleased to report that the glass cleaned up well and looks brand new.
Last night I had a dream that I got a new engine and the boat ran great. David and his friend Erik went wake boarding and then we hung out on the lake for a while while Steve swam near the boat. When I woke up I was really happy that the boat was all finished. Of course, once I figured out it was just a dream I was somewhat disappointed, but the feelings from that dream keep me motivated to keep working at it.
So, I’ve had enough downtime over the last few days such that I think I’m ready to crank up things on the boat again. It has helped that the sun is out and it’s been in the 70’s and 80’s in Seattle recently. I got some RoundUp and killed all the grass growing anywhere near my trailer. It looks ready to go. Today I called marinecarpeting.com and they are sending me samples of grey carpet in the correct weight (thickness) for my 1993.
I have stared at the hole in the floor long enough that I think I’m ready to go ahead with fiber-glassing in that spot and calling it good. That should be interesting. I have different kinds of fiberglass and enough resin to do a lot of work. I think the task is cutting the fiberglass to the right shape for my hole, laying down the cut fiberglass and painting on the resin. Easy, right? Once that is done I can lay in the carpet and start to reassemble.
I’ve been toying with engine ideas. If I had $2-grand laying around with nothing better to do I’d likely have purchased a fuel injected engine from a 1997 Nautique a couple of weeks ago. I’m sort of in a catch-22: While I’m spending money (on things like carpet or an air compressor) I’m trying to save money for an engine.
OH! I have news: I got a transmission. It is sitting in my garage waiting to be spun by a V-8 beast. 🙂
Today I was writing an email and started a list of what I need to do to finish up this project and start to ski. Sometimes I feel like the list is getting longer, but I’ll just keep plugging away:
Here is what I need to go skiing:
Engine with all the fixin’s
Steering Cable (mine is really bad – very stiff even disconnected from the rudder)
A new prop (or repair my dinged Federal prop on there now)
Seat vinyl – Driver’s seat, rear seat pads
Pins for engine hatch
Rub Rail (my old one was so trashed I removed it and threw it away)
I need to clean up / repair the throttle control. The throttle/transmission control is called a “Morse MV-2” control. Mine has a broken spring and the mechanism is gummed up enough you can’t pull / push the neutral switch
Time for some progress! I’ve been really busy with work lately, but I also have found some free moments to work on boat things. First, I recovered the bunks for my boat trailer. The old bunk carpet had worn through. I got some new carpet made specifically for trailer bunks (the part the boat rests on when it is sitting on a trailer).
The carpet bunk got me motivated on a warmish day to finally pour in the foam to get ready to seal up the floor. It was a hilarious afternoon. I mixed the foam, poured it into the hole and waited for things to happen. The foam started to grow but not as quickly as I thought it would. So, I started to mix another batch. By the time I did this, the first batch really started to grow. In fact, I now had a filled hole and a growing bucket of foam. By the time I was done I had a huge bucket of foam in a cardboard box and foam growing out of my boat like a creature from a 50’s horror movie! I was laughing the entire way. I was laughing so hard that Susie came out to see what the commotion was about.
I have trimmed the foam back down and am ready to fiberglass over the opening. After that, the next step will be to lay down carpet.
As I turn the corner from destruction to construction on the Nautique I’m starting to pile up parts. I made another visit to Tap Plastics for foam and fiberglass. When I get around to doing that I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures. The foam is a mix. Once the two parts are mixed you have about 30 seconds to get the mix where it needs to be before it starts growing like crazy. Should be a riot. When searching for unique Nautique parts the Internets becomes your friend. Besides the fin (earlier blog posting), I have found some dashboard switches, new cup holders, hinges for my glove box, and a bow light. I also found a real deal, a color-matched new cover (called a skin) for my engine hatch. It is the correct blue/gray/white as the rest of my interior. If you go way back in this blog you’ll see that the boat came with a miss-matched teal-green/red/gray hatch cover with a big gash in it. It was on clearance and I got it for about a 60% discount. Yay!
Yesterday I got a few trailer parts. One of the lights was burned out, so I fixed that. I also knew that the “bunks” (the parts that the boat actually sit on) of the trailer needed to be re-carpeted as there were spots where the carpet was worn through or almost thread-bare. I also had noticed that the previous owner has put some rope around one of the rear bunks. I got some bunk carpet (on sale at West Marine) and some no-rust staples and wandered over to the trailer sitting beside my house. I quickly discovered that the rope was literally holding one of the bunks in place. They are supposed to be bolted to the frame, so that was a little alarming. There were two very rusty bolts holding the front of the bunk and the remaining six bolts were missing. Scary.
So I pulled off the rope and bolts from both bunks (the other one still had all the screws in it). Then I pulled off the old carpet. I suppose this is still deconstruction, but I need that trailer eventually. I put the bunk wood (they are 11-foot long pressure-treated 2×6’s) in the garage to dry out. Susie and I went to Ace and got some galvanized lag bolts to replace the rusty ones. As you can see in the photos, they were full of really rusty rust. Once the wood dries out I’ll put on the carpeting and bolt the bunks in place.
See the rope at the very back of the right bunk? That is almost literally the only thing holding on that bunk.
These two bolts were the only thing holding on the right bunk.
I took this photo after I got the right bunk off. Two rusty bolts and a knot in some rope were all that was holding this on.
There USED to be threads on these bolts.
I took this to remind me how the carpet goes on. Note the wet wood. This is after removing the bunk.
The wet foam is gone. Hurray! I have a sore arm and numb fingers that were rubbed raw by the digging and prying and rubbing against the rough side of fiberglass. It was not fun, but there is a sense of accomplishment in reaching this point.
Go back and look at the old posts on this topic and you can see the difference. I’ll post some photos of the empty bay where the wet foam used to be and the buckets of old wet foam. Now I need to put in few foam and then teach myself how to repair fiberglass. I’m told it is easy.
The final photos are of a fin I purchased to repair my bent one. For those who don’t know, a competition ski boat has three fins in the bottom of the boat about 1/2 way back to help the boat track straight with a skier pulling to the sides which make other boats wander off course. I got the fin from a guy whose boat burned in a storage compartment fire in Mississippi. I almost got an engine from him, but that didn’t work out.
While doing this job I discovered how easy it is to disconnect everything in the dash. After the foam and fiberglass I might have to go after that next. Or the carpet. Or maybe an engine will appear. The fun stuff happens next. Putting it all back together.
This is looking foward in the hole, at dry foam
It’s empty, for the most part.
Looking aft in the hull
I could not believe how much foam I had pulled out
A side view of the damaged and new fin
I try not to think too hard about how difficult it would be to bend that much metal
Some progress to report… I got a trailer! I got a screaming deal on this trailer. It is a little rusty but it is made for a Ski Nautique. David and I stashed it beside the house last night. Eventually it will need a little work, but it is perfectly usable as-is. I towed it home with the old van last night and there were no problems. Most of the lights even turn on, and if you know anything about trailers that’s really saying something. Hahaha…
Approximately one month ago I decided to have look at a crack on my floor. The passenger / observers seat (it faces aft) in my boat flips up so that you can store things, like skis, up in the bow of the boat. Kind of a neat feature. Anyhow, the frame of that seat had broken through the floor. Here is the crack in the floor.
The floor is made of fiberglass and in this area it is not super-thick. I’d say it is about 1/16″ thick. To repair the crack I needed to cut it out, sand the fiberglass and then lay in new fiberglass. When I opened up the floor I found more problems. Remember how the early pictures showed leaves and such in the floor of the boat? It sat outside for a long time getting rained on and rained on…. so the water found its way into this crack in down to the foam underneath.
Not to become overly technical here, but almost all boats have foam in the hull. The foam is a material that is used to provide flotation and noise dampening. It is a rigid foam that is roughly the consistency of cardboard. Kind of stiff at first, but you can easily crush it in your hand. It feels like an old dry sponge. Foam works great until it gets wet. Then it starts to break down and if there is wood in your hull then the wood will start to deteriorate. My hull is all composite. But wet foam still weighs too much and needs to be removed.
Here you can see that when I push down on the foam water appears. Wet foam. 😦
So, in the days following this discovery I have been digging out foam. It’s not easy and I don’t want to cut out my entire floor. So I’m going at it slowly and figuring out how to do this bit by bit. Here’s the current look of my floor and some pictures of my prey, the wet foam.