I've made a couple small posts but figured I'd start a main thread on my "new" vessel.
I decided to take up the hobby of boating in 2008, more or less randomly and without experience, by picking up a 1985 19' Bayliner Capri cuddy for $500. Since then I've done most everything possible to it, including new stringers and decks, resealing the sterndrive, external engine work, gauges, vinyl...bla bla lol. I've trailered it most everywhere but since moving to the west side of Michigan from Lansing I discovered what its like to keep it at a marina and since this season we've (my girlfriend and I) have taken up River Haven Marina in Grand Haven on the Grand River as our summer vacation home, if you will. Before this I've trailered the thing everywhere it seems but have done some somewhat long distance Great Lakes cruising with it. While it certainly isn't much in the world of boats as far as size, and certainly not of much prestige being a cheap Bayliner with (originally) shoddy build quality, I've been proud of it since I've rebuilt the thing by hand by myself.
At any rate when checking out marinas last fall we stopped at a boat dealer (Skipper Bud's in Coopersville) and happened to look at a 28' Catalina there. I suddenly became fascinated with older Chris Crafts due to the roomy layout which I perceived as being unconventional at the time, being used to walking down into express cruiser style boats with midberths. Since then I've soaked up a lot of knowledge on Roamer's, Constellation's, Sea Skiff's, Catalina's, Commander's...I decided that wooden vessels may require too much time/effort that I could give. Steel Roamer's seemed like a good idea. I didn't like the idea of fiberglass again due to my experience with stringers that I didn't want to do again. I knew the Catalina's I liked had wood encased stringers and figured that Commander's did too.
From my own thinking and opinions from others close to me I figured that due to my not-that-high income and part time college career mixed in with a car loan (that I took up before a drastic life shakeup last year) that I should at least get that out of the way first before upgrading my vessel. But, I figured it wouldn't hurt to shop craigslist and ebay, you know, to better familiarize myself with Chris Craft's...well, that turned into a daily habit during my morning breaks at work...bad idea...
As of a few weeks ago I've become the more or less proud owner of a 1971 33' Chris Craft Coho (seen it called a Catalina Sedan as well). I went and looked at it and found it to be in a condition I could take on (or so I think) and searching online indicated that these had all glass stringers which was the dealbreaker for me. I didn't remember seeing CC's like these and felt that we would like the big salon of the sedan more versus like a more conventional CC cabin layout (note that since then I found out your Commander's also have all glass stringers). The really big flybridge was cool to me as well. I bought it through ebay from a marina/dealer in St. Joseph, about 75 miles south of my marina. They said they were able to start both of its 327QA's but didn't say any more and didn't give any warranty on anything. Starboard 327 (number 2?) had a lot of water on its dipstick. It was repo-ed by the marina due to lack of storage payment, which they said was due to the owner dying and the family not caring for it. I've found gas receipts from 2007 inside though it has a Michigan registration sticker good until 2012 but at any rate I'm assuming it hasn't been floated in a while. I was able to get it for $620. Realizing that attempting to get it running decently and piloting it back over Lake Michigan wasn't the best idea, I got a few quotes to ship it over land ranging up to $1500 but found that Jeff from Anchorage Bay marine in Holland was willing to do it for much, much less. I'd suggest contacting him if you need to ship a vessel over land.
This is the Coho as it sat at Pier 33 marina
Jeff of Anchorage with his F450 and hydraulic trailer. I took the day off of work to see the move happen
And its new home out back at River Haven. Now comes why it got down to a mere $620...
Flybridge deck (old varnished plywood...?) is leaking into the salon as indicated by this light being full of water and the headliner stains. The vessel has been outside, uncovered for a while. It had a canvas cover (included) that was removed because it was sagging due to snow load, and thus the broken flybridge windshield. Also note the loose panel in the rear which was hiding some rotten wood holding up the flybridge. The same panel on the exterior is also rotten, on both sides. Why did they use a wooden cabin structure when even their wooden boats already had fiberglass cabins?
There's this board that runs under the side windows in the cabin that's rotten in a lot of places, I suspect due to the sliding windows leaking.
This shot forward of the lower helm shows extensive rot of the board mentioned above along with more rot. The panel of glass on the right is cracked and was partially open. It seems someone in the past was frustrated enough with this and sawzalled out some of the dash
Same area as seen from the forward cabin
Some plywood seen in the forward cabin. This and a few areas of the plywood beneath the side decks is bad, I'm guessing due to the caulk joint between the side deck and the cabin superstructure opening up. These areas seem fairly easy to access from inside, thankfully. Do Commander's have a similar construction? There isn't any glass underneath, just bare wood held up there in some unknown fashion. I was thinking of sawzalling these bad areas out carefully from the inside and underneath, cutting new pressure treated plywood (which will be used throughout the wood replacement process), and bonding it back with epoxy to the bottom of the side decks while putting a few countersunk screws through the side decks down into the new plywood core then covering the heads with resin/gelcoat/epoxy/marinetex...does this idea seem ok? The side decks dont truly seem soft when walking on them but they do seem wavy. Then again I weigh around 140 lbs and don't put that much pressure on them so they may feel soft anyway. Regardless I'll be drilling core samples from the bottom to seek out the bad cores.
I know these household Square D panels came with these vessels but aren't acceptable today. I'll give the system a good inspection and will replace in the near future (as in a season or two).
Starboard engine has had a lot of water in it that I've been pumping out with my vaccum oil pump. From what I've gathered there's a water cavity in the intake manifold that is prone to freezing and cracking so that will be my first place to look. I'm hoping the water was just introduced into the crankcase when the yard started the engines (they connected water to the inlets of the sea water pumps, BTW) and that it hasn't been sitting with water in the oil for years.
The rear cabin wall/bulkhead is in bad shape below the deck. I believe that's the water heater pictured in blue. Due to the wall seeming to be in salvageable condition above the deck I want to look into scarfing it together with a new piece of PT plywood below decks. I don't know yet though since I'd like to redo the rear wall with windows on each side of the door, so I might end up replacing it entirely...might take the poly resin/gelcoat route in that case
2.5kw Kohler has super low compression considering i can easily turn the crank pulley by hand in an awkward position. Yard did not attempt starting it.
I need to winterize the engines and have discovered the preferred method, utilizing a bucket to catch the exhaust and hold antifreeze, a pump between that and the sea water pump, and running the engine (draining it first) a while to get antifreeze though everything. I attempted to start number 1 the other day but found that it wasn't getting fuel. I'm not really able to diagnose the fuel system at this time...hell I don't even know if there's a drop in the tanks since I've been busy and the boat's 40 minutes away. I'll be working on it quite a bit this winter but I do need to winterize them before the cold really hits. I plan on draining water from all the plugs and petcocks then adding antifreeze into the hoses and letting it flow into every passage and chamber possible. Thankfully a marina neighbor with a 32' Cavalier sent me a copy of the engine service manual telling where all the drains were. I find it interesting that it doesn't mention adding any antifreeze.
Any tips, comments, questions so far? I hope to get it seaworthy again by this spring.