Offshore Outboard

Today I went to Bruce B's house to pick up his old outboard. By old I mean 54 years.

He and I formed a gentleman's agreement back in October that he would hold the motor until my transom was completed. Well it is (I'll update that soon) so we successfully mounted it this afternoon.

To back up a bit, my first vision for power was to get a couple of matched 1950's-era 40 hp motors for propulsion. This was quite common in the 50's because the biggest outboard you could buy was about 60 hp; not really enough for water skiing behind a 20' boat or going much faster than 20 mph. I soon found that finding good twin engines would be very difficult, and likely involve too much time and money. So I searched eBay for engines built into the mid-60's, but found mostly junk or fully restored examples for big bucks. Enter Bruce.

His father, who picked up their 1958 Skagit Express at the factory and trailered it home to Spokane, bought a 60 hp engine but t…


It took some doing, but the trailer is free of the boat.
The following steps were involved: 1.- Lower the trailer tongue to raise the stern 2.- Build a cradle to support the stern 3.- Raise the tongue and pull the trailer out from underneath otie the transom to a tree conveniently located about 20' behind the boat ojack up and block the bow of the boat oslowly pull the boat forward until the bow cribbing meets a trailer crossmember orepeat until the trailer is about halfway out 4.Build another cradle a bit aft of amidships oRepeat above until the trailer is nearly free of the boat 5.Block up the keel near the bow The numbers and bullets make it sound easy, but it was tedious and a bit nerve-wracking. Here is the story in pictures:
Cradle for the stern. Sheathed in 1/2" OSB for shear strength. I made a template with craft paper to get maximum contact along the breadth of the hull bottom.

Now that the rebuild of the stern is complete the Offshore is ready to get on the water! Of course it's lacking a motor and looks like crap, but theoretically I could launch and paddle around! At some point I also need to get the boat off the trailer, clean up the latter, and have it inspected by Washington State Patrol so it can be licensed and legal. Haven't figured out the best way to do that, but will soon.

Good preparation is the key to a successful paint job, so because the paint is so old it is necessary to strip it all off, down to the gel coat. There were three coats of paint: gray primer, white, then blue on the trim. All of the coats were sprayed, probably using enamel paint. Not having any history of the boat I can only guess this was done in the 80s or maybe earlier, based on the pervasive fading.

I've been stripping the old paint off the topsides using a product called Smart Strip, which I also used to remove 5 paint jobs from my Lotus ten years ago.…
Splash Well Shelf
After completing the transom, the last task for restoring the aft portion of the Offshore was to rebuild the splash well. Most reading this probably know about this feature of outboard boats, but I wasn't real familiar with it. If I understand it correctly, when you slow down, especially coming off a plane, the wake (wave) catches up to the boat and you can get water over the transom. If you don't have a splash well this water would go into the bilge, which you could either pump out or open the drains when the boat is under way to let gravity and vacuum expel it. The well is self draining. 

The shelf rests on cleats installed on the bulkhead and transom. One could also put cleats along the side, but the factory didn't do this; instead they tabbed the shelf onto the bottom of the vertical stiffeners you see in the above pictures. I did the same, because the shelf will be plenty sturdy without cleats there.
After measuring several times I marked the position f…
Since the last post I’ve installed flotation and the splash shelf, and am in the processes of finishing it. I’ll post details on this in a week or so. This post will deal with some of other work I’ve been doing, mostly while waiting for epoxy to cure.
One feature of Skagit boats (at least those 20’ and over) I thought was pretty cool were integral fuel tanks constructed of fiberglass. Often referred to as “saddle tanks” because they were located on each side amidships, they offered convenient filling from gas caps located on the side decks. To me they were an attractive feature and I was glad to see they were intact.

In the 1950’s fiberglass was becoming known as a miracle material for boat building. It didn’t need an elaborate wooden support system (i.e., keel, ribs, stringers), never rotted, could be constructed quickly and at low cost, and never needed painting. So, why not construct fuel tanks with it? Skagit Plastics did, along with many other builders until j…