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. Since my aim is restoration, this needed to be reconstructed.

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 cleat…
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 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 ’50’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 just recently, …
Transom III

Since the last post I bonded layers 3 and 4 to the transom! The 3rd was ¼”, and just slid in behind the shoulder at the aftermost part of the center rib with a gap a bit less than ⅛”.

The 4th and last was the ½“ thick plywood, which I cut out to accommodate the knee. I took special care to shape the edges so they fit flush to the curvature of the hull. For this I used a grinder with a 60-grit flapper wheel; it's easy to control and and quickly removes material.

To measure the amount of material to grind off I used a straight edge on a scrap of the appropriate size plywood, and measured the distance between the previous ply and the hull every three vertical inches. With the previous ply template laid on the plywood to be cut, I just added these measurements to the ends (the pencil line to the left of the grinder above is a trace of the template). This is another thing best explained with a picture.

I “cooked” if for three days at about 80°so the epoxy is well cured, th…
With all the old wood and poorly bonded fiberglass mat removed from the forward side of the transom, the process of building it back up has begun. Templates were made and used to cut the plywood, starting with a piece of ¼” A-C. If you are not familiar with plywood grades, “A” refers to a veneer with no knots (or knots that are patched) and “C” grade has some knots and voids. So, A-C is knot-free on one side and has some knots and cracks on the other. It’s my understanding that nearly all plywood these days uses waterproof glue, but be sure to check (the sign at Lowes said it did).
The transom needs to be at least 1-⅝" thick to accommodate most high-horsepower motors. I bought sheets of ¼ and ½” plywood (it's labeled as 15/32); any thicker than this might be hard to bend to conform to the curvature of the transom. Unless the deck has been removed, the plywood needs to be cut to get it into the hull. The joints need to be staggered in successive plys for maximum st…

One of the previous owners cut out the lower portion of the bulkhead between the cockpit and the transom, then covered it with a removable canvas flap.

I can see this would be an improvement if you were in big seas and taking on water, where the cockpit could drain directly into the bilge below the splash-well shelf.  As you saw in my last posting, whoever did that failed to seal the plywood in the  lower bulkhead, which led to the rot. There was a bilge pump back there when I got the boat, and considering that it used to be in Brookings there were likely excursions into rough water.

In my quest for originality, I’ve elected to fill in that area and restore the quaint hatch that accesses the aftermost bilge. I plan to use this boat in our calm inland seas, so won’t be bounding over waves and taking green water over the bow. I cut an insert out of ¼” A-C plywood and installed it by wedging it in place and bonding it with epoxy (after sealing the edges and both side…

Obviously, a sound transom is a good feature in an outboard motorboat!
Even well cared-for boats can have transom issues. Considering that Skagit boats are about 60 years old, I'm guessing that most of them either need or have had a transom replacement. During manufacture, the 1-1/8" fir plywood that made up the structure of the transom was bonded to the fiberglass shell before the deck was installed, using chopped strand mat saturated with polyester resin. I don't know how the top was sealed; I assume with fiberglass cloth, but there is no remnant of that on my boat.
Removing the Rot

The previous owner had begun removing the plywood from the fiberglass shell before I bought it, so I removed the rest by cutting through it with a circular saw where I could, then chiseling the rest off. The previously mentioned mat between the plywood and molded transom was not well-bonded in some areas, so I tediously removed that with a chisel.
Then I turned my…