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Old 04-05-2015, 10:50 PM   #1
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Loaded question about recovery

I know this is a loaded question, so here goes....How difficult to is to restore a boat that sunk. It is a Prairie 29 ( solid fiberglass) that was underwater for about 10 hours. The engine is up and running strong..

My experience in renovations:

1) My mother's car (98 Chevy Tracker) was under water from Hurricane Sandy for 8 hours and then sat for 2 months. Everyone said it was trashed and that she should have it hauled to the dump. She was devastated from the lose, so I took it upon myself to get it up and running. The engine was fine; no water. The started was frozen, so I took it apart, cleaned it up with JB blaster, clean the brushes, and reinstalled it after testing it. It's been working fine ever since. Water did get into the auto-transmission, so I had to replace it with one from the local junk yard. Other then going through the electrical system with electrical cleaner, and hosing the insides down with bleach & water, the Tracker has been running Gr8. We drive it everyday.

2)I've also Restored a 1972 Triumph TR6 from frame up.

3) Completed 3 home renovation; new plumbing, upgraded or new electrical, adding bathrooms, new roof....etc

4) Owned 2 Diesel-pusher motor-homes, so I'm familiar with the operating systems on a boat; potable water, holding tanks, vac-toilets, propane systems and h2o pressure system.

At this point, I feel I'm pretty mechanically inclined, though I have never restored a boat.
Having a Dad that was a hydraulic engineer always helps!

So, back to my question, would it seem that I have the skills to tackle restoring a boat? I will be doing 90% of the work myself, plus the price is right for the boat. I'm purchasing it from a Salvage company.

Any thoughts, suggestions....prayers....lol

Thanks,
Rich T
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Old 04-05-2015, 11:45 PM   #2
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"How difficult to is to restore a boat that sunk."

When you're done let us know.
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Old 04-05-2015, 11:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bankerboy1 View Post
I know this is a loaded question, so here goes....How difficult to is to restore a boat that sunk. It is a Prairie 29 ( solid fiberglass) that was underwater for about 10 hours. The engine is up and running strong..

My experience in renovations: A LOT..!

So, back to my question, would it seem that I have the skills to tackle restoring a boat? I will be doing 90% of the work myself, plus the price is right for the boat. I'm purchasing it from a Salvage company.

Any thoughts, suggestions....prayers....lol

Thanks,
Rich T
Sounds like with your experience, that unless there is too much terminal damage to the inside finishings etc it should be a doddle for you. After all, boats are made to go in the water, right. Best if most of it stays on the outside for sure, but it's not going to dissolve with some inside. If you got a car all cleaned out and shipshape, what's to lose...if it's cheap enough..?
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:07 AM   #4
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#1&2 where likely done in a well stocked garage or home shop.

If you can get the Prairie home you can probably do it. Where the wheels typically fall off amateur boat restoration projects seems to be when they're located in a boat yard some distance away. Anode at this forum did a high quality restoration of a Sundowner trawler at his home.
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:45 AM   #5
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Salt water or fresh? All electrical components including wire are suspect. The starter motor even if currently working needs to be disassembled and probably rebuilt. I have heard of starters shorting out after having been imerged in water and burning up boats. Insulated wire in salt water will overheat and burn over time if in salt water. The rest is probably no big deal.
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Old 04-06-2015, 08:35 AM   #6
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You seem to have the skills. How much work you want to put into it is up to you. The strange thing about boats is that you can often buy a boat in good condition for less that the final cost of all the parts to rebuild one.
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Old 04-06-2015, 09:59 AM   #7
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I would expect to replace EVERYTHING which is not the actual boat itself. Could you get away with trying to pickle and 'fix' stuff? Sure. Can you get systems to work? Absolutely. However, if you repair, then expect to be chasing gremlins forever.

Plan on a worst case scenario. New engines, generator, pumps, ANYTHING electrical including all wiring, pumps, etc...

Plan on this costing more than buying the same boat turn-key in the end.
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:11 AM   #8
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I agree with Shrew. Even though the engine may have made it through ok, anything electrical is junk including all wiring and most things mechanical inside as well.

If you could buy it for about $10,000 maybe you could come out ok if you value your labor at zero and you would end up with all new boat systems inside.

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Old 04-06-2015, 10:24 AM   #9
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I, like you, enjoy repairing and improving things. I get more satisfaction working on my boat, than I do operating my boat. If seems like fun, go ahead and do it.

I'd be bored as hell with a new boat.

I would likely replace the entire electrical system, which is substandard on vintage boats anyways. Kind of like the Triumph (I've owned two GT6s).
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Old 04-06-2015, 11:08 AM   #10
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I did it once, never ever again. I wish you the best on this project. Because of the age of the boat I did it was a replacement of all systems.
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:20 PM   #11
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Why would you never do it again? Just not your cup of tea or more than you bargain for? I love to tinker and would be board on a boat with nothing to do or fix.
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:38 PM   #12
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Greetings,
Mr. bb1. "...would be board on a boat with nothing to do or fix." I suspect, and I mean this with NO disrespect intended, that you have never owned a boat before. Right? If you had, you would know, and I'm very confident in saying this, that there is ALWAYS something to do...ALWAYS!
Personally, I would take the suggestions of buying a non sunk vessel and go from there OR come down to Ft. Lauderdale...I have enough to keep you busy for at least 6 months.
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Old 04-06-2015, 03:55 PM   #13
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I did it with a small run-about I had in the early 90's. Someone stole the boat, ran it up a slough, tied it to a piling at low tide and it sunk with the rising water. The boat was hauled, motor stripped down and cleaned and put back together, All the seats, carpeting and gauges replaced. Ran OK for a few years. One day out in some rough water, taking some big waves, the cockpit sole came loose. What I didn't realize then is the amount of buried plywood in the hull, stuff that you can't really dry out all the way. It had finally rotted and compromised the integrity of the hull. The boat wasn't the best quality to begin with, but really challenged after this. Unless I could get in and inspect everything and everywhere, I'd pass.
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Old 04-06-2015, 06:29 PM   #14
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Why do want to restore a salvage boat?

Boatyards are full of broken dreams of guys who thought they could take an old boat and make it beautiful.

If you want to go cruising .....rent.
If you want to do maintenance and some boating..... buy.
If you want to have a second job that costs you money either build a boat or buy an old restoration project.

A friend at work salvaged a 70 foot tug 20 years ago for a major restoration project. Thousands of hours, thousands of dollars, 3 boatyards latter he had the boat scraped, about the same time his marriage of 20 some years fell apart.

just my two cents
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Old 04-06-2015, 08:22 PM   #15
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It's a Prairie 29. Essentially a chunk if frozen plastic snot. It is probably cheaper than a three year old lease return Kia.

If you have fun restoring it for a few years in your driveway and sell it at a loss you'll still be ahead psychologically.

Funny how no one gives a car restorer heck for dumping oodles of money into a '55 DeSoto and drives it 200 miles a year to park it at a show. Or the guy who spends all winter making a RC model of a P51 Mustang and pile drives it into a farmers field in the Spring.

This is a hobby folks, not an investment. It doesn't have to make sense.
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Old 04-06-2015, 08:37 PM   #16
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(I've owned two GT6s).
My first car was a red '69 GT6+. I still miss it...
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Old 04-06-2015, 08:52 PM   #17
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This is a hobby folks, not an investment. It doesn't have to make sense.



If making sense was a prerequisite none of us would own a boat.
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:11 PM   #18
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Why would you never do it again? Just not your cup of tea or more than you bargain for? I love to tinker and would be board on a boat with nothing to do or fix.
I found it to be more costly then I planed and took longer. At the end of the day I was working on the boat for over two years rather then enjoying the water.
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Old 04-06-2015, 11:12 PM   #19
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So as not to offend Prairie owners and others of a delicate nature, frozen snot is a historical reference to the L. Francis Herreshoff comment about GRP construction. My boat, and most boats on this forum, are also frozen snot.
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:27 PM   #20
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No offense taken. In fact, I plan to use that line about frozen snot myself next chance I get.

I'm just embarking on my 3rd season owning my Prairie 36. Most of the electrical system was already in great shape. Engines needed only the simplest maintenance and one minor fix. Much of the finish (wood, paint, decks, bulkheads) is adequate, although some cosmetic improvements have been made with more to come.

Electronics got a makeover, as did much of the plumbing (with more to come). Lots of ripping out old, unused wires and hoses. Totally new Air Conditioning system. General tweaking, fixing and undoing the PO's stupid tricks.

I've already put in about twice what I originally estimated. Most of it was by choice, not necessity.

But the point is, a total restoration will undoubtedly cost much more than the boat is worth when finished, or what you could buy a similar used boat for in good condition.

If you understand that, and have deep enough pockets, you'll end up with exactly the boat you want, outfitted exactly how you want, and it'll all be worth it to you. If not, it'll end up on that heap of broken dreams we've all seen before.

For the record, I've kept up my usual underway hours each of the past two years, so for me it wasn't a choice between cruising and doing maintenance. More of a choice between sitting on the boat working, or sitting on the boat doing nothing, when I couldn't be out cruising.

It would be great to see another Prairie brought back to life. I hope you succeed!
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