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Old 01-03-2022, 04:03 PM   #1
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1976 Marine Trader 36 Europa Sedan project boat

Hi everyone. I've been contemplating whether or not to do a build thread on the work that we will be doing on our 1976 Marine Trader 36 Europa sedan.

While this is definitely a project boat, it will be needing a lot of work that I consider Sweat Equity. There will be some cost, but my wife and I are quite handy do-it-yourselfers, and we thoroughly enjoy renovating and restoring projects. We consider it “a hobby” so we figured by purchasing this project boat at a great price, we could be enjoying a summer on the water in 2022.

Before I get into the boat, little background about my wife and I:
My wife and I love the adventures of being outdoors, and travelling. Since we met and married, we have gone up the slope to overnight RV’ing. We started with tents and campsites when our children were young. Eventually we got tired of sleeping on the cold or wet ground, and moved up to a pop-up trailer. After a few years of that, we got tired of the limitations of a pop-up trailer, especially during the commute, so we graduated to a small camper trailer. A few years later we got something larger, a couple's trailer which we still have today. We travel quite a bit in the summer with it, mostly local due to the covid situation, but in years prior we have travelled extensively in the US, each trip being an amazing adventure.

My wife and I enjoy overnight RV’ing, especially around the water. Our favorite destinations are any of the Great Lakes. We are always happiest when we can be near the water or the beach. It makes the RV lifestyle so much more enjoyable. Michigan is one of our favorite destinations. So many beaches!

Last summer we were doing a trip around Ontario and Quebec, and we're very disappointed by the lack of beach time, especially in Quebec. Somewhere during that trip my wife and I started discussing the option of renting a houseboat for a week or two every summer in order for us to get Beach time that we so much enjoy.

The conversations and searches went from renting…to buying a house boat. Then we talked to our boat friends, and all strongly advised against houseboat. Along our travels we stopped at many marinas and were surprised at how many strangers we met that were willing to allow us to look in their boats and talk. By the end of each visit with the strangers, we left as friends. Needless to say we ended up deciding that we wanted a trawler with a diesel engine. We spent the end of summer and beginning of fall looking at trawlers. We saw the entire gamut of quality and cost.

Ultimately, we had to decide between breaking the bank, or starting off economically. Now I don't want to get into a debate with anyone here about the virtues of buying a good quality boat and not having to do anything versus the amount of cost, time and money that will be required to restore project boat. We've already made up our mind and have decided that a project boat is what we want. Emphasis on “What WE want”….

As I stated at the top of this post, I was debating whether or not to start this project thread. My main reason for not starting a thread is because I'm “a get ‘er done” kind of guy. I belong to several other forms(not boats) and have chronicled a few of my other projects there, but I do find there are times when I get so engrossed in the work, that I forget to stop and take pictures. So in the end I have a project that I started with bare bones here and end up with a finished product there, with very few photos or posts in between. LOL. That's just the way I roll.

On the other hand I do enjoy chronicling what I do, especially when I'm proud of the before-and-after situation. So after much debate, I've decided that I might as well start the project right here.

So the next few posts I make here will be the history of the boat, as well as trying to catch up on what we've done so far. I hope you hang on, grab a drink, and enjoy our thread.
M&H


By the water. That's how we like it!
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Old 01-03-2022, 04:27 PM   #2
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As it was offered:

Below are the photos that were listed in the advert.
There were surprisingly no outside shots in the ad, save for a small thumbnail.

Now before anyone says anything, this is how it WAS when we got it.
There were so many issues with it it's not funny. However, I tend to look at things through a mechanic's eye. I will admit, one of the reason's the boat was being sold was it had a lot of problems that over time built up to one big frustration for the previous owner. So while it had (has?) a lot of issues that caused problems, I tend to look at them and see how easy it can be fixed (for me at least).

I learned from the previous owner that he bought it as a project boat as well. He did invest some time and energy into it, but he also had to have a lot of paid help to fix the problems he could not do himself. Hence the cost and frustration for him. I also leaned that the owner prior to him greatly neglected the boat to such a point that it was nothing but trouble.

On the plus side, the two important things to me, the hull and the engine, are in great shape.
So here she is as it was advertised:
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Old 01-03-2022, 08:25 PM   #3
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Best of luck with the refurb, etc, Max. The boat you have there is what over here in Aus we had as the Blue Seas 36, and for many years was my dream boat. However, back then they were priced just out of my fund-without-borrowing range, so in the end we settled for its slightly smaller brother, the Clipper 34 pictured below, also known in the US as the CHB 34, but in sedan version like yours.

We looked long and hard for it, because my wife vetoed a tri-cabin version, which was the most commonly available version back in the late 70s and 80s. She wanted the indoor/outdoor living style without too much up and down steps. Ours was a 1975 hull. It was later that the sedan/Europa versions became more or less the norm.

Good choice, and if as you say the hull and engine are fine, (like ours was), then the rest, as they say, is just time, persistence, and getting it done. Oh, and a lotta love...
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Old 01-03-2022, 09:26 PM   #4
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Thanks Peter!
We've already been out to pat the boat twice this winter. We miss it so much.

Fortunately, I have lots of photos of what we have done so far, as well as many small projects to work on at home.
So for the rest of this winter, I will keep myself engaged on this thread by posting those pictures as well as the at-home projects
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Old 01-04-2022, 07:06 AM   #5
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Hello Max,
We also got a boat at a price we were happy with. While some may look at ours as a project boat, I don't. I just have a few things to do on it. But we wanted something to enjoy for this coming season. I just wish the boat was closer to me, right now it is four hours away and they marina doesn't allow boat work on the weekends.

I look forward to seeing your updates!1
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Old 01-04-2022, 08:33 AM   #6
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Max - as the owner of a fairly recently acquired “project” Marine Trader, I shall be following your chronicles with great interest. Good luck and have fun!
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Old 01-04-2022, 09:45 AM   #7
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Good luck with the project. We bought our's as a project boat (although it was serviceable) in 2018. While we did travel over 2500 miles (rivers) over the past three years, during that time I have completed an almost total refit, except the engines and interior, which were in good shape. New generator, new inverter, new batteries, new electronics incl auto-pilot, new toilets and lines..... The fun never stops.
also painted it with AlexSeal, and had new enclosures made - as I said, fun never stops, for some like us that like to do renovation projects.
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Old 01-04-2022, 07:40 PM   #8
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Hi guys. Thanks for the kind words and encouragement.

Like I said... I CANT WAIT FOR SPRING
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Old 01-04-2022, 08:01 PM   #9
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The laundry list:

I guess the next chapter in this boat's background is the laundry list of problems the previous owner had to deal with. This will bring the condition of the boat into context as the previous owner(s) saw it, and what ultimately led to him wanting to sell it.

There is no way of knowing who is responsible for the litany of problems this boat has, and I am certainly not seeking to lay blame. But I figure you would want to know what the problems are when we got her.

I have done my homework trying to trace this boat's history and I was surprised at what info I have found (that I will share later in this thread). For now, suffice it to say that I am probably owner #6. So somewhere between owner #3 and me, things got worse for this poor little girl.

In no particular order, here is a list of what the previous owner had to deal with, but is nowhere near what this boat needs to have fixed(I'll save that for another list...LOL ) :
  1. Pulpit smashed
  2. Vberth port side plywood rotten
  3. Rear hatch rotten
  4. Cockpit mushy deck port side
  5. Dashboard inop
  6. Kill switch inop
  7. House batts always end up dead
  8. Prop shaft leaks continually
  9. Teak deck leaks (cause of most of bilge water when on hard)
  10. Stateroom hatch leaks
  11. Flybridge deck (main cabin roof) leaks
  12. Water pump leaks
  13. Bilges full, bilge pumps not working
  14. Water pump not cooling engine
  15. Engine room stinks of diesel constantly
  16. Electrical nightmare
  17. Many electrical devices not working
  18. Front window mounts broken
  19. Drinking water pump does not work properly, no water at sea, only on shore
  20. Propane Gas line short
  21. Windows blocked
  22. No flybridge gauges
  23. Stinks of poop
  24. Toilet does not flush and poop back-flow
  25. Pump-out ineffective
  26. Rudder fell off

The PO told me that when he purchased the boat, it had a bent propshaft.
He worked with a mechanic to source a new propshaft and had it machined to specs and then helped the mechanic install it. That was $$ #1 for him, I guess.

But after that there were a lot of additional costs bringing the boat up to operation
The PO (or the POPO..LOL) did invest in some new goodies:
  • New Water heater
  • New Water tank
  • New alternator
  • New starter motor
  • New Prop Shaft
  • Rebuilt transmission unit

From the list of problems 1 through 26, the straw that broke the camel's back was the broken rudder. When the rudder broke off and disappeared into the deep, the Previous Owner had had enough. That's where we come in.

Next post I will update this list with all the observations I have made regarding each issue and will comment on why I think I can fix all of these.
Then after that I will show an even larger list of all the tasks my wife and I have documented that WE want to fix on this boat (remember, this will be a "hobby" for us..LOL At least I'll keep telling myself that
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Old 01-04-2022, 09:42 PM   #10
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Whoa! That's quite a list. I'd move the poop thing to #1 though Your pretty brave couple taking up such a project. Regardless I'll follow your thread and even throw in some encouraging words. Good luck!
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Old 01-04-2022, 09:56 PM   #11
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We are on our 24th boat now. We have done extensive work on some of them. I love working on boats. What I would recommend is to approach it like medical triage, fix the things that are causing more damage first. Stop the bleeding. These may not be the most fun things to do but they will help you get a handle on the overall project without getting in deeper as time goes by. Things like leaks and leaking decks will only get worse and cause more damage if you let them. Good luck and post photos here. We love to give advice.
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Old 01-04-2022, 10:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swa View Post
Whoa! That's quite a list. I'd move the poop thing to #1 though Your pretty brave couple taking up such a project. Regardless I'll follow your thread and even throw in some encouraging words. Good luck!
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
What I would recommend is to approach it like medical triage, fix the things that are causing more damage first. Stop the bleeding.
Ha! That's funny. Those are the EXACT words I use when I discuss the priorities of this boat with my wife
But 24 boats? Man! you must love working on them.
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Old 01-04-2022, 10:53 PM   #13
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The laundry list Part Deux: ! Max can fix it!

So here in red, is what I thought of when I looked at this boat before purchasing it/ (and I also listed what I have done since)

  1. Pulpit smashed I can rebuild that. It will probably need some doweling to hold it firmly
  2. Vberth port side plywood rotten I’ll have to cut out and replace it with a new piece of ply… AFTER I stop the leaks
  3. Rear hatch rotten I can rebuild that (edit…after bringit it home for the winter, I realise it is not going to work. I will have to make a new one
  4. Cockpit mushy deck port side remove the top Fiberglass and scrape out rotten core, replace it and re-fiberglass the top back on
  5. Dashboard inop I can build a new dash with the instruments I want. OH BOY!!
  6. Kill switch inop Meh… Easy fix
  7. House batts always end up dead Even with the power off, the batts would be dead. This was an easy one. I discovered later that some dum-dum connected some remote-control house lights to the BILGE circuit. So when the switch was off (Bilge always on) the phantom-load of the remote control light switch would drain the house batts. JEEZ!!
  8. Prop shaft leaks continually Another easy one. Or so I thought. First the stuffing box was incorrectly packed. Then I discovered later that there was an additional OLD AND ROCK HARD stuffing way in the back. I can re-stuff this properly in the spring. BUT WAIT..THERE’S MORE: I discovered later that the engine and prop-shaft are misaligned. This caused the other problem in my above post regarding the rebuilding of the transmission. I suspect the misaligned shaft was hard on the tranny as well!! I’ll fix that in the spring as well.
  9. Teak deck leaks (cause of most of bilge water when on hard) Original plan: Re-seal the joints. HA..Easy!... (later… we realized…”Its all gotta come out”. That will be one of our first jobs this spring while its still on the hard
  10. Stateroom hatch leaks Hoo-boy. I don’t know where to start with this one. Whomever installed the hatch did a real sloppy job. I mean sloppy. It was improperly installed and improperly sealed. It’s gotta come out in the spring. Rebuild the frame and re-set using proper sealants
  11. Flybridge deck (main cabin roof) leaks It took me a while to figure this one out. After a few weeks on the boat after we bought it, it looks like there is some rot in the brow (or whatever its called) where it sits/fits on the flybridge deck. This spring the entire brow is coming off and the whole top deck will be cleaned of the rot and re-fiberglassed. Then the brow will be re-installed
  12. Water pump leaks I brought the pump home the first week after we bought the boat. When I took the pump apart, I was shocked to find that two of the impellor cover bolts were rotten. They had no grip in the threads. Hence, the cover was never on tight. I re-tapped the threads and replaced the rotten screws
  13. Bilges full, bilge pumps not working 3 down from here I wrote “electrical nightmare”. Yeah….. Electrical nightmare. Easy fix for me though.
  14. Water pump not cooling engine When I took the water pump home to fix it, I took the impellor out. It was destroyed from age-hardening. I have since learned that these are perishable items and will need to be replaced at a regular service interval.
  15. Engine room stinks of diesel constantly I discovered that the Racor filter bleed screws are leaking. Have not fixed it yet but it’s probably the O-ring seals. I shut off the fuel line for the winter. Last time we went to “pat the boat” this winter, the boat smelled lovely!
  16. Electrical nightmare What was there just won’t do. It will have to be re-wired (my hobby!) I already started attacking this problem. Some of the wiring strategies really had me scratching my head. Like…”Why?” and “amateurish”. I already pulled out reams of useless wires and as of this writing I have new bus-bars, new terminal blocks and a few spools of new wire on hand. Cant wait for spring. “Let me at ‘er!!”
  17. Many electrical devices not working See above…Yeah. For real!
  18. Front window mounts broken Was the first thing I fixed the day we bought the boat. It is only temporary as a new hardwood mounting block will need to be made
  19. Drinking water pump does not work properly, no water at sea, only on shore I discovered later that the water pump was installed backwards. DOH!!! (also, when I looked into that, I discovered a plumbing nightmare. But that will be added to the “additional fixes” list that I will add later)
  20. Propane Gas line short The propane tank that is used for the cooker ends up in the middle of the side decking on the port side of the boat. Making that side inaccessible. Who’s idea was that? Anyway, easy fix. I will redo the gas line to put the propane tank at the stern
  21. Windows blocked Somebody thought it was a good idea (I am told owner #4) to add new(and ugly) galley cabinets right smack where the windows were on the port side. My wife and I agree that we are getting rid of those and reclaiming those windows!
  22. No flybridge gauges Oh boy!! I get to make a second dashboard!
  23. Stinks of poop Because of the problem below
  24. Toilet does not flush and poop back-flow This was a triple-whammy. Even though the toilet was “new”(-ish), I found that the Jabsco base valve gasket was improperly installed and destroyed. So it would not pump very well and would allow a back-flow into the head. In addition to that, the sewage line was improperly fitted and improperly hung, such that it encouraged a lot of back flow. I already fixed the sewage line and the replacement gasket is on hand waiting for spring. The third problem is below- the poop tank was not venting causing poop-water to squirt back into the head! (gross!)
  25. Pump-out ineffective I found that the vent line was improperly installed. Without proper venting, poop-sucking would be impossible because of the vacuum in the tank. By the same token, flushing the head would also be a problem as the pressure in the tank would prevent the poop-water from the head from flowing into the tank! A $1.50 PVC elbow from Home depot solved that problem!
  26. Rudder fell off Idea 1: I can get my scuba gear and metal detector and find it!!” (yeah right.. Nope! I did not realise that you cant swim in Marina’s when they have boats hooked to shore power (and now that I know more about big boats, I know why!!)
    Idea #2: I can make a new one for 2/3 the price the previous owner told me he could make one.
    It turns out this was another big can of worms. But I will save that story for another day (and it’s a good one to! Worth your wait

Well, that’s enough for now. See you next time!
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Old 01-05-2022, 01:44 AM   #14
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Love the detailed list. Thats a ton of work! But I love those Europa style boats. Definitely keep us up to date and post lots of pictures!
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Old 01-05-2022, 04:47 AM   #15
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Max, I am absolutely in awe of your can-do attitude. Whatever you do - try not to lose that. That list is large, and a bit daunting, but when you analyse it, not a threat to the overall seaworthiness of the vessel. A bit more than cosmetic, for sure, but all do-able - albeit some of it will cost a bit - like the new rudder.

Here's a tip I found helps. After you've triaged the list into descending order of priorities, as Comodave suggested. To help get to sleep at night, (yes - it works - beats counting sheep/whatever), think about the next planned fix-it job, and rehearse it all from go to whoa in your mind. It's amazing how you'll think of various approaches, discarding many, and ultimately come up with the best. Next thing you'll be waking up, but when doing the job, it will seem like deja vu all over again. Ask me how I know...
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Old 01-05-2022, 09:27 PM   #16
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Some "BEFORE" Pictures.
You know... To whet your appetite!

Might as well show the "before" state, so that I can show the after pictures later this year..erm.. or next year?.... Or maybe next decade??...LOL

Port side V-Berth. Looks like a facial peel ready to be pulled off...
And who chose the colors? "Professional" paint job!!
and for the observant, what's missing from this picture?



Bilges weren't working. Besides the (always) dead house batteries, this is what I was greeted to when I pulled the hatch for the forward bilge....



This is the port side hatch that is in the side stateroom. It leaks. Is it any wonder why?


What the heck happened to this pulpit? Did it run into an iceberg? "Iceberg right ahead!!!!" I can see it now....
It was broken in four places. Luckily the broken bits of wood that had come off were found laying on the deck.


A plumbing nightmare. See if you can figure it out.


Below deck under the wheelhouse. Looks like fun, right?


This is behind the electrical panel. And this is AFTER I spent some time sorting out the wires and organising it a bit. Honest!! I did!!!
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Old 01-05-2022, 09:41 PM   #17
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Some "BEFORE" Pictures.
You know... To whet your appetite!

Might as well show the "before" state, so that I can show the after pictures later this year..erm.. or next year?.... Or maybe next decade??...LOL
A few more pictures:

The electrical panel lower view


Behind the wheelhouse hatch, looking up

Also wheelhouse hatch looking down


This is the "dining room" Don't worry. This is the before picture. I have plans for this space... My winter project while I am hibernating this winter...
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Old 01-05-2022, 10:07 PM   #18
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Looks like a project English TV series "Yes Minister" character Sir Humphrey Appleby would have called "courageous, approaching character forming".
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Old 01-05-2022, 10:07 PM   #19
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OMG. You're gonna have fun..!

But it'll be worth it in the end. I can tell you are not only a glass half full typaguy, but also work to the mantra my grandfather often quoted. "If a job's worth doin', it's worth doin' well..!"
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Old 01-06-2022, 10:11 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Looks like a project English TV series "Yes Minister" character Sir Humphrey Appleby would have called "courageous, approaching character forming".
Yeah! You gotta have guts to tackle this job. But she does have potential, And the price was right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter B View Post
OMG. You're gonna have fun..!

But it'll be worth it in the end. I can tell you are not only a glass half full typaguy, but also work to the mantra my grandfather often quoted. "If a job's worth doin', it's worth doin' well..!"
Or as Red Green used to say: "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy"
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