Finn 8 Project Boat

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RodS

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2024
Messages
19
Location
Australia
Hi all,
I have recently purchased a Finn 8 and am going to gradually restore her to her former glory. She's a bit shabby at the moment, needs quite a bit of cosmetic work but hopefully not too much serious mechanical work. First job will be removing the partially installed engine and giving it a workover before reinstalling. I'll also take out the fuel tank which can only be done while the engine is out and refurb the engine bay/bilge. That's phase one of the operation. My initial goal is to get the boat safe and reliable and then work on the cosmetic stuff as I go. Wish me luck!
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Made a little progress in the last couple of weeks. Built a gin pole to lift the engine out of the boat and managed to get it out and on a stand without doing myself or the boat any damage. Now to find some bits and pieces for the engine!
 

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G'day mate,
Mr. R. What a great opportunity to bond with your new mistress. Admire the "gin pole" set up. Very innovative and versatile! I hauled the engine on our "northern" boat a couple of years ago to replace fuel tanks (one leaked) and it was a perfect time to clean up wiring, general accumulated filth and give the bilge a fancy coat of paint. Good on ya'.
 
What's the engine? Looks to be a 3 cylinder somethingorother. Maybe Perkins?
It's a Lombardini LDW 1503. 3 cylinder 30 hp. It was set loosely in place by the previous owner, nothing connected up and I have no history on it. Was meant to be a running engine before it was installed. The engine was the big gamble buying this boat. I'm going to give it a service and get it running in a stand. Replace all the soft parts, possibly get it load tested somewhere before reinstalling it.
 
G'day Rod, I hope you are having as much fun on your Finn8 reno as I'm having!

Have you checked out the condition of the drive shaft centre bearing and supporting structure? It's in the bilge under the floor hatch in the aft cabin. In Puffinn it's a hefty plain bronze bearing mounted on a vertical steel plate hanging from a steel beam across the shaft tunnel. Poking around investigating things, I siphoned out the residual bilge water that the pump can't deal with. Next cruise, there was a loud knocking noise which I found to be from the pieces of the bearing support plate, which was completely rusted through, and clearly had been for a long time. The bilge water had been keeping it quiet. I thought about making up a wooden block to support the bearing from underneath, but decided to get the local boat mechanic to do the job properly. The job got bigger as we went along, and required cutting the drive shaft to get it out, because the drive flange wouldn't budge. But, cost aside, I'm happy that we did the job properly. Cheers!
 

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Hi Rob,
Just trying to get my "bearings" if you will, are these photos looking forward or aft? Forward I'm guessing. Mine has a stern tube running through a fibreglass and some sort of synthetic board bracket arrangement but no separate bearing as far as I can tell unless there is a forward bearing in the stern tube. I'm not home right now and can't quite recall but I don't think there is anything forward of the stern tube. Forward is the top of the picture below. Interesting the small differences in set ups from one boat to the next.
Regards,
Rod
 

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Ahh, yours is a totally different arrangement to mine. That's probably a good thing. My local mechanic and I both thought that it looked overly complicated.
I've been scouring the net for info and photos since Puffinn first caught my eye in 2019. There is a lot of variation between boats, particularly in interior fit-out, probably because they were offered for sale in various states of completion. There may also have been factory changes during the six or so years that they were built.
As an aside, since I have owned Puffinn, I have met two blokes who used to work in the factory at Gosford building them.
I've attached a pic of the bilge after the rebuild. The thing on top of the cross piece is a spring loaded grease pot for the bearing.
 

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It would be interesting to meet someone who was actually building these boats, information has been hard to come by so far for me. I'd love to know how mine made it's way from Gosford to WA and back to Vic. I assume you have the old magazine article about the Finn?
The main external difference I see all the time is the number of windows and the bow and stern rails. Mine doesn't have the small window at the rear of the aft cabin and has all stainless rails vs the original style of rails like on your Puffinn. I reckon that rear window could be quite handy at times.
Inside, I don't have the bench seat with the stove in it but a pedestal seat and the stove is to the starboard side. I quite like the bench seat arrangement and may install one when I get around to it.
Do yo have any pics of your interior?
 
Yes, I've seen the magazine article, via a link somewhere on this forum. The blokes I met didn't really have much info about the production of these boats, just a bit of reminiscing. Since I've started researching Finns, I've seen adverts (mostly stale) for boats in nearly every State, so they certainly got around.
I've seen in photos that some don't have the hinged hatch at the rear of the aft cabin. i find that's a lot more useful than you might think. It's a bit of a squeeze, but I do fit through it! The hinged helmsman's bench with galley below might be the standard. At least that's what is shown on an old brochure posted here by Lady J. There's also lots of photos of boats with the pedestal and side galley, so that may have been a factory option. I've attached a couple of pics of my interior. 25 metres of marine vinyl arrived a couple of days ago, so now I'll be waiting for the upholsterer to fit in the job. Maybe I should start a Puffinn's Progress thread so that I don't clutter up your thread with pics of my boat! I could probably populate another thread just with stories about how to stuff up docking and mooring. Or ways to draw blood. (Beware the fixed part of the latch for the roof hatch! That left a permanent dent in my scalp.)
 

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Mine has the rear hatch, I think not having that would be a real pain sometimes. I was dead keen on converting to the tilting seat galley but now I think an advantage of the pedestal seat will be that I can pull it out and throw it up on the roof or forward deck when camping to gain a little more room in the aft cabin. I see you have deck hatches in the floor of the cockpit (?) there, mine is solid but I'll be putting hatches in like that. Where are your batteries? Mine are currently at the front of the aft cabin which I don't very much like, I am thinking I might relocate them to the starboard side, under the deck, hence the addition of hatches. I have a water tank under the port side deck which I can only access from the aft cabin at the moment, another reason to install deck hatches. Some pics of my interior below.
I reckon a Puffins Progress thread would be great.
 

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Opening the rear hatch also greatly improves airflow on a hot day. I like Puffinn's bench seat arrangement, but if she had a pedestal seat, I don't think I would make the effort to change it. My batteries, and the Muffler/Waterlock are under a false floor between the helm cabinet and the bench seat. It's a pretty convenient arrangement, and quite accessible once I made a couple of little alterations to allow easier removal of the false floor. There's also a bit of useful storage space under there. My rubber bag water tank takes up almost all the space under the port bench seat in the aft cabin. I also have a handy storage compartment under the cabin step (which lifts off). I don't have that nice big storage cabinet on the port side that you have, but I've started cutting ply to build something similar in that space. The cockpit storage compartments are very handy, and I've bought a small ice box that will fit in one, for when i get around to something longer than afternoon cruises. I'm hoping to go up to the Myall Lakes in convoy with a couple of experienced boaties when the weather warms up.
Have you got a name for your Finn?
 
Opening the rear hatch also greatly improves airflow on a hot day. I like Puffinn's bench seat arrangement, but if she had a pedestal seat, I don't think I would make the effort to change it. My batteries, and the Muffler/Waterlock are under a false floor between the helm cabinet and the bench seat. It's a pretty convenient arrangement, and quite accessible once I made a couple of little alterations to allow easier removal of the false floor. There's also a bit of useful storage space under there. My rubber bag water tank takes up almost all the space under the port bench seat in the aft cabin. I also have a handy storage compartment under the cabin step (which lifts off). I don't have that nice big storage cabinet on the port side that you have, but I've started cutting ply to build something similar in that space. The cockpit storage compartments are very handy, and I've bought a small ice box that will fit in one, for when i get around to something longer than afternoon cruises. I'm hoping to go up to the Myall Lakes in convoy with a couple of experienced boaties when the weather warms up.
Have you got a name for your Finn?
I'd be very interested in a picture of your waterlock set up, mine doesn't have a waterlock and I've been trying to figure out where to put one, was thinking under the starboard side deck after I put in a floor hatch but it might be too high.
I am very much looking forward to some extended cruises once the boat is up and running. I've got a half arsed idea to do the Murray River one day. In the meantime I'm on the Gippsland Lakes so will be doing most of my cruising there.
One of the ways I finally talked the wife into letting me buy this boat was by promising to name it after her lovely old dog that recently passed away. A bit shifty and manipulative on my behalf but hey, I got the boat. So she will henceforth be known as Billie Blobbins.
 
Aargh, 'tis a fine and noble name for a ship, is Billie Blobbins! I like a name that means something to the owner. And, as they say "Happy Admiral, Happy Captain".
I've attached a couple of pics of Puffinn's exhaust system. According to the installation instructions for my new engine, the Waterlock should be the lowest point in the system, to guard against water flowing back into the engine under certain circumstances. That's really not possible with the set up on Puffinn, so for this engine I installed a 15cm High Rise Exhaust Header to reduce the chance of that happening. I also replaced the first two sections of rubber exhaust hose with better quality stuff that doesn't kink. The old ones both had big kinks that were holding pools of water and would also have been choking the flow of exhaust gas.
 

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Thanks for the pics, very helpful. Yes, getting the lock low enough is an issue for me too. You have the water injection after the high rise header so just that short section you have lagged is hot?
 
Yes, the high-rise has a longer hot section than the standard Exhaust header, which is very short, and by my calculations would put the injection point pretty much level with the waterline. Which is how it was with the previous engine installation (also a Beta 25). In addition to the high-rise, I also installed an Anti-Siphon Device, in the helm cabinet, about 40cm higher than the injection point. So the sea water goes through the heat exchanger, up to the AS device, then back down to the injection point. I figured, since I was forking out for a shiny new engine, it was worth lashing out on these extras that might improve longevity.
 
Yup, that looks like one. Here's a pic of mine. Since taking that photo, I've put a hose on the vacant nipple and run it back to the engine bay, but not low enough that it could suck up bilge water. In normal operation air goes in through there through a one-way valve to break siphon when pressure goes out of the system on engine shutdown. If the rubber valve fails, water will flow out of that hose during operation. That's no big deal, the device will still function correctly on shut down. The hose is just there to direct leakage out of the cabin.
The other photos show the reinforcements I installed on the engine bearers. When I took the old engine out, I found that the mounts were loose in the bearers, which also had quite a few extra holes in them from previous engine installations. Installing the mounts with coach screws again just wasn't a viable option, so I had these 4mm S/S angles made up and attached them with horizontal through bolts before doing the shaft alignment. Then lifting the engine again to remove the angles to drill and tap for the mounts.
 

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Right, I see, thanks. So good finding someone else doing up a Finn 8 at the same time. One of the wedges under my engine mounts feels a bit soft so I am going to replace them before I put it back together, I like your SS jobbies, good idea.
 

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