18' Princecraft rebuild

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Joined
Dec 19, 2022
Messages
12
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4
LOCATION
Plymouth, MA US
Starting planning for my Spring Project. Looking for input on
1. Adding floor
2. Adding small center console
3. Rear casting deck
4. Forward casting deck.

Very glad I found tinboats.net. Most of the other sites focus mainly on smaller John Boats. I upgraded membership and hope to document the build to assist others. Input so much appreciated.

Jonathan
Plymouth, MA
 

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Are you set on a center console? A side console could be incorporated into the second bench with your raised deck going forward from that same bench. Either way, if you are using the existing Honda, you will need to find out if they make a kit to convert it from a tiller to a remote.

Those wood braces on the seat box sides would indicate to me someone had a raised deck on it before. Just an observation and not an issue at all. Unless, that is, it happens to be pressure treated in which case I would remove it before it causes corrosion.
 
Not fixated on Center console although I like idea of removing a bench or two in place for open deck. Good point on engine change to remote, will check.
 
A center console takes up a lot of space in a boat like that.

Here is my Princecraft after I added a side console and front and rear casting decks:
Resized_20220902_193152 (3).jpeg20210803_202459.jpg

That boat is super-stable and the casting decks really added to the usable space. 3 full-sized men could sit across the back when running. The front platform was also a great addition. I added a couple of hatches after these pics were taken, and it gave a ton of storage.

Congrats on the Princecraft! I wish I could find an 18 foot Princecraft. I would trade my current boat for it in a heartbeat.
 
Very nice. Is your side console aluminum or fiberglass ? Maybe I would platform rear two benches, remove center bench and platform forward ?
 
Anybody have thoughts on a modification like this on my 18' Princecraft ?

Well since you asked, here is an opiton. Instead of removing the whole bench, cut out the center portion to make it easy to walk through. Leave the side portions as enclosed boxes for structural support. Put your remote steering on top of the starboard side box and a seat or cushion on the port side box.
 
That is similar to what I did, but I made the front deck bigger, and the rear deck smaller.

Your layout looks pretty good, but I agree completely with LDUBS.

The reason for this is that I had a similar Princecraft. In these boats, the bunks are an integral part of the structure. Without them, the gunnels will flex and flop around when you hit bumps at speed. They even have angle braces for the distance between the bunks and the tops of the gunnels, as you can see.

For structural reasons, I didn't remove the middle bunk. I planned to cut a "U" out of the middle bunk, leaving the bottom of the bunk for strength and to support the floor, but I ended up never doing it, as we just got used to the bunk. And I was very happy with the boat. I replaced my transom with a welded, aluminum square-tube transom and I replaced the 35 HP with a 50 HP Evinrude on the back, and that boat ran GREAT:





I am all for modifying a boat to fit your needs, as long as it's a smart and a structurally safe modification.

These boats are well engineered to be very light, yet rigid, using good engineering, rather than heavy materials. So, I again recommend cutting out most of the middle of one of the bunks rather than remove the whole thing.
 
You must be a bass fisherman with all the decks....

Decks aren't only for bass fisherman. The decks add a lot of fishing space in a smaller boat and also add a lot of stiffness to the boat, especially when running at speed, and also add a lot of covered storage. I am not a bass fisherman, but we have caught a LOT of fish out of mine:

20180601_071958.jpg
Resized_20231116_184300.jpeg
Resized_Message_1633790990704.jpeg
Resized_20220913_121219 (1).jpeg

I would say that decks are well suited for active fisherman with several fishing at once. Many larger Bay boats have huge decks and their owners often can be seen running offshore surprisingly far out.

Guys who fish alone, or who mainly troll or drop bait may not gain any benefit from the deck space. Also, the boat really should be stable to add much deck space.

These Princecraft boats are VERY stable. Three of us can stand on one side and barely even lean the boat.
 
Great responses. Thank you. I do like the idea of just making an opening in the middle bench. I know the importance of structural integrity but honestly its a bay boat, If its white caps I'm not on the water. I little flex does not freak me out. I do want a flat floor and a console. Anybody have suggestions on this. Maybe just follow the builds of John boats on Tiny Boat Nation or Anthony Jones. I'm ready to start accumulating materials.
 
That is similar to what I did, but I made the front deck bigger, and the rear deck smaller.

Your layout looks pretty good, but I agree completely with LDUBS.

The reason for this is that I had a similar Princecraft. In these boats, the bunks are an integral part of the structure. Without them, the gunnels will flex and flop around when you hit bumps at speed. They even have angle braces for the distance between the bunks and the tops of the gunnels, as you can see.

For structural reasons, I didn't remove the middle bunk. I planned to cut a "U" out of the middle bunk, leaving the bottom of the bunk for strength and to support the floor, but I ended up never doing it, as we just got used to the bunk. And I was very happy with the boat. I replaced my transom with a welded, aluminum square-tube transom and I replaced the 35 HP with a 50 HP Evinrude on the back, and that boat ran GREAT:





I am all for modifying a boat to fit your needs, as long as it's a smart and a structurally safe modification.

These boats are well engineered to be very light, yet rigid, using good engineering, rather than heavy materials. So, I again recommend cutting out most of the middle of one of the bunks rather than remove the whole thing.

This looks a bit like my plan. I think I'm convinced a side console is the way to go. Deck in back and forward. Floor in middle, Cut walk through in middle bench.
 
Decks aren't only for bass fisherman. The decks add a lot of fishing space in a smaller boat and also add a lot of stiffness to the boat, especially when running at speed, and also add a lot of covered storage. I am not a bass fisherman, but we have caught a LOT of fish out of mine:

View attachment 119008
View attachment 119009
View attachment 119010
View attachment 119011

I would say that decks are well suited for active fisherman with several fishing at once. Many larger Bay boats have huge decks and their owners often can be seen running offshore surprisingly far out.

Guys who fish alone, or who mainly troll or drop bait may not gain any benefit from the deck space. Also, the boat really should be stable to add much deck space.

These Princecraft boats are VERY stable. Three of us can stand on one side and barely even lean the boat.
Not being offensive, but in most cases it seems bass fisherman fish from decks. Not sure why, but then again, I am not a bass fisherman. I mostly fish Lake Erie for walleye and perch, so I don't use a deck. I would be going swimming from rough chop if I stood on a deck !! Was just making an observation.
 
No offense on my end. Sorry if it read that way!

My point was that decks are particularly good for casting-based fishing, regardless of the species. The decks can also provide more useable space, comfortable seating and big storage underneath.

As far as standing up there, I always make my casting decks well below the tops of the gunnels. I have seen guys walk off the edge of their high decks, and I never want to be one of them. On my Bay boat, I left my rails up because it often IS rough out, and those rails have saved people from falling countless times.

Safety is important, especially on smaller boats. These Princecraft boats are very stable. The OP is going to love his.
 
Great responses. Thank you. I do like the idea of just making an opening in the middle bench. I know the importance of structural integrity but honestly its a bay boat, If its white caps I'm not on the water. I little flex does not freak me out. I do want a flat floor and a console. Anybody have suggestions on this. Maybe just follow the builds of John boats on Tiny Boat Nation or Anthony Jones. I'm ready to start accumulating materials.
You really don't want a boat flexing when you go over boat wakes and so on. That can lead to metal fatigue, cracking and leaking. Avoid that, if possible.

It sounds like you have a good plan.

To get started...
  1. Pop a chalkline or draw a straight line from one corner of the floor across to the other on the bunks. This will give you the level for your floor and the line for the bottom of your cutout.
  2. When you do the cutout, leave the top intact for a bit. Depending on the width, you may be able to split the top down the middle and fold each side down to close in the sides of the cutout. Or, you may only have enough to do one side. I would plan it wide enough to do both, if possible.
Resized_20240210_174456.jpeg

3. After making your cutout, attach a piece of angle aluminum horizontally to the front and back of each bunk, on your chalkline and secure. 3/16" pop rivets work well for this, probably one every 6", close to the top of the angle.

4. Then, you may want to run additional cross-members to support the middle of the plywood sections. When I did mine, I ran two pieces from angle aluminum to angle aluminum, between the bunks, breaking the floor into 3 sections, if this makes sense. So your floor and supports might look something like this:

Resized_20240210_174903.jpeg

At this point, you can cut out your flooring. Hot-glue some Amazon boxes together and cut out the shape in cardboard. Making a template out of cardboard is probably the easiest way to deal with the curves in the bow of the boat, This is one I did recently, but not a Princecraft. Ignore all the sharpie marks, I decided to make the bow deck out of pieces instead of buying another whole sheet:

Resized_20230829_181227.jpeg

Definitely easier doing it in one sheet.

I typically use 5/8" plywood for my decking. After cutting out the plywood, I treat with Thompson's Wood Preserver and Waterproofer, 2-3 wet coats, making sure to soak all the cut edges carefully. You know when it's done when it won't soak in anymore. I have used Thompson's for many, many years, with outstanding results.

It typically takes me an afternoon to cut out and fit a floor like yours. Then I waterproof it and screw it down once the treatment soaks in well. I find it's just as easy to screw it down immediately as you don't have to worry about it warping as it dries. That part goes fast, taking maybe an hour. I'm a contractor, so I may be quicker than someone who doesn't do much of this work.

I like to pre-drill and screw down with #10 flat-head stainless screws. Strong and big enough to find later, if ever needed.

You may want to add some floatation under the floor. I like sheet foam myself, but that is up to you.

Ask any questions you may have. I hope the project goes smoothly.

I hope this is helpful.
 
You really don't want a boat flexing when you go over boat wakes and so on. That can lead to metal fatigue, cracking and leaking. Avoid that, if possible.

It sounds like you have a good plan.

To get started...
  1. Pop a chalkline or draw a straight line from one corner of the floor across to the other on the bunks. This will give you the level for your floor and the line for the bottom of your cutout.
  2. When you do the cutout, leave the top intact for a bit. Depending on the width, you may be able to split the top down the middle and fold each side down to close in the sides of the cutout. Or, you may only have enough to do one side. I would plan it wide enough to do both, if possible.
View attachment 119091

3. After making your cutout, attach a piece of angle aluminum horizontally to the front and back of each bunk, on your chalkline and secure. 3/16" pop rivets work well for this, probably one every 6", close to the top of the angle.

4. Then, you may want to run additional cross-members to support the middle of the plywood sections. When I did mine, I ran two pieces from angle aluminum to angle aluminum, between the bunks, breaking the floor into 3 sections, if this makes sense. So your floor and supports might look something like this:

View attachment 119092

At this point, you can cut out your flooring. Hot-glue some Amazon boxes together and cut out the shape in cardboard. Making a template out of cardboard is probably the easiest way to deal with the curves in the bow of the boat, This is one I did recently, but not a Princecraft. Ignore all the sharpie marks, I decided to make the bow deck out of pieces instead of buying another whole sheet:

View attachment 119093

Definitely easier doing it in one sheet.

I typically use 5/8" plywood for my decking. After cutting out the plywood, I treat with Thompson's Wood Preserver and Waterproofer, 2-3 wet coats, making sure to soak all the cut edges carefully. You know when it's done when it won't soak in anymore. I have used Thompson's for many, many years, with outstanding results.

It typically takes me an afternoon to cut out and fit a floor like yours. Then I waterproof it and screw it down once the treatment soaks in well. I find it's just as easy to screw it down immediately as you don't have to worry about it warping as it dries. That part goes fast, taking maybe an hour. I'm a contractor, so I may be quicker than someone who doesn't do much of this work.

I like to pre-drill and screw down with #10 flat-head stainless screws. Strong and big enough to find later, if ever needed.

You may want to add some floatation under the floor. I like sheet foam myself, but that is up to you.

Ask any questions you may have. I hope the project goes smoothly.

I hope this is helpful.
This is great advice. Thanks so much for taking the time.
 
Excellent and helpful advice. Thanks for tah king the time. On this project I want to get it all planned out before cutting. Here are some open issues.
1) Plywood deck and flooring vs aluminum. Doesnt the plywood add alot of weight ?
2) I want to add a console. I think it would need to be just behind the middle bench with cut out. Issue unresolved is that if my rear deck only extends as far as the existing boxes it will be too far away from steering console. Do I extend the rear deck about 12" beeyond the existing boxes ?
3) Those rear boxes don't open, not sure why, I don't like the idea of removing them but that is alot of wasted space.

I really want a level floor in the center area, I hate constantly stepping over the benches but cutting out as you suggested would work.
 
Your starboard box doesn't open? Mine does. My port side box was just for floatation. That is much-needed floatation. Leave it be, if it doesn't open. Mine is the Starfish 20 model.
Interesting is the fact that they cut down the center bunk in the new ones. Look:
https://www.princecraft.com/us/en/products/Fishing-Boats/2024/Utilities/Starfish-16-L-WT.aspx

What model do you have, do you know? I don't see an 18' currently.

1. I am very happy with 5/8" plywood (sometimes 3/4 plywood, depending on the boat) Marine, AC or BC exterior plywood is relatively light. It's heavier than the alum. sheet, but needs less support. Often, the weight helps the boat be more solid and stable.

I know someone who decided to go with all aluminum, as light as he could make it. He ranted and raved at how awesome it was, but he quickly sold the boat afterwards. He later admitted that the boat went from a solid ride to pounding and banging and handling terribly. He had taken away the balance that the boat originally had. I have done a number of boat rebuilds, and I am pleased with the wood treatment that I described above. Relatively light, but very solid.

The white and blue boat I pictured above looks heavy with plywood, right? Look at how it sits in the water in the pic below. The chines BARELY touch the water. It's a very light boat, even with a 70 HP engine and all the decking.
1707690689404.jpeg

2. That is where I put my console, just behind the middle bunk. Good placement in my opinion.

Yes, you can extend the rear deck past the two boxes, but I don't think you will need to. My console is pretty small, but the spacing is very good, as-is. I can stand and drive or sit and drive, both comfortably. Here is a pic from the side. Sorry, the boat was really dirty in this pic:
1707691088389.jpeg

No deck extension needed, but I extended the deck of the white/blue boat pictured further up. I used aluminum angle across the front, and I am very happy with the results. Light, but rock-solid, even with a 300# friend in the boat.

Planning out a build is a lot of fun. Do cardboard templates and play around with your layouts until you really like it. Don't rush, as you may think of something interesting after sleeping on it for a few days.
 
2) I want to add a console. I think it would need to be just behind the middle bench with cut out. Issue unresolved is that if my rear deck only extends as far as the existing boxes it will be too far away from steering console. Do I extend the rear deck about 12" beeyond the existing boxes ?
2. That is where I put my console, just behind the middle bunk. Good placement in my opinion.

Yes, you can extend the rear deck past the two boxes, but I don't think you will need to. My console is pretty small, but the spacing is very good, as-is. I can stand and drive or sit and drive, both comfortably. Here is a pic from the side. Sorry, the boat was really dirty in this pic:

Alternatively, could the console go in front of the middle box just behind the front deck? Then helm seat would be on the starboard middle box. Just throwing it out there.
 
2 minute warning, tied game, and I'm looking for an 18' Princecraft, and simply can't find one.

What model is that boat?

I just saw this:
Very nice. Is your side console aluminum or fiberglass ? Maybe I would platform rear two benches, remove center bench and platform forward ?
My console is aluminum.
I platformed the back, left the center bunk, and platformed the front, as you can probably see in the pics. I planned to cut the center of the middle bunk, but never got around to it.

FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH... With the bunks all there, you can go from the back platform to the front in a few steps, without ever touching the floor. Useful when fighting a big fish.
 
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