1966 Starcraft Seafarer Project - Pics and Questions


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Jun 5, 2020
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Alright, long time lurker, first time poster. First off, thanks to everybody that has shared their work and expertise in this community.

Not sure if the photos are going to work, but I will attach them all as well. I will update as I figure out how to fix it based on the instructions.

I picked up a 66 Starcraft Seafarer, complete with a Johnson FD-21 (more on that later) and a Holsclaw Trailer for $600 last fall (About two weeks before I found out I'd be a dad for the fourth time). From my amateur point of view, the hull looked great and the trailer had new wheels and seemed serviceable. If the engine turned over it'd be a bonus.


I immediately cleaned/power washed the inside and outside. I used Rustoleum self etching primer (spray) and used foam brushes and rollers to coat grey Rustoleum on the inside.


I then flipped the boat over and used Total Boat Aluminum Barrier Coat (two part) on the bottom half of the hull. It went on great with a foam roller. I did not get the old paint down to complete bare, as the Total Boat service rep I talked to suggested, but man, it seems to have stuck very well. I then I used the same grey Rustoleum over the barrier coat and then sprayed the upper part of the hull with a hunter green Rustoleum (Son's choice).


The boat then sat for the winter, and I have just started getting back to work on it during my one free hour each day!

I rebuilt the transom with some exterior plywood and oak plywood I had laying around and heavily coated it in that same good old grey rustoleum.


I then got the boat off the trailer to refurbish it, get it weighed and get it registered. (Dang DMV is closed)

I wire brushed the trailer with a drill. Primed it with Rustoleum rusty metal primer (both spray and bush type) then started finishing with blue and then switched to black. Added new hubs, winch, jack, and trailer lights. Need to get some guides for the side.


I have started laying out the floor framing in the last few days and have started planning out the fishing deck. The plan is to make a lot of deck and storage, bass boat style. Big front fishing platform, decent fishing deck in the back, side storage compartments, and a pit of sorts in the floor.


I had started laying out the floor out parallel to the keel and was planning on running the deck through the existing seat brackets. Once I started laying out and planning the deck I realized the issue. The seats get higher above the keel, following the gunnels, which raise up quite a bit in the bow on these old Starcrafts. I have looked at every 14' Starcraft build I could find on here and they are all a bit different. In fact the closest one is atuck593's build, but it appears that the original front seat in his 1971 is indeed lower than my 1966.

I want my floor to parallel to my fishing deck, so the question becomes: Should the fishing deck be parallel to the keel, run more parallel to the gunnel, or should I split the difference?

I have been told a few different things (all three) so what do you think? I would love to hear form somebody with a 14' seafarer to see how it sits in the water relative to the keel and gunnels.

Thanks for your input!

I did not touch the motor until this spring. I ordered new spark plugs, an impeller and a carb kit right out of the gate due to my previous experience with outboard motors. I was just about to order new coils, points, and condensers but decided to pop off the flywheel to check things out. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. This motor had been serviced!



Ran it in this too shallow bucket for about 5 seconds. Later on got a large garbage can to get the water over the impeller. A little carb cleaner blast and adjustment of the fuel mix knob and she runs great, starts on first pull!

Unfortunately I did not get a video of the garbage can test.
I ended up redoing the sub floor frame to run more parallel to the bevel. So the deck and the floor sort of split the difference between the keel and the gunnels. Now working on the details to add storage and flotation.

Good afternoon,

The build is looking really nice.

Stay at it- you will enjoy it when it’s done.

A Perfect Tin
Thanks for the encouragement "A Perfect Tin".

Here are a couple of updated images.



I got the floor in. The bow area is just about ready to get the decking screwed down. I used conduit for the rod tubes, probably could have spaced them closer together, but oh well. 7 baitcasters is about all I have anyway! I have a bunch of pool noodles/rigid insulation board and Great Stuff gluing all off the flotation together. I salvaged some of the Styrofoam from the original bench seats to fill one large cavity.

Today I hope to get hinges on the three bow hatches all set and then get a coat of paint on that plywood.

I am debating running 1/2 inch aluminum angle around the hatches to give a clean edge. I am going to be using EVA foam on the front and back fishing decks (Ended up being cheaper than marine carpet and a good adhesive!). I had left space for carpet between the hatches. But I am thinking that I can have a tighter tolerance with the EVA and I could fine tune the gaps with the aluminum angle.
Ok, got the boat done a couple weeks ago and got it on the water! Motor crapped out, carb issue, waiting for a a few parts (to reseal the lower gear box that I should not have opened up). The good news was the trolling motor got us fishing for three days. We were on a reservoir up near the Adirondacks in NY. We were one of two boats on the water all trip!

So lets see, where did we leave off.

Finished off the decking, painted with Rust-O-Leum grey. For hinges I used stainless hinges, routed out the area around them on them so that they would sit flush. I then went right over them with the EVA foam. The Eva foam has shrunk by about 1mm on all edges. I had to get creative in the end to piece in some areas. If I was doing this for somebody else I would have bought another roll, but I was short by about a half a cubic foot. I carpeted the well of the deck, leaving the port side open like a bench. The starboard side houses my rod locker, which I miscalculated and it can only fit up to a 7' 8" rod, whoops.





Up next are some of the finishing touch pictures. I am running the 45lb thrust power drive. It seems that the digital control saves on battery life. Splurge item was the onboard charger, which hopefully, will pay dividends with battery life. Got the cheapo WalMart group 29 battery. We used the boat running motor from power 4 up to power 10 for at least 4 hours a day for three days and the meter on the motor showed half power by the time we were done. The 45 lb thrust is more than enough for this boat.

Ended up with the Garmin 73SV finder. I need to do some work on isolating the wires for the fish finder. I got some nasty interference on the sonar and side view (not the down view for some reason) when the motor was under power. I have tried some ferric chokes, I did get a little benefit from them and separating the trolling motor power wires and accessory power wires. I really wanted NAV and Side Vu. But, on this body of water I used it mostly like my old cheap o fish finder, because I already know where most of the structure is. It was super cool seeing clearer images of things that I had guessed on over the years using a $99 Lowrance Hook, you know the one.

I installed a panel and a fuse/bus box in the rear, along with a bilge and nav lights. I will have to get some more detailed pics of those items at some point here.






There is my 7'10" rod that I had thought I had accounted for sitting on the deck!


I am super glad I got the power drive. I was going between it and a similarly priced cable drive. I loved at times being able to have the pedal in the back, trolling around at super low speed while the kids fished up front. The cable drive would have had a larger foot print and I would not have been able to sit in the back. Not to mention, I was able to fish up front over the channel, while I let the kids have at it in the back. Caught the best fish of the trip while my son was driving.
Hey capt,
Great looking boat. You and others on here have inspired me to begin work on my son's boat. I plan to do a very similar layout as you have done. I am not a welder so I was considering riveting/screwing the framing together like yours. Are you satisfied with the rigidity of the frame? I intend to remove only the middle bench seat and add framing to compensate for its removal. So, I am a little apprehensive the screws and rivets will be good enough. Congrats your build looks great!
I am 100 percent satisfied with the rigidity. A few days ago I got out with my father and my son, my father and I each go about 200lbs, and it was great.

If I was going to change anything I would have made sure to add drain lines from my front storage to the back bilge. Got caught in some rain and. Had to sponge out the tackle storage area. I will have to add some more pics later.

One thing that has worked out super well is the bench style seat on the port side. Quickly sliding a small cooler, tacklebag, net, bumpers, etc under there has been very useful.
Here are some updated pics along with a few of the better catches. Turns out my son get seasick in just about any chop, so we have been fishing a local river mostly.

Got a great deal on a used electric start 18hp Nissan. The old Johnson is in great shape, but in the end has low compression. I am likely going to replace the rings this winter and see if I can giver her some new life.

The Nissan is a long shaft, so I had to construct a jack plate. It was worth it, as any tiller motors above 10hp have been very hard to come by around here here. It still needs to go up a bit more, as I am getting quite a bit of spray into the back of the boat at WOT.





I really like how you thought out your boat build. I’m thinking of building mine out similarly. I like how open your floor plan is and I agree the port-side bench is a great mod.