70’s Starcraft 14’ Seafarer “By Golly”

Makaw

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Alright friends, it’s finally time to share my build! TinBoats has been a HUGE resource over the past few years, even prior to me getting this boat. I’ll be steadily posting updates and pictures from the last year or two of work and mods. I’m probably not yet 50% done. My goal is to “restomod” (restore-modify) the boat and ensure she’s fit for many, many more years of faithful service. The name is an ode to my late grandfather, who’s favorite expression was “by golly.”

Fun history of the boat:
This was the first boat I fished out of in the early 90’s as a kid! It’s been in my family since the late 70’s, my grandparents having bought it after they built a cabin on a lake in Michigan’s upper peninsula. Until the cabin was sold in 2012, that’s where it lived its life. It was actually offered to me at that time, but I didn’t have the space for it, and so my aunt and uncle [thankfully] took possession and kept it in the family. In the fall of 2018, my aunt offered to give me the boat, free of charge, because they never used it. Thankfully my housing situation had changed (and my wife approved) - this time I obliged!!! The boat came home in September of 2019.

Thanks for coming along for the ride! Driveway photos are from 2019 the day I brought her home.
 

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Makaw

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Kismet said:
As is, that's a nice boat and motor combination.

Congratulations, nice to see family memories reunited.

Thanks! I seriously considered leaving the boat in “stock” form as seen in the pictures, but I opted to make some upgrades that suited me better and also will hopefully make the boat more accommodating for my kids.
 

Makaw

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I mostly bass fish, so I liked the idea of replacing the front bench seat with a casting deck. Since the boat is pretty small, I spent a lot of time playing with various dimensions and layouts of the deck and console footprint. The console had limited positioning options, to make sure I would be able to reuse the existing rotary steer cables.

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There is a slight offset of the deck under the trolling motor platform to act as a toe kick. It was also important to me to have the deck use the existing bench seat mounts for support.
 

LDUBS

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You have a steady hand with the saber saw, if that is what you used. That front deck seam looks perfectly uniform!

I had a contractor friend who used to use his circular saw for curved cuts. Claimed he could get a smoother (less "wavy") cut. I personally never tried that method.
 

Weldorthemagnificent

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Yeah no kidding, good job on the cut. My deck looks like a special needs kid made it!

Sent from my CLT-L04 using Tapatalk

 

Makaw

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LDUBS said:
You have a steady hand with the saber saw, if that is what you used. That front deck seam looks perfectly uniform!

I had a contractor friend who used to use his circular saw for curved cuts. Claimed he could get a smoother (less "wavy") cut. I personally never tried that method.

Thanks! If I remember correctly, it was a three step process. Saber saw first (definitely not as smooth as you suggest). Then a belt sander to smooth the saw line, with a few times on/off the boat to check and fine-tune. Lastly, a circular saw to trim the edge to match the hull angle. It took some time, for sure, but I’m very happy with the fitment.
 

Makaw

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My first go at the steering console was close, but a little off. I wanted to raise the wheel for comfort, but I ended up making the console deeper than necessary and wasn’t happy with how much deck space it took up.

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Besides covering the rotary assembly, the console had to only be large enough to house a fish finder on top. I kept some space on the front face to allow for the ignition and choke, and also have enough space for a future switch panel, if desired.

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The height is much better than before.

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Makaw

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Skipped forward over the sealing and carpeting process. I took a few inches of depth off the console which worked out much better. I also cutaway unnecessary material on the port side for leg clearance.

[These show work as of September 2020]

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The bow side panel of the console is removable, and actually sits recessed into the console to provide a little “storage” compartment on the bow platform. It it very secure and fits snugly via carpet friction. Behind the panel I installed stop mounts so it rests in the same position every time. There is a pull loop on the top of the piece so that removal is easy. The primary idea was having easy access to the electronics and steering.

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The storage is actually way more useful that I thought. I can fit a few Plano boxes, clothing, snacks, etc, within easy reach while I’m fishing.
 

Kismet

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You do good work.

I wish now I'd had my late friend and marine mechanic put the steering back my 1956 Alumacraft RB.

You have made a sweet little set-up.

Congratulations.
 

Makaw

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Kismet said:
You do good work.

I wish now I'd had my late friend and marine mechanic put the steering back my 1956 Alumacraft RB.

You have made a sweet little set-up.

Congratulations.

Thanks! I appreciate the kind words.

I checked out your build thread on the Alumacraft RB. Really interesting boat and very well restored! I'm dreading the hull work and painting that I have planned for the summer and your project is quite inspiring seeing the before and after photos.
 

Makaw

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The new throttle control mount, which brought the throttle down from being directly mounted to the side of the hull (you can see the previous mounting holes). I also installed a safety kill switch on this section so that I could more naturally use the cord as a leg leash.

[Work as of June 2021]

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[Above]
The throttle control mount is secured to the steering console (which is secured to the deck) and the middle bench seat, so that I didn’t need to drill additional holes in the hull. I was going to get fancy with this and integrate some storage, but I opted for simple (at least for now).

[Below]
The new front decking and steering additions. Here you can see I added a vertical connecting piece between the foremost edge of the casting deck and the trolling motor platform. This is to give the front of the casting deck support without having to add a complete below-deck framework. I did add support underneath the deck (which you can just get a glimpse of). I’ll show the aluminum support brackets in my next post.

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[Below]
Skipping ahead to the finished bow of the boat, which is essentially completed, save a few minor details. The trolling motor is a Motorguide Xi3, 24V. The seat is a Bass Pro butt seat on an adjustable 3/4” threaded post. I’ll say that the size and placement of the deck and components turned out to be perfect for what I was looking for (especially for a 14 foot boat!!). I was most surprised at how stable the boat is while on the deck, probably thanks to having three batteries on board 😬

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Makaw

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Kismet said:
You do great work!

It's looking a little crowded up front, but I'm kind of clumsy. How high is the chair?

Thank you!
The seat uses a Bass Pro Shops Threaded Pro Pedestal, which adjusts from 22" to 31" high. I'm 6'0" and it's most comfortable probably around 26-28" high, to use as a leaning seat.

Regarding crowding, yes, when the trolling motor is stowed and the seat is installed, it is tight to get past the seat (which I use as a grab post). I purchased that style of seat because it has a smaller footprint than others, thus giving me more working room. When the trolling motor is deployed, the bow really opens up, even with the seat installed. Having the leaning seat is nice, but I don't find it necessary because I'm not doing all-day trips, so I started removing it towards the end of the summer and just standing for the 2-3 hours of fishing. I also enjoyed the extra elbow room without the seat installed, so it might be headed to the aft this year as I continue with the build.
 

Makaw

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Here are some images of my below-deck aluminum supports. I opted to go for individual supports rather than a full-fledge aluminum framework to simplify the install. There are four below-deck supports in total, three being on the aft edge, and one being center/forward. Keep in mind the deck also utilizes the previous front bench mounts, and connects to the gunnel-mounted trolling motor platform, so the deck is very well supported all around. It is solid!

The aluminum supports were custom hand-cut for the very unique angles of the deck and hull ribs.

I plan to leave some of the space as open storage. The front part of the bow I plan to fill with expanding foam to get some buoyancy back into the boat.
 

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Makaw

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Final throwback post! After the modifications already posted about, plus a little engine maintenance, the boat was made seaworthy and launched to test and explore new water around my home. I got out a handful of times over the summer and fall. The first time or two out was more focused on shaking down the boat, making sure everything was working, testing weight distributions of batteries, testing trim settings on the outboard and learning the trolling motor features. Then I just started wetting fishing lines.

I was pleasantly surprised at how stable the bow platform is to fish from. I think it helps that I have two 31 group deep cycles for my 24V trolling motor to keep weight low in the center of the boat. Yes, I know, it’s overkill.

The Johnson moves the boat nicely. I don’t have any other relevant aluminum boat experience to compare to, but it seems to hole shot pretty well and run smooth. I did several WOT readings via phone GPS and my highest recorded speed was 20.2 mph, shown below. Averaged around 19-19.5, which I’m thrilled with.

Plans for 2022:
- Install my new Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv and run the boat as-is for spring fishing.
- Strip the boat when weather gets nice and tackle hull sealing and new paint job.
- Replace / modify mid and rear bench seats. I have several ideas but I don’t have the exact plans locked in for what I’m going to do about these. Open to ideas!
 

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Jim

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Very nice! thanks for the update.


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