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Marvelous Makeovers

Two BoatUS Members share inspiring makeover stories of how they turned their boats from mundane to magnificent.

Moor Water, 1964 Chris Craft SS Ski

As I drove by, I initially saw her looking tired, unloved, and forlorn sitting in someone's yard. At first glance, I thought the boat was built from aluminum, but after getting out of my truck for a closer look, I realized that she was in fact constructed of wood. Imagine my surprise to find the original maker's plate — a 17-foot 1964 Chris Craft SS ski boat replete with 327 V8. An expired tag confirmed that the boat had last been registered in 1990, more than 25 years earlier.

1964 Chris Craft exterior before makeover

1964 Chris Craft exterior before makeover.

After getting the boat home, I set to work on a complete restoration, spent many weeks stripping off the old finish, and after completing necessary repairs, I sealed the boat with epoxy resin. Removing the engine gave me unobstructed access to the interior and allowed the engine to be carted off for a complete overhaul. A friend stripped down and rebuilt the motor, which showed very little wear to internal components, an observation later confirmed with the discovery of the original hour meter showing a little over 500 hours.

1964 Chris Craft engine before and after makeover

1964 Chris Craft interior and engine before makeover.

Aside from a refinishing the hull, deck, and other woodwork, I installed new custom upholstery, replaced all the electrical wiring, and had the original instruments refurbished and installed into a new dash panel.

1964 Chris Craft exterior after makeover

1964 Chris Craft exterior after makeover.

After many years of work on the boat, she looked better than new and was finally ready to return to the water. Moor Water made a splash in more ways than one when I proudly exhibited her at the antique and classic boat show on Indiana's Lake Okoboji.

— Brad Schiller, Iowa

Last One, Stamas Agean 24

I have renovated a few boats in my life, including a 72-foot oceangoing tug that was also my home. But advancing years finally got me to move ashore. I thought I was finished with boats but became smitten with a 24-foot 1972 flybridge Stamas Agean near my home. Although I'd vowed that I was done with boat renovations, I bought the boat and spent the next year undertaking a complete rebuild.

Stamas Agean 24 exterior before makeover

Stamas Agean 24 exterior before makeover.

Agean 24 engine before and after makeover

Stamas Agean 24 engine before (left) and after (right) makeover.

I started by stripping the boat entirely until all I had left was a shell. Some fiberglass repairs were required, and after completing these, I sanded the entire boat before repainting with a polyurethane finish. I refinished and reused the existing railing, but pretty much everything else was replaced with new components, including new fuel tanks, new bulkheads, gauges, wiring, instrument panels, batteries, pumps, and toilet. I finished off by repowering with a new 350-hp Mercruiser engine with Bravo 2 outdrive.

Agean 24 interior after makeover

Stamas Agean 24 interior after makeover.

Agean 24 exterior after makeover

Stamas Agean 24 exterior after makeover.

With the boat finally finished, I had to think of a name. Then it hit me: Maybe this would not be my last boat, but it would be the last boat I would renovate. So I named her Last One.

— Fred Meyer, North Carolina

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BoatUS Editors

Award-winning BoatUS Magazine is the official publication of Boat Owners Association of The United States. The magazine provides boating skills, DIY maintenance, safety, news and more from top experts.