Thursday, July 30, 2009

THE GARAGE: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

While some may say that the interpretation and appreciation of boat design may be a subjective matter, most knowledgeable boaters share a certain degree of taste when it comes to overall design and paint schemes. This is true for both new boats as well as restored, updated and customized boats. The three examples we're sharing today have pretty much been unanimously praised or panned by everyone who's seen them on the various offshore forums, and a couple of them provide excellent direction in what to do - or not do - when customizing a boat.

The Good.
Our first example is a very sharp restoration/update job on an older 27' Searay Pachanga, which we came across on Speedwake.com. Forum member Pachanga69 shared these photos after completing a job that took two years of off-and-on work. As you can see from the slideshow, he basically retained the original color scheme, but revised it in a way that reflects current design trends, with a white dash, new custom Livorsi gauges, graphic wrap on the hull, updated engines and much more.



It's a great example of the smart way to update an older classic so that it looks like a much newer boat. With a rarer boat, or a former race boat, you might want to go with a more conservative approach and try a straight restoration, but for a production model like this Pachanga, it's a solid play. The owner adds:

"I went with the steel exhaust manifolds instead of aluminum, which is a major difference in weight with two engines. The next time I install new manifolds, I will use aluminum. For the dash, I had the guy use PPG paint and paint over the grey/charcoal. The new interior, painted dash, and custom Livorsi gauges and panels make it feel like a new boat." We agree.

The Bad.
The second example we have is basically a new boat - a 33' one-off prototype of a design by the legendary Art Carlson. For sale on Ebay, it's hard to tell exactly who built it. According to the lister, the boat (according to him, one of three) is built with a wood structure and Kevlar overlay, and with a 12' beam, reportedly weighs a mere 1,300 lbs -- less engine and outdrive. As for that, the 540 cubic inch "procharged and injected Dart racing engine" is claimed to produce 1,500 horsepower...though every expert who's studied the boat on the forums says "no way."

On Offshoreonly.com, user Catmando states "The real 33EC was designed by Carlson. He calls it the Reverse Three-Point Air-entrapment Monohull. There were five built, most of them weigh around 8800lbs. They ran close to 80 with the old 502/415 motors."


A press release from 2006 says Patriot Marine had contracted with Carlson to design the boat, but it seems only a handful ever went into production. To add even more mystery, this does not seem to be one of them, since the interior layout is totally different and the cabin in the Ebay boat is clearly not that of a production boat. Could it have been a mold "transformed" into a boat? Maybe.

What can't be disputed is the boat's strange look. While it was said to be an effectively-performing design, it's clearly not to everyone's taste. What can be said to be "bad" is the construction, which doesn't appear to be very robust. As one forum poster said, it's "probably good for three minutes of fun at full throttle" before something bad happens. At left is a photo of the real Patriot-produced boat that accompanied their press release.

The Ugly.
First off, I will admit that I absolutely hate boats with overly-suggestive names; though the "puzzle" graphics on this boat offer an acceptable double-meaning, I still see this boat being parked next to a double-wide in a trailer park. But moreover, why would you take the time and the money ($9,000) to paint the back half your boat to look like a dirty, beat-up rustbucket? All I can say is that the painter did a nice job on the flames.



"Lookin' For A Piece" is a 1989 20' Baja that the owner had for sale after having it "totally redone" from top to bottom three years ago. The work included a new motor, new floors and carpeting, seats and sound system. Why a 20' boat needs a triple-axle trailer is a little beyond me as well, but it's nice to have. The boat actually sold on Ebay for $6000 to a single bidder, located in Germany; I suspect it would cost almost as much to ship it overseas as it did to buy the boat. Perhaps the low price was due to unfortunate circumstances noted by the seller in his listing:

"I had the boat out 3 weeks ago and it over heated on me. We got it back to the dock and got it on the trailer. I took the boat to the shop and they said the water pump was out in the outdrive. They replaced it. The boat now still runs but I think we got it too hot on the way back and blew out a head gasket. I have no time or funds left at the time to fix the boat.
So I must sell..."

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