A large hole developed in the bottom skin one day. Possible
submerged debris could have contributed, or it could have
just given way due to the high speed pounding the hull takes.
This boat was obviously not properly cared for during storage
sessions. Water and oil were allowed to collect in the bilge.
These elements combined with the lower quality adhesives and
sealers available at the time, all took their toll.
below images illustrate the loss of some structural integrity
during a fast lake run. Apologies for the picture quality.
Here, the engine and hardware have been removed and
the hull flipped over. You can see the hull void on
the far side of this image.
Aft. Here and below, we see what
happened as the void opened and peeled back the fiberglass
on its path of destruction.
Ugh! that looks depressing. Almost
The hole on the left is accompanied
by a patch of bondo in the center. Another indication
of repairs made by someone with no business repairing
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I had two options. Trash it or fix
it. As mentioned, I was gearing up to build a Glen-L when
I found this one for sale. And with plenty of mentoring and
previous boat building experience under my belt, I decided
to fix it.
Destruction ensues - At this point,
I have removed the bottom layer of fiberglass, and parts of
the bottom plywood skin. The signs of oil infiltration are
obvious. Full keel, batten replacement, and obviously, bottom
skin were replaced in order to bring the boat back to its
Here we see a close up of the
rotted out breast hook. Fortunately, the breast hook
was made of a three piece laminate. I needed only replace
the first 1 inch thick layer. The stem, however, was
in awful shape and needed rebuilding with 1/8 thick
layers of plywood, laminated with marine epoxy. Then,
using the belt sander, I reshaped the stem to fit.
More of the same
Side view of the bottom skin
In early spring of 1996 I started rebuilding
this Crackerbox. The project was completed in September of
1996, only through a very intense schedule which included
every weekend and weekday nights. The project probably cost
in the range of $2000 and about 6 months to complete.
I started by removing the engine and
getting the hull flipped over and placed back onto the trailer.
Then, I had to remove the fiberglass covering the bottom of
the hull. But there's a problem here. The whole boat is glassed.
To do this I took a Dremel tool with a cutting disk, and cut
through the class all the way around the hull. The cut was
located about a half inch from the bottom - onto the side.
This would leave a clean cut in the glass, and allow me to
remove the remaining bottom skin of plywood.
With the glass removed, I proceeded
to remove the plywood bottom skin. One section at a time.
A section is about a 1 foot square area between each batten
and bulkhead. Screws had to be removed one at a time. Even
though the screws were stainless steel, the rust and corrosion
of 40 years made removal of each screw very tedious. I had
to chisel enough wood around what was left of each screw in
order to clamp some Vice Grips and turn them out. I calculated
about 400 screws to be removed this way.
Once the bottom was removed, I proceeded
to remove the keel and battens. The chine was in good shape,
but the breasthook at the nose was rotted out and needed to
be rebuild. To rebuild the nose section, I used marine epoxy
to laminate layers of 1/8 inch plywood, and then hogged to
shape with a belt sander.
I replaced all the other removed members,
glassed. At the same time, I did an engine rebuild. The engine
was running at idle when it went under, so I was concerned
that I could have a bent piston rod. The rods turned out fine,
and I replaced bearings, rings, and all that stuff.
Once everything was back together, the boat is as good
as new. Since then, there's nothing in this boat that hasn't
been inspected, and replaced. Even the trailer wheel bearings.
The exhaust was also redone. The trickiest part of that
was finding a muffler shop that would work with me to build
the custom pipes. Most shops wouldn't touch it. Everything
on this boat that can wear out has been gone over and replaced.
Better than new.