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Renovation Nation


Bravo to the weekend warriors out there! Before-and-after photos of our BoatUS members’ inspirational boat-restoration projects.

One of the best things about BoatUS Members is the diversity of boats you take on the water. Powerboats, sailboats, big boats, little boats, just about everything from a dinghy to a superyacht. If it floats, it’s a good bet that one of you is floating on it. The common element is a love for the water, and in a lot of cases, an inability to stop tinkering with your vessel.

When we asked you to send in pictures of your projects, we were bowled over by the amount of work that went into them. Whether it’s a keel-up rebuild or a coat of paint, every boat needs a little something to call it done, to make it yours, to get it ready. Here’s a salute to the weekend warriors, the off-duty pros, and the backyard mechanics out there.

Jetstreak 1959

Jetstreak before renovation.
Jetstreak after renovation.

After a labor-of-love restoration, I wanted to share some photos of my 1959 Crestliner Jetstreak. When I got it, it had a nice paint job and plywood transom, but it was an empty shell. I made the windshield myself out of one-eighth-inch-thick Lexan, rerigged the rope and pulley steering system, and installed seats, lights, a pump, vintage gauge, and controls.

— Brian Thomason, Newport, NC


Relentless cockpit before renovation.
Relentless cockpit after renovation

On first sight of this 1992 Riviera 33 Flybridge, it was engine parts and rust, inside and out (including the brightwork and cockpit decks). Within nine weeks, Relentless had a total makeover — new lighting, finishes, custom seating and upholstery, modern lights, and electronics — and set out for her maiden voyage to Catalina Island.

— Alex Mitchell, Dana Point, CA

Special F/X

Special F/X galley before renovation.
Special F/X galley after renovation.

I’ve wanted to update my 1996 Carver 300 for some time. Most of the interior is teak, so I chose cherry to complement it and replaced the white formica cabinets. I settled on an Internet company called Raw Doors and received the entire order, including cherry cabinet doors and self-stick veneer, in about two weeks. Stained and finished, with the addition of rolltop doors and an LED lighting strip, they were stunning when completed.

— Tom Durant, Ypsilanti, MI

Sumerset Houseboat

Sumerset salon before renovation.
Sumerset salon afer renovation.
Sumerset stateroom before renovation.
Sumerset stateroom after renovation.
Sumerset master head before renovation.
Sumerset master head after renovation

In March of 2012, my wife Jan and I purchased this 1992 14 x 67-foot Sumerset houseboat we found sitting on blocks in a broker’s yard near Lake Lanier in Georgia. Our first job was to clean out all the old furniture and knick-knacks left by the previous owner. We ordered all new black canvas and had the boat re-striped in black and gray. Jan took on the huge task of repainting the ceiling and all the walls and doors, while I resurfaced all the galley, bath, bedroom, and bar cabinets throughout the boat. New carpet and floor coverings went down throughout the interior, and vanities and fittings in the head were replaced. We never gave this boat a name — we couldn’t agree on one! We didn’t always agree on the other decisions made throughout the makeover, either, but compromising finally got it done.

— Monte Pix, Atlanta, GA

Lite ‘Em Up

Lite ‘Em Up old paint job.
Lite ‘Em Up new paint job.

My boat shows two of my hobbies. One is boating, obviously, and the other is setting up and shooting off firework shows.

The project started off as just a simple paint job to make my 1987 Baja Sport 240 look better. It was supposed to have only one image of fireworks on the side of the boat near the stern. My good friend who painted the boat said he wasn’t satisfied with just one, so he kept going!

— Gene Wilson, Lake Anna, VA


Seahorse before renovation.
Seahorse after renovation.
Seahorse interior before renovation.
Seahorse interior after renovation.

We wanted to share photos of the renovation of our Carl Alberg designed 1965 Pearson Ariel named Seahorse. This truly was a remarkable transformation of a great classic 26-footer. We enjoyed sailing and racing Seahorse for many years after the renovation. We hope other BoatUS Magazine readers will be inspired to resurrect a “good ol’ boat” like we did.

— Phil & Annette Young, Baltimore, MD


Pearl before (left) and after (right) renovation.

The condition of my Cape Dory 25 when I got it was appalling. The years had been especially hard on all of the exterior teak and horizontal gelcoat surfaces due to the brutal Florida sunshine. There was some crazing and cracking of the gelcoat, and all of the exterior teak had weathered black and was deeply grained. In the “after” picture, I had painted the deck, and fabricated and installed handrails. The coamings, companionway framing, drop boards, slider rails, and eyebrows are all done and installed.

— Stan Freihofer, Southwest Ranches, FL

Traveling Star

Traveling Star before renovation.
Traveling Star after renovation.

I love a good project. Although it’s still a work in progress, I have come a long way. I bought my 1985 Pilgrim after it washed ashore in Port Arthur, Texas, during Hurricane Ike and have been working on it ever since. We were fiberglass newbies. We actually made a mold of the starboard side and turned it upside down and used it on the port side. I would have loved to name the boat Toot or Scruffy, but my wife wouldn’t hear of it.

— John Allsion, Kemah, TX


Nomad salon before renovation.
Nomad salon after renovation.
Nomad engine room before renovation.
Nomad engine room after renovation.

I bought my 48-foot DeFever in 2012, renamed her Nomad, and undertook a few upgrades. As a retired scientist I was able to do all the work myself. The upgrades turned out quite well and gave a new life to this 32-year-old boat.

I upgraded the electrical panel, and four solar panels atop the flybridge now provide 100 percent of my anchored-out power needs during the summer months. The salon upgrades consisted of cutting out the center column to open up the space and pretty much gutting the galley. In the engine room, I lowered the floors so I could stand up and added some digital instrumentation to the Ford Lehman 120s, a generator, a Halon-based automatic firefighting system.

— John Witzel, “Currently in the Bahamas”

BoatUS Editors

Contributor, BoatUS Magazine