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The death.... and resurrection of my Dreamboat.


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Hi guys, I thought you might like to see this build. First, I'd like to get the obvious out of the way. Yes, I broke my Pathfinder's stringers. However, I do not blame this on the manufacturer at all. The boat was fished in insane conditions offshore.... we put this boat through things a bay boat should have never seen! Not to mention she's 13 years old, and at one point spent years in the water, untouched and neglected.

I think once you will read on, you will see the conviction and love I have for this hull. You may remember the last dream build I did, an 18' Hewes Redfisher we called "Mistress". MBC was nothing but helpful both then and now, and I'm very happy with thier products and service.

I copied and posted this from many updates, so forgive me if it reads a lil funny. I hope you enjoy!

Amost 1 year ago to the day, we completed a deck up restoration on my 2003 24' Pathfinder. Named after my daughter and in praise, the "Trinity" was born! The build caught the attention of Florida Sportsman, and won a spot on thier show "Dream boats", the "Tricked out Pathfinder" episode.






Purpose built for my passion of sight fishing for cobia, she delivered big time, and after 44 days of fishing against 100 teams, we emerged as the 2016 Ultimate Cobia Championship winners.


She was also a hit with the ladies at the sand bar.... and someone said it was mandatory to post a pic of the girlfriend in any build thread....


But it wasn't all fun and games. We fished this boat far offshore, many times in conditions no bay boat should ever see. The day we won the cobia tournament for example, there was a small craft advisory.

One day we were racing along in the Intracoastal, and I hit some waves hard. BOOM! The sound was if I'd hit something solid... but there was no hull damage. Instantly, I could feel the deck moving beneath my feet, and the ttop was loose from the deck as well. I knew right away it was bad.... so we babied her home and trailered the boat to my shop.

I removed the console deck rigging plate, and to my horror, confirmed the worse. We had cracked the stringers and separated the deck from them in one blow. 

This pic is hard to tell, but your looking at a crack in the stringers.


After lots of soul searching, I decided I had only one choice... rebuild the boat stronger than it ever was.

Much debate went into whether or not to pull the entire cap, or just cut the deck out. After thoroughly exploring the options, it was decided it would be easiest to cut the deck. My glassman, Jack at Full Throttle Powerboats, had been through both with this boat so he knew this was the best option from experience.

Time to de-rig the entire boat.


After a bunch of thought, I decided since we were pulling the deck, we might as well replace everything on the entire boat.

First up was the seadek. Wow this stuff was tough to remove! Luckily one of my guys is a young lad with a tough back.



And then we continued the derig....


Soon, we had the top, leaning post and console off the boat.


Now it was time to cut the deck.


Next we removed the tank and rigging, and dug out most of the foam around the stringer system.


Next we removed the foam stringers entirely, and cleaned it up down to the hull.


Instead of replacing with the regular foam stringers, we put in some composite board.




After that, we used the old foam stringer shell to pour new foam back in around the composite board.


We were planning on coating the old fuel tank with interprotect before replacing it. But while sanding, Noah found a couple pin holes on the top of the tank. We theorize this corrosion took place because of leaking battery acid, as the batteries were mounted right over this location. We will make sure that never happens again!

So, the old tank was toast. I called ezell industries, who was the original manufacturer, and they still had the dimensions on file.

The new tank arrived friday.


We did a quick dry fit of the tank, and it fits like a glove.


Now it's time to coat the tank with interprotect, and put the new fuel, livewell, etc lines in.

And we've begun the tedious task of sanding the deck, and entire boat, inside and out in preparation to paint.


Hopefully this week we will get the lines and deck back in, but time is not on my side as my customers boats schedule has priority. I'll keep you guys updated!

Upgrades include painting the entire boat haze grey, powder coating all metals black, faux leather upholstery with matching color faux teak seadek. We also have an insane electronics package going that is probably going to make her the most advanced bay boat on the planet. Glass panel helm, etc, she is going to be out of this world.

I'm being asked a lot why not more updates, so first, a little disclaimer lol. I stay extremely busy at work, so my own boat has to take the back burner. For those that don't know me, I'm a twenty year marine electronics technician. I stay very busy with rewires like this recent job:





And of course, electronics installs like this one,





Plus, I'm not rich, so I gotta work my butt off to finance this project one part at a time lol.

Moving forward!

Last time we left off at the dry fit of the tank. I did a bunch of research, and concluded that a product called "interprotect" was best for protecting aluminum both above and below the water line, so I rolled on three coats of it.


Next, I installed the two new 1000 watt chirp transducers. First, the b175m,


And next, the b175hw


Here, you can see thier placement to the extreme left and right-


Along with the 3d system, 16" display, and hs60 which is a dual 10hz gps sensor that also compensates the sounder image for pitch and roll, (wave action), there is a very real probability that this is the most capable fish finding system ever installed in a bay boat!

Next, my least favorite task, sanding the entire boat. Getting started-


Moving along....




I'm quickly learning to make cracks and dings disappear quite nicely 





And now, Jack has finished the stringers which included glassing in these GIANT aluminum plates, which the newly improved tower will bolt into!


Finally, it was time to drop the deck.


I really don't know how Jack does it, the floor went back in perfectly!


Before he has even made the seam, he told me to take my fat *** up on the deck and do jumping jacks all the way around the deck, and I was blown away. The deck feels better than it ever did, absolutely as solid as a rock!

Jack could just fair it back together at this point, and it would be fine, but this world record speed boat builder is not one to rest on his laurels. He's going to grind a big groove all the way around the seam, and fill it with glass, fusing it back as one solid piece.

Now the fun begins. Most of my equipment is here, and it's time to paint, modify the tower, build the new leaning post, powder coat every piece of metal on the boat, and begin rigging!

We are going extreme every step of the way, and I get the pleasure of being the first in our area to install the new JL Audio 12" subwoofers that have been on back order for forever.  At about $700 each, these things throat punched my budget, but it's going to be worth it! One thousand watts rms (continuous, not peak) is going to be absolutely staggering.

As you can see, I was pretty impressed by these behemoths, that actually measure 14"!


Hopefully the updates will begin rolling much faster now. My goal is to be finished in time to pre fish for the cobia tournament.... that's only a month away! We must defend our title!

The floor is now complete!

Tabs were glassed all the way around for the edge to rest on. The deck also had pieces of material glassed in so it would rest directly on the whole length of the new monster stringers.

After dropping it in place, the edges were screwed together with little blocks to hold it together perfectly for glassing.


Next, a groove was ground in all the way around the edges to lay the glass in.


Glassed in now


And finally, the glass was faired in. We also removed the engine, and after a couple of finishing touches we will be ready to paint.


We have chosen Alexseal Kingston grey and will now paint the entire boat, inside and out. We aren't cutting corners anywhere, I've prepared inside of all the hatches, the bilge and everything. I plan on spraying it myself, in a friend's paint booth under the supervision of Jet/boat master painter Buddy Barnes, car finisher John Seng, and industrial painter Jeremy Platman. With the help of this dream team, I'm expecting some fantastic results.

I've also began building my patent pending charging/switching system, and there will be many more details about this very special piece soon.


ll again for the kind words!


I hope you all will find this next update as interesting as I do....


As for details on my custom built charging/switching system, here are the details I announced today, copied from Facebook.


"Introducing the Boattronics Power Distribution System!


Please, I need all my friends to like and share to help me get the word out about this incredible system that does things nothing ever created before does to increase the capabilities and performance of your boats batteries and power systems!


First, a little history. And then we will go over all the incredible features!


Years ago, I faced a problem. I was building a flats boat, an 18' Hewes Redfisher. We put a crazy stereo in it, but didn't have the battery power we needed to power it all day long at the sandbar or dock without the motor running.


First thought was, add more batteries. But I didn't want to do that if it meant taking up space, adding weight which increased draft, etc., that was not acceptable. It upset me to think about the fact that I had two deep cycle batteries on board for my trolling motor, that if only they were in parrelel, they could power my stereo all day. Unless I was using my trolling motor, these batteries were dead weight. But you can't put them in parrelel if you have them in series, or you have created a dead short.... and a bomb!


I thought, hmmmm, someone must make some way to switch between this configuration, so I searched, and searched, searched, but no such product made would do what I wanted.... so I began designing a way to do it.


The problem is obvious.... if something was to fail, it would go boom. So, my design had to be fool proof. It had to be designed in a way that it was impossible to create that short.


Finally, I had it all worked out on paper. I built the first one, and it performed flawlessly! And, the original one is still on that boat today and it still works flawlessly. Since then, I have built quite a few more. I have never had a single problem with any of them!


After years of refinement, I am now building universal versions for both 24v and 36v systems. I have created a box that houses all the components inside in a waterproof, sealed box. All the boats main battery switches, acr's, breakers, etc are all housed in one tidy package. Since they are in this box, it greatly reduces the rigging in the boat and makes the entire boat rigging cleaner. It safely charges all the boats batteries while the motor is running. It saves weight and space in the boat by decreasing the amount of batteries you need to power lots of high end electronics, stereo systems, etc. And when you flip the switch, you can power crazy stereo and lighting all day long without the motor running! The box can be locked, keeping thiefs from being able to crank the boat. Skiffs with 24 volt trolleys only need 3 batteries on board, no matter what crazy stereo, lights or electronics you have. A boat with a 36 volt trolley only needs 4 batteries on board, total.


Rest assured your engine will start, no matter what. That is because in this system, the cranking battery is completely isolated to the engine, so it is always 100% charged.


The sticker on the front can easily be changed and labeled for any accessories you may have on your boat.


Sound like a dream? This patent pending system is real! It is battle tested in the field for 4 years so far. Pricing will be announced soon!


At Boattronics, the future of boat rigging is now!"




Moving on....


Fishing gnarly offshore seas in tournaments, I managed to crack my old plastic quick removal puck.






No way did I want to risk my new 72" Ulterra going into the drink, as I know inevitably, I will be caught in gnarly weather offshore again. I decided to mill new ones out of solid aluminum.... totally indestructible. I'd heard about others breaking them, so I milled 20 of them.






Now my trolley parts are ready for cobia war.


Back to progress....


Sanding this thing has been an incredible task. I'm thinking I have around 100 hours in paint prep... and still have more work to do inside the boat. Sanding and fairing, and sanding again on the bottom was especially tough.




Finally, I finished sanding the bottom.




The hull sides had a couple trouble spots that I used a special black dust to expose before blocking them out.




Before the paint process began, we did a quick dry fit of everything so the boat could be laser scanned for the new Seadek The new 72" Ulterra fits better than I thought it would lol.




We put in 8 of the new cup/ rod holders in so we would have them all the way around the boat.





Today I sprayed 3 coats of the Alexseal system grey primer, meticulously following instructions exactly as the manufacturer recommended.


I got my first look at her in a shade of grey, and it came out beautifully!






Chase from Castaway Customs gave me a sample of the mocha seadek we are doing the entire boat with. The mocha Seadek and perfectly matching uhpolstery will give the boat a needed soft and classy touch, as the rest of the boat will be all grey with black trim.



Seadek everywhere!


One time, my fat buddy sat on the seat in front of the console while we were plying through rough waters. Instantly, the ride of the boat improved noticeably. I begged my buddy to stay there, though he was taking an *** whoopin.


That's when it dawned on me, that I needed to create a hatch in that location, and move my 240lbs in batteries there. Putting the weight there should disperse weight on the boat better, decreasing my draft, while definitely improving my ride! The weight closer to the keel will also help stabilize pitch and yaw. To top it off, now the new space inside the console allows me to comfortably sit inside when anything needs service.


Running this boat for two years has given me insight on everything we can possibly improve, and indeed, we are building a much better boat than she ever was.


First peek at the new battery compartment!


Soon we will be ready to rig. Here, you can see some of the special wiring, with color codes and gauges to conform to all ABYC and NMEA standards.




Monday I get sand the entire hull again, this time with 280.... then we paint!


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Just 2 questions for those more knowledgeable 

years ago when my son was into car audio his mustang had 2 Jl 12" subs and other mids and tweeters close to 3000 w. Even with a secondary battery his headlights would dim when the base hit so off to the local alternator shop for a rewind and big boost in output. So my question is even with multiple batteries how is the big thump going to affect the motor as its output will not be close to the needs of the  12's also how is the jl12 going to perform in an open environment or are they getting a custom box. Looking forward to the full setup 

Next I understand the forward position of the batteries but that location in the bilge holds water if not raised on the trailer,especially in the TE. Will you place some vertical walls to isolate this area from the bilge

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Looks like your doing it right.  Love the new color. It will look real sick with that seadek too.

Unfortunalty, the unprotected aluminum tanks of this vintage are all gonna have this fuel tank problem in upcoming years.  It's what kept me on search of a 22'er (with poly tanks) rather than 24...as you can see there is no easy way to replace em.




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Microphone checkThank you all so much for the very kind words!


Have any of you all ever powdercoated your cleats or tab plates? I suppose I could get them coated again in a year or so if it wears off. I want absolutely every piece on the entire boat to match.

I've got all the boats metals ready to get blasted and coated with the ttop, new leaning post, tower and casting deck.




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This forum is working weird on my phone, or maybe I just havnt figured it out yet.


To answer replies, voltage drop, is my life.


With a sufficient supply, there should never be a drop. Long days at the sand bar are what inspired me to create a custom supply that uses all three trolley batteries and takes them out of 36v series and into 12v parrelel when needed, providing over 300 amp hours.


JargIn excluded, it keeps an insane stereo system akin to a high quality live show going for longer than anyone can dance lol.



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When you get a second, could you put a tape measure on the gunnnel by one of those mate series? I'm putting some round ones on front deck and would love to put some in the gunnel but man it's got to be TIGHT. I'm wondering if your 24' might have lil wider gunnels than the 22... I put the regular rod holders in mine and it was tight...

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Thanks yall...


I remember my gunnel measurements, they are about 7 inches wide at the top.

I made a template and the edge was about 1/4 inch away. Give yourself a little wiggle room... I used a slightly larger hole saw that still fell inside the hole pattern for an eyeball adjustment.


The foam on the wall was in the way... I used a cat paw to make short work of that. It is a very close fit but I believe yours are about the same width. 

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Thanks guys. Charger would work as long as your stator reaches 13.6 volts.



The pucks are done. Mine is black, all the others we did are white.


Got the primer sanded.... I did almost the entire hull in one sitting! Talk about brutal, my elbows hurt just thinking about it.


Motor prep underway.... she's gonna be matching Kingston grey.


Mocking up the new plate for a 10" wireless display in the tower, will be able to control all systems in the boat, even lighting, etc, and steer the gas motor from.


And next ladies and gentlemen, I'm about to show you something amazing....

What you are looking at is the first successful attempt on a true glass panel style installation by a custom shop in ne florida!


She's going to break hearts!


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Looked at a Ranger at the Charleston boat show and one of the features I liked were  circulating  fans for the bilge area. Might be a nice addition especially  for the battery  box . With humidity and the batteries  combined some fresh air would help  keep contacts clean. It will take a well made hatch to keep it dry  with the  foot  traffic. 




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