Project Focus – Repair and Refinish 1986 26′ Skiffcraft Runabout

The original owners have kept the boat in excellent condition and have enjoyed the boat for over 25 years; however, busy schedules have caused them to be unable to use it the past two seasons.    We were commissioned this past spring to make the necessary repairs and refinishing so they could get one final season of use prior to selling the boat.  It is now listed for sale here on our website.

After going over the boat and discussing with the owners, we generated the following worklist:

  • Replace 2 planks on starboard side
  • Repair rotten deck and hull area on port transom corner
  • Troubleshoot and repair vinyl tears on forward deck around seam
  • Sand and paint hull and striping
  • Paint bottom
  • Apply 2 coats to brightwork (including transom and swim platform)
  • Replace fuel lines and add clear fuel filter at tank and fuel shutoff valves at tank and engine
  • Replace tires and check bearings on trailer

Structural work is always first, so we work on the planks…


One of them is fit here and the other is ready to fit.  We were pleased to find after removing the planks that no rib work was necessary.  We do a lot of lapstrake planking repair and I hope to put a post up with more detail of our process in the future (which I’ve mentioned several times but still have yet to deliver!).

At the same time we attacked the transom corner which as expected was a somewhat complicated repair.  This photo shows the result after removing all the bad wood and prepared for installation of the new wood…


You can see that the hull planking down to the waterline has been separated from the transom.  We did this in order to treat the endgrain of the plywood to make sure there is no further moisture entry which would expand the minor discoloration at the edge of the transom.  Here is the same area after re-assembly…


With the structural work complete, we attacked the hull and brightwork.  The hull required some hard machine sanding, a few coats of Flat White primer and then 3 coats of Gloss White and Blue applied by brush.


The brightwork was sanded and the bare spots sealed with Clear Sealer and then received at least 2 coats of Schooner 96 varnish.  We had pieces of the boat everywhere!  We were very pleased with the results.


The vinyl on the forward deck has some slight cracking around the seam that is covered by the aluminum molding.  Replacement of the vinyl would have been cost-prohibitive (as you would need to replace all of it at the same time and remove all windshields and hardware), so we decided on varnished mahogany trimboards to cover the cracked vinyl and to provide a more watertight seam for the deck underneath.  Although everyone may have their own opinion, we thought the end result looked really sharp and Skiffcraft should consider it an option on their boats!


Whenever a boat sits for a year or two the fuel automatically becomes suspect.  The fuel in this boat was okay but we replaced the lines and installed a clear bowl fuel filter at the tank so the quality of the fuel could be monitored by the owners.  This is a simple project that can take a lot of the guesswork out of fuel problems (and you certainly don’t want to go to the trouble of pumping out and disposing of 50+ gallons of fuel unless you really know that it is no good!).   As a safety precaution (and marine guideline), we install shutoff valves at the tank and engine when replacing the fuel lines.


The boat is ready for launch!  Check out the “For Sale” listing for photos of the completed project.  There are also a few more thumbnails below of the repairs at the bottom of this page… click on them for larger size.



About Mike

I pinch myself every day... I can't believe I'm back in Vermilion working at the boatyard! I grew up spending afternoons and summer days working at Moes Marine. I moved to Boston after college and met my wonderful wife, Maura, while living life in the big city and working at Boston BoatWorks. We traveled and volunteered abroad for 9 months in 2009 and then found our way back to our families in Ohio. We are now living in downtown Vermilion with our son, Owen, who visits the boatyard daily at coffee break!