Refurbishment of a 1966 Pacemaker 44 Aft Cabin. Green owner. Seasoned boat. Questions

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by calipace44, May 6, 2014.

  1. calipace44
    Joined: May 2014
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    Location: United States

    calipace44 New Member


    So got myself a crazy idea that I want to live on the water for last
    summer or about. and went and traded my friends truck for this 64
    Pacemaker 44 on craigslist.. had a prepurchaise survey done by some
    guy on craigslist and it showed that the hull was sound other than
    some soft spots around windows and on deck and some termites eating at
    plywood roof over the bridge.

    the engines were rebuilt several years
    back. they are chevy 454s

    after reading here and on the defunct
    pacemakersownersclub i pulled the trigger last june. Im in so cal, so
    that was still several months and for the summer and good times was
    had. mostly as a harbor apartment. I work nights so not a liveaboard,
    but ayways. fun times. and my friend whose truck i traded for it works
    in marble and stone. so we put in the new marble kitchen counter.

    Original kitchen


    Working on it with my friend


    Finished version


    I did notice that the boat would expel water daily as it was coming in
    pretty fast. I did know it needed bottom paint so come fall i decided
    to investigate

    ta da da duh

    it did need bottom painting so after trying to find a yard that would
    take her up to paint I found one that would do it without a full
    survey and had a rail cart. well, after negotiating for bottom paint
    and agreeing i took a trip down. about 30 miles.

    well it was kinda going ok at 8 knots but come 10-11 it began to shake
    quite a bit so i slowed down and well, we did get here and once out of
    the water the yard manager said he was surprised it actually got there
    in one piece as the shaking was caused by the port prop pulling the
    rear strut away from the hull. the strut base electrolytic ally rotted
    off. also the keel bots were all bonded together. as electrolytic
    bonding is a pretty bad idea for a wooden boat it made the boat ino a
    battery apparently. which in a wet environment causes the bolts in the
    keel wood to become battery cells. which electrically corrodes the
    wood around them via galvanic delignification.. apparently the boat
    hasn't not been out in about 5 years by the look of it. so the gardboard
    was pulling off and another plank came kinda loose and it leaked from
    shaft seals. oh and there was a bunch of creatures living in the keel.
    so they had to be burned out and all that had to be cemented.

    but they said engines were in excellent condition
    rest of the planking was solid, seams were ok, interior was ok

    so i had them fix all that
    except the strut

    they wanted 4 k for a new strut, and it would take couple weeks I
    decided to just fix the rest and take the strut out until the next

    because all I wanted the boat was an apartment on the water.

    and after I spent 7 k on fixes and painting I decided to take a look
    around the boat as to where I could fix some stuff myself

    so there

    I decided to investigate the soft spots at the corners of window frames.

    and boy did it go

    So after finding lots of rot around the front outside bench and the window corners in the salon I decided to remove the bench and rebuild it.

    After removing the old rotten wood on the bench I discovered that the rot extended into the corners of the salon window frames and rebuilding the bench became not as important.

    Apparently the previous owner thought it would look good to cover the frames with shiny stainless steel corner angle iron from top to bottom the wood was soft and I was left with some termite holes and lots and lots of ideas

    So I Cut all the damaged cabin side frames and ply and was left with this



    Long lines were me playing with a router looking for termites. no termites. all solid. filled with with aerosil / epoxy

    So the window corner frames and window channel rails were rebuilt with mahogany covered in cpes.

    the empty spaces left were assembled in place from 3-ply 3/8th plywood and that was soaked in cpes before all the cutting. The inner layer was installed, covered in epoxy, outer layer screwed into the inner, once all good and solid the screws were removed and everything coated in epoxy with all the holes filled with thickened epoxy. then I fiber glassed it into a single structure.





    I ordered replacement window tracks from Beckson. While waiting for that I removed the floor flashing right by where the cabin sides meet the deck as I found them to be cracking, soft and nailed through into cabin sides. underneath I found cracked, brittle, damp (we just had 2 weeks of rains) cement of some kind that came out in long chunks and some soft wood right by the seam. Nothing major, but it seemed like it was cold / damp air was raising through all kinds of little holes.

    so I dried it all off for a week and filled it with thickened epoxy and fiberglass fibers



    My next step is to create a filet right over the filled seam and fiber glass a 4 in wide tape the whole length over it.
    I read that was what people did with success

    Also a lot of paint on the sides was cracked and I sanded it all off. a bit aggressively

    then i covered everything with neat epoxy

    So I have questions. Please do consider that I bought this boat to have as my apartment on the water. I work nights and not far from Marina Del Rey, so as such it’s not a bad prospect. However, it's not going to be a Newport Beach Parade show boat.

    So my first question is about fairing this


    I have two ideas I gathered so far

    a) fill with thickened epoxy / fair / prime with bulls eye 1-2-3. cover with rustoleum oil based enamel
    b) prime over with 1-2-3, fair with evercoat z-grip and then paint with rustoleum

    I have epoxy and rustoleum and 1 2 3 and bullseye.

    I also read great things about Behr porch and patio for above water painting in dry so cal climate


    A second question is this

    On the starboard side, when removing the cement from the seams and knowing that there was more damage to the corner I found that some of the planking was damaged and the previous owner basically filled it with some sort of a yellow patching material / cement. The side felt cold to touch and after i removed some of the pain I found that. so I removed it all.

    You can see bulkheads and frame. I let it dry for a week and then soaked it all in cpes. Now I need some ideas here too

    My vague idea now is to square the "wound", dutchman laminate some layers of ply in epoxy and the glass and paint.

    I'm planning on painting the whole thing, deck and sides, so this repair should be able to do the trick.

    You think?




    Thank you!
  2. pungolee
    Joined: Jun 2004
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    Location: north carolina

    pungolee Senior Member

    I am sure you have found out by now that the deeper you dig the more mess you find. However, you are not afraid of epoxy, which is a good thing considering what you are finding out on this boat. Not sure your "Survey from some guy on Craigslist" was worth the trouble or expense. I like the apartment idea, for ever how long you can keep this afloat and how long you are willing to fight. Not sure what your financial situation is but if it were me I would sell the "Nice running engines" and recoup a little of what you have spent. It may be more beneficial to have the boat moved by a Service(if it ever needs moving), however, your Dock Lease may require a running boat. Use some of the money to purchase a small modern skiff to enjoy the on the water, and keep patching to the best of your ability. The 7K you spent hauling and painting may have to be done again sooner than you think so you must ask yourself if it is worth it( on the East Coast there are a lot of these big tired cabin cruisers begging for a home, many in better condition than yours for little money) Its probably a version of the Powder Post Beetle eating your wood, Termites are subterranean.
  3. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welcome to the forum.

    Termites are also airborne and called drywood. They are attracted to wet wood oddly enough. They spawn, fly around and make a new home each spring. They take more time to do as much damage as subterranean, but they still can eat a lot of boat. The only way to get rid of drywood termites is to tent the boat. Don't let some guy convince you that "spot treatment" will get them, as he's talk out his butt. I have a good bit of experience with these ******** and you have to tent the boat (or house).

    As to the repairs, well you'll just have to knock away as you can, because this will be an on going love/hate relationship, until one of you dies or surrenders.
  4. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Termite certainly can be of the airborne drywood kind. Here is Australia they are treatable without tenting, except for an import, the West Indian Drywood termite, which does require such fumigation. Probably depends on what geographical location you are in.
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Good point, but here in Florida, I was told by the folks that do it for a living there's only one way to be sure (tenting). This may be different half a world away. In any case, calling the best of the local termite outfits, for a quote should clear it up.
  6. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    The surveyor is legally liable for the damage you found. Ask a lawyer to have a talk with him. If he has insurance, like he should, it can be an easy claim.
  7. pungolee
    Joined: Jun 2004
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    Location: north carolina

    pungolee Senior Member

    Seems there are all kind of mean and nasty critters in Australia, healthy place for man and animal alike. I always dreamed of living there in my 20's, still would like to visit!

  8. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    It is "just like home" down here, for Americans. Or so they tell me. Except everything costs twice as much ! :D Fuel, e.g would be over $6 a U.S. gallon, carton of beer $40, a loaf of bread $4, average house price $400k plus. But the average wage, say, $1200 a week.
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