Wooden boat recovery/restoration

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by xbonnie, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. xbonnie
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Montana

    xbonnie Junior Member

    I am new to this forum and have never attempted any type of restoration, but my husband and I found an old wooden boat when we were scuba diving and are discussing the possibility of recovering and restoring it. We are currently investigating salvage laws in our area. We also have a few questions that we could use some expert advice on.
    First of all, is it even worth the effort? The boat is partially buried in silt in cold, fresh water. It has obviously been there a while, but appears to be in pretty good shape. I know that artifacts that have been submerged for a long time require special treatment. If we are able to get it out, is there anything we need to know about how to preserve it until it can be restored?
    Second, a plate on the dash says "Distin Boats Saranac Lake, NY". We haven't been able to find out anything about this manufacturer. Has anyone here heard of them?
    I'm sure we will have more questions as our project continues (if it continues). I appreciate any advice anyone has to offer.
    Bonnie
     
  2. goolawah
    Joined: Oct 2005
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    Location: Brisbane, Australia

    goolawah Junior Member

    Roughly how big is it?
    Can you tell if it is made of plywood, or planks?
    Has it got an engine?
    Any way of guessing how long it has been there?
     
  3. xbonnie
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Montana

    xbonnie Junior Member

    It appears to be about 22' long. Not sure if it's plywood or planks (how do you tell?) It's pretty deep in the silt, so we don't know about the motor. We're guessing it's been there 30-40 years. Neither of us knows much about boats, we are primarily divers. We just found this and thought it would be a fun and challenging project, even if we just dig it out and leave it as a wreck for divers to visit.
     
  4. Texas Boater
    Joined: May 2006
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    Location: Texas

    Texas Boater Member

    The boat may turn out to be non-salvagable (why did the original owners let it sink?) but it sure sounds like a heck of an adventure pulling her up to the surface!
     
  5. goolawah
    Joined: Oct 2005
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    Location: Brisbane, Australia

    goolawah Junior Member

    It's obviously hard to tell anything about it when sunk so deep in the mud. If it's plywood I would think it is probably unrecoverable after that time as the ply is probably well and truly delaminated.

    In this (plywood) example, http://www.profitworks.com.au/wooden%20boats/#Cinderella the boat had been on a mooring, not completely sunk, and we eventually had to abandon it. However, we wouldn't have missed the experience over 3 years or so.

    Either way, it would be a huge task and only worth it if the boat was of a quality that could be restored to the status of a real treasure. It would take years of expense, mess, frustration and learning new skills.

    The diving wreck might be the most sensible approach. :)
     
  6. Jimbo538
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: UK

    Jimbo538 New Member

    Hi I'm currently restoring a 17' ply yacht. My boat was out of the water for some years and the decks still de-laminated due to rainwater. I would suggest after so long under water she's probably un-saveable. You're welcome to visit my site at http://www.re-buildingthedewdrop.blogspot.com/
    Rgds., Jim.
     
  7. goolawah
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    goolawah Junior Member

  8. CaptScot
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: New Jersey

    CaptScot Junior Member

    It could well turn out to be a unique mahogany type racing boat take sank long ago and forgotten by most. I did read a story in Classic Boating Magazine a while back were such a boat was found and recovered. If anything the boat itself, piece by piece, could be used as a pattern to build a new boat. This is being done for many old runabouts left out to the weather for many years, that are unique, but too rotted to restore. research that name. There are many runabout enthusiasts who know their hobby well. Try contacting the Antique & Classic Boat Society and also the antique boat museum in Clayton, New York. Their boat show is held in August and is the biggest in the US for runabouts and famous wood race boats of the past that show up. Good luck. Scott J.
     
  9. Joe6
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Joe6 Junior Member

    As far as the salvage goes you could probably keep the boat if you can get it. I think the biggest problem with the salvage would be getting permission to bring in the nessesary gear due to environmental issues, though equipment would be minimal for a 22' boat.

    Is the boat worth restoring?
    I believe there are three reasons to restore an old boat.
    1. You absolutely love it and can't live without it. I think this is the best!!!
    2. It has historical significance. Lot's of historical significance if sunk!
    3. Pedigree famous designer or builder. Preferably both.

    Do you and/or your husband have above average woodworking skills?

    The reason I ask is it's one thing to maintain a wooden boat that's floating but raising one from the bottom of a lake and restoring it is a completely different ballgame. But it can be done with a little patience and a lot of money.

    I found two refrences to these boats on the internet but no pictures or history.

    Good luck! Whatever your decision.

    Joe
     
  10. xbonnie
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Montana

    xbonnie Junior Member

    Thank you all for the replys. We have gotten the boat out of the mud, although she's still on the bottom of the lake. We have moved her to a more protected area and are hoping to get her out soon. We're pretty sure she is a mahogany runabout - about 16 feet long. The engine is Gray Marine and it is intact, as is the prop shaft, etc. There is one small hole in the port side, about the size of a golf ball, and the bow is pretty rotten (though still intact). Otherwise, she appears to be in fairly good condition. Our assumption is that she was taking on water and then got swamped in foul weather, as we found the windshield broken on the front seat. We have never done any real woodworking or restoration, but after about 50 dives on her we've become attatched and would like to try to keep her. Do we need to keep her wet when she's removed from the water? Are there any issues with the wood cracking as she dries that we need to be concerned about?
     
  11. CaptScot
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: New Jersey

    CaptScot Junior Member

    Sunken Mahogany Runabout

    Hello Bonnie,

    Since it is 16 ft mahogany runabout I am curious as to the sitting arrangement. If it turns out to be a two seater with a cockpit at the rear and a split-glass windshield then this boat would be one of the limited number of Garwood 16ft Speedster's. I did hear where some of them were sunk and lost. Several more have since been built over the years by other builders by taking lines off an original yet the copies themselves are valuable. An original speedster though would be priceless. I don't know what engines were used in the speedster, but it was a single engined boat. Any Speedster fans would know more.

    Fair Winds, Scott
     
  12. xbonnie
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Montana

    xbonnie Junior Member

    No such luck. The cockpit is in front of the motor and the boat was built by Distin. I'm attatching some fuzzy underwater photos.
    Hope we'll have some soon that are not so blue!
    Regards,
    Bonnie
    DSCN1827.JPG Distin.jpg
     
  13. EastGateCustoms
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    Location: Raleigh, NC

    EastGateCustoms New Member

    Sunken treasure.....

    Good evening.. How did you make out with the recovery of the speed boat?? any new details? If you could, send me some pictures. Would like to see the rest of it, looks sleek.
    til then
    Michael
     
  14. rayk
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    Location: Queenstown, NewZealand.

    rayk Senior Member

    Is this thread the introduction for a Clive Cussler novel....?
     

  15. longliner45
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Location: Ohio

    longliner45 Senior Member

    looks like crisecraft ot garr,,,,,,what is it,,looks like mahogony plywood
     
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