Customising a classic
  |  First Published: December 2004

There are always articles on new boats and equipment in this magazine, including a number on project boats. While many readers would like to have a new boat, a less expensive option is fitting out a second-hand boat to suit.

In March 2003 I purchased a 1984 model 4.7-metre Seafarer V-Sea. The hull was in reasonable condition given the age, and had no evidence of rot in the transom or the floor. I paid $3500 for the hull and a single-axle trailer with no motor.

I spent considerable hours pondering and planning how I would set up the boat for offshore and estuary fishing to ensure there was sufficient space, storage and balance for two anglers to fish day and night. The live-bait tank is mounted in the wide outboard well to port. I also raised the height of the outboard well to gunwale height, fitted a bait board forward of the motor and a fish box in front of the bait board.

The swivel seats are on top of insulated storage boxes and a removable overhead light is fitted to the front of the fish box. The top section of the rocket launcher can be removed by pulling out two clips and disconnecting the lead for the running light.

I began by rewiring the boat and including additional wiring for the electrical equipment I wished to install. I installed a battery isolator switch for the dual batteries under the transom and bilge pump. I installed lights in the cuddy, under the side pockets and the overhead light over the fish box.

I manufactured a centre-mounted fish box of plywood covered in fibreglass and insulated the interior and the lid. The lower half encloses a 75-litre fuel tank and there is storage in the rear upper section for tackle with a small well to house sinkers, cutters, pliers, etc. The box doubles as a seat and is hinged to allow access to the fuel tank.

I built two fibreglass-covered plywood boxes and insulated them to act as seat bases and insulated storage. We keep bait in one box and food and drinks in the other.

The live bait tank and incorporated smaller nipper tank are also made of glass over ply. The water comes through a transom-mounted pick-up scoop and a pump with an on-off cock controlling flow.

I also built a removable bait board and storage boxes for the cuddy and extended the side pockets towards the bow to allow for4 storage of large hand reels, spare rope, anchors and safety equipment.

The anchor and rope are secured under the transom in the centre of the floor, where there is a small well. We have a fixed rope tied from the bow to the stern and we use a ball and clip and pull the anchor from the floor.

For power I fitted a new 75hp mercury two-stroke outboard.

Total cost of the project was $15,000, which included a Garmin fish finder. Of course, this cost does not include my labour.

The result is a sound and reliable package with a tried and proven hull, new motor, all new accessories and a boat customised to suit the desired application. There are no eskies, fuel tanks or bait cluttering up the boat. The rocket launcher stores the rods, the fish go in the fish box, and all tackle and other gear goes into dedicated storage. As you can probably appreciate, this is not the first boat that I have fitted out!

Although the trailer is in reasonable condition, my next project is to have the trailer re-galvanised and to replace the rollers and slides.

– Dennis Donald

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