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by Dave Lucas – Bradenton, Florida – USA

Mahogany Boats and Donut Boats

Howard has been moping around here for the last couple of weeks because he doesn't have a project to interest him. He's been talking about building one of the cool old mahogany motor boats for as long as I've known him.

He actually built one sort of like this way, way back before he was even married. He was 17 years old and living at home. He was a genius back them also. He even got a piece of Plexiglas and made his on curved windshield.

These are century boats.

This is a late model Century, the Arabian line. His may end up looking more like this one but it will still have a mahogany deck and all the fancy stuff. The thing that was keeping him from building one in the big expense of an engine and drive unit. That's a big investment for a boat that you just want to play building. On Monday he was looking at the pictures of these and said he'd build one if he had a good engine. Well, Steve and I looked at each other and busted out laughing. We told him that we'd have a new 350 cubic inch, 300 horse power V8 with the full drive train sitting in front of the shop by noon the next day at a cost of zero. You can imagine just what he had to say about that except knowing us he had a sneaking suspicion that we had something up our sleeves.

And here it is, the most horrible looking boat you ever saw. It's a 22 foot Sea Ray boat with a 350 V8 and outdrive. So why didn't we just keep going on the the dump with this thing instead of bringing it home? Here's the story; we know an old guy who bought this boat in the early 1990's when he had a wife and kids and had a brand new engine and outdrive put in. It looked a lot better back then. Immediately after he had all this done his life took a turn for the worse and the boat ended up sitting uncovered out in a field, the new stuff had never been in the water but he did pull the plugs and fill the cylinders with oil. He has tried to sell the boat with no success at any price and told us a while back that we could have it, to which we laughed and said no way, it's not that much fun hauling boats to the dump. Not a week goes by when this Howard thing comes up so here it is. He'll have the motor running like a sewing machine in a week, Howard can get any engine running. It'll be fun seeing what comes from this but we all know that whatever it is won't take long. He'll either pull out everything he needs and build a whole boat or figure out how to use part of this boat, we'll see.

It was buried in mud up to the bottom of the hull but the trailer still looks good, not so much for the tires.

Using an outdrive was in the cards all along. A straight inboard would look better but the prop, shaft and rudder would be ripped of within a minute here on this coast of Florida. We can't even get from my dock out to the big river without touching bottom a couple of times.

Steve build a new paddle holder to store these things out of the way.

These are a few of the loaner blades we have, you notice that there are no "regular" paddled here, we never use that style anymore. Compared to these Greenland style ones they suck.

Got a shot of the morning sun hitting the dock.

If you were going to run the raging Tellico river rapids in Tennessee what would you use? If you're Mike Burwell you'd use a Coracle or more commonly known (as if these things are common) as a basket boat. He did it and here's the living proof. I'm not even sure that this qualifies as messing around in a boat.

It looks like there's room for two on that seat.

I'm still hobbling around here with a bad hip and am going to get a brand new one next month on the 7th. And I also managed to catch this years flu which may be good cause it's keeping me off of the hip too much.

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