Adding a Pilothouse

Discussion in 'Boating Discussion' started by Iamironman28, Sep 23, 2004.

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  1. Iamironman28

    Hello. I am going to fab up a pilothouse for my 20' Grady. I have welding experience, but haven't decided on materials yet. Stainless, or Aluminum? fiberglass? Is there a place to buy sheets of finished fiberglass?
    Is there a place that I can buy a hardtop to cap her off with? I was thinking of building a window frame myself, then having the windows added. Anybody done this?
  2. ranchero

    You weld? You are ahead of the game...aluminum is light- and that's a good thing.

    I may not be much help right now- I'm planning on doing same proj on 20ft skip in a few months- but i do know this- yes there is a prefab fiberglass board which has foam sandwitched in the middle between glass. It's perfect for this application. It's light and strong. I just don't know the name..but you can find out.

    Some old-timer commerical fishermen in Bay Area fished the 24 skip's way back when- and had to make their own pilot houses to get them out of elements. Met one of those guys and he took me around the sausalito boat yard to check out many of them. None of the guys could remember the name of the boards- and not 2 of the 5 guys we talked to got it from the same source- but they were all able to track it down. Incidentally- all these guys thought aluminum was the best- but it was also the most expensive- so they all built their own tops because they did not weld. They all looked like Faralon's or what you'd see on the 25 skipjack.

    Lastly- you weld ever check out Trophy's cabin's? Basically they are aluminum frames with glass enclosure with a hardtop over them. Check out Ridout plastics off (not on) Clairemont Mesa Blvd. They sell seaboard-
    ahhh...gotta mention HARVEST taco shop by the well's fargo and boll weevil in the corner strip kicks ass!

    I like the FAralon style cabin- but the nice thing about the Trophy was there was a ton of visiblity because the aluminum frames were not quite as wide. Also- i like the way the side windows slide open.

    good luck!
  3. ChuyDawg

    What's Up Ironman28...
    How are things going...
    Sounds like you got a nice project going...
    Hope to fish with you again next year, if not this year...
    Wish you luck on your project...
  4. Mo Betta

    I have a Trophy Hardtop. Lots of visibility and its DRY and WARm when its blowing and your heading up hill. Let me know if I can take some pics for you, etc etc. Frank
  5. slydawg

    Lets See the pics!
  6. stangclassic66

    Ironman28 and Ranchero,

    I'd love to see pics since i've also got a 22 foot grady with a hardtop. I've got the vinyl canvas front and side enclosures but pilothouses rock!!

    Golden Glo
  7. ranchero


    it's going to be a while for me- at least 4-5 months down the road- but will post when done-

    ...attached is a pic of a beauty 25 skipjack- got pic off Sandiegofishing- hope owner does not mind. I want to use this pic as model for one I want to build

  8. YO HO ONO

    I'm not positive, But I think another guy said Mcmaster carr has the fiberglass sheets, I don't know that it's cored though either

    may want to look for mc master carr on google they have a comprehensive website

    I've been kicking the idea around as well, my boat also came as a hardtop model
    I've got some pics in the gallery I'll link em here, jason photochopped
    one off another boat for me

  9. slydawg

    Very cool guys! THis looks interesting. I like the first one best! DO they sell premade sliders?
  10. ranchero

    there it is...thanks.

    I like both cabins...I just like the deck space on the first. If i was in Alaska I'd go with 2nd- but in ca- kelp paddies etc- ability to cast is nice...
  11. HighRoad

    And I assume that you SoCal-types are adding Pilot Houses to avoid becoming too tanned? With all of the great weather y'all have down there, I would have thought you'd be more interested in Center Console conversions... ;)

    Some times I really envy your sun...
  12. Skipjack 25


    Ranchero, Thanks for the compliments of my skipjack. I bought it in November of 2003. Completely gutted it. All new wiring, New diesel, New stainless, New upolhstery. Basically looks new. If anyone is interested in building one, your welcome to measure mine. It's slipped in Village Marina, San Diego

    25 Skipjack
  13. slydawg

    Sweet ride! Looks like a fish killer!
  14. ranchero

  15. ranchero

    SWEET! What year is your skippie? Man it's clean....which diesel did you put in and how many MPG are you getting?
  16. Skipjack 25

    It's a 1989. I installed a KAD 43, 230 horse diesel and 290 duoprop. I finished the install in May and have put about 250 hours on it. The last time I went long, I logged about 200 miles and used 71 gallons of fuel, which equates to just under 3 mpg. I am told after I brake in the motor, my economy should improve. But even if it doesn't, I'm still happy.

    As far as what I have done, I installed a group 31 battery on the start side and 2 6 volt batteries on the house side. A battery combiner makes sure I everything stays charged. All of the old wiring has been trashed with all new marine grade wire. As far as electronics, I have two Raymarine RL70CRC displays, dsm 250, radar, Rnav 300, Icom radio and a simrad autopilot. The electronics all talk to each other so that I can display what I want, where I want. Everything works slick! I had the boat reupolstered and then sent it to crytalliner to have all of the battle scars fixed. Gel coat looks new. I also had the transducer installed flush with the hull. nothing protruding the hull. After that was finished, I had Randy at Offshore build a new mold for a 60 gallon bait tank. And I had it gel coated to match. I then sent it to Ryley Stainless in Long beach and he built a rocket launcher for the top that holds 13 rods. The only other thing I can remeber is a purchased a 6 man offshore life raft and a epirb. Oh I almost forgot, I installed an electric toilet and tank.

    There are tons of things that I will most likely remember later, but I think I have hit the highlights. The boat runs and fishes awesome. It's as nice as any 25' new boat I have seen and I only have spent a fraction of what they cost new. Some might say a large fraction, but none the less only a fraction.

    Now that I am finished, I have been looking at the 26' blackwatch. Maybe next year??????

    25 Skipjack
  17. Trianglist

    haha....what a coincedence. My girlfriend works in the marketing department at McMaster Carr in Santa Fe Springs. She hates working there.
  18. Ali Admin

    Pretty boat man.

    How fast does she cruise? Top end?
  19. Skipjack 25

    I usually cruise at 24-25 knots at 3,000 rpm. I am slightly over propped. According to Volvo, I should get 3,900 rpms and I get 3,600. Cruise rpms is max less 10%. So I am cruising below the recommended speed. However, to do 24 to 25 knots it must be a fairly flat day. She seems to fine a sweet spot at 3,000 so that's were I run it. Top speed, well I think it's close to 30 knots. To tell you the truth, I can't remember but it gets with the program just fine!

    25 Skipjack
  20. Lurker Larry

    You are way over-propped.

    Go to and read what the experts say about overpropping your motor. It doesn't matter what RPMs you're running the motor at, it's overloaded.

    Karl (the volvo guru) likes to see 3950 at WFO- fully loaded with bait, fat fishing buddies, full tank, etc.

    Left uncorrected this prop arangement will significantly reduce your service life. But what the heck, if you're getting a new blackwatch next year it doesn't matter.