24' Morgan Build - "One Piece at a Time"

Capt. Scott Goodwin

Capt. Scott Goodwin
Jan 11, 2007
298
57
Merritt Island, Florida
www.bdoutdoors.com
Name
Capt. Scott Goodwin
Boat
Morgan 24, Glasser 16'8
Hey BD’ers! I’m excited to share my boat build story with you as it has slowly progressed from a vision and desire to have my own boat after years of running other owner’s boats for my charter and private boat captain career previous to going to work as the editor of BD Outdoors. I will try to not be long-winded and sum up the pre-story as simply as I can.
As mentioned, I had avoided buying my own boat to charter for years as I knew the big bills that come with maintenance and repair. But eventually, my curiosity and desire to build my own began to creep in. I have spent most of my career well offshore, but I enjoy all types of fishing and as I was growing older, the offshore schedule and beating can take its toll. I watched the coastal charter boats make more money (fewer expenses) in less time each day and while still catching great fish. I began to envision a center console built to excel in that realm of fishing while still being able to do some limited offshore on nice days or take the family on trips like scalloping in Steinhatchee, Florida, a family favorite.
After countless hours looking on the web, I found myself drawn to the center consoles being fished on the west coast of Florida for inshore, tarpon fishing and offshore runs. Many had the classic, flat-back look and function that I love and can still go in very shallow water when the need arises.

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One classic design that had been built for many years by a fishing family in Naples, Florida was a Morgan. While there were four sizes to their molds, the 24 Morgan fell into the size range I was looking for. I began to focus on searches for Morgans and the overall Internet consensus was that they were excellent boats. Stable, roomy, and a great ride thanks to the very prominent bow that cuts the chop in the Gulf waters.

The story I was told, is that the boat was designed to cross large bays on the way to fish the shallows of the Everglades by the Morgans. Therefore, the big bow that tapers back to a 12-degree flat bottom in the stern. The 9’6” beam makes the boat feel huge for a 24-foot boat, as does the fact that the motors are generally placed on Porta-Brackets. This allows you to fish right up to the back of the transom, utilizing the full 24-feet.

Well, I fell in love with this boat like a “mail-order” bride. I had only seen Internet pictures and descriptions, but I felt like it was the one for me. I also found out that the Morgan molds had been purchased and the boats were currently being built by Rick Dee of Marine Tech Inc. He was using modern, no-wood construction and said the boats were even better than the originals. I began to sketch out layouts and how I would utilize the space available.
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Much of my design was based on the two Parker boats, 25 and 28 cc’s that I had run as a charter boat for many years. I knew what features I wanted to retain from those boats and some that I wanted to add. Of course, the budget always gets in the way of dreaming, but I was just sketching anyway.

Right about that time, I took the unexpected turn to stop fishing for a living and go to work as the Editorial Director of BD Outdoors. This job turned out to be a great blend of fishing and steady work, that charter fishing often lacks. However, the idea of building a boat that I was not going to make money with it, became a daydream again.
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Time flies and life throws many ups and downs your way. After the passing of my Dad due to skin cancer, our family had an F250 Yamaha that my dad had just purchased to repower a pleasure boat that he had planned to take Mom around and explore the waters of their home in Jacksonville. We kept the motor maintained and running, but it had very few hours on it. Then due to a chain of events stemming from Hurricane Irma, the boat was badly damaged, but the motor remained untouched. Now the motor was sitting in the garage and I knew the clock was ticking on its value and function.

As a family, we decided to build a boat to hang it on and let the intended good times commence.

I immediately looked up Marine Tech Inc. only to find that the website was gone. I began to search online and found a few forum threads about Morgan builds and one of them had a contact number. I reached out, though I was not very optimistic that they were still in business. To my surprise, I was contacted by the gentleman in the thread and he explained that he knew the builder and they were still able to build the boats, though it was a side project to their current job.

Long story short, I was put back in contact with Rick Dee of Marine Tech Inc, the owner of the Morgan molds who had been building them for the last 20+ years. He was involved with a company building larger center consoles but was still able to build a Morgan 24 on the side if I wanted. (Update: He is now back to building Morgans full time in Vero Beach, Fl.)

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I was very excited, but remember, I’ve still never seen one in real life, so there was still a huge gap between my vision and reality. We arranged to take a ride in one of the first ones they built after buying the molds from Mr. Morgan twenty years ago. Rick reminded me that the boat I was going to see was the first one and they had twenty years of refinement since then, but the basic boat was the same. A trip across the state to the Gulf side gave us the opportunity to step foot on a Morgan in person and we were not disappointed. I say we, because a good friend of mine was shopping for a boat to use in the Keys and at home. When I laid out my plans to him, he was interested enough to tag along and check it out.
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We crawled all over it, measuring and discussing options and changes. We cast off the lines and went for a ride. The boat was super stable due to its beam and so roomy for the same reasons. The boats are custom built using a simple 3-piece design, but that is exactly what I wanted. A simple boat, built to fish hard in a variety of ways, yet keep my family and friends comfortable too. That’s always a tough blend in a fishing boat, but I had seen examples of how I thought it could be done.
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We were amazed when the owner eased the boat out of the channel and up onto a grass flat and straight towards the edge of the mangroves. Trimming the Porta-Bracket upwards, the boat idled across 20” of water without even stirring up the sand. Though fishing my home inshore waters was not a primary goal, the ability to go shallow would certainly have benefits; like the family scallop trip and more.
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The Gulf of Mexico is not known for having larger seas like the Atlantic, so we had to resort to boat wakes, our own and others, to test the wave-cutting ability of the deep bow of the Morgan. While not big waves, we were impressed by how the boat sliced right through them, even when we sat up front for the impacts. We stopped and drifted side-to to oncoming boat wakes - nothing but stable. Gunnel height had been a prominent question for us as many Gulf boats have what I would say is too low of a gunnel for me. The Morgan offered 21” in the stern, which hits me at the top of the kneecap. Just enough to call it good, though a coaming pad would be required for comfort. It was high enough to not create a tipping point. The kids and my wife would hit even higher on their leg, creating even more fall-over prevention.
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As we idled back into the marina, we passed several other Morgan 24’s in various configurations of tower and layout. It was great to see more options, as we don’t ever see them on the East Coast in our area. We both decided on the ride home that we wanted to take the next step and explore the cost of a build.

I can’t tell you how many early morning hours when I couldn’t sleep, were spent snipping pictures and gathering ideas. Of course, dreaming up features is free and building them is not, so after our first meeting with Rick, the builder, we had to tone down a few of our items, but not too many. It sounded like we could still afford to build our dreamboats each slightly different, but very similar.

I tried to keep the back story short, and believe it or not, that is the short version. Lol. But it gives you enough of the story to appreciate its history.
Now I’ll get on with the good stuff. Pictures of the build.

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Ice Blue gel coat getting sprayed in the mold. This was the beginning!
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The gel coat is followed by layers of fiberglass and then the sides are stiffened with foam core and glassed over.
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Stringers are built heavy-duty and ready to glass into the hull.
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Stringers in and the beginning of bulkheads.
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Here the fuel tank is being fitted. I opted to bump up the standard 75 gallons to 100 since I knew I would be spending my time on local offshore and coastal areas versus inshore shallows. We also made a water tank between the fuel tank and the bottom of the boat. We predict to possibly have 40 to 50 gallons of freshwater which means we can use it to clean with all day.
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Sanded down and gel coated white for ease of cleaning and sealing of the raw glass.
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We had a long run of space under the deck outboard of the consoles. Instead of adding more expensive hatches, I opted to put in rod tubes to carry alternate sets of rods that we may or may not need on a particular day. I can carry them without having to work around them or get them salty. On the other side, I just did a cut out to store gaffs, chamois mops, deck brushes and other long items that are otherwise hard to store.
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The deck is built as a solid piece, then cut and fitted into the hull.
While construction was taking place, we were having some of our components built in other places to speed up the process. (remember this was a side job at first so we all agreed that finding components to build in would speed it up)
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We ordered our consoles from Panga Marine on the west coast of Florida. I like the recessed top. I'm thinking of a Seadek pad glued to a thin rubber material to give it weight. I don't want to stick it down, but would be great to protect and give traction to the catch-all that it will be during the day.
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The tower helm pod was built by Quality T-Tops in Tarpon Springs, Fl. They did a great job and cranked out a custom Matterhorn white version. They have three designs to choose from.
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I liked the built-in pod for the upper station electronics. A 9" Simrad NSS9 evo3.
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The leaning post/livewell/tackle storage combo was an easy choice. Birdsall Marine makes some great options and I went with the Baitmaster 40. This unit is in the prime real estate of the boat and takes care of many needs. Tackle storage for 4 Plano 3600s are on each side and the seat tips forward for more storage. This will become the heart of the tackle storage and the place that I work from during the day. It will contain the most likely needed tackle and leader during the fishing day. The sides will house the extras and other miscellaneous tackle and rigging supplies.
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A 40-gallon livewell will handle most of my bait requirements. The builder did add an upper overflow drain so that we could eliminate the standard standpipe that is always in the way. The standpipe drain opening will get a plug that can be removed to drain it at the end of the day. A four-rod holder rocket launcher is built into the backrest making this a pretty compact powerhouse accessory.
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This was another big day. The lifting from the mold. Very exciting!
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Then the deck went down and was glassed into place. This boat is solid as a rock!!!
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Next bulkheads started to be fitted and glassed into place. An anchor locker forward which drains overboard through a small weep hole to keep sand and mud from entering your bilge. The next space will be the forward storage closet with a door cut in for access.
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The cap has also been built at this point. I had Rick reinforce the bow deck for a trolling motor to be mounted. We also beefed up some of the side rod holders in case we are using electric reels somewhere.
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The V-seating is being trimmed to fit and will be glassed into the boat.
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A dry fit and everything is starting to look like a boat. All components are going to be faired in and glassed to the deck before the paint so it will all be solid, built-in and no screw heads to rust or crack the paint. I have to mention that Rick and his crew are a pleasure to work with and are very knowledgable about the build and the options to consider. We had a variety of additions and modifications and it was never an issue.

The boat has been underway for a while now, so I’m going to catch you up with the construction fairly quickly and then we will eventually catch up to real-time on the build. The boat is currently at Bluepoint Fabrication in Titusville getting a tower with a second station built. None of my previous boats had a tower, just a crow’s nest on the hardtop because I always needed to be on the deck to help the charters. But many coastal fisheries are incredibly enhanced by having more height and I knew I wanted controls in the tower and the quickest possible way to get back down to the deck to help family and friends with the business of fishing. I’m not building it to charter at this time, but many of the same conditions exist with fun fishing so the crossover is a given.

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Here is a picture I clipped online that is the inspiration for the Bimini top up front for family comfort and shade and a tower that is fully functional and easy to get up and down. V-seating up front takes care of two objectives. First, it gives passengers a place to sit and/or ride on calm days. A Bimini top will be the best way to create shade over the seating area while retaining the ability to quickly fold it down or remove it if needed. The built-in seats also create very dry storage areas as they have a hatch and cushion over them creating double protection from water. This is where I intend to have everyone’s baggage for the day. The console is going to have a cooler seat in front of the console door with a cushion for a backrest. I did not want to have to move that cooler for people to access items if stored in the console. The sides of the console were going to be blocked by the rungs of the ladder leading to the tower. I wanted these to be wide to facilitate climbing up and down. I did not want to have to chase the rungs with my feet and they taper aft like many towers I had seen.

I guess I could ramble on for days with my theories of placement, but I will just add my thoughts with the pictures as we go. I hope you find it interesting! It is an evolving process and there are many new technologies that I’m finding since the last boats I built up or rigged for other owners.

These are very exciting times to be a fisherman and boater, but one thing still remains to be one of the hardest parts…..The Name?...

To be continued...... image000001(3).jpg
 
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Ali

Master of Nothing
Admin
Apr 24, 2003
22,544
6,937
9
San Diego
Name
That Guy
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31' Innovator
Looking good Scotty. Can't wait to take a ride.
 

Capt. Scott Goodwin

Capt. Scott Goodwin
Jan 11, 2007
298
57
Merritt Island, Florida
www.bdoutdoors.com
Name
Capt. Scott Goodwin
Boat
Morgan 24, Glasser 16'8

Sisters- Two brand new Morgans coming together nicely. Mine is the ice blue hull.

Rick makes a skin for the inside of the hull sides by using the outside of the hull as a mold. It gets trimmed up and bonded onto the inside of the hull.

the boat will get a Porta-Bracket and twin swim platforms.

We also wanted a recessed electronics insert to keep the Simrad Nss evo3 out of the weather and create that valuable ledge where everyone keeps essentials during the day. The clear acrylic door lifts up and slides back into a pocket above so there is no door to deal with or have to store somewhere else. This was custom made at Pratt Plastics in Titusville, FL.

We also built a glove box to house the battery switches and switch panels. Its actually just dry fit here and its upside down. the door will open downward when installed.

The decks get layers of primer and paint with sanding in between. Few of the hatches are being cut in too.


we bought an aluminum frame and had it painted Matterhorn from Teak Isle. Then Rick cut out the console and used the panel from the cut out to make the face of the door.

Components started to become one with the boat. I wanted the v-seating up front to be the day storage for passenger's bags and such for the day. Of course, it also creates multiple seats for people to hang out on.
 
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shadzdad

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 6, 2010
839
177
Wahiawa,HI USA
Name
Darren
Boat
building one
Capt Scott, awesome boat and an even more impressive story. Loved the short version but wouldn't have minded the full story. Either way, love it.
 

Capt. Scott Goodwin

Capt. Scott Goodwin
Jan 11, 2007
298
57
Merritt Island, Florida
www.bdoutdoors.com
Name
Capt. Scott Goodwin
Boat
Morgan 24, Glasser 16'8
Morgan 24 Build continued...
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Hatch frames were built and then the deck cut to receive them and be glassed into the boat. The middle would be cut out later.
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The bow area would be covered by the cap and we divided the space up into a generous anchor locker and plenty of storage that will be accessed through a door. This is where I plan to build custom lifejacket hangers, store a bucket and seat to be the head. Probably build a hanger for the dock lines too on the wall inside of the door where it will be easy to reach in and grab them.
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The access door to the fwd storage locker in the works.
In the stern, a cowling was custom made to cover up the area of the transom where all harnesses and hydraulic hoses will pass through. I will also mount the pumps for the Porta Bracket and the other hardware and accessories. The cowling will be covered by the cap in the stern which is wider than the sides. If money had been no object, I wanted to put a bulkhead here to the floor and put insulated bait boxes in the transom, but that is something I had to nix because money is certainly an object. lol
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Paint and finish work continued and the console was prepped to be glasses to the deck as a permanent part of the boat.
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The cap was also being worked on. Planning out and cutting in the anchor locker. The hatch hinges towards the stern so that the anchor line can be shucked right into the hole as you retrieve it. A Gemlux Slam Latch will keep it closed, but easy to open.
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The non-skin is sprayed on with the paint and Rick and his crew are amazing at making it look even and pretty.
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One of the many splurges that will change the capability of the boat is the Rhodan 112# thrust, 36-volt, 84" shaft trolling motor. With this, I really will not be using that anchor very much. The ability to spot lock and sneak around will make this a fish killer. More on this set up later, but the splurge doesn't end there.
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Rick built custom swim platforms for us and we were not sure if we could get away without supports for them. In the end, we decided they did need a little support, but we did not want to use pipes (just for looks) so Rick worked up some fiberglass struts which look great and made the platform rock solid!
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Hatches were also being built off to the side and ready to fit into the landings once the deck was finished.
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There is really nothing Rick and his team can't build at Marine Tech Inc. As always, it just takes time and money!
Stay tuned, We're close to bringing it home, but far from going fishing! It is a lesson in supreme patience to build one like this, but it will be worth it in the end!
 
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Capt. Scott Goodwin

Capt. Scott Goodwin
Jan 11, 2007
298
57
Merritt Island, Florida
www.bdoutdoors.com
Name
Capt. Scott Goodwin
Boat
Morgan 24, Glasser 16'8
The build continues, and I'm encouraged that the pace is picking up a little. I had been working on laying out a tower design based on more West Coast Florida boats. We don't see many of these on the East Coast, though more are starting to pop up and I think it will continue.
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Measuring other boats that have measurable distances and heights were part of designing a tower or t-top. It's built for me so I picked a height for rod holders that I could comfortably reach and not risk hitting my head. I also preferred to have the tower floor positioned above my line of sight when at the lower helm, but the overall legal height on the trailer is the number you have to work back from.
One of my goals was to make the tower as easy to climb up and down as possible so I could get back to the deck to work or assist family and friends.
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Bluepoint built the tower steps out of an oval pipe built with treads in it and they crown them out to make them easier to climb. Gil said it also makes the tower incredibly strong. Each step is barely staggered but it makes a big difference when climbing.
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The crew at Bluepoint Fabrication began fitting the main structure to the boat. They really took in my download of wishes and measurements and turned it into an aluminum work of art.
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The tower differs from a t-top in that it does not have the forward portion of the top. The aft shade is very similar and is has functional aspects like being the base of for accessories and rod holders. Gil from Bluepoint had the great idea to order rod holders to match the ones that came on the Birdsall leaning post. They have a nice oval cut out and really looked sharp. It seemed like a good place to spend a little money on looks.
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We were able to get six rod holders across the back and two "kingfish" or side-mounted ones on the outer edge. We got four more on the back of the tower seat that will be used when sightfishing up top or for storage.
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We designed a fiberglass channel, glassed to the top of the hardtop to create a wire chase for VHF, anchor light, spreader, and overhead courtesy light.
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The tower floor was built out of fiberglass and painted to match the boat. The topside is sprayed with non-skid.
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Here is what I found when I pulled up the other day to Bluepoint. Wow!! It really completed the look and lookout tripletail and cobia.
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We brought her home and began to explore the new tower. It was gorgeous.
The tower is going to have full control of the boat. Controls, Zipwake Dynamic Trim-Control head, Simrad 9" NSS evo3, Fusion wifi stereo remote, VHF RAM mic and more.
I just dropped the boat off at Quality Marine in Merritt Island to hang Dad's motor and begin to rig the steering and controls. Then it will come home and I will start putting in the rest of the systems.
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The pile of supplies has been stacking up and the time is coming soon to start layering the systems.
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I have LED blue lights and spreader lights from T-H Marine. I will put in under gunnel rope lights, LED compartment lights and a Bluewater underwater light in the transom.
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I'm incredibly excited to install the12" MFD into the dash and let it be a window to the world around me and more importantly below me. I will install a thru-hull CHIRP transducer and the Total Scan transom mount transducer so there will be nowhere for a fish to hide.
Stay tuned for more rigging. You are now caught up to real-time and the boat's current state.
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December 23, 2019
Time for an update. The boat continues to steadily move forward and as with any project, it always takes longer and costs more than you think. The neighbors and HOA are being patient as the yard ornament continues. As I write this, it is pouring rain and I've lost the last two days to unusually persistent rain. I've thrown every spare minute at the wiring job and I'll admit, sometimes I feel like I'll never run out of wires to hook up, but so far it is going well.
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There have still been plenty of decisions taking place. Using exact templates, I've been playing with the placement of items in the dash panel.
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Using a mock steering wheel to decide whether to go off-center or in the middle. I chose off-center because I know I will often have my kids in the tower with me and this lets me work off to the side and share the seat. It also gave a better view of the Simrad 9". I hated to go off-center from a visual standpoint, but this is one where function won over looks.
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Tim Johnson from Quality Marine Services in Merritt Island has been working on my outboards for many years. I tasked him with the hanging of the motor and installing the steering and other engine related equipment.
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He took great care in covering up all work surfaces to prevent going backward. Much appreciated!!
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Rigging tubes and hydraulic lines are passing through the extra thick transom.
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The Porta Bracket is driven by a hydraulic pump exactly like a jack plate.
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This was a big day. Dad's motor is about to be bolted on to the Porta Bracket.
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Finally, the motor has a new home.
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More templates and decisions had to be made. "Measure twice, cut once they say."
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Both helms were laid out to maximize function and looks.
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Using the battery trays for scale, I began the process of initial layout inside the console. I have one group 31 for a house/start battery and 3 group 27's to create the 36-volt bank for the trolling motor. I only used one battery for the house and start because I will have the ability to set up an emergency jump-start switch that will pull 12 volts from the trolling motor bank.
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My first project was to install the new Zipwake Interceptor trim tabs. I'm very excited to experience this technology. I've been hearing great things about the performance. Instead of the traditional large tab, the Zipwake deploys a small blade into the stream of water flowing beneath the boat. Fully extended is only like a half-inch, but it creates lift and is documented to have less drag than traditional tabs. Couple this with a quick reaction time driven by a computer that self levels itself while you run. Of course, you have manual controls and preset settings from a user-friendly control head.
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The Zipwakes are pretty straight forward to install. I watched their video a couple of times and felt pretty comfortable with my install. There are a variety of configurations made to match the design of most boat hulls. Mine was very straight forward.
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Using the included template, I drilled the hole for the cabling and the pilot holes for mounting.
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I set a depth marker on the drill bit with tape to indicate how deep to go into the transom without going too deep.
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Once the pilot holes are drilled, you are ready to caulk and install the backplate of the unit followed by the cover. It's that simple.
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The further to the outside of the hull you can install the Zipwake, the better the performance. You can add multiple units along the transom to increase the capacity of the Zipwake.
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Next, I installed the Zipwake black box on the inside of the transom. The individual units hook to this along with power and the wires from the control head come back to this unit.
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Next, it was time to start pulling wires! My "simple" boat sure became a little more complicated, but I just did one run at a time and labeled excessively on both ends.
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The panel for inside my glove box was prepped and ready to put the switches in.
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Last edited:
Nov 7, 2014
1
0
52
Name
Scott
Boat
Old Town Predator XL 13.5, Ocean Kayak Prowler 13
It is looking great, even better than I had imagined! I have witnessed some of the build take place and have heard this story from you as it unfolded while we are out fishing on the river. It is an awesome project, it will be a fish slayer and fun for the family when it is finished my brother.
 

shadzdad

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 6, 2010
839
177
Wahiawa,HI USA
Name
Darren
Boat
building one
Unbelievably gorgeous. Master craftsmanship combined with your experience and vision is making one hell of a dream come true
 

Ali

Master of Nothing
Admin
Apr 24, 2003
22,544
6,937
9
San Diego
Name
That Guy
Boat
31' Innovator
Nice work Scotty. Can't wait for a first hand report on the Zip Wakes.

I'd like to be the first to book a trip and I hear March 2025 is still open?

Two more weeks....