The Woody Whaler Is Almost Ready!

The 1970 Whaler with a 2012 photo shoped mercury big foot outboard. Vintage 1970 mercury graphics on the motor

Last summer we picked up a very sweet 1970 Boston Whaler Sakonnet in Michigan. She is perfect, just needed a good buffing, and after a summer of cooling issues and not being able to find a Bearcat mechanic on the east coast. We have decided to replace the Bearcat with a new 4 cycle motor. As seen in the pic up top.

Original stain, now with 3 coats of varnish.

We have put 3 coats of varnish on all the wood, the cool part is that we were able to save the original finish. The gel coat buffed out perfectly, not one spider crack. Something these old whalers are famous for.

Original Gelcoat. just buffed out and waxed.

Ready to go fishing!


30 replies
    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      Good enough, get out and use it! It doesn’t need 10 coats and a clean room, it needs a bunch of people in it having fun – when boating season arrives, that is!

    • Carl Garmhaus
      Carl Garmhaus says:

      Bring it back to MI and I’ll be happy to spray the last 2 coats of varnish in my automotive downdraft booth. Dustfree, no sags or holiday’s. You prep and bring the beer.

  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    You got her looking ship shape. If you brought her back to Michigan, you may even win another award!

  2. Mike Green
    Mike Green says:

    I think I saw the boat if it is the same one. Did you get it from Jon Homister? His dad had one that was very cool, when I delivered Jon’s boat that I restored the bottom on he let me check it out. Very cool boat Matt.

  3. Chris Wade
    Chris Wade says:

    BeeeaUuuutiful! When I was a kid, these were IT! These Whalers were what the rich kinds from the yacht club toyed with. Now they all have jet skis or jet boats. This is a classy little lady! Try to rinse the worm guts of daily please.

  4. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    “your work” is just fine…..great boat to “go boating”!

    Nice job, launch her soon..winter boating is fun.

    John in Va.

  5. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    So far not one comment from some guy decrying the fact that it is made of galss, that is very nice to see!

    I think this is a fabulous boat and would start using and immediately, forget any more varnish. Winter comes every year, thus you have plenty of time to burnish the blemishes annually.

    Now, one thing – modern power? How come? I can understand the need to replace the Bearcat, but there were plenty of decent O/B’s built at that time. Admittedly they are very dirty though.

    I was going to suggest not bothering to bring it to Tavares and once again let Kabot’s Habit do the heavy lifting, troop transport and photo boat work, etc., but it is such a great little boat that it should be there. Might be a little small for Sunnyland duty is all but otherwise I’d love to see it.

    • Mike Green
      Mike Green says:

      Paul, I call shenanigans on the modern power. After further investigation Matt did a little crop and paste action. My daughter Miranda says “Matt is so busted”.

  6. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    I never realized you guys were so stressed about the judging at Algonac last year. Somehow, I think it may have had more to do with how you put the web site in MELT DOWN! We had a great time together.

  7. Alex
    Alex says:

    Great boat! The aqua interior on yours is gorgeous. My vote is 100% for the modern power. This is not a show boat (tho well preserved). It’s a Whaler. That automatically makes it a user boat, because Whalers are purpose-built to be used mercilessly. User boat means daily reliability is paramount. It also means hours on end of boating. Who wants to hear and smell and feel a noisy old outboard for hours? Or mess around mixing fuel? Were not talking about classic motor vs modern, as in an inboard. We’re talking 2 stroke vs 4. Rattly bucket of bolts vs purr. Ok, I expect I’ve upset a few people with that. I’m sorry. It’s a totally personal opinion about 2 stroke anything. I’d own one, but for an occasional use boat, not a daily driver. Best part is, you will always have your original motor. So you’ll have the best of all worlds. Re the graphics you’re planning, I totally get that too. (I’ve attached a pic of the motor you’re mimicking.) Yes, you and everyone will know it’s not a “vintage” motor. But what the graphics do is tie the new motor better to the vintage of the boat. It’s all good. And hey, if you ever want to live some of that vintage motor experience with the new, decaled one, just pour a half quart of oil in the gas tank and get some vintage smoke going.

    P.S. Have I sucked up enough to get rides at Tavares?

  8. matt
    matt says:

    The sad part of all this is that the original bearcat 55 is a 4 cycl. Thats right, the first ever made. its clean and cool. BUT no one on the east coast knows how to work on it, and it sounds like an airplane. its defning. I am going to set it aside. only 600 hours on it.

    • Randy
      Randy says:

      Actually, this outboard started out being manufactured by Fageol in the mid-50’s. It was based on the Crosley automotive engine (which was the power of choice in the small 48 cubic inch limited inboard hydroplanes — one of which I have). I think it was in the late 1950’s Fageol sold the rights/tooling to Homelite, who sold these Bearcats. Boy, they were heavy but ran and ran and ran and …..

      My current 48 is a Ted Jones design, 12-ft long, built around 1960. I had two 48’s as a kid in the late-50’s — boy, the little hydro’s were fun and did they ever ‘scoot’.

      Don’t throw that homelite away — maybe I could use that block as back-up power!!!!!

  9. Alex
    Alex says:

    I stand corrected. Very interesting to learn it’s a 4. Maybe it’s noisy because it still looks like a 2. 🙂

  10. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    I have an ’87 Evinrude 2stroke and a ’03 Suzuki 4stroke and it is so quite with ultra low emissions and fuel efficiency it wins by quite a bit. No way would would I go back in time with either. I do not expect to ever get another engine but if I did it would have to be more like the Suzuki. I have heard that the new Etec’s from Evinrude are great as well. My engines came with the boats at purchase but I have learned to appreciate the 4 stroke quite a bit. A very pleasant experience.

  11. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    Matt, great job with photoshop! And the buffer and on your varnish! And she’s a cool boat! Love the turquoise interior. Is my sucking up better than Alex’?

  12. Queequeg
    Queequeg says:

    If someone were to harpoon a sperm whale and tie him off to the bow, would he drag me and the boat under?

  13. Alex
    Alex says:

    Thought this was interesting too.

    Here’s a quote from Dick Fisher, founder of Boston Whaler:

    “For the benefit of the Department of Commerce busybodies, ‘Mahogany’ means any wood we elect so to name. Don’t worry about this, the wood is good; you might vote more thoughtfully, however.”

    He also said:

    Some people “believe that Whalers are totally invulnerable to any hazard and can probably, in fact, climb a brick wall. The very safety and ‘surefootedness’ of the 13-foot Whaler, can constitute a hazard by inducing the careless driver or occupant to fail to watch the water ahead, to sit in a slouched attitude, neglect to hold on, or to operate standing up. The solo driver in particular should be careful in all boats. If he falls overboard, the driver-less boat will not return and rescue him of its own accord.” In short, he said his boats are not “damnfoolproof.”

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