Swelling An Original Bottom In Cold Water Is Not For The Faint Of Heart!

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Scarlet likes her water all right

OK, I am sitting here shaking like, well, I don’t know. My brain is just cringing at the bit of high drama on the water. See, we are soaking up Scarlet for the trip to Florida, we gave her two full days in the water, in the boathouse to soak up, and well, she did get a tad better, but this morning I went to clean her out and water just kept coming.

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Hooked up at Jennings Boatyard in Reedville VA

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The good news is that its about 30 minutes between a 1 minute bilge run. So I started her up. VROOM, and motored to the lift to get her on the trailer for her drive. But, as I noticed, the water was there in the bilge. More than anyone should be used to, and not enough to cry like a baby and jump. I nelt down to see if the front bilge was working. NO! Just a hum… OH SHIP! I put on a little speed to kick in the rear bilge pump which helped. Then made it to the dock at the lift and they hooked it up. The front bilge not working. YIKES. Now, at some point it kicked in. My guess an air pocket. And it wouldn’t cut on and off to reboot it. But we kinda lifted the rear a tad to let her drain. 5 minutes later she was dryer. We didn’t want to lift her out with all that water in the bilge.

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Here she comes

Once lifted we noticed that none of the seams has closed. NO WONDER. Now, we all know that cold water is no friend to swelling. But maybe is closed up a tad. The big question is…. Will she soak up in the warm waters of lake Dora? The plan right now is to drop her in the drink Wednesday afternoon and head to Paul and Karen Harrisons lift to give her a day of safe swelling for the show!  Nothing ever goes wrong with them around? Right? Right? Or, just leave her and take another boat. I am not sure our nerves can take it!

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Lowering her on her custom made trailer

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The bottom did not swell. SHRINKAGE!

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She looks good!

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Warm waters will do her wonders


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Safe on the trailer.

17 replies
    • Marty Feletto
      Marty Feletto says:

      Matt. One of the standard items on all of my boats is a portable bilge pump. I buy a small cheap pump, add maybe 6 feet of outlet hose, and enough electrical cord to reach a battery. Clips then on the ends to attach to a battery. Saved lots of people’s bacon over the years for $30. You can place it where the water is gathering which is not always where the onboard pump is useful and outlet over the side. I think every boat should have one on board. Also gives you a shot of using another battery to keep the boat afloat until you can get to safety.

      Leaving California at 5:30 am tomorrow!

      • Marty Feletto
        Marty Feletto says:

        I need to add that I usually have 10-15 feet of electrical cord so you can reach anywhere in the boat or over the side to a neighboring boat. I just buy a cheap extension cord and cut the ends off to make it work.

        Also serves as a backup pump if the main or one of the mains fail

  1. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    yep….slick seam…..

    I can’t picture that boat? Not sure I knew you had that one?

    see you Thursday.

    John in Va.

  2. Fredster
    Fredster says:

    Two bilge pumps, 1/8″ + wide seems , takes more than 24hrs to soak using hose method!!!. She is a loose goose that wants to sink. Nothing worse than the constant worry & devices to keep her afloat, not to mention the continued damage to the framing. Get a new bottom for both your sakes. No brainer.

  3. Wudzgud
    Wudzgud says:

    Remember what Jim Staib said the other day about his boat before 5200 bottoms? He would pull over at the rest stops on his way to Dora and fill up her bilge with water to soak and ride. Sounds like a good idea!

  4. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I can’t promise Paul’s lift will be empty Wednesday afternoon. I found a lovely late 70’s redneck pontoon on Craigslist and I was thinking it would be the perfect house warming gift.

  5. Fred
    Fred says:

    I agree with Fredster, its time to bite the bullet, its bottom time. 2 bilge pumps, seams that wide? Plus the pounding it takes on the trailer over the road? When I had the original bottom done on my 50 CC, it seemed like more than half the screws were broken. Pretty scary that i had family and friends out on that boat witha bottom that stayed on mainly by memory..

  6. Red Dog
    Red Dog says:

    Do women know about shrinkage? It shrinks? I don’t know how you guys put up with ’em. Now that’s a classic Sienfeld :- )

  7. Rich
    Rich says:

    “Original” and “Bottom” are two words that don’t work well together. Get some new lumber on it and don’t worry about multiple bilge pumps.

  8. don danenberg
    don danenberg says:

    That is correct.
    Its probably beyond its 6-MONTH warranty already?

    When Matt first assumed responsibility for this hull it was “Original”, didn’t need the weekend bottom-job at all!

    I immediately thought of my Maternal Grand Mothers’ 1955, Crown Victoria (11,000 miles), turned over to my older brother.
    Every time my mother warned him not to screech the tires, he said that he was just “burning the Carbon” out of it”.

    By 90-days, it was spewing blue smoke!

    A modern rebuild of the 430 (431) CI, Big Block, might just shake up some tired, old, wood?
    Jimmy, you are splitting frames, listen to Fred.

  9. don danenberg
    don danenberg says:

    So.., really..,
    Does “warm water” work better than the “cold water” of Michigan, where that boat was built?

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