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smackdaddy 07-26-2012 01:33 PM

Beach Cats in Rehab!
78 Attachment(s)
As mentioned in another thread, I recently bought "the LiLo of beach cats", a 1975 Spirit you can see the striking similarity:

Obviously, the ultimate goal is to be able to party like this:

But that's going to take quite a bit of work for the glazed-over trainwreck pictured above (the cat, not LiLo).

In another thread, I started documenting my efforts at rehabbing the old slag (the cat, not LiLo) - but I decided this process deserved it's very own thread. So I moved that post here as you can see below. I'm currently working on the next installment - so stay tuned!

smackdaddy 07-26-2012 01:34 PM

Re: Beach Cats in Rehab!
78 Attachment(s)
Okay - so begins the epic saga to "fix up the old girl"...

My first round of advice, if you're going to buy a crappy old beach cat, make sure it's ready to sail as-is. You can spend a fortune fixing things if you're the kind of person that "wants to do it right". I'm not that kind of person - at least not for this boat. I paid $200 for the boat, trailer and 2 sets of fairly good sails. And I could very easily spend another $1,000 or more if I wanted it to be mint. I don't.

I just want to use it as a learning and fun opportunity for me and my boys. We can learn about fiberglass work, rigging, painting, etc. without worrying about screwing something expensive up. Then we can have a hell of a lot of fun learning to sail a cat - until it falls apart. If we love it, we can then buy a Nacra F18 or something.

So, this project is all about seeing how inexpensively and creatively I can get this thing looking pretty tasty (from 20' feet away) and sailing pretty well (at least on days it's not blowing 70 knots). It's kind of like bl's "Low Buck" thread, where I'll ask for advice on how cheaply this stuff can be done; then report back on how much of a disaster (or success) it was.

The first order of business was a good power-washing, then taking the whole thing apart. The tramp needed re-stitching, the castings needed painting, and the hulls needed a hell of a lot of work.

First to the castings...a good cleaning with acetone, then a couple of cans of spray paint...

Then to the seriously crappy patch jobs on the hull - which you can see in this photo...

The starboard hull was in pretty good shape, but the port hull (beneath patch in photo) had been crushed by wearing thin on the beach, then having some fatty climb on the tramp while it was on the trailer, crushing a section and holing it in two places.

So, first we cleaned and sanded the area, then made a shaped backer by laying-up over wax paper on the hull area we were going to cut out....(learned all this from a buddy with some experience...and on YouTube)...

Then we pulled out the saw and went to town...

Then we sanded back at roughly 12:1...

We cut and glued in the backer-plate, held in place by eye-screws and fishing line...

And finally started laying up the new glass...

Then it was on to filling and faring the other hull...

And finally...blading off the stripes...

Coming up...the top decks which have a couple of soft-spots, a little delamination, and a couple of pretty significant dings...

Then comes the sanding, priming and painting (and tons of other stuff)...


Initial Purchase Price.................$200
Wheel for Trailer........................$38
Lights for Trailer.........................$30
Hitch for Trailer..........................$34
Epoxy Resin...............................$60
Spray Paint................................$27
Fiberglass Cloth..........................$14
Pinking Shears...........................$22 (my buddy and determined...not critical)


Squidd 07-26-2012 01:43 PM

Re: Beach Cats in Rehab!
"F'n" Buddies... Can't live with 'em...Can't tell good stories without 'em...

Surprising what a can of spray paint can do...

flyingwelshman 07-26-2012 01:50 PM

Re: Beach Cats in Rehab!
It's going to be a blast!

blowinstink 07-26-2012 01:52 PM

Re: Beach Cats in Rehab!
Damn Smack! You're doing a nice job but its a hobie 16! Could you find one in solid condition on a trailer for 700-800? Seriously though - nice to see you salvaging this one. There are some cheap aftermarket tramps (not class legal) that you oughta look into if you need a tramp.

Delamination is a killer, but if you plan to take it one, the drill multiple small holes and inject resin seems to be a good method. Others look to install a deck access port where the delam is (thereby giving you the opportunity to cut it out and also get at any remaining areas). website has some great info if you hunt.

Damn, I miss my hobie . . . Have fun.

overbored 07-26-2012 02:07 PM

Re: Beach Cats in Rehab!
what kind if cat is that?, the boat I mean, looks like a cross between a hobie and a prindle

smackdaddy 07-26-2012 02:17 PM

Re: Beach Cats in Rehab!
78 Attachment(s)
Actually, stink, it's a 1975 Spirit 17 (I added that to the OP). It was actually advertised as a Hobie, but you can see that it doesn't have the hull-rocker of a Hobie 16 (nor the arched forward crossbar for the tramp). The hulls look more like a Hobie 17, but the 17 doesn't have the tramp pylons. Also, the rudders are Prindle type.

It's really a Frankenstein mix of Hobie and Prindle designs. After asking around on the Hobie and BeachCats forums, someone recognized it at the Spirit 17. This matched the insignia on a trashed out main I found bundled with the other Hobie sails that came with the boat:

But I haven't been able to find ANY MORE info than that. I've searched all over the interwebs and NOTHING. Nothing about the company, the boat, nothing.

overbored 07-26-2012 02:42 PM

Re: Beach Cats in Rehab!
heard of them but never have seen one before. looks like the prindle rudder casting without the auto kick up rudders

blowinstink 07-26-2012 02:55 PM

Re: Beach Cats in Rehab!

Originally Posted by smackdaddy (Post 901612)
Actually, stink, it's a 1975 Spirit 17 (I added that to the OP).

That's me being my lazy-assed self. I saw the yellow hulls and immediately assumed late 70's hobie . . ..


Originally Posted by smackdaddy (Post 901612)
But I haven't been able to find ANY MORE info than that. I've searched all over the interwebs and NOTHING. Nothing about the company, the boat, nothing.

Again, (sounds like you might have found it but if not) check out (they have an associated listserve too if you are interested). I believe they even have (had?) an "I.D. this cat" section. Definitely some fanatics into long lost designs.


smackdaddy 07-26-2012 03:07 PM

Re: Beach Cats in Rehab!
78 Attachment(s)
Okay - time for the next installment...

We left off having glassed-in the major damage on the hull bottoms, roughed in the fairing compound, and started in on the stripe removal.

The stripes were pretty easy with a top-of-the-line utility scraper (make sure you buy the one that says "Scraper" on it like mine). You just have be careful to keep the blade really flat in order to not gouge the gelcoat, and work side-to-side in a circular motion...

Next was sanding and fairing the patches. Since sanding is the dream of every young kid, I made my boys help with this:

It took about 5 layers to get it just right...

But it came out very nicely...

Next came the glecoat cracks. We used a conical grinder drill bit and went down to the glass. Sanded back the edges, and filled with fairing compound...

Next came the deck work. Overall the decks are fairly solid, but there were 3-4 areas that had taken serious hits and/or were soft. Two of the worst areas were right at the forward starboard pylon.

Crushed deck - and unbelievably bad patch job with drywall tape..

Delam with crack in top-deck at pylon..

So, we sanded them down to the foam and started rebuilding...

We drilled 1/4" holes in the top skin ONLY and used the widely touted epoxy injection method (using an old chalk-line chalk container to squeeze it in).

One of the things I blew off in this technique was pre-taping the deck. Most people first tape off the entire area then drill to keep from making a mess on the deck. That didn't make sense to me, so I just drilled where I needed to, then taped over the holes to protect the immediate area, then punched through them for the fill. Worked fine and saved a lot of effort.

If you squint just right, you'll notice it kind of looks like the spawn of George Washington and Buckwheat. But I digress...

Next came the fairing and sanding of these areas...

Then the taping and buildup to match the no-skid height...

I'll try to match the no-skid pattern in the gelcoat when I get to that point.

Finally, I had to fix the shroud chainplates. The bolts were missing, as were the interior nuts, so they were only held in place by the bar that ran under hull lip.

I drilled a bigger raggedy hole (not obsessing at all over the type of bit to use), bought a couple of these bad boys for next to nothing...

...epoxied them into place and filled the hole...and bada-boom!

We faired the rest of the major gouges, scraches, cracks, etc. (like you see in the pic above) and finished up injecting the other softspot. Then it was time to figure out what to do about the nasty looking finish.

I read a crapload of posts and articles about paint versus gelcoat. But before even going down that road, I wanted to see if it was possible to polish off the gunk to the gelcoat finish below.

I started with heavy cut compound, and it began to help...but the skank ran deep...

Then I used an orbital sander with 120 grit just to see how much I'd have to take off to get to good stuff. I finally started getting there, but the coat was just a bit too thin...

Stripe is disappearing:

Primer is appearing...

So, this wasn't going to work. Now I needed to make the decision as to whether I would paint or gelcoat. Gelcoat is a bit cheaper, but more of a hassle. Paint scratches so easily, especially on a boat like this that takes a beating.

So, I've decided to roll this gelcoat stuff on...

A gallon costs 1/2 what the boat cost. But it'll be an interesting experiment. I'll let you guys know how it turns out.


Total spent to date: $478.

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