I am fortunate enough to the luckiest sort of son, the type whose dad owns a boat. A 1987 Boston Whaler Classic 15' boat, to be exact, with a 60HP OEM Evinrude outboard. After much soul-searching and deliberation this spring, I decided that the time was ripe to pump a little love (and money) into this able craft, all in the name of comfort and fishability.
ContinuousWave is a terrific resource for Whaler aficionados, and I was able to find numerous examples of other Whaler-refit projects as well as this little gem: an original wood-locating schematic. Armed with just enough knowledge about boats to make me truly dangerous, I've set out to make the following improvements this fall:
Install a fiberglass side console to replace the low-slung original mahogany;
Elevate the rear thwart seat to allow under-seat gas stowage (this hopefully will improve trim fore-aft), and install cushioned boat seats for the captain and first mate;
Fabricate a rear casting deck, which will increase stowage aft of the rear seats but also provide a platform, flush to the gunwale, from which to cast, pole, dive, etc;
Replace the anchor with one that fits the bow stowage locker;
Install foward cooler brackets to hold a large cooler - perfect for storing fish on ice, and providing a seat in the bow.
During the refit, I hope to retain as much of the attractive (but uncomfortable) mahogany fittings as possible. In addition, I am eyeing the following big-ticket items for future conquest: a poling platform for push-poling the flats for tailing reds; a new four-stroke outboard; and a custom fabricated bow rail of heavier-gauge aluminum that is more substantial but less obstructive than the current wraparound bow rail design.
Hopefully, I'll be able to post some pictures later this summer. Target date for completion: October 2009. Redfish, here we come!
The '87 Whaler in its current condition, Capt. Jim at the helm (Edisto SC 2007).