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q240z 12-03-2007 08:15 AM

FOUND! Roamer 46
I just found this Roamer. It's a 1968 or 1969 46' boat. The hull is in excellent condition, just needs strip and repaint. Did I just say "just"? HA!

Anyway, there's no significant rot in the interior, but it needs stripping and revarnishing. Needs engines and generator, batteries, some wiring, stuffing box and cutlass bearing work, etc. It's got a lot of potential. Though it was originally diesel, it's now got twin turbo International Harvester gas engines that are kind of amazing but stuck solid.

I don't know if this boat will suffice for our purposes, but I'm doing the math on it anyway. I've heard that an Awl Grip paint job including necessary stripping could run $80k. The paint is basically falling off. I've also heard that by hiring workers of unknown origin, it might be possible to pull off a nice roll and tip for much, much less. I'm looking at the cost of materials and can't see doing it for much less than $10k, even with a pack of guys working at $8/hr.

For repower, I'm thinking Nanni Toyota diesel in the 200hp range might suffice. Still waiting on pricing for that...

Fire away with any questions or comments. So far on another site the comments have run 100% against doing this boat. "Buy something that somebody else has already got prettied up and running and save yourself a bundle" is the general tone. Thoughts (hopefully based in some sort of experienced reality lol)?










chriswufgator 12-03-2007 11:50 AM

Two things from my experience,

First: As to "no significant rot", those front salon window frames are totally shot, as you can see the rot in the right hand corner even in the photos and I'm sure it doesn't look better in person. You will need to rebuild these, as well as all the surrounding trim, and this is expensive unless you do it yourself.

Since those are shot, you can pretty much bet that the framing for the sliders on each side of the salon will be shot as well, requiring work. This, also, is expensive but necessary.

You can also bet on anything in the downward path of those window water leaks is either rotten, or well on its way to being rotten.

Secondly, don't underpower the boat. I had this discussion with another forum member awhile back.

Your fuel savings for doing so will be negligible, and you will kill your resale value. The problem with fuel economy on these is the planing hull design, and not the engines. By underpowering it, you are just running a smaller engine at a higher percentage of its capacity vs. running a larger engine at a lower percentage of capacity. The total amount of motive force required to push the hull at a given speed will be identical either way, and so your fuel economy will be very similar either way.

By underpowering it, you're not really gaining anything. You will kill your resale value, though, because you'd be creating a gas guzzling family cruiser that only goes trawler speeds, thus eliminating the entire set of buyers who want either a family cruiser that can get up and go, or a trawler that gets decent economy. Pretty much all downside and little upside.

If you are worried about the initial cost of the engines, then pick up a decent set of low hour or rebuilt detroits or something else in the 300hp+ per side range, for the same price you will be dropping on the new 200hp's.

Those are my thoughts.

q240z 12-03-2007 01:27 PM

I know I mentioned that I'm a wooden boat owner and that there's no significant rot, but did I mention that the boat's free? Maybe when you're coming from 15 tons of mahogany, a 6"x12" piece of plywood trim under the windows just doesn't seem all that significant. lol

In my experience, the plywood under leaking windows is susceptible to rot. My awl didn't find any except for the piece of trim under the port front window. The aft deck teak decking right at the port wing door was also shot in a 12"x8" area and the plywood below it is gone. The rest of the deck appears to be in very solid condition. Of course, the fore and side decks are aluminum plate and are solid.

There is also one good running Ford Lehman w/gears in the yard near this boat and I know the owner of it. He would like to sell it. If somebody had another Lehman and time or money to spare...

chriswufgator 12-03-2007 03:43 PM

Ya, I have a 30' Constellation, which sounds a lot smaller than your woodie, but I have still learned a lot from it.

That decking isn't going to be as simple as it looks. I had to do that myself, and looks can be deceiving. Once you get into it, you really need to redo a lot more than you'd think by looking at it. The plywood subfloors that chris-craft put in were not marine grade or any kind of treated. Once water gets into one end of it, it acts like a wick. You will find that there is probably a much larger section of the plywood subfloor that will need replacement than what you can see. Also check the frames, which should be easy since the photos seem to indicate that all of the headliners are shot anyway.

The window frames are the same deal. You look at it and think "Oh gee, that is pretty simple" but it's not. I'd take replacing planking any day over dealing with those ****ed window frames. Heck, I'd even take doing the sheer planks again over that job. It is so tedious and frustrating....you think you've caught everything, and then you go out with the hose and find it still leaking. It will really test your patience.

I gotta say, though, if the boat is really free then definitely TAKE IT. However bad off it is, who cares...you still have a boat that you didn't have before and it didn't cost you anything.

artwork 12-04-2007 08:58 AM

The other side
Looks like a great project and you can't beat the price. I'm in the middle of a project boat also. A wise 'rebuilder once told me "Put together a thorough budget in both money and time. Do it carefully and stare at it a while". "Then DOUBLE THE MONEY AND TRIPLE THE TIME. You'll come out close."
Now for the confession; I'm the other side of Chris Wufgater's power debate. I'll give you what I agree with first - displacement speed power will reduce the marketability of your boat - I agree. But the trawler market is increasing and the rest of the market is decreasing. He is also correct in HP=speed. Use 20% of twin 320HP or 60% of twin 120HP the resultant speed is the same.

My view differes on several points. The hull form is pretty close to the popular 'trawler yachts' such as Grand Banks. They should cruise at displacement speed just as comfortably. One of our members cruises his 48 Roamer at 8 knots with t210 hp and is quite happy.
Second, only consider DD if you don't care about weight, fuel consumption, noise, or black smoke. They are 2 cycle diesel dinosaurs. True, they are cheap and readily available, but if your budget is calling for new or close to new -get four stroke, common rail. The leymans are a compromise - not new, not common rail, but they are 4 stroke, econmonical and parts are still available even though they are no longer in production.
Third, engine manufacturers and mechanics alike, say DO NOT run a diesel at low power for long periods. It will shorten the life of a very expensive piece of machinery and you will not get the same fuel economy at low power (though it may be close in common rail injection engines). So the discussion boils down to 'fit the engine to the speed desired'. If you plan to cruise hours on end (my plans call for 600 to 1000 hours/year), don't overpower.

I'll let Chris rebut this, then we can move on to the rest of the project - lots of work there. This is no weekend project.

SeaEric 12-04-2007 09:54 AM

Its really a shame that such a beautiful yacht has been allowed to fall into ruin like this. One must look at the economics of bringing back a boat that is now essentially salvage. With the current market being what it is, there will likely be a nice, well maintained princess come available for a bargain price. A well kept boat that must be sold for one reason or another can make an excellent purchase for a ready buyer with cash. You may perhaps even buy a "finished" boat for a small fraction of what the hard cost will be to fix the boat pictured above.

Now, That said: If your desire is to hands on, take several years, and "build" your boat- then perhaps the refit is the way to go. If that's the case, carry on!

q240z 12-04-2007 12:09 PM

There's this division in boaters regarding fuel efficiency & power and how choosing efficiency wrecks resale on MYs. I'm pretty sure that we haven't been in the $4+/gallon era long enough to see the full extent of the fallout, but you're hard pressed to find an online boat forum these days where a thread on the price of fuel and/or improving efficiency isn't on page one. Hell, even on the Hatteras site they're talking seriously about diesel-electric hybrids and 10kts max. The times they are a-changin'...

As to DD's, I love 'em. The key is to look at how you use the boat and prop & derate accordingly. When they're set up to run all day long at 1800rpm but you never take them above 1200, you're just wasting fuel and keeping your mechanic very happy. DD injectors squirt the same amount of fuel at a given rpm and they don't care if you're using all of the potential power at that RPM or not. But if you prop it so that it's using all or most of the available power, your engine runs as hot as it's supposed to and the fuel efficiency can be amazing.

If it was me doing the fixing on this 46, I'd cut the bad deck ply out only to the extent that it's rotten, then pull the bungs on the rest of the decking around the area and squirt a bunch of CPES down the screw holes. The stuff's hydrophilic and wicks extremely well in plywood.

Anyway, I'm posting an ad for the boat on craigslist. Hopefully, somebody will take it before the owner gives it to the yard to scrap. What's aluminum fetching per pound these days?

wally erickson 12-04-2007 08:25 PM

I think itís worth saving. I wouldnít put a lot of money into paint yet. Give it a sanding and spray some good enamel on it. It might be easer to get the existing engines running again. Engine swaps are a huge hassle, not something you really need with this project. This will never be a showboat but could be a good ďrunnerĒ My guess youíre looking at two man-years to get it right. When you are done, you will have a shinny ship, lightweight quiet rebuilt engines, new cushions, rugs, and the smell of new varnish down below. I donít think you will make any money on it when you include your labor but if you donít have anything else to do, what the hell.

bally 12-04-2007 08:54 PM

Iím the guy with the 48í hull that I usual cruise between 8 and 10 knots with Caterpillar 3208 naturals. They have 210 horsepower each and do very well moving the boat at that speed. I would recommend them to anyone considering repowering. I can run at that speed and run the generator, that has a 4 cycle Yanmar diesel, consuming about 10 gallons per hour, depending on current and wind factors. Oh, the boat originally was powered with 454s.

Mine is an aluminum hull but is heavier than the standard aluminum hull because the previous owner had a Marine Architect in Annapolis, Maryland design a shell to enclose the aft deck and then took the boat to a shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia to have it built and installed. So instead of an aft deck I have another salon which added weight to the original design.

I have some electrical work to upgrade and like you I need to repaint the hull, mine is due to previous work by the PO when he stripped parts down to the bare metal. Since it is aluminum though it doesnít hurt the metal to be exposed, so if the hull you are looking at is aluminum I would wait until all other work is completed prior to painting the hull. If it is steel hopefully someone here on the forum that has knowledge of that can help you.

I have to agree about the rot usually if a window has rot the wood below it will more than likely be rotted also. I can tell you from experience, refurbished a houseboat before this boat, you take on a task such as this because you really love the boat, because no matter how much you budget in time or money it is not going to be enough. I disagree with your doubling it comment, I would triple it.

Good luck and please keep us posted on how it goes and would love to see progress pictures.

q240z 12-04-2007 09:18 PM

These twin turbo International gassers are not in what I consider rebuildable condition. Even if the engines hadn't gotten wet 15 years ago, the whole setup wasn't well engineered. The turbos draw through enormous (but missing) carburetors and push the air fuel mix into the engines via aluminum tubing and hoses. Any sort of leak would put gasoline vapor under pressure into the engine compartment. It's a freaking Roman candle wanna-be if it was running. lol

I briefly considered getting a crew of undocumented laborers on it to whip out an Awlgrip paintjob in two weeks, but it's just a bit too small for what we need. I've listed the beast on DC craigslist for the owner and several people have already expressed interest.

While I was thinking about picking this up I found Nanni 330hp diesels at $50k installed. This wouldn't be the cheap solution, but it would be dead quiet and efficient.

SeaEric 12-05-2007 07:29 AM

You'd probably be amazed by what could be accomplished with a thorough cleaning and de-junking of this craft. Even though she will still need cosmetics, machinery, systems and decorating. If that boat was cleared off of debris and scrubbed inside and out, the restorable classic that she is would become quite evident.

I agree that it will be a lot of time and money to make her right. If one has both, she looks to be worthy if the task. The best part is that she looks original. You wouldn't have to "un-do" someone's godawful execution of a refit from 15 years ago.

Someone will hopefully step up and save this one.

q240z 12-05-2007 09:25 AM

I just found a set of local 8v53s w/gears in good condition for $5k. Dayam. This is getting tempting all over again.

chriswufgator 12-05-2007 12:05 PM

I respect artwork's position, and he has some valid points. I am not out to "rebut" anything, but there are a couple corrections to be made, respectfully.

The part about running diesels at "low power" for long periods is completely true. The problem with low power settings is that diesels are so dependent on block-heat and compression to achieve complete combustion that low-power operation inhibits their ability to completely burn the fuel charge. In addition to being less efficient, running them like that for extended periods eventually starts to gunk the engine up with all the deposits left over from the incomplete burn.

But, I don't think that's a problem here. If you think about it, it will take around 300shp (maybe even a bit more) to push that size boat at 10 knots. So we're not talking about running at 10%-20%, what we're really talking about is running a set of 300s or 330s at around 50%+ vs. running a set of 200s at around 75%+.

The problem with low power settings really applies more to idle-speed type situations. Like...don't let your engines warm up at the dock, and don't charge the batteries with them, if you do offshore fishing get a trolling gear, etc., etc. Running a block at 50% is normal useage and isn't likely to cause any problems at all. Twin 300s or 350s are merely adequate for this boat, they aren't overpowering it by any means. You still don't have enough power to do any operating at 20% (except for marinas wake zones), and you still aren't going to be winning any speed records when you open it up.

I do 100% agree with Artwork about Detroits being smoky overweight monsters, though. As he said, if possible, you DO want 4-strokes. It's just that most people I see who are considering sticking old lehman 120s in a giant cruiser are doing so because they really want bigger diesels, but are concerned about the cost figures involved in adequately powering the boat...so the underpowering is really a compromise.

If that is the reasoning, then you really have to consider that you are probably costing yourself more in resale value than you are saving on the engines. Plus, do you REALLY want a boat that tops out at 12kts? Might as well get a snailbote....then you'll REALLY save on fuel. lol

Personally, I'd rather have 15% less fuel economy with older detroits for the same price, and still be able to get up and go when I want to, than a set of teeny yanmars that can only push 12kts. As to the smoke, ya, you'll notice it but it's still nothing that 5 minutes with a long handled brush won't take care of when you get back to the dock.

I still say don't underpower the boat.

chriswufgator 12-05-2007 12:10 PM

And bally has a VERY good point, about waiting until last to do the paint job.

I don't care how high-class the yard is, if you are doing major work like a repower, then that many people crawling in and around the boat with heavy parts absolutely guarantees that they will end up scraping, staining, and gouging it somehow.

Mov-it! 12-05-2007 12:45 PM


Originally Posted by q240z
I just found this Roamer. It's a 1968 or 1969 46' boat. The hull is in excellent condition, just needs strip and repaint. Did I just say "just"? HA!

Although I'm not into Roamers and such, I admire the enthousiasm you show by finding this restauration nightmare!:D

I know the feeling when I come across an old Volvo that it bearly been held together by the remains of some rusty bolts...

Just imagine the long winternights of fun you'll have with a project like this.

I'm getting in the mood to look for a classic (rustbucket) car now...

Good luck;)

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