A Jersey Speed Skiff
Owner/Driver - Bob Mueller
First - some background information:
During the summer and fall of 2005, The Vintage
Race Boat Shop completed a Jersey Speed Skiff reproduction built for
Gerri Prusko. This reproduction
was done "in
the spirit of APBA vintage" and looks like a Jersey Speed Skiff of the
1950's/60's. It is a legal APBA vintage boat and will be run
this summer on the
APBA Vintage Race Boat Circuit.
These boats are safe and fun to run,
and with a stock warranted motor, will provide for many years of fun
Click here for
project photos of
That was a fun project, the boat ran
extremely well, and we wanted to do another one. Then in the fall of
2005, several conversations with Bob Mueller lead to a handshake and
our second skiff project. This project would have special, ribbon striped
mahogany deck and transom, and the motor would be installed and
rigged at the Vintage Race Boat Shop.
These photos were taken on 2/3/2006, showing
the stringers being laminated. They were left in the jig overnight, then cut to shape and
attached on the next day.
On Saturday, 2/4/2006
the Bender mold was prepped with gel coat, and on Super
Bowl Sunday the full crew came in to actually lay up the
hull. The last step was to insert the stringer assembly and
glass it in, making it an integral part of the hull. And how
about that gel coat color, will look stunning with the
mahogany deck and blue upholstery !!!
Then the core and stringers
were glassed in place.
These photos show the bulkheads
being fitted, and the (special order) board of 1/4 sawn
sapelee mahogany. This beautiful wood will be used for
the gunnels, dash boards and cockpit combing. The deck
will be "ribbon striped" sapelee mahogany - stunning !!!
On Friday 2/10/2006 at 1PM -
Tinker was popped from the mold. The boat came out of the mold easily
and the mold was then covered up and put away in it's storage
The bulkheads were then fitted
and glassed in, leaving them blonde and applying several
more coats of resin to make them smooth. After the
bulkheads were installed, the hull sides were sanded and
then white gel coat was applied, down to the outboard
side of the stringers. This is the look we wanted, and we
are very happy with our results.
The nose piece and gunnels were cut, fitted and installed next,
followed by cutting the bulkheads to shape. The third photo shows
the dashboards and combing pieces, please notice the grain
of that beautiful sapelee mahogany!
update on 2/20/2006 shows the deck frame completed, and
the sapelee mahogany dash and cockpit side boards
installed. Time to order all the hardware for the
running gear and the cavatation plate. The fuel tank is
already ordered, and if things keep plugging along, The
Obsession Boys just might be able to pick up Tinker on
our way back from Mt Dora !!!
was not quite ready for pickup after Mt Dora, but the
sapelee mahogany deck and transom were installed on
update on 4/24/2006 shows the running gear, cavatation
plate assembly, steering assembly, and fuel tank
installed. Yup - Tinker is just about ready for pickup
and transportation to the Vintage Race Boat Shop for
motor installation, rigging, upholstery, stain and
thanks to Shaun Berry for making the bonsai run to pickup
the completed hull in Thunderbolt, Georgia, and on May 3rd,
2006 "Tinker" finally arrived at the Vintage Race Boat Shop
in Wolfeboro, NH. Shaun did an excellent job ensuring the
boat was double "shrink-wrapped" to protect the unsealed
wood, and drove through torrential rain storms on his way
back to New Hampshire. The boat was immediately moved inside
the shop, the shrink-wrapped was removed, the boat was
inspected, and several "wet" areas were dried with towels.
Yup - thanks to Shaun, the beautiful sapelee mahogany was
unstained and ready for final sanding, sealing, and many,
of Epifanes varnish. This is gonna be a fun project - we
can't wait to begin !!!
pictures were taken on May 3rd at the Vintage Race Boat
Shop, within minutes of Tinker's arrival. It took a
while to remove the double layers of shrink-wrap, being
careful not to scratch the unfinished wood. These are
good pictures of the Tinker "as we got it", and shows a
very well built boat, with special Jersey Speed Skiff
running gear and steering installed. The ribbon stripped
sapelee mahogany deck was nicely done, solidly bedded
with 3M-5200 adhesive and stapled down nice and tight.
The thick sapelee mahogany planks used on the dash and
side panels also add strength to the deck, and are
solidly attached to the deck stringers. This boat is
strong and solid !!!
On Monday, May 8th we started to remove the deck
and transom hardware and then thoroughly hand sanded the deck and transom
with 120 grit paper. The trim was then painted, using our favorite "Colonial
Red" Ben Moore oil based paint.
After a second vacuuming and tacking, Wednesday,
May 10th was "show time" - as we applied the stain and sealer coats. We used
Pettit dark mahogany filler stain on the mahogany transom, and Pettit clear
sealer on the ribbon striped sapelee mahogany deck, dash boards and side
boards. This is perhaps the most dramatic step in the whole project - when
the rich woods actually change color as the stains and varnishes are applied.
After the first coat of sealer was hand sanded with
Scotchbrite Pads, the photos below show the second coat of Pettit
sealer being applied, which helps to fill in the grain of the
mahogany, and provides a firm bond with the first coat of Epifanes
The second sealer coat was again hand
sanded with Scotchbrite Pads, and then the first coat of
Epifanes varnish was applied - full strength. Twelve coats of
Epifanes varnish will be applied, sanding with 320 grit paper
between each coat. And with each coat, the boat gets smoother
and smoother, actually fairing the boat with varnish.
Special attention is focused on the
transom area, ensuring a good wood, sealer, varnish "bond",
because the lower part will be submerged below the water line.
Each coat is hand sanded and carefully prepped, and the two
coats of sealer and twelve coats of varnish will protect the
mahogany, and provide a stunning backdrop for the polished
stainless steel cavatation plate assembly and the four inch
exhaust ports. And with each coat of varnish, the color gets
deeper and darker.
The underside of the engine hatch also
gets special attention, as the sapelee mahogany gets sealed with
two coats of Pettit sealer, and then many coat of Epifanes
varnish. The wood frames members were painted a rich colonial
red to nicely setoff the rich, varnished mahogany.
After several meetings, much
discussion, many designs, and many emails, the correct
lettering/font for 'Tinker" was finally decided, and then Jerome
from JC Signs applied the transom lettering. The first step was
to properly position the lettering, and apply the mask/glue that
will hold the metal leaf. Then the metal leaf was applied to the
mask/glue. This was allowed to dry overnight, and then a coat of
varnish was applied. Then next step would be the outlining for
After a nice thick coat of varnish,
Jerome returned and outlined the lettering by hand, using dark
blue paint they will match the upholstery. Donnie Mclean and
Tony Coco also fabricated the shinny polished stainless steel
plate under the pillow blocks of the cavatation plate assembly -
and the results-stunning
Very exciting stuff - on 6/9/2006 the
motor arrived, and our friend and neighbor, Kevin Young and his trusty
forklift helped us unload the motor from the back of the Federal
Express truck. This brand new, Marine Power motor was purchased
and shipped from Jerry's Marine Service in Lakewood, NJ. I
enjoyed working with Bill Massa, who gave me a prompt quote at a
very good price and kept me informed of the delivery status. I
highly recommend these Marine Power motors, and Bill is the guy
to call at Jerry's Marine Service - 732-901-8404.
After our new overhead hoist arrived
from Jay Berry, we hoisted the new motor from the shipping
pallet and positioned it into Tinker. The new hoist made the job
very easy and very safe. Check our Trading Dock for Jay's ad for these hoists, they are very
well built, very strong and we have used them for several years
now in our shop. Our new one came with black paint and a custom
sign - nice touch !!!
After a few more coats of Epifanes
varnish to protect the transom lettering, the cavatation
assembly was installed. This is the fun part of the project,
hanging hardware and polishing. The rest of the custom hardware
was also ordered and every day was like Christmas - when the UPS
god arrived - what fun.
And here is the dash bezel and Stewart
Warner Gauges - very nice.
But all was not well, for after the
motor was lowered into place it was apparent that the shaft
angle was not correct, not even close. Very upsetting, but in
the words of ace mechanic Donnie McLean - "we can fix this".
Yup, a minor setback for our tight schedule/deadline for our
July 4th launching ceremonies, so we spent a late evening at the
shop removing the strut and shaft log, and then grinding the
shaft log hole. Even Shaun Berry helped out - with his favorite
tool - a large hammer !!!
The seats were next, made out of half
inch marine plywood. Many hours were spent matching all the
complex angles, to assure a nice tight fit. These bench seats
will have five inches of dense foam on the bottom and thick wrap
around bolsters on the sides and back, all rolled and tucked, making them very comfortable and
providing the look of a 1950's/60's era skiff.
Here are some final rigging photos - as
we thrash to get ready for Clayton !!!
Finally - launching
ceremonies and successful sea trials - August 15, 2006
We made it, the following photos were
taken at Clayton, NY. After attending the Driver/Rider Clinic, Bob was were ready to
rock & roll on the course.
Click here for the next chapter - a
name change and more coats of varnish
Click here for a history of Jersey Speed Skiffs
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