Well i got rid of my boat recently very reluctantly because it needed a lot of work. Work i was originally prepared to do but after careful consideration and discussion it seemed like to much money. That and i had a bad experience with the guy i hired to do the work which i’d love to talk about but cant quite yet. Anywhoo having already caught the bug that is boating, or lake life, depending on how you look at it, i had already made up my mind that i would be getting a new boat, of coarse this time i would know what to look for and i would be giving it quite the look over. Not just the engine but perhaps even more important, the deck the stringers (if accessible) the engine compartment and mounts, the outdrive….everything! All that plus if the right boat came along and i feel as though it did!
Even though the point was to buy a boat that didn’t need anything or at least very little i still wanted to try something differant because of last boat, which was a cabin cruiser. Anytime (i learned) that you replace the floor, especially the stringers you have to do it all, and the cabin or top cap has to come off. Im told its actually not to hard but again, its just another thing to do. So i was looking into bowriders, open bow, easier to work with in the future (i suppose depending on how fancy your bowrider is). Since im a freshwater guy and i don’t live on the water (across the street actually) i have to launch my boat every-time. Even though the lake is across the street the ramp is on the polar opposite side of my house and launching the 1987 21 foot searay with the swim platform making it extra long was quite the pain in the ass to do by myself/with my girl. So that meant a smaller boat, i was thinking around 19 feet. While it was not a requirement i was going to move over to an outboard for reasons everyone is familiar with.
So i saw an ad from a boat yard that was selling a 1995 Larson bowrider 174 SEI. It was a brokerage boat but the yard that was selling it had been servicing & storing the boat for the last 4 years, before that i don’t know. I emailed the sales guy back and forth a few time and we settled on a fair price, assuming the boat looked like the pictures. I gave a refundable deposit and said ill be there Saturday. I go Saturday with everything require to tow it home just in case but also very willing to say refund my money and leave since i have been through the ringer with a boat already. They knew i was coming so the boat was already in the garage ready to be fired up. First thing i did was walk to the service the department and asked the service guy questions about the boat, he looked on the computer and started rattling off the work they have done over the years which made me happy, it was maintained, well too. I then found the sales guy and told him who i was and he instructed me to go check out the boat and come back when im ready. I hopped in the boat and removed the engine cover, pulled the dipstick it was fresh clean oil, no water, good. This boat has a 135HP volvo penta. I had a mercruiser before and it was good, i heard good things about these volvo engines from other THE’ers so i was ok with this. I gave the engine a good look over and it all looked good, i then looked at the engine compartment, it was clean, could be cleaner but i could tell it was natural, they didn’t clean it to make it look good, it was, how it was. I was mainly looking at the floor, no cracks, the stringers, the deck. They weren’t about to let me start drilling to test but i banged around good, very solid, no staples coming out or anything. I still don’t know what you call it but the center floor has a removable piece for storage i guess, found a life jacket and the anchor in there but i used that as a way to further inspect the hull, stringers and deck, it was pristine. In the boat i got rid of, this would have all been black. In the rear of the boat the tops of the gunnels, the vinyl, was torn just a tad, worn from sun and whatnot but for the age, very good. I made note of the 2 rear seats missing but left it alone at the time. Time to fire it up. It started right up, sounded good. I said i want to let it run up to temp, make sure she doesn’t over hear, got out, made sure she was properly throwing water and that the trim worked, blower, bilge pump and all gauges. They all did but after running it for a bit the temp gauge didn’t move much. Not sure if it just wasn’t getting that hot or if the gauge was shot i had them test it, i could see it was working and felt the engine with my hand, didn’t seem to hot. I put it in forward and reverse and all was well. I was thinking this is looking like my new boat. It had the tonnue covers for both sections, all lights work. I then checked the trailer, i was towing it a good distance so i told them that and wanted to make sure it would make it, they jacked it up, check the bearings and everything while i watched, i was impressed that they humored all my requests which you might think “they should” but often times, they don’t. The trailer was clearly maintained, no rust or rot and a new winch and lights.
I made it clear i wanted the boat and asked about the seats that were missing. They were honest and said they didn’t hold up well, they are small maybe 2 feet by 1 foot seats and the wood was rotted. Nothing else in the boat was rotted so not sure why the seats didn’t fair so well, maybe one of you experts know. In the grand scheme of things, i could live the seats looking as they did and they told me it was an easy fix and that i could probably do it (and i did, separate post on that coming). Ok this had become a novel, let me speed it up. Me and the sales guy went to the office to do the paperwork while the shop guys got the boat ready to go and then it was brought out to me via tractor while i waited in position with my truck. Very happy with the boat, very good experience with this boat yard. I took her on the maiden voyage last weekend and she performed very well. No issues, ill make a separate post on that too anyway because i have some questions. There were no problems but the boat rides a lot different then my searay so i just want to talk about that. So this boat is a 17 footer and i can feel the difference just towing it (easier) and launching it (easier). Its smaller then i intended but perfect for my use.
A few pictures below and sorry for the long post. I also need to sincerely thank the member of the hull truth for their help and sometimes brutal honestly about my searay project, if not for you guys i would have gone down a long , hard road. Hopefully maj75 will see this post and respond as he was adamant about my not wasting time on my last boat and going for something else. I can only hope he approves and doesnt just yell at me again.