Sue Ellen - Project Continues

Sue Ellen - Project Continues

Martin Dahl
Martin Dahl

April 12th, 2012, 9:45 am #1

Hi Paul and All,

Thank you for offering the possibiliity to learn from you all by sharing your knowhow on this site. The information to be found here is very valuable, certainly for a Chris Craft newbee as myself. (Please also note I'm not an experienced blogger/forum user so the pictures I intend to post may not be there in a while.). I also hope I make myself understod although not being native english.

I'm not sure how to start telling my story but hope that Paul can put this thread in the right place so that anyone who has been/would be interested to follow the life of CC Lancer 23 Sue Ellen, previously owned by Rickard (Sthlm, Sweden) can do so. My intent is to use this thread as a logbook for my use and restoration of the boat onwards.

Background: Since Sept./Oct. 2010 timeframe I have been fortunate to continue the project started by Rickard in Stockholm on Chris Craft Lancer 23, Sue Ellen, with hull number ORA-23-0024V. Rickard did start the restoration on this boat to such a level that I can see myself continuing it, even with my limited know how. Hopefully you can assist when questions arise. I'm a sailor since I was a kid and have had several sailing boats but this is the first power boat. I fell in love with the Lancer 23 design - and love is not rational. So here we are.

Did't even have time to go and look at the boat (6 hour trip one way) so my father (experienced boater) did the pre-check, gave thumbs up, and Rickard and I made the deal. Being on businees trip in Canada I arranged with transport to where I live.



The boat was transported by lorry (together with the trailer) about 600 km south to Malmö/Lund region next to the Öresund strait (the waters between Sweden and Denmark). Since the boat has been on land for 2 seasons since Rickard was using the last time I decided to take on the mission to restore the hull under the waterline before splashing it again. I hoped that would guarantee me to put epoxy on a dried out hull. Also I did this on a 35 feet sailing boat I once had which made me feel it was doable. As it turned out, big mistake. That boat was 5 years old at the time and was not treated with paint from the 70's (60´s?) made to withstand atlantic water organisms.

Anyhow, I started to take off several layers of original as well as newer paint. The hull has never been restored under the waterline although Rickard has made a very nice restoration of the upper hull and deck. The paint removal was extremely hard work, even with a sander used by professionals. Especially since I started this job without turning the hull upside down. I managed to remove paint down to the topcoat from the stern and about 3 feet forward plus 6 feet in the bow before I ran into back and shoulder problems. This became an issue to such a level that I spent more time with doctors that with the boat.

Starting to realize that I would never be able to complete this work I soon find a shipyard that took on the project.
After 3 layers of epoxy and 2 layers of paint she looks like this.





A fun detail was that when I removed the red waterline, you may have seen it from pictures by Rickard, visible became the originial water line, navy blue and a bit wider than the red one.
The red line was positioned slightly higher than the original. This must have been done when the boat was in Detroit, possibly during the 80´s. As boats tend to put on some weight over the years this was possibly done to get protective paint a bit higher up on the hull.
Since I value the original I decided to have the old blue line restored.


While the shipyard was working on the hull I cleaned and polished the trimtabs and did some painting of the inside of the fishbox hatch plus re-insulated the deck hatch that is placed over the mufflers behind the engine. Obviously the new insulation has far from the original look to it but what do you do? You do not put in something that looks original but do not insulate against the noice. Rickard stated in-other thread she is very quiet as is so maybe it was all overkill.

New seal between top and carborator (Rickard mentioned the engine was not stable on high RPM's so my theory is the carborator may suck some air, we will see if it helps), sourcing of a new bow navigation light lense (again a side step from original as I could only find a plastic once to replace the original glass), new canvas - both the cover and the bimini has been produced in new navy blue. The old ones were the original and close to falling into pieces.
Obviously there is a very long todo-list before Sue Ellen is back in original buty but that is the reason for why I entered the power boat arena. Simply it's fun to do this and the project offers therapy and peace of mind. Moments when I can get away from the thaughts on the daily work issues etc.
Please note that despite owning (or should I say "looking after") Sue Ellen for 1 1/2 year I have not yet put her in the water. Other than a dry start of the engine, still on the trailer, I have not even come close to learn about her capabillities. Imagine what I feel about this spring and the opportunity for first launch.

I hope to be back soon and tell more once I have made my first sea-trial. The plan is to do this with new ignition parts installed in two weeks time. Sue Ellen was originally shipped to her first owner Dec. 30th, 1971. Being a 1972 version this launch will happen 40 years after the first launch. A bit of history, isn't it.

I will now press "post" and hope for the best.
(Paul, please let me know if I'm posting in the wrong way. Havn't understood if pictures are just temporary and if I have to have links to photobucket instead etc. etc.)

Thank you for reading.

Best,
Martin









-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Edit comment:

sometimes photos entered under the photobucket image services format (rather than a cut and paste of the actual DIRECT LINK from your photobucket albums) will become temporary and they'll delete themselves. Also if a photobucket album owner moves photos around within an album, the actual image code will be broken and the images will disappear from the threads. Therefore I have gone into the archives and attempted to resurrect some of the photos that were in this posting that hae disappeared! Thanks to Martin for posting all this interesting info! Paul
Last edited by FEfinaticP on May 4th, 2012, 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

Paul
Paul

April 12th, 2012, 1:01 pm #2

Hello Martin,

Hey for the first posting you did a superb job, congratulations, and a formal "WELCOME ABOARD" to you. We continue to get interest from our international readership and it helps make this forum unique and fun. We have learned a lot about the boats produced in Italy by Herb Pocklington, but as you noted, your boat is a US built Lancer that has been shipped to Sweden.

Rickard did some nice work, indeed, and we hope he is well. It is interesting and good that you left the name original, as the boat is now well known with that name internationally. One thing you should be on the alert for, and I have not looked back to the previous postings by Rickard to tell, but if that motor is going into salt water you will need to install heat exchangers and use antifreeze inside the motor block and exhaust logs, or the salt will eat up the iron. This is not necessarily all that tough to do, but the consequences can be unfortunate for a classic boat, that would otherwise last a long time. If you add heat exchangers and run in salt water, the only thing that will be really at risk from corrosion (assuming you use anodes on the shaft) would be the riser where the heat exchanger dumps hot water into the exhaust pipes. Everything else, including the construction of the heat exchanger itself, is most likely out of coppor or brass to withstand the salt.

As you get into your project let us know how we can assist. It looks like you used the photobucket feature Network 54 has added to the bottom of our posting page, which works fine as you noted but is the "realm" type image and not as long lasting as if you copied a DIRECT LINK and pasted it into your text (which is permanent unless you change the link within your photobucket album and then the photo no longer is supported).

I'll archive your posting so it remains for the record.

Regards,

Paul
Quote
Share

John Kloka
John Kloka

April 12th, 2012, 1:41 pm #3

Hi Paul and All,

Thank you for offering the possibiliity to learn from you all by sharing your knowhow on this site. The information to be found here is very valuable, certainly for a Chris Craft newbee as myself. (Please also note I'm not an experienced blogger/forum user so the pictures I intend to post may not be there in a while.). I also hope I make myself understod although not being native english.

I'm not sure how to start telling my story but hope that Paul can put this thread in the right place so that anyone who has been/would be interested to follow the life of CC Lancer 23 Sue Ellen, previously owned by Rickard (Sthlm, Sweden) can do so. My intent is to use this thread as a logbook for my use and restoration of the boat onwards.

Background: Since Sept./Oct. 2010 timeframe I have been fortunate to continue the project started by Rickard in Stockholm on Chris Craft Lancer 23, Sue Ellen, with hull number ORA-23-0024V. Rickard did start the restoration on this boat to such a level that I can see myself continuing it, even with my limited know how. Hopefully you can assist when questions arise. I'm a sailor since I was a kid and have had several sailing boats but this is the first power boat. I fell in love with the Lancer 23 design - and love is not rational. So here we are.

Did't even have time to go and look at the boat (6 hour trip one way) so my father (experienced boater) did the pre-check, gave thumbs up, and Rickard and I made the deal. Being on businees trip in Canada I arranged with transport to where I live.



The boat was transported by lorry (together with the trailer) about 600 km south to Malmö/Lund region next to the Öresund strait (the waters between Sweden and Denmark). Since the boat has been on land for 2 seasons since Rickard was using the last time I decided to take on the mission to restore the hull under the waterline before splashing it again. I hoped that would guarantee me to put epoxy on a dried out hull. Also I did this on a 35 feet sailing boat I once had which made me feel it was doable. As it turned out, big mistake. That boat was 5 years old at the time and was not treated with paint from the 70's (60´s?) made to withstand atlantic water organisms.

Anyhow, I started to take off several layers of original as well as newer paint. The hull has never been restored under the waterline although Rickard has made a very nice restoration of the upper hull and deck. The paint removal was extremely hard work, even with a sander used by professionals. Especially since I started this job without turning the hull upside down. I managed to remove paint down to the topcoat from the stern and about 3 feet forward plus 6 feet in the bow before I ran into back and shoulder problems. This became an issue to such a level that I spent more time with doctors that with the boat.

Starting to realize that I would never be able to complete this work I soon find a shipyard that took on the project.
After 3 layers of epoxy and 2 layers of paint she looks like this.





A fun detail was that when I removed the red waterline, you may have seen it from pictures by Rickard, visible became the originial water line, navy blue and a bit wider than the red one.
The red line was positioned slightly higher than the original. This must have been done when the boat was in Detroit, possibly during the 80´s. As boats tend to put on some weight over the years this was possibly done to get protective paint a bit higher up on the hull.
Since I value the original I decided to have the old blue line restored.


While the shipyard was working on the hull I cleaned and polished the trimtabs and did some painting of the inside of the fishbox hatch plus re-insulated the deck hatch that is placed over the mufflers behind the engine. Obviously the new insulation has far from the original look to it but what do you do? You do not put in something that looks original but do not insulate against the noice. Rickard stated in-other thread she is very quiet as is so maybe it was all overkill.

New seal between top and carborator (Rickard mentioned the engine was not stable on high RPM's so my theory is the carborator may suck some air, we will see if it helps), sourcing of a new bow navigation light lense (again a side step from original as I could only find a plastic once to replace the original glass), new canvas - both the cover and the bimini has been produced in new navy blue. The old ones were the original and close to falling into pieces.
Obviously there is a very long todo-list before Sue Ellen is back in original buty but that is the reason for why I entered the power boat arena. Simply it's fun to do this and the project offers therapy and peace of mind. Moments when I can get away from the thaughts on the daily work issues etc.
Please note that despite owning (or should I say "looking after") Sue Ellen for 1 1/2 year I have not yet put her in the water. Other than a dry start of the engine, still on the trailer, I have not even come close to learn about her capabillities. Imagine what I feel about this spring and the opportunity for first launch.

I hope to be back soon and tell more once I have made my first sea-trial. The plan is to do this with new ignition parts installed in two weeks time. Sue Ellen was originally shipped to her first owner Dec. 30th, 1971. Being a 1972 version this launch will happen 40 years after the first launch. A bit of history, isn't it.

I will now press "post" and hope for the best.
(Paul, please let me know if I'm posting in the wrong way. Havn't understood if pictures are just temporary and if I have to have links to photobucket instead etc. etc.)

Thank you for reading.

Best,
Martin









-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Edit comment:

sometimes photos entered under the photobucket image services format (rather than a cut and paste of the actual DIRECT LINK from your photobucket albums) will become temporary and they'll delete themselves. Also if a photobucket album owner moves photos around within an album, the actual image code will be broken and the images will disappear from the threads. Therefore I have gone into the archives and attempted to resurrect some of the photos that were in this posting that hae disappeared! Thanks to Martin for posting all this interesting info! Paul
You have made a very good choice with the new colors on the bottom, very classy! She'll look great with Navy blue canvas as well. I find it amazing that your boat has been halfway around the world and back! I hope the re-launch goes well, and please post more pics. I would like to see the inside as well.

John Kloka
Quote
Share

Joined: April 11th, 2012, 7:45 am

April 12th, 2012, 2:18 pm #4

Hello Martin,

Hey for the first posting you did a superb job, congratulations, and a formal "WELCOME ABOARD" to you. We continue to get interest from our international readership and it helps make this forum unique and fun. We have learned a lot about the boats produced in Italy by Herb Pocklington, but as you noted, your boat is a US built Lancer that has been shipped to Sweden.

Rickard did some nice work, indeed, and we hope he is well. It is interesting and good that you left the name original, as the boat is now well known with that name internationally. One thing you should be on the alert for, and I have not looked back to the previous postings by Rickard to tell, but if that motor is going into salt water you will need to install heat exchangers and use antifreeze inside the motor block and exhaust logs, or the salt will eat up the iron. This is not necessarily all that tough to do, but the consequences can be unfortunate for a classic boat, that would otherwise last a long time. If you add heat exchangers and run in salt water, the only thing that will be really at risk from corrosion (assuming you use anodes on the shaft) would be the riser where the heat exchanger dumps hot water into the exhaust pipes. Everything else, including the construction of the heat exchanger itself, is most likely out of coppor or brass to withstand the salt.

As you get into your project let us know how we can assist. It looks like you used the photobucket feature Network 54 has added to the bottom of our posting page, which works fine as you noted but is the "realm" type image and not as long lasting as if you copied a DIRECT LINK and pasted it into your text (which is permanent unless you change the link within your photobucket album and then the photo no longer is supported).

I'll archive your posting so it remains for the record.

Regards,

Paul
Paul,
Thanks for the warm welcome and the tips and tricks around the coolingsystem of the engine. Rickard has run the engine on the Swedish east coast (semisalt water). Where I'm situated on the west coast there is slightly more salt so your advice is certainly correct. The decission was to wait a bit with investing in an internal cooler until I know how the engine behaves overall to see if the investment could be justified. After all it is 40 years old .... Prio 1 would be to maintain and keep it in this boat as this would provide a higher value of the complete combination. I just need to find someone willing to sponsor me on the fuel

About posting image links. Are you saying that I can just copy / paste my photbucket link into the post and it will find it automatically once posted?

Here is a first attempt:

Loaded behind the car for transport to shipyard in Sept. 2011

Thanks for the advice.


Best,
Martin
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: April 11th, 2012, 7:45 am

April 12th, 2012, 2:39 pm #5

You have made a very good choice with the new colors on the bottom, very classy! She'll look great with Navy blue canvas as well. I find it amazing that your boat has been halfway around the world and back! I hope the re-launch goes well, and please post more pics. I would like to see the inside as well.

John Kloka
John,
Thanks for the welcome and for the positive response on the color scheme. I'm looking forward to learn more from you and your fellow experienced CC owners. Rickard made the hard work bringing Sue Ellen to Sweden - I just had it put on a lorry to where I am further south. Rickard actually pulled the boat behind his Volvo from Gothenburg (at the west coast and the city it came to from Detroit), right across Sweden to Stockholm. That is a 500 km trip with the boat on trailer on small to medium roads, not the highways.

The trailer is by the way without brakes but behind my KIA it behaves well - Dont try this at home :


For the future I may get myself a registered and breaked trailer so that I can legally run 80 km/h since my wish is to bring Sue Ellen to other places and also to the Swedish Lancer Club meetings.
All the best,
Martin
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: April 11th, 2012, 7:45 am

May 2nd, 2012, 10:13 am #6

Hi,

It has been a long road but finally, after being the owner of Sue Ellen for 1,5 years, she hit the water April 27th for the first time in my ownership.

After some minor electrical issues and cooling water leakege fix we could start up and take her for a short sea trial. She behaves very well in the water. She requires a lot more maneouvring space than I'm used to from other boats. Obviously due to straight shaft and small rudder. But that also makes her fel like a bigger boat that moves around in a somewhat more style I think.

http://s1149.photobucket.com/albums/o59 ... 012002.mp4

http://s1149.photobucket.com/albums/o59 ... 012011.mp4

As you can see from this picture she floats a bit high compared to the new waterline. Although we have not heighten the waterline much we beleive she is very light after not being in the water in 3 years. Compare water vs. lower stern corner in the hull that is just an inch below water. Tank was just short of half and not much stuff onboard yet. With experience from many different boats the shipyard owner believe we are talking about around 200 kg of water that has tried out from a hull like this. Anyway she will sit a bit lower once all gear is on board and the tank filled up. Also it is nice to get the dirt line from the water down on the coated level below the water line. It doesn't look bad with the high line, I was just a bit surprised.



After returning home last friday with the boat on trailer (in the garden now with 10 cm between gate poles to spare) I started to work on the interior. Leather has not been cleaned thoroughly in a very long time, if ever, so I was happy to see this change after some cleaning and polish.





All that being positive. Yesterday I started to study the hood to the engine compartment a little closer and that was less encouraging. The stern end of the hood is severley rotten in the lower part towards the deck.

I took the decission not to try reparing it but actually build a new frame but use the old leather.


So I decided to take it apart to enable use of the old parts as guides or pattern for new plywood cut. Had to take out 700 !!!! of these staples to remove the leather

The top section will be reused as the plywood was intact there. The ribs were bad so they I will replace them with new ones.

The challenge will be to make it with the exact measures as the old on so that the leather will fit nicely. At least the new frame should not be longer or higher

Best,

Martin
Last edited by SueEllenCC23 on May 2nd, 2012, 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: July 15th, 2005, 8:09 pm

May 2nd, 2012, 2:35 pm #7

Hey Martin,

Thanks for sharing those photos and the videos too, such an inspiration for me (working on a near identical 23 Lancer now). You lucky dog, being able to get on the water and have fun now in your 23, while mine still has almost an entire season of work left. Ah well, at least I do have a couple other boats that are operational now.

Since you are about to jump into a motor box rebuild, here are some of my photos doing the same thing on my 20' Sea Skiff project. My intent was to keep it as light weight but as strong as possible. I like the removable top idea a lot, it gives access to the motor easily any time you need to take a look or just listen to how things are running.










These last photos show the upholstered top I added for a seat, which has vent holes drilled on the plywood underneath to keep the upholstery from ballooning (and bursting a seam) if someone jumps onto it. I also like the fact that the top is light enough to easily put on one side or the other while at the dock or under way. I used white oak for the main structure because it is quite rot resistant all by itself, and a 1/4" marine plywood, glued and screwed appropriately. I would never use any non-marine plywood (anywhere) aboard a boat. It is simply not worth the effort to cut and prepare it, because the non marine stuff just will not last in that environment very long even if it is kept dry.


We ran the boat without adding vinyl to the sides of the box so far. The sides of the box do get a lot of scuffing from passengers and from gear, so we may just finish it nice and smooth and paint it a color that makes sense rather than put a vinyl on it that will most surely suffer some damage relatively soon the way we use the boat.

Regards,

Paul





Quote
Like
Share

Joined: April 11th, 2012, 7:45 am

May 2nd, 2012, 4:23 pm #8

Paul,

Wow you are quick. I don't understand how you have time for responding to all the posts here.
Your feedback is super and I got confirmed I'm thinking along the right lines. Thank you so much.

The construction of my box is very similar with top and bottom "corner supports" diagonal over the corners. Only difference I can spot is that mine has no vertical bars "midships".

As you also say I plan to got with marine plywood although the dimensions will be slightly different. As you guys stick to your inches, no offense , we are on the slightly more modern metric system so I will have to adjust a few mm's here and there.

As a matter of fact I digged into my wood options today and it seem's that the most bang for the buck will be to go with oak. Do I understand you correctly that some sort of oak was what CC used at the time?
It's hard for me to tell but I do not recognise the wood in the framework of the box to be anything else. Anyhow, teak is to expensive and mahogany does not come in the dimensions I need without paying for custom cut.

My plan is to seal the edges of the plywood with epoxy to make it even more resistent to water. I might also "paint" the complete box with epoxy before gluing 10 mm foam

to the outside and than the leather on top of that. Inside I will go with 20 mm self adhesive sound insulation which you can get here at an ok pricelevel.

My concern however, which you have also thought of, is the weight of the whole thing. The fiber insulation that was in the old one weight nothing. The new is of course a lot more sound deadening but also a lot heavier. Probably all the wood in the current box has tried out (dry rot that is) by now so the new one will be heavier either way. Good I have a few inches to spare before the waterline becomes an issue .

Again, many thanks for your response and support. I will post my progress once I have started the construction. Tomorrow will be shopping day for all the parts.





Best,
Martin
Last edited by SueEllenCC23 on June 5th, 2012, 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Like
Share

Paul
Paul

May 4th, 2012, 5:31 pm #9

Hi Martin,

Looking at some of your photos put a smile on my face, because I (like so many others here on THE FORUM) have been there, and done that (too).





Here's my 1966 Skiff



Chris Craft liked that upswept pipe design. These boats were built basically in the midst of the American musclecar craze, and it shows!

Regards,

Paul
Quote
Share

Glenn F
Glenn F

May 6th, 2012, 1:28 am #10

Martin,

Sue Ellen is one sweet looking ride. Nice work.

I'm still working on the body of our 23' Lancer, but she has a nice power plant (not orginal).
http://s450.photobucket.com/albums/qq22 ... 0_0892.mp4
That sound is of a Chrysler 360 (truck motor).

My engine box is all one, I put a large hinge on the forward end to made it a easier.
I'd love to have one that the top only lifts off.


Glenn
Quote
Share