Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Boat....for us!

I am a member of the South Fox Island Lighthouse Assocation (FILA)
and our boat has reached it's useful service life.  It was a 26', twin engine, fiberglass boat that was expensive to run.  It did it's job but wasn't reliable.  Finally, we decided not to put it in the water.  After a summer of relying upon friends to volunteer their boats (we paid for the gas) it was too hard to coordinate the boat availability with the weather, and the volunteer's schedules.  We needed a boat.

Our Captain of the Sea, Phil, had in mind a smaller, lightweight and more economical boat.  I received an e-mail from Phil about a boat near my home.  Would I mind going over to look at it?  No problem!

This was much larger than my fishing boat.  Gee, it sure looked in great shape.  It was a boat that the owner loved to take out in Lake Michigan for summer salmon.  You can see it was rigged for big water trolling.  It was an older 1987 Starcraft Islander with only 1246 hours on the engine.  Not bad for the age of the boat. The owner recently died and his wife was selling it.

I decided that I better take pictures to send to Phil to see if he wanted to come down to look at it.

This was rigged to have 8 fishing poles in use.  Down riggers, flat lines, out riggers, and a huge fish cooler on the back.  The white storage cover was in great shape.  Now to see the inside.

This was smaller than our present boat, but it was closer to what we were looking for.  

The engine was a 3 Liter four cylinder , OMC - Cobra inboard.  The engine oil on the dipstick was clean and the engine looked well cared for.  The twin engines on the old boat were down in the hull and you had to climb down inside to work on them.

How did they keep the cushions so clean on a fishing boat?  This is looking better all the time.  I wonder who would use the port-a-potty on a boat at sea?  I guess ....   someone desperate!

A fish finder and GPS deph finder could be very useful in navigating the shoals around South Fox Island.  The dashboard needs a new covering.  I think that can be replaced.

Compass, that is good.   Whoa, there are a lot of guages and switches on that dashboard.  I wonder why there are 3 drain plugs on the dash?  Guess, I'll find out.

Eight people, 1200 pounds....that is less than the other boat but we are done with the small projects and will be using this boat to just transport people out to the island to work.  The contractors will carry the heavy supplies in their boat.

I overloaded Phil's computer by sending all these pictures, so I burned them on a disc and sent it out.  Two days later Phil called and wanted to see the boat.

We came, we saw, we bought.  Phil and I decided to become partners on the boat as we still had to sell our old boat.  This will give us time to see if the Starcraft does what we need it to do. 

The outfit weighs 4800 pounds and my Explorer is rated for 3500 pounds.  Phil asked me to tow it to Northport.  The owner towed it with a Jimmy so I knew I could tow it, but could I stop it?  I never went over 50 mph and was very, very careful.  It was a relief to end up at Phil's pole barn.  We made a deal on the boat to just buy the boat and strip off the fishing gear.  That was alright with me.  I would rather drift and/or do 2 rod trolling.  We have spent several days getting it cleaned up to winterize it.  We drained the water and got it ready for the new outdoor cover. 

The back cooler rack will be used to partially hold up our dingy.

Next summer, we will run it out to the island.  As part owner, I will take it out in Grand Traverse Bay for a few fishing trips to make sure the boat is operating correctly.  A boat needs to be exercised so the trailer tires don't go flat.  I'll do my part.  I will be 1st mate,  in-training to become the alternate driver of this vessel.  I am sure I'll have a few adventures to post next summer.