PROJECT BOAT part 5 - Hull of a Time

PROJECT BOAT Part 5 - Hull of a Time

They say a picture tells a thousands words. Well, what about a whole album full of them. Herein the content of this month’s update of our exciting project boat, the 1976-model Mariner pacer 760, Ralfy IV

. Over the following pages you’ll see our 34-year-old hull be transformed from a rough diamond to a sparkling one thanks to the spraypaint pros at Maritimo. Its founder, Bill Barry-Cotter, is of course the original builder of our project boat. So who better to see to its restoration?

As with any paint job, the results are entirely commensurate with the quality of the preparation. That’s why you can see a lot of (pink) bog in the following pics. Actually, there’s not that much of it. What you see is largely a skim coat to fill in any imperfections. Think Botox. We’re removing the wrinkles for a youthful appearance.

After sanding back, a respray with a primer coat, and Awlgrip paint, Ralfy IV will be modelling material — that you can see for yourself when she tours the boat-show circuit next year. The objective is to completely seal the hull so the gloss coat is not affected. You see, porous ’glass just absorbs these paint coats like a sponge and, unless they seal it properly, the top coat ends up looking a bit blotchy, with some parts soaking in and some parts staying on top.

At the same time, in order to take the grunt of our new MerCruiser 383 Stroker V8 inboard/outboard and the Bravo III drive, the transom of Ralfy IV has been strengthened. New engine mounts and bearers were created. The sterndrive is now in situ looking eager and, because the rear-mounted engine replaces the former mid-mounted inboard, we will probably add ballast up front to compensate. You can read about the repower in greater detail in our next instalment.

Meantime, back in the paint shop, long-time Barry-Cotter employee Drew Hannan seemed to delight in fairing the hull. I guess this isn’t surprising. Drew owns a Pacer himself. Moreover, he helped make the original plug! He pointed out a slight wobble in the lines near the bow (about halfway up) and said they are his fault! He got that bit wrong and this was his chance to right it.

Enjoy the following photos of Ralfy IV and do head to to see the video of the respray, repower and catch up with our archived articles of the project boat. Trade-a-Boat and all its partners, not least the great crew at Maritimo, are thrilled to restore this timeless Pacer 760 to what, I’m sure you’ll agree, is already a class act.

After the engine fitout, the internal refit will happen in earnest. That’s going to be no less exciting. Watch this space. We’re already talking bedding, nights at anchor, long hot days of swimming and barbecue lunches. Broadwater, Hawkesbury, Harbour, and Port Phillip… here we come.

Things are flying ahead with our project boat restoration... almost as fast as when Ralfy IV hits the water on December 1 with her new remanufactured MerCruiser 388 V8 Stroker engine. Our 1976-model Mariner Pacer 760 has a new and improved, deeper, beautifully crafted teak boarding platform for hanging out at anchor, the re-dipped chrome deck fittings are being reattached as we speak, and the interior refit has begin in earnest. Check back next issue for the update. This is one exciting project! Seeing is believing.

Photos: Long-time Barry-Cotter employee Drew Hannan and a Mariner Pacer owner; the respray.