Haines V19R Boat: Restoration of the Hull, Transom and Workstation
The origins of the hull date right back to Don Aronow, Dick Bertram and the American racing scene
TrailerBoat and Trade-a-Boat needed a boat so that we could eventually give it away to a lucky reader. So what better hull to start with than the legend? The original Haines Hunter V19R!
The origins of the hull date right back to Don Aronow, Dick Bertram and the American racing scene, arriving in Australia as the Bertram V18. Our project hull is the second version of the V19. The original had a deeper bow flare and very large reverse chines that needed a split mould for release. Our hull was probably built somewhere in the mid-1970s to early ’80s as a conventional runabout with a standard windscreen, moulded rear seats and back-to-back seats.
Our primary concern was the hull condition. Melbourne’s Nautek Marine were entrusted with the project management (mainly because they volunteered!) but also due to their reputation for fine custom work.
Close inspection of the hull revealed the fibreglass structure was in pretty good nick, considering its rough and tumble past. There were a few minor chine concerns, but grinding revealed that it was merely hairline gelcoat stress. Nevertheless, Scotty Hearle ground her right back and re-glassed the entire area with double bias cloth and epoxy resin for maximum repair strength. We decided to further strengthen the hull where it met the deck by glassing both internal and external joins and creating a completely flat gunwale that would be finished with a modern bumper strip.
How do you replace a transom? There are two recognised ways of doing it. The first is to remove the entire rear section of the deck, allowing access to the inside of the transom. This method allows you to retain the full integrity of the outer fibreglass skin by working from the inside out, but also creates some difficulties in replacing the deck, and still requires filling of all of the external holes. The second — and our chosen method — is to completely remove the transom from the outside, leaving only the inner fibreglass skin to rebuild on. Removing old plywood can be a tedious process and it may sound rough but our first tool of choice is the chainsaw. It gets rid of the old plywood with a minimum of fuss but extreme care must be taken.
Once stripped clean, the surfaces must be completely dried for the fibreglass, epoxy and glues to bond. Sheets of 25mm and 16mm marine ply were cut to shape from cheap craft wood templates. Scotty chooses to use only premium epoxy, resin and fillers and these were supplied for the project by Nupol Composites. Both sides of the marine ply were sealed with epoxy and the inner skin sealed with three layers of 450gsm chopped strand mat. The 25mm sheet was set in place with a thick layer of epoxy glue to take up any cavities, then allowed to cure. Any rough spots were sanded to a smooth surface and the second layer of sealed 16mm plywood was glued in place and allowed to fully cure as well.
Then come multiple layers of outer fibreglass. After all, the transom is probably the most important part of the entire hull. I have seen transom jobs where builders will try to reuse the original outer skin. We don’t really like this option, particularly in our case where the laminates had as many holes as Swiss cheese. Finally, after a long and tedious process of fairing and sanding, the transom was straight, true and better than new.
The original workstation was a very primitive affair. Many N19Rs started life as fish/ski family runabouts and the original mouldings included recessed seats and loads of wasted space. Our wish list demanded a state-of-the-art fishing machine complete with the following:
- An efficient bilge with high capacity auto/manual pump
- Twin batteries on VSR
- Bait boxes
- Tackle locker
- Large live bait tank suitable for big slimies
- Comfortable walk up transom
We were initially concerned about adding the extra weight of the live bait tank to the port side rear quarter, but found that the hull carries the weight well. We also eliminated the moulded rear seats to fit a live bait tank that goes all the way to the floor. You need plenty of water, and tons of flow to keep large slimies alive for game fishing — a fault that we are often critical on with many so-called offshore fishing rigs.