Restored Penguin Phantom project boat on the water.

Boat Restoration: Penguin Phantom Project

Penguin Boats produced a range of trailer boats through the 1970s and 1980s. Most Penguin boats are well regarded, and the Penguin Phantom especially so. Talk online is that the Penguin Phantom is based off an old Haines V16 hull which would go some way to explaining their great handling in rough seas.

Penguin Phantom

Baden picked up Timeout, his Penguin Phantom back in his early twenties and promptly put hundreds of hours on the V4 Johnson 90hp outboard motor, fishing and wakeboarding. Loving the boat, he took it everywhere he could till one day disaster struck. While moored overnight during a camping trip on Ningaloo station, the boat sunk.

With the help from his 18 month old daughter Sienna, Baden got the boat onto a cradle in his single-car garage and stripped the hull down to the last bolt. Every existing hole and every bit of damage was patched before the boat headed to a local boat builder for an inspection and a coat of paint. The Penguin Phantom hull came up trumps with the exception of needing minor re-glassing on the deck, where some parts had de-laminated.

From paint the hull went to get a shiny new Evinrude E-TEC 90hp outboard motor fitted. Then began the fitout at home. Most of the original hardware was refurbished and reinstalled. There are minimal screws on Timeout.

Almost all fittings are stainless with (where needed) added marine Sikaflex for good measure. Everything that is mounted has marine ply compensators (double backing) including full-length compensators running under the gunwales for the rod holders.

Speaking of the rod holders, two double as mounts for deck shade poles which Baden made himself after scavenging some 25mm stainless tube — a great help with the budget.

A local upholsterer sorted the boat seats, clears and canvas shade which have proven to be a real stand-out feature for long days on the water. On hot days if you wet the deck shade it cools everything down nicely, says Baden.

A good friend built the custom 90L fuel tank which shoehorns into the factory tank position giving the boat a range well over 150km. With the Evinrude E-TEC 90hp outboard motor it’s perfect for running to the Abrolhos islands, Dirk Hartog and coastal trips. 

Timeout has a great JVC stereo and also a digital TV tuner hooked up to the Raymarine E7D which is great during footy season. A flush-mounted deck hose is fitted down back, which is great for quick clean-ups and showers. A Magma barbeque which mounts in the rod holder is a handy addition come lunch time.

This Penguin Phantom was out of the water for about 12 months but the project only took four of those once it was underway. Baden says it performs great, fuel economy is incredible with his first trip to the Abrolhos Islands from Geraldton using only 55lt for the journey that went for at least 120km. Top speed seen is 48.6kts, loaded with gear and two mates.

5 project boat restoration tips

From Baden

1. Really think about what you use the boat for and how many years you will keep it

2. You want to use the boat, not work on it, so do it right and invest in making it last

3. Make a budget with all your dream inclusions – this gives you a maximum spend.

4. Have a handy list of components to give suppliers when you’re shopping around for fit-out.

5. If you don’t use everything on your dream list, you can tell your missus you’ve come in under budget!