Boat Restoration Tips: Rebuilding a Savage 24 Centre Console
Like so many project boats, reader Nick picked up his Savage 24 for a few thousand dollars on a registered trailer before leaving it to stew at a mate’s place.
He spent hours cruising the web looking for ideas before settling on wanting a walkaround centre console with a massive V berth, like the Vasgard 7.5. It had to have a self-draining deck, foam-filled hull, hydraulic steering, dual batteries, trim tabs built-in Eskies, a massive fuel tank and a water tank.
It also needed room for a Waeco fridge, a decent bait prep area, 1 kW transducer and room for two of his favourite Simrad NSS7s. That’s a big list but more impressive is that to achieve it all, Nick set a tight budget of only $25,000 – how was he going to do that? Do all the work himself.
When he finally got the Savage 24 project boat hull home, he found it was soaked through, so a major boat restoration rebuild was on the cards.
First was the transom; the outside skin was boarded up with melamine so the stern drive hole could be glassed up. Two sheets of 17mm structural ply were used to reskin the transom before three layers of glass went on. The stringers were next to get a freshen up. Nick chose to use Klegecell, a closed-cell PVC foam board in 40mm thickness for structural components. It’s a little pricey compared to other options but it’s easy to use, will never rot like ply can and importantly saved a lot of weight. Some 450 chop-strand matt and stitch cloth was used in a mix of unidirectional biaxial and quad-axial cloths in 750 and 1200-gram weights depending on what part of the stringers were being built up. Strong stuff when used correctly.
A 480-litre vinylester fuel tank and 120-litre water tank were built with full baffles, the latter set between the front seats to aid balance.
With the deck off, Nick undertook what is easily the biggest and most complicated DIY we have ever seen – he modified the sheerline. Yup, the freeboard was a touch too much for his liking so out came the masking tape and using reference points on each side, Nick pulled 75mm from the sides of his boat with his trusty four-inch grinder.
The floors are 12mm Klegecell with stitch cloth and 300 chopped-strand matt sealing both sides. The floors are adhered with a custom brew of Cabosil and Q-Cells and glassed down with more chopped strand matt and stitch cloth, making for a tight and strong bonded floor that should last a lifetime.
With the boat done, Nick took stock of what he has and although he loves it, by his own admission it’s not perfect. The kill-tank sits forward of the console, which isn’t ideal and he would love an upgrade to 12inch NSS Simrad marine electronics. Still, we reckon that the effort alone is more than reason to be proud.
6 project boat restoration tips
1. Plan on what the rig is to be used for.
2. Set up a budget for all your needs.
3. Rebuild a hull with brand recognition to maximise return.
4. Do research on materials and ideas.
5. Plan the layout before you start – it can be costly to change halfway through.
6. Don’t rush the rebuild. Do it properly the first time.