Red Sky at Night with JB Cornwell | Almost SUNSHINE IV.
Article courtesy of JB Cornwell
I found her on eBay. "1981 Boston Whaler Outrage 18" offered by BrokeBoats. She had been totaled by some insurance company.
She had been hanging in davits on a canal near Sarasota, FL while her owner went north for the summer. Thieves tried to steal her 130 Yamaha outboard, cutting steering cables and wiring harness and unbolting it from the transom. But there their plans came acropper. They dropped the Yamaha in the canal. Worse, they somehow loosed the for'd cable that hung the bow and dropped the bow in the canal. The anchor locker cover and the 120qt. Igloo cooler with cushioned cover, of course, floated away.
There she rested until her owner returned. It must have been several months because the motor, which the insurance company retrieved from the bottom of the canal, and the forward part of the hull were fully encrusted with barnacles.
She was transported to Dania, FL and offered on eBay.
I had an Outrage 18 in 1983 when I lived on the Dania Cutoff Canal just down the street. She was Sunshine II (iboats Review, March, 2012) and cruised the ICW and the Gulf Stream trolling for mahi mahi and tuna. I loved that boat, she represented treasured memories. Unfortunately, I fell on hard times and had to give her back to the bank.
When I saw the Outrage 18 on eBay I couldn't believe my luck. I imagined myself fishing Lake Of The Woods with my son and grandson in a boat that was suitable for big water.
At that time you could give eBay a maximum bid and they would bid for you up to that maximum. I bid $4,000. At the end of the auction I had won it for $3300.
I then arranged for a trailer and took off for Florida from my home at The Hideout in Texas. The story of that road trip is in the iboats Review, May 2011. iboats Review is archived in iboats.com Review | Sign up.
What to tackle first? I decided to tackle the outboard motor, which had spent several months on the bottom of a salt water canal.
The carburetors and starter were trash but the pistons weren't frozen and salt water hadn't penetrated the cylinders. I sprayed some WD-40 into the cylinders and set to work splicing the wiring harness back together. I then mounted the outboard to the transom.
A new starter, spark plugs and new carbs and the outboard was ready to fire up. I towed the boat to an outboard shop nearby that had a dynamometer. With new grease in the gearbox it pushed the dyno up to 135HP. I was satisfied with the outboard after I removed the barnacles from the cowling and leg.
I next replaced the steering.
I then turned my attention to the hull and accessories. Barnacles were a chore to remove without damaging the gel coat. I used a plastic scraper followed by #1800 wet or dry paper. Then I followed up with rubbing compound.
The cooler seat was pretty straightforward: Igloo 120qt. with bungees and cleats. A 4" thick cushion snapped to the top.
The anchor locker cover was a different story. Boston Whaler didn't have one. I finally got a wood worker to make me one from teak.
They tell me that 80% of the work takes 20% of the time. I believe that is Pareto's law. It applied to my project.
It was about this time that I started having doubts about suitability of the Outrage for my sort of fresh water fishing. It didn't have a front troller mount or anywhere to fashion one and it didn't have pedestal seats to cast from. I decided to sell it.
By this time I had about $8,000 invested. I was fortunate to find a Boston Whaler aficionado who was looking for a project. He offered to buy the Outrage for what I had in it. I hooked the trailer up and towed it to St Paul.
(JB Cornwell writes from "The Hideout" in Whitt, TX, and is also an expert moderator, instructor, and fountain-of-knowledge in the iboats.com Boating Forums, where he may occasionally share a yarn of his own.)