1969 Chris Craft Roamer Refit: The Exterior Hull

Over the 2008-09 winter, we tented the Roamer and began refinishing the exterior hull. The sandblasting left a surface that was ready for barrier coat, so we applied Alumiprep and Alodine and started rolling on the Devoe 235 epoxy. Devoe is a major supplier to the U.S. Navy, and their epoxy coatings are widely used in harsh industrial applications (e.g. large tanks etc). With the barrier coating done, we did some limited fairing work. The initial plan was to make the boat only as fair as Chris Craft did, which is to say not especially fair when compared to the fiberglass Commanders, for example. Later, when I discovered a fairing crew out of Deale, MD, we changed plans and had the boat fully faired to a very smooth surface.

This is what the bow looked like shortly after we took possession in late 2007

And this is what the bow looked like in January 2009

That underwater fairing compound is spendy…$38/liter!

The bottom just abaft of the stem in January 2008

Same spot in January 2009

Some unpleasantness along the chine in 2008

And a bit more…

Same area in January 2009 after a good sandblasting and barrier coating

The transom in 2008 still had those really neat underwater exhaust deflectors

The thing about those exhaust deflectors is that they were made of a thick rubber-like compound that was black (i.e. containing carbon) that were bolted to the aluminum hull with bronze bolts (containing copper)? I’m sure they made the boat very quiet, but just look at the aluminum oxide nearby! Repeat after me: dissimilar metals are bad, and aluminum almost always loses!

Here’s what I found when I took the deflectors off

Under the deflectors, I found aluminum oxide under the fairing compound for several feet around each of the exhaust pipes. Fortunately, the sandblasting got rid of all that.

Aluminum oxide blasted away, then the transom got faired and barrier coated

I welded in brand new 3.5″ exhaust tubes in Schedule 40 pipe. Two 20′ sticks cut down to 15′ all the way from the transom to the engine room. That was all the Lehman engines would need, after all…

This was the long view of the bottom in January 2008

One good thing about this boat was that even though she’s 40 years old, she’d only been in service for about 15 before being hauled and blocked on land. There just wasn’t any aluminum wasting to speak of.

Same bottom in January 2009

It looked even better after sandblasting, barrier coating, and a bit of fairing compound to smooth over weld joints and other minor surface imperfections.

Next up (though somewhat out of sequence) 1969 Chris Craft Roamer Refit: Rudders

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