1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Fairing the Cabin Top

A potential buyer popped up for the Ford Lehman engines I had rebuilt for the Roamer back in 2008 before getting my wits about me and deciding on Cummins 450 Diamonds. So I spent two days over the weekend moving big pieces of iron around the State of Maryland, getting them back to the shop that did the rebuild for a quick check up in preparation for some videos.  On Sunday, the Boatamalans came by with their 30″ longboards and attacked the fairing compound we laid on the cabin top last week. While the guys were sanding away, I was out working on transforming Tent Model IX from a hurricane-tested winter work tent to a paint shed.

The dashboard is cleaning up nicely.

I decided to make the instrument pod part of the dashboard structure since the instruments have excellent access from below and there’s no benefit I can see in having it screwed together from below with an exposed seam above. All the joint between the two does is grab dirt. Once the dashboard is faired, we’ll put a nice fillet over the joint between the two after tabbing them together with lightweight fiberglass.

The bullet-proof windshield base.

There’s just a very fine line of yellow at the top of the windshield base to indicate there’s Kevlar bi-axial cloth below.

The previous repair area at the base of the windshield has been properly re-repaired.

Very little fairing compound was needed here, which is good since additional thickness here would increase the challenge of reattaching and bedding the windshield frame.

Shaping the starboard windshield base.
Everything looks very good here.

Process basics: apply expensive fairing compound to the surface, then sand most of it off!

The 30″ longboards are very good at finding the high and low spots in the fairing compound. Most of the dark lines here are where there were overlaps in the 1708 bi-axial fiberglass layer, creating high spots. Others, though, are high spots from where the original hard top shape simply wasn’t fair.

It’s anybody’s guess whether it was that way when new or if the wrinkly bits were caused by the monster Super Seamaster engines wracking the superstructure by bashing along at much faster than original design speeds.

Some of the original frames create high spots in the salon top roof.

Once it’s faired to this point, the fairing compound filling the low spots isn’t especially thick.

Salon roof frames create high spots all the way across the cabin top even far forward of the salon hatch roof repair.

The guys are doing a good job making the cabin top lines straight.

They faired the turn of the cabin top to the cabin top sides to a very sharp edge. We applied the second coat of fairing compound to the low spots and will do the final fairing next weekend. Once that’s straight and all of the low spots are gone, we’ll come back through and put a nice radius on it.

Nice radius on the brow.

This is a subtle styling spot on the bigger Chris Craft cruisers, but it’s notorious for developing cracks and pocks in the gelcoat. The guys did a great job reproducing and blending in the radius at the brow on the leading edge of the cabin top, now vastly improved with a continuous layer of 1708 bi-axial FRP.

Ditto on the port side.

The lines are really looking good here.Just a few touch ups were needed with fairing compound.

Meanwhile, I was busy transforming Tent Model IX on the outside.

I need to widen the aft section so we can prime and paint the aft enclosure, put a “cap” on top so we can paint the helm station roof, and drop the sides to the ground all the way around to keep paint fumes under control.

Basically, I’m turning it into a big paint spray booth.

The tent transformation is nearly done on the starboard side.

1.5″ PVC hoops will go over the helm station roof from the long uprights aft to create a new tent roof frame 5′ higher than now. I’ll then cut the existing PVC film and raise the whole aft section over the top of the new hoops. Then, with lots of shrink wrap tape and the torch, I’ll weld new shrink wrap film to the old so it goes all the way to the ground and secure it along the sides of the tent structure all the way around.

I’ll be begging the goddess of the seas for dead calm on that day, let me tell you!

Next week, we’ll finish longboarding then put some nice fillets around the dash pod and at the cabin top to deck joint. Time permitting, we’ll also get the fairing work done on the fore and side decks. I’ll continue transforming the tent and hope to have that done by Sunday, when the forecast is for 5mph winds!

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Fairing the Cabin Top (cont.)

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