1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The Big 2018 Nor’easter Whooped Tent Model XXX

The title of this article pretty much says it all. As I described years ago in A Celebration (and condemnation) of Tents!, on a project like this you’ve got to build a strong structure from the get-go or waste a bunch of time, like I did, fixing shredded tarps and tents. Tent Model XXX was the result of many, many tent failures, and it held up even to direct hits from thunderstorms, hurricanes, and snow storms that dumped 20″. But the winds from the 2018 Nor-easter proved to be a bit too much. Several roof frames broke, then the broken bits slammed over and over again into my brand new Awlgrip paint that has only been directly exposed to sunlight twice since we finished that part of the project.

The first sign of trouble was the aft tent frame leaning up against the hardtop

Normally that upright frame is at least six inches from the aft edge of the hardtop. It had moved forward and the plywood gusset rubbed back and forth against the edge of the hardtop roof.

The next sign of trouble was the broken 1-1/2″ PVC pipe frames

The leaves on the deck were surprising, too.

What a mess

 

Scratches on the cabin top paint and leaves that blew in through the open top

More cabin top scratches

Chunks of shattered 2×4

Holy smokes

The shot above is from the bow seat looking forward. See how the tent center backbone support on the blanket is off-set to the port side? See how the big, front-most upright frame member is also off-set from the centerline where the two mahogany toe rail sections meet at the pointy stem of the boat? Yeah, well, I centered the forward upright when I last reskinned the tent. The Nor-easter pushed the nose of the structure about eight inches to the southeast. I believe that’s what pulled the aft frame on the starboard side forward until it came into contact with the hardtop.

More broken frames and roof punctures

Another broken frame and the scratches it caused to the paint

Abraided powder coating on the new windshield frame

There’s so much dirt and PVC debris on the glass, I can’t tell if it’s scratched or not.

Oh….man

The frame broke here, and a 3″ deck screw that secured the vent fan remained in the part that was still attached to the tent structure on the NW side. The wind pummeled that side hardest, and the PVC pipe whipped back and forth, over and over again, driving the tip of that screw into the paint like an icepick on steroids.

More than a square foot of destroyed paint

The leading edge is ripped up deep into the fiberglass

Looks like somebody took a pneumatic needle scaler to it

Tent backbone over the hardtop was broken

Top side of the hardtop is also beat up at the front

Once I finished surveying the extent of the damage, I went and got some paid helpers and set to work pulling down broken frames and cutting the ends square. With the frames out of the way, the tent top skin was flapping around pretty badly in the gusty leftovers of the Nor’easter. But that allowed me to adjust the rearmost frame and pull it off of the hardtop.

Rear frame is back where it should be

The plywood gusset got scraped away pretty well

The hardtop back edge took a beating

The hardtop is a clamshell…there’s a top and a bottom half, and they join together at this edge. The plywood gusset rubbed away 1/4″ of paint, primer, fairing compound, and fiberglass. The damage is extensive enough that, by the end of post-Nor’easter cleanup, Day One, I realized I’m going to have to make an insurance claim.

QUICK UPDATE: I have to say, Lynn at Heritage Marine Insurance (lynn@heritagemarineinsurance.com) and Chubb have treated me very well.

This is killing me. I was just talking to somebody a week ago who asked if I was splashing this year. I explained that I might if I can keep up the pace. But, I said, it’s been a few years since the last disaster hit my Roamer project–when the rat bastard thieves cleaned me out–and these things seem to happen on a cycle. I was joking but…when am I gonna learn not to tempt fate???

The following morning, I picked up a bunch of PVC pipe couplers and we got busy cutting and gluing new sections in.

Frames are patched

Aft backbone restored

4″ shrink tape patches the tears

Dr. Frankenstein would be proud

I need a whole new top skin. But with the gusts still blowing, there’s no way to do it. Patches will have to hold for a while. Since shrink wrap tape doesn’t stick long to dirty old plastic, these patches won’t last long.

Vent fan reinstalled

I found the vent fan assembly halfway across the boatyard. It was in surprisingly good shape. After patching up the shredded top skin around the opening, I reinstalled the fan.

End of post-Nor-easter cleanup, Day 2

The top skin has practically no tension, so it really gets to flapping when there are gusts. I know from experience that flapping plastic doesn’t last long. But it’s March, so it’s too windy to put a new top skin on and it will be for a while. I may try my luck re-tensioning the shrink wrap with the heat gun again. But I’ve found that debris, even dust, on used shrink wrap has a bad habit of superheating, popping holes in the plastic and even causing it to catch fire instead of shrinking. That’s the last thing I need to have happen. Also, as I’ve said before, reskinning the tent is young man’s work. I think I’m going to have to turn this over to the pros.

This is one of those times when I really, really, really regret having ever started this refit project. That said…

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: More Salon Plywood Panels

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15 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The Big 2018 Nor’easter Whooped Tent Model XXX

  1. frontierhermit says:

    Q that is a total bummer man. I feel sick for you. She was looking so beautiful. Finding her messed up like that must have been so disheartening! I don’t suppose there is anyway to move her into a proper building for the rest of the refit? I’m sure you will get through it but damn!!!

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      TTozzzerrrrrrrrr!!!
      Yeah, it sucks but things could be worse…I could be living in a country that has a Trudeau for its leader! Then again, your highest quality export these days is Jordan Peterson! How the hell did Canada produce those two contradictions on what it means to be men yet choose the sissy Trudeau as the leader? lol
      Cheers, ya Canuck bastard!
      Q

  2. John Casteel says:

    I’m so sorry. Like others I’m following waiting for that big day when she reenters her element. This will pass. Have a drink / go to dinner / go for a run. Clear your head and start it again. She is already a beauty and that splash date is getting close. This is a huge project that probably none of us would have undertaken. Other than the hull you’ve built the whole boat. Rooting for you!

  3. DeltaPapa says:

    I am totally gutted, tuned in to read the next great rebuild story to see this, brought a tear to my eye, you must be so upset…. I really hope the insurance pay out and you can pin down the elusive painter to sort all that out, wish I lived closer I’d be down to help you out….

  4. Doug Shuman says:

    Total Bummer! After all that great work.
    How about Tent Model NONE now. Spring is coming fast. The boat’s not splashable, but it’s weather proof except for those few areas where you have smaller holes to fill. Could you plastic wrap those holes and leave the boat on the hard. You’ll have to do painting outside or with mini-tented areas to refinish the storm damage, like many boats in marinas, but for the most part, it’s an outside boat now.
    We’re all wanting to see the day you go cruising in this great boat, and we know you’ll pull through now. We did the Great Loop Route in a Hatteras 53MY (maybe a bit too much boat) and I keep thinking that this may be a perfect Great Loop boat for you.
    Doug

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Hi Doug!
      I appreciate the suggestion, but I need to keep the boat tented until it’s completely weather-proof. There aren’t any doors for the helm station and the aft end of the hardtop is completely open. The portholes aren’t permanently installed yet, and there are several vent holes that aren’t connected to the bilge yet. Even after it’s weather proof, I don’t want birds and other critters crapping up the place. Plus, I need to keep the security system functioning, and that only works in an enclosure.
      I reckon this would make a pretty good looper. Maybe some day…
      Cheers,
      Q

  5. stingrayl82 says:

    And then there was the Sea Ray that blew up next to you…Jesus, Q this sucks. Good luck with the insurance company. IMO, they’re as big a bunch of rat bastard thieves as the ones who broke in and stole your tools.

  6. I am sick about this. It has to be so discouraging. I know what you are saying about regretting starting it, but I also know you are going to plow ahead. Just know that from all of us that share your excitement with each update that we’re pulling for your to work through it.

  7. John Ulrich says:

    Sorry to read this. Hang in there and carry on!

  8. Timothy Fry says:

    Oh man, I am really sorry to see that. Been following your work and rooting for you for a long time, hate to see that happen. I’m sure it’s super discouraging, but all the best to you. Keep up the excellent work!

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