Beginning November 2016, I embarked on a refit to restore the electrical and mechanical systems for a 1970 Chris Craft Commander Flybridge.
The boat was very neglected and only the eyes of an optimist could see that this classic would ever float again, after 30 years of dry dock.
My first days on this project began on a cool November day in 2016 with a shop vac pointed directly at the bilge. With numerous gallons of oily debris and many pounds of 'old boat junk', I began sorting and tossing the good and bad. Once the bilge had been drained, it was obvious I was in for a very, very long field trip.
After hunkering down during the off-season, phase 1 was completed and sea trials began late 2018.
I began removing the entire electrical system and associated mechanical parts of this very crudely assembled boat, of which was typical build practice for that era. As I gained traction on the project in the early weeks, it was evident the "to do" list would far exceed my initial expectations as you will see in the following photos.
With one goal, a strong focus, persistance, and numerous very late nights, though a glacial pace at times, the light at the end of the tunnel became brighter.
Currently it resides at a local marina on Lake Winnipesaukee for her first round of sea trial and will undergo phase 2 once she is hauled.
With the help of local tradesmen they were able to fill in the gaps for this boat restoration task such as the engine work, carpentry, varnish, carpets, painting, interior decorating and overall exterior detailing.
Once the boat was stripped of its fuel tanks, mufflers, motors, wire, deck hardware and systems, I could begin the laborious task of restructuring stringers with epoxy, fiberglass and fresh gelcoat to the bilge. Only then could I begin to install all new bronze seacocks, fabricate shelving for the mechanical systems and repair rotten wood around the salon entryway.
Full helm station restoration
All of this needed to happen before I could design and install the electrical system. I installed two 4D AGM batteries for the house, and each engine has its own group 31 AGM. The charging system is distributed by two Blue Sea auto charge relays.
With a few phone calls to Uflex steering systems of Florida, I installed 120' of flexible hydraulic steering line, two UP56 helm pumps and 1 UP378 steering ram with an inline RV70 safety relief valve.
With numerous long days and nights, this 1970 once again went back to where she was built to be; on the water.
Special thanks to the contributing hands and the boat owner for allowing me to turn this once forgotten classic into a beam of light.