ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) HalfDork
6/29/20 6:53 p.m.

I have been to stay away from social media, including GRM, since early April, but I am making this an exception because this thread is the best way I can think of to get my thoughts down for future me, which is why its so long. This is my first build thread, here or anywhere else, and its funny to me that it is a boat and not a car. Hopefuly it’ll keep me honest on working through the boat’s needs instead of just hitting the water.. Thanks for reading!!

My love affair with boats isn’t new. In my family, we did 3 things: Racing, Boy Scouts, and boating. I grew up on the water in Florida, fishing, sailing, waterskiing, just messing around on boats. My first job was as a sailing instructor at a summer camp. Since moving north for school about 25 years ago, I’ve crewed on various racing sailboats, but that dropped off as I started tracking and then racing cars, and basically moved to zero once the kids came along. There are only so many weekends in a summer. I’ve been asking my wife about a small sailboat for about 4 years now, and she was always adamant that I could keep the Spec Miata or get a boat, but not have both; She was wise to avoid being both a racing widow and a sailing widow.

Enter Coronavirus. There is no racing for me this year, as the car is in Florida and I am in New York. We have had to cancel our long family vacation overseas, as well as the 10 days we spend with my parents at the beach and visit to MIL. We were getting a bit tapped out on long hikes and bike rides and the like, and parks are starting to get crowded. SWMBO actually said to me: “What if we got a boat? How much would it cost?” Well, OK!

I started scoping around for a small boat suitable for easy tows to lakes in New York State/Connecticut and environs, and use on calm days on Long Island Sound. Something cool with relatively low purchase, running and maintenance costs, and small enough to keep under the deck in our back yard. It didn’t take long to settle on a 15 foot Boston Whaler classic.

One day I drove out to Long Island and brought this home.  I am the third owner.


ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) HalfDork
6/29/20 6:57 p.m.

The boat was usable as is when I bought it, just has a lot of mostly cosmetic needs. but the trailer needed to be completely rebuilt. Nice long tongue galvanized steel trailer, but all the running gear was trashed.

On the boat so far, I have replaced the 3 brass through hulls, did a “stage 1" rewire + new battery, and patched some nicks in the gel coat/fiber glass. On the trailer: new springs, hubs, shackles, coupler, wheels, tires safety chains, guides, rollers, and winch.

Longer term, I will this winter do a full rewire, and add in lights, a GPS, speakers and all that, and replace some of the wood that has gone soft.  I will strip down and repaint the engine. (I keep telling people that I'm going to strip and coat my Johnson, but it makes my wife angry when I do so.)

If I get real ambitious I might try to strip off the bottom paint, since this boat wont live in the water.

The bummer is that because of DMV closures, I still don’t have the boat or trailer registered, so its been sitting at the house for just under a month now, with rain being the only water its touched. I am sorely tempted to go “pirate” but from what I am hearing the police and marine patrol are really dropping the hammer on unregistered boats and trailers. So, I wait and I work.

trumant (Forum Supporter)
trumant (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/29/20 7:06 p.m.

Those are great boats for inland waterway and bay fishing. How are you planning on using it, fishing primarily or just general recreation?

ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) HalfDork
6/29/20 7:19 p.m.

Here are a few glamor shots of the trailer:

Starboard-side hub: Note the missing stud.


Here's what's left of the port side leaf springs.  That side would also turn out to have only one bearing in the hub. And, yes, those skinny little zinc bolts installed by the PO are in fact bent...


Here's the coupler. Nope, not a camera distortion, it really was bent.


ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) HalfDork
6/29/20 7:22 p.m.

In reply to trumant (Forum Supporter) :

It will be a bit of a do-everything boat:  Fishing, tubing, skiing, joyrides.  My son is 9 and in prime fishing mode so we''ll do quite a lot of that. I am debating whether a small trolling motor would be worth it, and am keeping my eyes peeled for a nice used one.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/29/20 8:20 p.m.

Great boat!

I've had a 13 and a 17, but the 15 might be the best of the three. The hull design is more like a mini outrage, so it's a better riding boat, especially for it's size. 

OjaiM5 Reader
6/29/20 8:23 p.m.

That is a great boat, so functional. Perfect for fishing!

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/29/20 10:29 p.m.

I think I would start with a whole new axle from hub to hub, including springs.  They are not expensive and it would save you any "gotcha!" moments down the road.  Same with the hitch, those are very cheap too.  While you are at it, replace the lighting with LEDs for better visibility going down the road

ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) HalfDork
7/2/20 3:51 p.m.
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) said:

I think I would start with a whole new axle from hub to hub, including springs.  They are not expensive and it would save you any "gotcha!" moments down the road.  Same with the hitch, those are very cheap too.  While you are at it, replace the lighting with LEDs for better visibility going down the road

Yes, we think alike. I replaced everything you mentioned except the axle itself, because I was having a hard time finding an axle with the right hub face measurement. Plan is to do the axle this winter.  Except for that the trailer is now 100%.  It was the wise and necessary thing to do, but it feels pretty unsexy, since it doesnt make the boat itself better or more functional.

ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) HalfDork
7/2/20 3:56 p.m.


One of my projects was re-wiring the boat, and undoing some of the hackery of the PO.  At some point, they relocated the battery and EDO oil tank to inside the helm thwart.  Doing that meant cutting holes in the totally unreplaceable plastic liners.  I will eventualy reconfigure the whole boat, and close the liners back up, but for now I had to at least clean up the hole before putting the battery back in.


After quick cleanup, with a little more finishing work to do:



ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) HalfDork
7/2/20 3:59 p.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

Great boat!

I've had a 13 and a 17, but the 15 might be the best of the three. The hull design is more like a mini outrage, so it's a better riding boat, especially for it's size. 

Thanks!  That was my thinking, and I'm really happy to hear someone with experience of all 3 hulls thinks the same.  I was considering a 17, but it gets a lot heavier with those additional 2 feet.

ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) HalfDork
7/2/20 4:05 p.m.

Update 2

The nice thing about the SSL is a factory ski/tow pole.  It slides down vertically through the back of the helm bench, and pins into a plate on the deck.  Over time, water gets into the hole in the backrest and the wood rots out.  Same piece of wood has two rod holders going through it, and they had a bit of rot as well.  I spent some time cleaning out the loose rotted wood and filling in with git rot and epoxy putty.



11GTCS Reader
7/2/20 9:29 p.m.

Sounds like you’re familiar with Whalers but just in case, make sure any / all screw holes are well sealed to keep water out of the foam.  There’s lots of waterlogged Whalers that are way heavier than they should be due to this.    With a good running 70 HP 2 stroke, the right prop and raised up a couple of holes on the transom you should be able to see at least 40 mph.  As mentioned above the 15 is a sweet hull.   ( I have a 1989 17 Montauk with a 2012 Evinrude 90.  It’s fun laugh)

ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) HalfDork
8/21/20 10:36 a.m.

So its late August, and I still don't have the boat registered.  I may or may not have ventured out on the roads with an unregistered trailer, to splash an unregistered boat in an out of state lake.  I may or may not have had a great time, but still be terrified of getting a $1,000 ticket.

I will tell a story on myself:  We did a road trip to visit my parents, and then my wife's parents, so the boat sat for awhile without being started.  I  went out to start the boat last Sat, took the cowling off to check it out, then tried to start it.  It cranked, would splutter, then die.  It just wouldnt run. 

Even though it seemed like a fuel issue, I charged the battery overnight, no change.  Maybe bad gas? Dumped the tank into wife's SUV, got fresh gas. No change.  Spent time on (forums remarkably similar to these.)  Changed fuel filter, no change. Pulled spark plugs, clean, no change.  Checked voltage at starter, fuel pump, all good.  Replaced fuel line b/c primer bulb felt soft, no change.  Yadda yadda, no change. 

So I basically resigned myself to having to rebuild the carbs.  I finally did the smart thing and read the Johnson owner's handbook...I'd completely forgotten that there is a little switch on the right side of the power head that you flip to "manual" priming if you are going to use the emergency pull cord start.  Boat wont fire off the key if the switch is in manual position.  It was halfway between electric and manual, so I pushed it to electric position and the SOB fired right up and idled pretty.  Best I can figure is that I must have somehow accidentally nudged the switch when I took the cowl off/on.  

I'm gonna take the win here and be more happy than mad that I spent hours diagnosing what turned out to be a self-inflicted wound with a resolution that took, literally, less than a second to remedy.


ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
8/21/20 12:24 p.m.

NIce. I missed this the first time around. I really like the seating layout on those Super Sports.  Did they ever actually use that layout on the 17s? All I remember seeing are the Montauks and....Nargasset or some such?

ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) HalfDork
8/21/20 1:42 p.m.

In reply to ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) :

Thanks - the layout is really handy with young kids, everybody gets an "equal" seat with a place to hold on, so nobody complains! The rear platform is nice to cast from, almost like a bass boat, and I will eventually rig a seat to plug into the hole for the ski bar.

I came across a few 17s with the SuperSport Limited layout, but as I understand it they are pretty rare.  The 17 hull is a lot more boat, it weighs almost 250lbs more, and has 10-11" more beam. I think it would be a really nice option, as it would fix the only complaint I have about the 15... Squeezing my "dad bod" behind the teenager appropriate helm.

03Panther HalfDork
8/21/20 4:56 p.m.

My wife was born and raised in Homestead FL, and was supposed to get the 86 ‘whaler (since her brother had gotten the “big” boat - 73 24’ deep v cc. ) but they decided to sell it... I miss that boat! Needed a lot cosmetic, but with a brand new Honda 90 4stroke, and a newish galvanized trailer, it was a great boat. Lotta fish eaten cause of that one!

stylngle2003 Reader
8/25/20 7:16 p.m.

We had a Whaler like that as a club boat (I too was a sailing instructor in my youth, on the Jersey Shore), with a 40hp mercury.  It may have been a 13', but it was so maneuverable and peppy that it never felt like it needed more power.  A friend's folks had a 17' Montauk with a 90hp yamaha, which worked great to pull a tube with a few friends.  And then the big daddy club boat was a 19' Montauk with a 4-stroke honda 130 mill.  That thing would do 50mph when trimmed out and low on fuel, soooo much torque. 

Cool project, I'll be following along!

12/1/20 3:28 a.m.

In reply to ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) :

I came across your post and I picked up a '15 1990 Super Sport Limited this summer and have been restoring it.  I was surprised on mine the level of wood rot on the underside of the seating cockpit.  I've been stripping it all out and replacing it with starboard.  Curious aside from your fishing pole holders, if you have seen a bit of wood rot in the supporting areas of the insert. She needed a lot of TLC and cleaning out to begin with.   I thought you'd like to see this fellow '15 SSL on Yacht Trader:

Happy to share pictures as I go as well of my project too if it is helpful.   

I get a lot of compliments that it's rare and a great balance between the 13 and 17ft boats. You picked a great hull to work with! 

759NRNG (Forum Partidario)
759NRNG (Forum Partidario) UltraDork
12/1/20 8:58 a.m.

All I have to add is sacrificial anodes on your trailer........great looking craft, was unaware of this hull in the BW line .

Automobilist New Reader
4/8/22 6:40 p.m.

In reply to ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) :

I have a 1987 17 Super Sport Limited. Suzuki 90 four stroke motor.  Significantly roomier boat than a 15.

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