We have all been busy with our little (okay, not so little) boat restoration project. The boat itself is a 1990 Mariah 1850XL, which is an 18 1/2 foot open bowrider with a 4.3 liter 175 horsepower Mercruiser V-6. We bought it a few weeks ago from Rawhide Boys Ranch. Our goal is to have it done and in the water in about 6 weeks, or whenever the lakes thaw, whichever comes first 🙂
As she looked last summer
The seats and all vinyl are shot and will be completely replaced. We started by pulling all the old vinyl off, which revealed mostly rotted plywood that will have to be replaced.
While planning how we would install new seats, my friend Bob suggested that maybe we could update the boat to a much more modern look. The original boat had back-to-back seating, and small jump seats on either side of the “doghouse”. Most modern boats have a nice “sundeck” that covers the engine and provides a nice place to sunbathe and chill. A bench seat will provide 3-4 across, all forward facing, seating. That simple suggestion was all I needed to hear, I wanted it!
So I designed and built a new doghouse frame that would enclose the engine.
It is very strong and also very light. I also made similar, but much smaller, sections to go on either side of the doghouse. They all need to be easily removed to work on the engine, battery, etc.
That picture also shows the new front seats, but don’t look at those yet 🙂
Since all seats will now be forward facing, we needed new helm seats. I found a brand new set on eBay for a fair price, and designed and built “boxes” to support them.
The pressure-treated 2×4 on the bottom uses the existing Mariah mounting bolts and brackets. Missy and I then covered the boxes with vinyl, and I installed Garelick 12-point swivels that will allow the seats to rotate 180 degrees. I had to design my own mounting system (4 oddly sized bolts) to get the seats mounted to the swivel, but it came out very nice.
All of the woodwork for the new seats is complete and we are now doing the upholstery work. I started the sundeck tonight and will finish it tomorrow. Here is what it looks like now.