Thinking about yacht refit…

chris craft roamer refit 2 Quentin and Emiko's 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46  Refit Project I DO NOT want to do this much work.  I like this photo because it shows what's behind the walls.



No… I haven't bought a boat YET, but I'm getting very close.  I promise.wink  My house closing is anticipated for the end of the month.  I feel that I have narrowed down the make/model AND size, all that is left is to view 1 more option and then make my move (offer).  I am really excited about the process, and also relieved that my kids are looking forward to the adventure.  They seem anxious to get rolling, as do I. 

Now that I have pretty much sorted through the "Which boat is right?" stage, I have moved into "The Refit" frame of mind.  I am that gal who always needs to be one step ahead of herself to be comfortable.  When the boat arrives I want to jump right into renovation, and not have to spend too much time figuring out what to do.  So I am beginning to research some of the process now.  As a "Real Estate Junkie" I am perfectly at home with renovation and actually enjoy most of my projects, but this is my first yacht refit, so I am not quite as comfortable.  But, it's a good thing that I have construction experience behind me, even if it is house construction, because any experience is better than none.  I wouldn't have the guts otherwise.  I am going to look at it as another learning opportunity.  Have to start somewhere.

The plan is to purchase a boat with good bones.  A great engine inspection is an absolute MUST.  I will not buy a boat if I know that the engines are crap.  I would also prefer most of the systems to be in good useable condition.  I don't mind having to replace hoses, heads, a pump or two, and electronics, of course, but as we say in real estate; I want a boat that is "structurally sound".

I will probably have a yard do the initial work on the boat to get it serviced and ready to travel.  When I get it back to Boston, then I can figure out the simpler items, like updating heads, and hose replacement.  I will probably try and do those things myself with the help of one of my guys here.  I would prefer to know how to do mechanical tasks than to have to constantly rely on professionals. Sometimes there is only one way to learn, just do it.  So that is what I intend to do.

The cosmetic part of the refit should be fairly straightforward.  I have been researching some of the nuances of boat refit and how it would differ from home renovation.  Depending on the final boat choice, I may or may not gut the galley and replace the cabinets.  One of the boats has original wood cabinets that are in very good condition.  It wouldn't make sense to remove them.  The others have crappy formica, that will definitely be replaced.  Either way the countertops will be changed for sure.  I am a granite person, love granite, use it in every renovation that I do for myself and wouldn't consider any other material.  However, granite is extremely heavy, and with a boat, weight matters, so I am trying to sort through whether or not granite is appropriate for a yacht this size.  I see it all the time installed in yachts that have been refit, but just because everyone is doing it, doesn't make it a good choice, so we'll see on that. 

I intend to remove all of the existing carpet.  I will most likely install wood flooring.  I love wood.  Carpet is warm, but it gets dirty too easily.  I have 5 kids, and I cannot stand dirty, so wood is the best choice for us.  I'll probably go with a pre-finished wood, so I won't have to deal with the mess from sanding.  I will also remove the linoleum and replace the bathrooms flooring.  I have been researching bathroom flooring options.  If this were a house refit, I would be going with natural stone, a travertine or tumbled marble.  The problem is that boats shift, and tile is not movement friendly.  I don't want my floors to crack under pressure.  I am thinking either a laminate floor, or Lowes sells this really cool product called "Snap Tile".  I have always wanted to try it.  It is a floating tile floor that is installed without mortar.  The grout is rubber biased, rather than concrete biased.  It is flexible, and therefore, shouldn't crack.  Also, another bonus to this product is that if you drop a hammer or something on of the tiles and it cracks, it is very easy to change that one broke piece.  The company that makes it also claims that it can be reused from one application to the next. 

Another cosmetic change that I intend to make, is the wallpaper.  I am known for saying that "wallpaper should be outlawed".  I HATE the stuff.  It is a pain in the ass to install and it's even worse to remove.  Plus, it looks like like crap (in my opinion), but, it seems that boats have 2 kinds of wall finish.  Either wood or wallpaper.  I am trying to figure out a creative alternative.  I will use the wallpaper if I have to, but I would prefer something else.  Let's see if I can come up with a good boat/head friendly alternative.

That about sums up the interior refit ideas.  My goal is to make sensible tasteful mass-appealing changes and upgrades, without over-improving the yacht.  As this boat is just a stepping stone to what I really want. smiley

I plan to take photos and maybe a video or 2 of the my renovation projects and progress because I think it's a shame that there is so little information and good photos, video, and description of boat projects.  I know this because I can't find much.  Maybe my discoveries and learning process can help the next gal who wants to refit her boat herself. smiley


Photos from David Wigler's 1977 Hatteras 58' MY refit.  David did an awesome job with his flooring and galley cabinets.  I am inspired and impressed.  He used pre-finished wood flooring and chose a perfect color to match the afromosia walls in his Hatteras.  He also used, and modified as needed, house cabinets.  My plan is to do a similar refit to David's.  I might even try to get my kids to demo the parquet flooring!

floor refit



wall 2



Stay tuned…….. the good stuff is yet to come!!!




Have refit ideas?  Share your experience.  Leave a comment and your 2 cents!!!









Thinking about yacht refit… — 5 Comments

  1. Hey! Nice to hear from you!

    "I intend to remove all of the existing carpet.  I will most likely install wood flooring. "

    And when being at sea, circumstances can be wet, so, carpets, out those go.

    That refit project blogpost pic looked like a catastrophe project! A project for people who have lots of time and patience.

  2. The Chris Craft refit is not that bad. On second thought not bad at all. They went into the project with the clear understanding that they would have to gut the boat and replace most parts other than the hull in order to get it into a usable condition.

    The question is if one can and wants to invest that amount of work. And more importantly to gauge the actual state of the boat before it changes ownership. Going that far on a purchase that presumably only needed a bit of varnish is a major catastrophe.

    • Hey Jeff,
      Sorry about the delayed response. Sometimes I loose comments amongst a sea of spam. It seems that our “plan” is constantly changing. I think that we may pick up the boat, do some quick (and I say quick loosely and chuckling) cosmetic stuff, and take the boat to the Bahamas for the summer. But nothing is set in stone yet 🙂