Bone Yard Boats’ David Irving sent us this post on a 1966 Pacemaker Express Cruiser 31’ in desperate need of rescue, plus 2 other boats free for the taking to a good owner.
Originally featured in Bone Yard Boats last spring, this 1966 Pacemaker Express Cruiser 31’ is still in need of a new home and her situation is becoming increasingly dire. The owner is understandably reluctant to continue paying for boat storage, and is trying to “give it one last push to find a home for this boat.” The alternative is not pretty.
Here’s the owner’s story:
“Hull #242 is, I believe, what the builder called a 1966 31’ Express Cruiser. Beam is 10’ 10”, draft 2’ 4”. She’s built with mahogany planking on oak frames, marine plywood in the superstructure and fiberglass cabin tops. She sleeps 6, 2 in a V-berth, 2 on the convertible dinette, and 2 on a fold-out sofa in the salon. An enclosed head and an efficient galley make her a great family boat—just like many of us recall fondly from childhood. She’s got a single 350 CI Crusader, which moves her along at about 15 or 16 knots.
She is a project boat that is in need of a major re-build, but will ultimately be a great boat if brought back to life properly. In my humble opinion, she is worth the effort.
“I bought her in 1995 from a member of the Cornwall Yacht Club on the Hudson River in New York. I believe she spent most of her life on the Hudson. There is record of a refit done around 1980 at White’s Marina when she was named Glory-Bee. I kept her on the South Shore of Long Island for a couple of seasons, then down to Bay Head, New Jersey, where I lived aboard for a couple of summers. Her last trip was from Bay Head to City Island, New York, in the fall of 1999. After 5 great seasons, I planned to wood the hull and really do a decent paint job on her. Then life got in the way. I met my wife, and family took priority, so the boat has not received any attention.
“She’s been stored outside since 2002, most of the time covered. I finally moved her to my backyard in 2009, figuring I could finally get started on this project. I planned to involve my 3 sons—one of those “dream come true” scenarios. My neighbor wasn’t thrilled, as the boat blocked his view of my pond! In any event, business motivated me to move to Connecticut, and the “new-old” house is going to take priority over the boat, so I’ve got to find her a home. The boat can be transported over the road. She’s been trucked from City Island to Newburgh, New York, in 2002, and then to Mystic, Connecticut (in 2010).
“She has not lost her shape, but has some broken frames, delignification on the top surface of the keel, and some small areas of rot in the plywood panels of her interior. At last check the planking was all good. Her cockpit was repaired by a former owner using inferior materials and bondo, so that will require replacement. The interior is intact, except the table top and countertops in the galley and head were particle board and they’ve been scrapped. Otherwise, all the parts are there, including the original Pacemaker nameplate. The flying bridge is in storage and parts of it will need to be replaced. The original parts will serve as a pattern for everything. The engine has not run in over 10 years. My plan was to replace it, since newer engines are so much better.
“She is not a few quick repairs and a paint job away from being launched. She is a project boat that is in need of a major re-build, but will ultimately be a great boat if brought back to life properly. In my humble opinion, she is worth the effort. The reality is that there just aren’t many of these left. Before she’s too far gone I’d like to pass her on, for free, to someone who has the means to bring her back to life.”
Bone Yard Boats is also seeking homes for 2 cabin cruisers below, also located in New England and each being offered “free to a good home.”
Featured on the cover of the Spring 2012 issue of the Bone Yard Boats newsletter is a 1952 Chris Craft Commander 34’ located in Massachusetts. The owner readily admits that “…this is a major project,” but goes on to say, “I believe that this vessel can still be renovated and restored.” The Commander boasts a large cockpit partially covered by a hardtop, and the owner believes the bottom to be in “decent shape.” This project boat was acquired with an identical boat, so many duplicate parts are available, including an extra pair of engines (although seized).
The 1966 Pacemaker Sedan 36’ is located in a marina in Connecticut. According to the marina rep who expressed an interest in working with the right person to repair and launch, “This boat has been here 3 years on land and was a liveaboard for 5 years. Engines are 8 cylinders, possibly 318s.”
About Bone Yard Boats
Firmly dedicated to the belief that for every old boat out there in need of a new home there’s a crazy boater looking for a project, Bone Yard Boats is a website, and old school print newsletter, and a community of subscribers passionate about old boats. The site and newsletter feature great old free and ‘for sale’ boats — mostly wood — from all over the U.S. and Canada, along with stories of boat restorations and historical tales of nautical interest. Not all the boats we list are free, but some really great ones are. These three boats are currently featured on the “Free Boats” section of the Bone Yard Boats website (www.boneyardboats.com).