World's Oldest Surviving Mako Outboard Boat?
Back in 1999 I wrote Mako Marine about my boat and received an interesting reply - they had never heard of a boat as old or with as low a hull number as mine! (#191031 - i.e. Mako 19 hull # 31) Apparently the oldest Mako they were aware of was from 1968. This prompted me to search through the DMV in our state to identify the previous owners of my boat. The DMV confirmed that the boat was first registered in 1967 and provided a list of the previous owner's names.
My research enabled me to connect with the original owner and second owner of the boat who were very pleased that she was still going strong! The first owner told me that the boat was delivered to the Darien Bait Shop in March or April of 1967 and was the first Mako on Long Island Sound. (Today The Bait Shop is in Rowayton, but still sells Makos!) Each of the owners sent me pictures and stories of the boat during their ownership and the second owner even stopped by and visited with me!
Via this website I received an email a few years back from the son of the founder of Mako. He had worked at the company from the early 1970s through the 1990s and this web page came to his attention though a post on one of the on-line boating boards. Through our correspondence he confirmed that the construction and details on my boat were correct for the very earliest boats built - and he was not aware of another boat with a lower hull number. This raises the question, could my boat be the oldest Mako still in service?
Here is my Mako in the early 1970's courtesy of the boat's second owner. (nice electric shift Evinrude!)
Mako in the mid 1970's - port side
Mako in the mid 1970's - action shot!
And the Mako today.
I purchased our 1967 Mako in the Fall of 1996 from an angler in
Norwalk CT. The boat and motor were in pretty tough shape but it
was complete and offered at a reasonable price.
initial survey determined that the boat was no longer floating on,
or even close, to it's original waterline. We only used her a few
times the summer of 1997 since I noticed the boat was leaking a
bit and could feel her work under my feet in any sea - I didn't
think it prudent to go far until I had a chance to check things
out. One day I reached in the aft inspection port and grabbed a
chunk of the styrofoam flotation. It was completely saturated with
water, old 2-stroke and mold. It smelled and looked nasty! On pulling
the boat out at the end of the '97 season, I also noticed that the
starboard side trailer bunk made a significant indent in the bottom
of the hull indicating that something structural was amiss.
really liked the versatility and size of the boat and thought it
was worth an investment of time and money to rebuild her. I had
had some experience working with fiberglass but nothing on this
scale. My friend Dave & his wife Sheila, who run our local boat
repair shop, were willing to help me tackle this project for a reasonable
cost provided I pitched in and did much of the "grunt"
#1) Scraping nasty, wet, soggy, stinky old foam - 300+
#2) Deck off & stringers out
WE CAN REBUILD HER - BETTER, STRONGER, FASTER!
the center console, wiring and fittings removed, we cut through
the deck leaving an 8" shelf to the cockpit walls, bait boxes
and transom. On pulling up the deck, it was obvious that the old
foam was completely saturated with water. I used a small hand
saw, (almost like a file), and a pry bar to cut/hack/break chunks
of the foam off, photo #1. This was a really gross and wet job!
I put the hunks of foam into industrial garbage bags, all total
I got 23 bags, and 827 POUNDS of foam out of the boat. It was
evident that this foam had been saturated for some time, since
the damp environment had also deteriorated the three wooden stringers
that ran fore and aft the full length of boat. The stringers were
made of 1/2" marine plywood and covered with a single layer
of heavy fiberglass cloth. It was obvious that the starboard stringer
was cracked, (why the trailer had indented that side), and that
the center and port ones were pretty rotten under the single layer of glass. I'm
very glad I chose not to use the boat much with the hull in this
condition! Picture #2 above shows the hull with the deck off,
foam out and stringers removed. Using wooden wedges, we were able
to peal up most of the fiberglass used to hold the stringers in
place. Anything left was sanded with a disk sander. Itch, itch,
itch.... You also can't spend enough on a respirator.
Photo #3) Underside of deck - one heavy sucker!
I thought it odd that Mako built the bottom with only three stringers,
but put six under the deck! The deck was very well built and weighed
a lot! It also had 1/2" x 14" plywood running side to
side for support and to bolt the console into. The PVC tube that
the teleflex and wiring ran through was very permanently fiberglassed
in, we had a devil of a time with it when lifting the deck. Eventually
we cut it out completely, as you may be able to see on the extreme
left of the picture above.
Photo #4) Detail of stringers
Photo #5 Dave glassing in new
The original stringers were replaced with new ones cut to the
same size and length. Additionally, intermediate stringers were
installed, made from 4" PVC cut in half to form a "C"
section. This gave us 7 stringers in the bottom, each covered
with a minimum of 2 layers of heavy cloth and resin. Extra care
was taken to hand roll out all the air bubbles and we allowed
a week in the summer sun between layers of glass to let it really
set up. A center support, heavier than the original, was reinstalled
amidships with blocks glued by west system and fiberglassed. This
ties all three stringers together to prevent them from torqing
and provides support for the deck under the console. (A great
deal of weight is concentrated on this spot because the fuel tanks
are stored under the console, above the support) The edge of the
deck still attached to the hull, and the edge of the large section
removed, were each sanded to a sharp taper. This approx three
inches of sanding would allow us to lay new cloth and not have
a "bump" when we reattached the deck. As seen in photo
#6 below, a flange was created out of marine plywood held in place
with counter sunk stainless screws and glued with west system.
(The only purpose of the flange was to give us something to rest
the deck on so we could re-fiberglass it.)
Photo #6) Deck flange installed
the deck was reattached, the PVC tube that the control cables
ran through had to be refitted. I was in a pickle because I discovered
the original was a size no longer available. With some fiberglass
and the help of another friend who found me an NOS female/female
connector, we were able to salvage the original. After several
muscle pulling test fittings, we got the deck to lay into our
flange nicely. It was west systemed to the flange and screwed
in place. Two to three new layers of fiberglass were laid over
the cut. Again, all the air bubbles had to be rolled out of the
cloth, and we had to allow the resin several days to set up between
layers. The new fiberglass and the old non-skid that was molded
into the gel-coat on the deck all had to be sanded down to be
nice and smooth and flush. This took a lot of time and sweat.
By now I had developed a resistance to the fiberglass itchies!
My ventilator and belt sander were earning their keep! As seen
in photo #7, we had to be patient and sand and mud with a marine
filler, (like bondo), to get everything nice and smooth.
Photo #7) Deck on again!
I gave the deck two coats of a marine epoxy primer. (This took
it's sweet time to cure since the cool fall days had set in!)
The last step was to give it a nice coat of epoxy gray paint and
shake some non-skid into it, photo #8. (The new non-skid works
much better than the original that was molded into the gel) As
you can see, I taped off the white waterways and around the edge.
This gave it a nice clean original look, and makes it so the difference
in non-skid from the deck to the forward platform is hardly noticeable.
I also mixed up some of the new closed cell 2 part foam and filled
most of the space between the hull and deck. Hopefully it will
react better over time than the original!
Photo # 8) Deck done at last!
The boat now floats right on it's original marks, (about 3 1/2"
higher than before!!!) it rides and handles as it was designed to do. A great fringe benefit from before the rebuild is a 30% increase in fuel economy
with the '90 Johnson 115 because the boat is stiff and planes much
more easily. She also will make 38 knots at WOT, about 5 knots
better than it did before. I also sleep better knowing the hull
is sound and the flotation will errrrr.... float! I am very proud
of my old boat, and think that she was well worth all the work.
I owe a great debt of thanks to Dave & Sheila for taking this
project on - without their expertise and masterful work, there
is no way this boat would have gone back together. It's been 10+ years since the rebuild and the boat is still solid as a rock - and a lot of fun!
AND LET'S NOT FORGET THE ENGINE!
Year & Model: 1990 Johnson
Horsepower: 115@5,500 rpm
Cylinders: 90 degree
Point Gap: none
Cooling: Water by rubber impeller
Retail price when new: $NA
Weight: 325 lbs.
Oil/Gas Mix: 50:1 (VRO removed & tossed!)
Spark Plug: NGK BR9HS
Prop: OMC 13 1/4" x 17" 3-blade aluminum
My newest outboard ever! Quiet, reliable and fairly easy
to work on (except the $#@*&! thermostats) Fuel economy
on the old Mako is excellent burning about 3-4 gallons per
hour at cruising speed of 20-22 mph/3500 rpm. At full throttle speed is 38mph/5400 rpm with the bimini and spray hood down, 2 adults and regular gear - fuel consumption
is 8 gph.