Fletcher 170GTO – the beginning.

In November 2009 before I found the Waverider Quantum I was planning on another Fletcher. I picked up this boat for £600 with a new interior and good hull, but knowing it had a rotted transom that I would need to replace. So here we go:

Have to say I love the look of the Fletcher 170 GTO:

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Hull external. All original Gel Coat with very little signs of damage. Its had a vinyl cover over it its whole life, which unfortunately didn’t keep the water off the exposed transom wood as you’ll see in a bit.

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Very recently it had a new interior which you can see here. Its a cream leather vinyl. Still soft and nice and plush. There are some bits that could have been done better, which I do intend to correct, but its not a bad job over all.

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Fuel tank is behind the centre piece, ‘glove box’ opens in a strange direction – they all do that, no idea why?!

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Drivers seat. Finish quite nice and tight.

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Passenger seat. Finish not as good as the drivers side, but will be fine.

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Rear bench seat. A bit of a strange design on this. Not sure I like it so high so I may modify that and bring it down a bit as it spoils the lines of the boat. Also the top bench doesn’t line up exactly with the bottom, I want to sort that eventually too. Notice the brand new marine speakers. Never even had sound played through them yet!

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Another of the rear showing possible hints of the rot on the transom which has been exposed to the elements for far too long.

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And into the danger zone. Your staring at bare wood on the cut out in front. If it was not for that from what I can tell the rest of the boat is totally solid.

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The ply was soft to the touch, and had de-laminated. Although it didn’t look particularly rotted I knew it was really bad.

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The Exterior shows a nice clean hull and the old Fletcher stickers. This one I removed using a heat gun and gave it a polish.

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And it came up rather nice and shiny!

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More nice and shiny.

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Also began to remove the old stickers from the Bow. Some of the gel-coat is quite thin right at the front, too thin to polish it out correctly. I will probably leave that for now, but it looks a lot cleaner with the stickers removed. You can see there is a hole on the bow in the middle right, that’s for the fuel filler to connect to the new tank. I am not sure of its capacity.

And the project beings:

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First of all I cut a sample out of the lower transom to see how far gone the wood was. This ‘core’ sample was soaked through, and smelt like oil or something was absorbed in it. I allowed it to dry out and I could compress the wood between my fingers and it was easy to pull the laminations to bits. Thus totally rotted.

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I also started to dig at the transom (I don’t have a pic) and managed to dig out about 5 inches with no effort at all.

So then I began to ponder how i was going to deal with this. I kind of need more pics to show, bit I can use a pic from another boat of the same model to show what I mean:

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This is the inner skin of the transom on each side there is a foam floatation well, I need to somehow replace the transom at the back.

As I see it I have a few choices.

      Cut the transom out from the back of the boat by removing the stern.

 

  1. Remove the flotation wells etc and try and cut out the transom from within the boat.
  2. Pull the cap of the boat to allow full access to the transom and everything else I want to get to.

In the end I did the drastic option and cut the cap of the rear half of the boat. This was NO mean feat. In fact a complete nightmare. All the ‘stainless’ bolts securing both halfs of the boat must have been of a poor grade and were totally rotten. I couldn’t even drill them out as the coarseness of them instantly ruined the best drill bits I could find. The only option was to get a small hole saw and cut around them.

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i also had to cut the rubbing strip. I wont be replacing this due to the work involved, but it should join back ok with some effort. I made it a neat cut.
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And the cap is off, Look at the state of that Transom. The guy I purchased this from said it would be fine… Who was he trying to kid!!!
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Now after quite a lot of hammering I had was was left of the old transom out:
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Although most fell off in my hands:
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So after a bit of a clear up:
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It was now time to make a new transom. I decided to use 24mm Russian Birch marine ply. The old ply was slightly thicker at about 27mm, but of a much lower quality, It would be easier however to reassemble with slightly thinner wood.

So firstly a template was made from paper. Then cut out in hardboard. This was test fitted and trimmed where necessary then drawn onto the ply and finally that was cut out too.
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Unusually there is an action shot!! A friend visited whist I was working on this and took a few pics :)
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I know I know – I should have worn eye protection.. (I usually do)

Measure once, cut twice! (lol)
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Ok so now I need to get in some fibreglass materials. I’m probably going to clean it all up and use a polyester based system. I had good success with this on my old boat, so I’m sure it will be fine.

Once this is all done I have a 50hp engine to throw on the back and controls to get it all running, then I’ll sea trial it, and sell it

I’ll update more on this as it happens (the Waverider is my priority).