Covid Restoration Project – HiLiner Fleetstar 58
The post and pictures below were sent in by Clay Boothby. I apologize that it took so long to post.
There’s not many positive things you can say about dealing with a pandemic like Covid-19. However, I know that some used the time to reconnect with family/distant friends, maybe took up a hobby, or even finished an outstanding project around the house. For my son and I, we used the time quarantined last spring and summer in Maine to try and restore my father’s 1958 HiLiner.
The boat last saw the water in 2012 and was sitting on a trailer outside since that time. In late summer 2019, we put it in our garage and last spring decided being trapped in the house was a great time to get to work on trying to save it. During this time we came across Jim and this website. Jim was then extremely generous with some key spare parts that he had from his unique family history. Last summer he said to just drop by and he would give us a tour of his workshop and boat sheds, then loaded us up with some original parts and sent us on our way. I can’t thank him enough. The highlight of his pieces was a new bow plate you can see in the pictures.
Since we are not boat experts, we tried to do the best we could and ended up spending hour and hours in our garage night after night trying to strip the boat down and then build it back up. My 17 year old did most of the hard work and learned as many kids do these days from Youtube. Stripping off all the old stain was a challenge and trying to re-fiberglass the bottom (previous owners had done this) was even more challenging….. Biggest learning curve and job might have been reshaping steel trim that was replacing the alumunium. That had to be cut, shaped and bent around the stern. Not easy! The rear seat was also rotten and needed to be replaced as you can see from the pictures. Luckily my father-in-law had a large piece of mahogany for us to use.
New canopy was needed from the mice, hardware was taken to a place to be re-chromed, the boat was re-stained and then was glazed over (but not enough b/c we wanted to get it into the water!) Bottom was painted and new electrical had to be wired up. We started in May and launched the boat at the end of August. We ended up getting it on the water about 4-5 times and even took my dad out on its maiden voyage!
I’m proud of what we accomplished but still have a bit more to do this summer to get it ready for the water. The real highlight was spending time with my son, seeing the hard work he put in, but really it was the smile he had when he first got behind the wheel and hit the water! I hope you enjoy some pictures of the restoration process!