Dispatches VIDEO: Passion shines through in refit
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VIDEO: Passion shines through in refit

Damaged in Hurricane Katrina, this 1984 25-foot Boston Whaler Outrage was in rough shape. But it was also a good fit for Jeff Koenke of Sarasota, Fla. — even with its wet hull, crushed port gunwale and corroded aluminum fuel tank.

"I like the look of the older hulls, and a newer 25 Outrage is $60,000 to $70,000," Koenke says.

A roofing contractor, Koenke paid $3,500 for the boat and trailer, which he found on eBay. One of its twin Johnson outboards — circa 1980 — was still on the boat, but it was worthless and so was the trailer.

Koenke hired Robert Helmick — a local boatbuilder, designer and refit guru (www.tortugaboatworks.com) — to help him with the refit. Helmick rebuilt the port gunwale, stripped down the gelcoat, let the hull dry for six months and repainted it with Awlgrip.

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Click play to watch Koenke as he gives a walkaround of his finished product.

Koenke bought a pair of 1999 Mercury OptiMax 2-strokes for $3,500, and Helmick worked with Armstrong Nautical Products to engineer a custom aluminum outboard bracket.

Koenke says he did pretty much all of the sanding and other grunt work. He figures he put in 600 hours of work and spent about $30,000 on the extensive refit. Part of that work was tearing out the aluminum fuel tank and replacing it with a new one.

"Manual labor doesn't bother me," he says. "I was ready to get my hands dirty."

He's a patient man, too. Koenke bought the Whaler 2-1/2 years ago.

"A newer boat — turnkey — is $100,000," he says. "I can't afford to do it that way. I'd rather take a little extra time, spend money here and there and take on a project."


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