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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 ( — 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.


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."