Skiroule69
Hello all! I'm new here, first post so I thought I'd introduce myself. My name is Marc Sebright and I live in Wayland, Michigan. I'm a first-time boat owner, although I worked in the marine industry (two dealerships, spent time in service and parts) for 10 years.

This story actually begins in the mid 1990s. I was a teenager still living at home. I had been infatuated with antique and vintage snowmobiles (still am) since I was 15, and was out cruising dirt roads near my parents' farm, looking for more junk to drag home. I spotted a pair of yellow tinted windshields sticking up above the weeds behind someone's home and pulled in for a closer look.

The home owner led me to a pair of sad looking Ski-Doos (a 1971 Olympique and a '71 Nordic to be exact). We struck up a conversation and although he hoped to get the Nordic going some day, he graciously let me have the little Olympique for free! After the sled was loaded, he asked me if I'd be interested in a free boat. A boat? I'd never owned one before (except for a 12' flat bottom row boat I inherited from my grandpa) and never really gave it any thought.

Where is it? I asked. Right here! He said and pulled aside chest-high weeds to reveal a turquoise and white fiberglass runabout with a pair of huge fins. There was no engine, no interior, and it was sitting right on it's belly on the ground. No trailer. We chatted a little more, and I told him I'd have to think about it. I didn't know if I had room for a boat.

When I ran the idea past my folks later that evening, both agreed that I had enough irons in the fire (30 some old snowmobiles crammed in the barn and 3 VERY ambitious project cars) without branching into old boats! Sadly I told the man I had to decline. Many years after, if I was in the area I'd drive past and see the windshield and those fins sticking up out of the weeds. I never forgot about that boat.

Fast forward to 2018. I'm 38 now, married, and have a home of my own. Old cars and old snowmobiles are still vices, but I've paired it down to just a '59 Ford F-100 and a '69 Skiroule S-370. Earlier this year my wife and I discussed how nice it'd be to have a boat to go out and relax on. I think she had a nice, comfortable later model in mind, but if I was going to own something, it had to have 'soul' and style. I began scanning facebook marketplace for just the right one. I inquired about several '50s finned boats but nothing seemed to really catch my eye.

That's when I remembered the finned 'weeds' boat from 20 years prior. Was it still there? I had no idea what it even was. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I stopped at the house and left my phone number when no-one answered.

A few days later, I had a call waiting on my answering machine. It was the wife of the man I'd spoken to before. They had gotten a divorce, and if I was still interested I could have the boat and the remaining snowmobile for nothing if I'd haul them away!

My wife and drove out that same night and I looked at the boat. The entire thing had developed a heavy coat of moss, and a woodchuck was living underneath it, but it was just as wild as I remembered. I told the woman I definitely wanted it! This was yesterday. I'm currently making arrangements to borrow a trailer and go get it.

I did a little research and found out it's a Bee-Line Sapphire, manufactured about 30 miles north of where I live. No idea what year it is yet, more to follow. I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions once I get it home. I can't wait to get started on my new project!

Thanks for listening to me ramble! -Marc.
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KevFin
Thank you for the story Marc!  What a great find!  These are about 1958 vintage.  I have one myself as well as a Bee Line prototype.  I just fixed my file upload problem so if you'd like to add pictures to your story It would be great to see it.  ...and let me be the fifteenth (I'm sure I'm not the first) person to say, if you decide its too much of a project and would like to sell it, I'm ready to hit the road at a moments notice!  :-)
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Skiroule69
Thanks KevFin! I can't wait to get her home and start evaluating! Planning to go do the recovery on Friday. Tried to upload an image of it as-is (still in a thorn bush) but the file was too big. I'll try again soon. One thing I'm wondering. The stringers look to be tube-shaped. Are these wooden or something else? I'm expecting to have to replace them after sitting out unprotected for 20+ years.

Also, it has a Merc control box. What did they have as far as HP originally? Thanks! -Marc.
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KevFin
I usually use a file size whereby the dots per inch are set between 150 - 180 and the width is 5 inches.  That makes for a nice size picture that uploads easily. 

The stringers were done at the factory by placing cardboard tubes across the floor and laying glass cloth over them.  The cardboard added nothing to the strength of the stringer, therefore it is not necessary to replace the stringers.  Just lay some fresh mat and cloth over them, as is, if you like. 

The transom is wood and it will have to be replaced.  DO NOT CUT THROUGH THE BACK OF THE HULL FROM THE OUTSIDE.  Replace the transom from the inside of the boat only, otherwise you will wreck the structural integrity of the hull.  It is possible to separate the deck from the hull, but it may be easier to simply cut across the width of the deck about 2 feet in or so, rep[lace the transom, and then glass the section that was removed for clearance, back into the deck.  There are pros and cons to either approach. 

With the stringers running under the seat, it might be easier in the long run to remove the deck intact as a single piece.  Then you will have easy access to beefing up the stringers which may be cracked in certain areas.

I have some info for restoring boats here: http://archive.org/details/RestorationTipsForCollectibleFiberglassSpeedboats

And some great period info on steering set ups, flotation, etc. here:  http://archive.org/stream/1959OutboardBoatingClubSpeedboatDesignSpecifications/1959-obc_manual#page/n0/mode/2up

I'd stick to 60 or 70HP myself, but do your own research and calculations regarding engine size and keep in mind that it will depend to a large extent on the quality and strength of the restoration.
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Skiroule69
Thanks for all the great info Kev! The old girl moved from her briar patch for the first time in almost 30 years today! Winched her up onto the trailer and drove straight to the pressure wash. Cleaned up quite well actually. I'm amazed that the half century old windshield is still in perfect shape. On the downside, there was a hole in the bottom on the starboard side, right where the rear passenger's feet would be. The homeowner told me a woodchuck had been living underneath (tunnels were evident in the crater where the boat was removed from). I believe the hole came from decades of the boat being filled with snow and ice each winter and the weight causing it to settle down onto those critter tunnels. Eventually the fiberglass gave.

For now she's safe at home on pallets in the backyard. First step will be vacuuming the accumulation of crud from the floors. The eventual goal will be to strip everything from the hull, split the deck and hull halves, and begin fiberglass work. The old gal will ride again!

Kev, any idea where the serial number would be on this thing? I haven't dug in that deep yet, but haven't seen a single thing on the boat to lend a clue what year it is.

Thanks! -Marc.
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KevFin
Hi Marc, glad to help.  The windshield will be very brittle so take care and if it cracks, save the pieces, it can be recreated.  The serial number is almost certainly gone, probably no way to tell the year from that anyway.  watch for a small aluminum or stainless steel plate in the muck within the boat.  I have found serial numbers that way.  The state will issue one if needed. 
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KevFin
Fantastic photo's, thank you!  I have resized them and cropped them as well. 

20180713_181444sm.jpg  20180720_125533sm.jpg  20180720_125839sm.jpg  20180720_125856sm.jpg  20180720_145355sm.jpg  20180720_145410sm.jpg 
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KevFin
BeeLine sapphire001sm.jpg 
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KevFin
sapphire002sm.jpg 
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BeeLineSapphire1.jpg 
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KevFin
BeeLineLogo1aSm.jpg 
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KevFin
oldpic_1957%20Bee-Line%20Sapphire.jpg 
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KevFin
BeeLine.jpg  BeeLineSapphire2sm.jpg 
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KevFin
Willie-N-Ethel.jpg 
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Unregistered
I love the old ads! Did a little research and found out the address where the factory was in Grand Rapids still exists but is now a machine shop. So cool to know that they were made only a few miles north of where I live. 

Progress report: Spent a couple days with the hose, a wet/dry vac and garbage can emptying all the 'nature' out of the boat. Got some very fiberglass splintered knees, forearms, and yes even my back trying to get everything clean. She's clean as a whistle now. Time to get down to business!

I spent a day removing all the hull hardware, control box, wiring, and helm. It's almost down to bare fiberglass in preparation for sanding. The only true bummer I've come across thus far is a hole in the bottom, under the rear seat. At first I thought the woodchuck living under it may have undermined the ground and then after being filled with snow and ice, the boat may have settled down onto it and broken it's back.

Instead, it appears as though the hole and broken stringer may have come from damage sustained while the boat was still being used. Whoever 'fixed' it didn't address the hole from the outside at all. Instead they piled on 6-8" of resin and cloth to the inside. This 'repair' must have added 200lbs to the hull! I've already half filled the garbage can with the excessive mat. 

I can't find a likely seam for the hull/deck, so it doesn't appear as though I can split the halves to fix this the right way, so I'm probably going to remove a small portion of the lower rear seat to gain access to the problem stringer, then tackle the outside.

I can't wait to get this thing back on the water!
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