In episode 13, Florida Sportsman Boating Editor George LaBonte and Marine Customs Unlimited Owner Brian O’Donnell look back on their favorite project boats.
The 31-foot Contender was a fan favorite, LaBonte said, with a lot of people commenting and e-mailing about the stunning remodel.
What initially began as a fuel tank replacement morphed into a complete overhaul from inside the hull to the engines, paint, deck, upholstery, dash panel and brand new TACO Rub Rail.
Another favorite was the 21-foot Paramount, which came into the MCU shop in dire need of a complete rehab.
Beginning in the stringers, the team at MCU cut the cap down, repainted the hull and installed new Power-Poles, a new stereo system and brand new TACO Rub Rail with a Stainless-Steel Insert and LED Navigation Lights.
The 19-foot Cuda Craft for Capt. Ron in the Florida Keys was also a notable project for the team at MCU.
Originally, the boat came to the shop to repair a rotten fuel tank, but further issues were discovered as the team commenced work. They also replaced the deck, remodeled the center console, installed custom live wells and refitted an Engel cooler as a seat in place of the Leaning Post.
Watch the exclusive clip about these boats below.
Watch the full episode 13 of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat below.
Originally, the 19-foot Cuda Craft came to the shop at Marine Customs Unlimited for a fuel tank repair. But after further inspection, it was clear the boat needed some major repairs. After re-bonding the stringers, replacing the fuel tanks and deck, remodeling the center console and installing two custom live wells, the Cuda Craft was returned to Capt. Ron in the Florida Keys.
However, after having the boat back home for a few weeks, Capt. Ron decided he wanted to replace the leaning post with something less bulky and more practical. So Brian from MCU came up with a great solution for the Cuda Craft.
Watch the exclusive clip below to see what Brian put in place of the leaning post.
Up next, MCU Master Technician Dave Singer brought his 2006 23-foot Sailfish into the shop to fix a sticky steering wheel.
Learn how you can do this quick fix in the exclusive clip below.
Watch the full episode 12 of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat below.
Originally, the Contender “Better Dayz” needed new fuel tanks, but after a hurricane damaged other areas of the boat, the crew at Marine Customs Unlimited set to work on a host of other tasks, including painting the hull, remodeling the dash and installing brand new black TACO Rub Rail with a Stainless-Steel Insert.
Better Dayz also had a new Armstrong Nautical Products bracket mounted on the transom, new twin Yamaha 300s mounted on the bracket, a new Armstrong ladder, a completely rebuffed deck with new nonskid, custom diamond-stitched upholstery and new Pacer Group wiring.
Watch the exclusive clip below.
Episode 11 also takes viewers onboard a completely remodeled 28-foot classic 1969 Cary Sportsman boat.
Five years ago, Miami resident Tim McKernan wanted a project boat he could remodel for some family outings and fishing excursions. What was intended as a summer-long hobby morphed into a five-year adventure that resulted in the McKernan’s having a one-of-a-kind boating and fishing masterpiece.
While keeping some of the boat’s original charm, such as the cabin, McKernan completely revamped the Cary Sportsman all the way from the stringers to the new Armstrong bracket and outboard engines. He also outfitted the once-dual consoled boat with a center console and T-top, complete with TACO Grand Slam Outrigger systems.
Watch the exclusive clip below.
And check out the full episode 11 of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat below.
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After prostate cancer claimed the life of her husband, Reed, of 29 years, Adriana Somberg launched the charity fishing tournament Anglers For The Cure – providing life-saving PSA blood tests for men and research funding to find a cure for the disease.
The Somberg’s story begins in 1985 when the pair met at a Miami job interview, where Reed ultimately hired his future wife as his legal secretary. Over the years, the outdoorsy couple did everything together, including their mutual passion for boating, fishing and just about anything to do with the water.
In 2009 when Reed, then 54, went to the doctor for a routine physical exam, his bloodwork showed an elevated prostate-specific antigen [PSA] – blood markers primarily used to screen for prostate cancer. He was eventually diagnosed with the disease and completed radiation therapy, but the cancer returned and had metastasized to his bones.
Reed passed away on May 22, 2014 at the age of 59.
Despite no family history and being at peak health, Adriana believes Reed would still be alive today if he had his PSA screening much earlier in life. The American Cancer Society recommends men begin having PSA tests at age 50. For men with a higher-than-average risk, it is recommended they begin testing at age 45.
A few months after Reed’s passing, Adriana competed in Bluewater Babes Fish for a Cure – an all-female fishing tournament to raise money for Florida breast and ovarian cancer patients in financial need.
“That’s when I woke up and said I wanted to do something for the guys,” said Adriana, who immediately began planning the first tournament.
“I had zero experience doing the fundraisers or any kind of charity event,” added Adriana, who began cold calling fishing magazines and marine manufacturers for donations and sponsorships after launching the non-profit.
In Oct. 2014, Adriana launched the first ever Anglers For The Cure tournament in West Palm Beach, Florida – raising a staggering $45,000 for prostate cancer research and awareness.
“Reed and I had spent years just fishing and scuba diving,” said Adriana, who organized a fishing tournament because she knew it was something her late husband would have enjoyed.
Now in its fourth consecutive year, Adriana hopes to break $100,000 at this year’s event August 11.
The inaugural tournament had 33 boats and 80 sponsors. After growing steadily each year, Adriana said she expects roughly 75 boats and close to 120 sponsors for this year’s tournament.
In 2017 at the Miami International Boat Show, Adriana met TACO VP Mike Kushner, who was, at the time, showcasing the TACO Marine Project Boat, which was eventually raffled for charity. After learning about Reed and Anglers For The Cure, Kushner said he wanted to support Adriana’s fundraiser.
“I think every male needs to get checked when you reach a certain age,” said Kushner. “Prostate cancer is one of those things that it’s so easily preventable if caught early.”
Because so many TACO Marine fans – fishing and boating enthusiasts – are men, Kushner said Anglers For The Cure was a great, local event for the Miami-based company to support.
This year, TACO donated a pair of Aluminum Tele-Outrigger Poles, which are slated as one of the silent auction items during the fishing tournament.
Last year, for the first time in the tournament’s history, every man who attended the Captain’s Meeting had the option of receiving a free PSA screening test – a service donated by One Lab in Boca Raton, Florida.
Of the 57 men who had a free PSA screening at last year’s event, two discovered they had prostate cancer.
“They would not have found out had it not been for them participating,” said Adriana.
Finholder and More Founder John Adinolfe was one of the men recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, which was discovered early stage.
Because he had his PSA tested during the Anglers For the Cure Captain’s Meeting in 2017, Adinolfe knew his levels had spiked when he had a blood test again in early 2018, which showed an elevated PSA.
“I would like to thank Adriana Somberg and Anglers For the Cure for making me aware of the importance of knowing your PSA score,” said Adinolfe, who is currently in treatment. “Her message is loud and clear: Get tested. Early detection is the key to your survival.”
Because of the support of One Lab, Adriana plans to not only continue with the free screening at this year’s Captain’s Meeting, but will offer a more comprehensive male panel blood test Aug. 9, when the meeting takes place.
“If 100 guys line up and get it done, that’s OK with me,” said Adriana, who will donate a portion of the event proceeds to pay for the advanced prostate screening. “I want to provide that test to them.”
Boaters rejoice! We’ve designed the next best thing for easy docking.
Introducing our new Transom Cross Tie Cleat XL – keeping your lines organized and elevated when the dock’s surface drops below the tops of your motor cowlings.
The patent-pending locking mechanism allows for a secure cleat that is easy to reach, remove and reinstall. You’ll never have to find a place to tie off at the stern when docking again! These cleats are also great for hanging fenders and chum bags.
With a 15-degree large S-shape design, these cleats fit into standard rod holders 1-7/8-inches in diameter. The large loop hole accommodates line up to 5/8-inch thick.
When not in use, simply apply pressure, push down, twist and remove the cleat from the gunnel. Safely stow the cleats in the included mesh bag, even when wet.
These cleats are slated for marine distributor availability by the end of 2018 and available at marine retailers in the New Year. For questions, comments or more information on the Transom Cross Tie Cleat XL, fill out the contact form below.
In episode 10, the crew at Marine Customs Unlimited get back to work on the 19-foot Cuda Craft. First, Austin was tasked with installing new rod holders throughout the gunnel. The catch? Because of the boat’s design and the location of the new rod holders, great care was needed to ensure the holders were angled correctly to protect the hull.
Up next, the Cuda Craft was sent to Steve for some custom rigging on two live wells. To properly rig the live wells, Steve had to ensure he drilled the correctly sized hole for the high speed pickup for each live well. These are designed to flow fresh water into the live well without continually running a pump.
Steve then attached a ball valve on top of the pickup, which provides added protection against water leaks if a pump breaks.
Steve then plumbs a spray head and overflow drain for each live well. He has some great tips to consider for boaters installing their own live wells. After the plumbing is complete, Steve installs aerators into each live well, which help keep bait alive and healthy.
Watch the exclusive clip below.
In this episode, we also learn about one man’s dreamboat – a 25-foot Mako – and watch as Steve rigs a pair of self-leveling trim tabs on a classic Boston Whaler. We also see the amazing conclusion to the 19-foot Cuda Craft!
Captain Mark Henderson from the Liquid Fire Fishing Team, and our Strategic Product Category Manager, will be on site in our booth for product demos and questions all three days of the show.
Learn more about our Trident Rod Holders with a Tool Caddy in the FISH TACO TV video below.
You can also find step-by-step instructions for outrigger rigging in the FISH TACO TV video below.
As a leader in the marine industry for nearly 60 years, we take great pride in manufacturing the highest-quality products for boating and fishing enthusiasts around the world. Our products are backed by industry-leading warranties for years of trouble-free use. Discover more about us at tacomarine.com.
Cancer survivor, sailor and second-generation boat builder Johannes “Jopie” Helsen plans to embark on a $1 million around-the-world fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Born in Holland and now living in St. Petersburg, Fla., Helsen, the owner of Sailor’s Wharf Yacht Yard, was diagnosed with throat cancer five years ago after experiencing pain and soreness during a sailing trip in the Mediterranean.
“We’re so grateful for what he’s done to support and increase awareness of our organization,” said Siederer, who’s been with the LLS for nearly 40 years. “People like Jopie are just incredible ambassadors, whether you’re into the sailing community or not, to help cure cancer. That’s a very high quality and we’re so grateful for his help.”
With Siederer’s support, the first step toward such an adventure meant that Helsen, alongside his girlfriend Heidi Trilsch, needed a boat – a hearty, seaworthy vessel built to withstand the 15-month voyage known as the World Arc.
Hosted by the World Cruising Club, World Arc is a 26,000 nautical-mile trade wind circumnavigation that departs Jan. 12, 2019 from Saint Lucia island in the Caribbean to sail around the globe – most of which in the southern hemisphere.
While Helsen and Trilsch, whose stepmother is a Lymphoma survivor, will have long stretches at sea (the longest leg is 2,980 miles across the Pacific), World Arc includes opportunities for on-shore exploration – with close to 30 stops around the world at destinations like the Galapagos Islands, Bora Bora and Cape Town, South Africa.
Finding the right boat for such a venture was no easy task. For Helsen, it not only had to be strong and capable for the harsh conditions at sea, but also comfortable and spacious enough for he and Trilsch, a videographer and an occasional crew member.
“We actually made an offer on two different boats that we did not get,” said Helsen, aged 71. “And now, looking back on it, we realize how impressive this boat is.”
With its sky-blue hull and matching spinnaker, Helsen purchased the aptly named and visually stunning SKY – a 57-foot dual-helm Vaudrey Miller monohull built in New Zealand and designed by Simonis Voogdin 2004.
While originally built for the extremes of circumnavigation, Helsen said SKY had taken a beating over the years and needed some remodeling and upgrades ahead of the 2019 voyage.
Over the course of nearly one year, Helsen and his 13-person crew at his yacht yard worked on renovating SKY– outfitting the boat with a self-furling boom, enlarging the cockpit and making it possible for Helsen to sail single-handedly, should the need arise.
Because 100 percent of donations go to the LLS, Helsen said he needs sponsors to help offset the costs and supply parts and equipment.
“He’s one of these guys who’s very passionate and very active in the boating industry,” said Kushner, who first met Helsen more than 30 years ago. “Having done the TACO Marine Project Boat fundraiser myself, I have a better sense of appreciation for what he’s trying to do. It’s a really cool project.”
Another fan of Helsen’s fundraiser and someone with many friends and relatives diagnosed with Lymphoma is National Marine Manufacturers Association President Thom Dammrich, who’s known the sailor for several years because of his participation in the marine industry.
“I admire his adventurous spirit,” said Dammrich, who also has an endorsement published on Helsen’s website. “This is a life adventure and for a great cause. I wish them a safe voyage and return.”
With six months to go before he sets sail, Helsen said there’s still plenty to do on SKY to prep for departure, including installing new satellite equipment, rigging new electronics and conducting sea trials. He also hopes to recruit a few more sponsors to help fund the expenses while also raising awareness for the cause.
To donate to Helsen’s SV SKY 57 fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, visit svsky57.com and its donation page.
One hundred percent of every donation toward Helsen’s round-the-world fundraiser goes to the LLS, which is the largest nonprofit dedicated to curing blood cancers. Since 1949, LLS has donated more than $1.2 billion toward cancer research. The charity also provides patient support and has a grassroots network of more than 100,000 volunteers advocating at state and local levels for policy change and program funding.
In the coming months, we’ll be writing more about Helsen and following his journey around the globe. For more updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagramand YouTube.
The MCU team asked the professionals at TNT Customs Boat Works to make a custom pulpit for a windlass, which was installed on the bow of the Sea Cat by climbing inside to secure the pulpit in place. Once secured, the team then mounted an electronic drum-style retrieval system to help stop the line from tangling. After the work was complete, Brian water tested the new windlass.
Here’s an exclusive clip.
One of the first things the owner of the Cuda Craft did was remove the T-top. As a professional fishing guide in the Florida Keys, the owner wanted no obstructions, but rather a simple, clean boat.
After all the work to the deck and hull in episode 8, the crew needed to get back to the original task, which was renovating the center console.
The center console had a lot of holes and unnecessary areas for electronics the owner did not want. The team at MCU sanded downed the edges before patching the center console with fiberglass and resin.
After the center console was patched up, it was painted and reinstalled on the Cuda Craft.
Instead of drilling the center console back into the deck, the crew at MCU cut off the flange where it was previously screwed down and choose to glass the console to the deck – enhancing the boat’s performance and appearance.
The next step in the Contender remodeling project was rigging the engines. The prior rigging had a lot of spliced areas, with which the team at MCU did away.
Instead, they installed new 2-gauge wire from Pacer Group with no splices, after which they crimped on new battery cable ends that were secured with a heat gun. The new wiring will ensure a good power supply directly to the engines.
Steve then updated the electronics for the trim tabs. Previously, the old trim tab electronics were not auto contracting. To resolve this issue, they installed a new system by Bennett Electric.
The final step in this episode for the Contender was incorporating new upholstery. They chose a carbon fiber-finished material that matched the hull and center console – streamlining the boat’s appearance.
Here’s an exclusive clip.
Check out the other episodes of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat below.