Category Archives: Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat

Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat Recaps Season in Final Episode

We’re back with the final episode of the season for Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat.

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.

The 31-foot Contender Better Dayz before it was remodeled by the team at MCU.

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.

The 31-foot Contender was redone and looked like a totally different boat, complete with TACO Rub Rail to compliment the custom hull paint.

Another favorite was the 21-foot Paramount, which came into the MCU shop in dire need of a complete rehab.

The 21-foot Paramount was in rough shape when it got to the team at MCU.

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 21-foot Paramount looked amazing. The TACO Rub Rail with a Stainless-Steel Insert and LED Navigation Lights tied the custom hull paint and deck together.

The 19-foot Cuda Craft for Capt. Ron in the Florida Keys was also a notable project for the team at MCU.

The 19-foot Cuda Craft came to MCU because it had a rotten fuel tank.

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.

Once finished, the Cuda Craft was almost an entirely new boat and perfect for fishing in the Florida Keys.

Watch the exclusive clip about these boats below.

Watch the full episode 13 of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat below.

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Take a Cruise to the Florida Keys in Ep. 12 of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat

In episode 12 of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat, Brian from Marine Customs Unlimited makes one final change to the 19-foot Cuda Craft and also shows a quick fix to repair a stiff steering wheel.

CUDA CRAFT

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.

Capt. Ron decided the leaning post was too bulky for the 19-foot Cuda Craft.

Watch the exclusive clip below to see what Brian put in place of the leaning post.


SAILFISH

Up next, MCU Master Technician Dave Singer brought his 2006 23-foot Sailfish into the shop to fix a sticky steering wheel.

After removing parts of the outboards, Dave brought some extreme heat to warm up the old grease inside the steering shaft.
While heating up the steering shaft, you need to simultaneously move the outboard back and forth to help get the old grease out.
Once the old grease is out, put new, premium-quality grease inside.

Learn how you can do this quick fix in the exclusive clip below.

Watch the full episode 12 of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat below.

Stay up to date on all things Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

We’re Back with Episode 11 of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat

Watch the shocking conclusion to the 31-foot Contender remodeling project in episode 11 of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat!

The 31-foot Contender Better Dayz before it was completely remodeled.

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.

The 31-foot Contender after it was completely remodeled, featuring 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.

On the water, the 31-foot Contender was like a brand new boat, complete with TACO Grand Slam Outriggers.

Watch the exclusive clip below.

Episode 11 also takes viewers onboard a completely remodeled 28-foot classic 1969  Cary Sportsman boat.

This is what the 28-foot 1969 Cary Sportsman boat looked like before Tim McKernan began the remodeling project.

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.

One of the new features to the Cary Sportsman is the center console and T-Top, which also has TACO Grand Slam Outriggers.
The completely remodeled 28-foot 1969 Cary Sportsman is a truly unique boat.

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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It’s Time for Another Episode of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat!

We’re back with another episode of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat!

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.

This 19-foot Cuda Craft had some major repairs done at Marine Customs Unlimited. Now it was time for custom rod holders and live well plumbing.
It was key that the angle and placement of each custom rod holder was carefully placed to ensure the hull would not be damaged.
Once accurately placed, the new custom rod holders seamlessly fit into the Cuda Craft gunnel.

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 drilling the holes for the new high speed pickup for each live well.
The high speed pickups allow for fresh water to flow into the live well without the continual use of a pump.
Steve attached a ball valve on top of each pickup. Having a ball valve will protect the boat from leaks, should a pump break.

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.

Steve then installs a spray head and overflow drain into each live well.
The final touch to the new live wells was installing an aerator pump for each.
Proper aeration helps keep bait alive, healthy and active for fishing.

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!

One Man’s Dreamboat features a 25-foot Mako.
This Boston Whaler gets self-leveling trim tabs.
The Cuda Craft is complete!

Watch the full episode below.

For the latest updates on Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat and all things TACO Marine, subscribe to this blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

We’re Back with Episode 9 of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat

The crew at Marine Customs Unlimited has been busy!

In episode 9 of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat, the MCU team installs a custom bow pulpit and windlass on a 25-foot Sea Cat, while continuing renovations on the 19-foot Cuda Craft and 31-foot Contender.


SEA CAT

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.

The crew at TNT Custom Boat Works making the custom bow pulpit.
Austin from MCU was the only person able to fit in the bow of the Sea Cat to secure the pulpit.
Steve mounting a drum-style electronic retrieval system that helps eliminate any line from tangling.
Brian from MCU water testing the new windlass.
The end result of the new windlass.

Here’s an exclusive clip.


CUDA CRAFT


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.

Before the team could reattach the console, they had to fill most of those holes.

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.

Sanding down the edges to prep for new fiberglass.
New fiberglass was sealed in place with resin.

After the center console was patched up, it was painted and reinstalled on the Cuda Craft.

The console was then painted and glass-secured to the Cuda Craft deck.

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.


CONTENDER

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.

Steve had his rigging work cut out for him.

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.

New 2-gauge wire was attached to the engines from the console.
Steve crimped new battery cable ends to the wire, which was sealed in place with a heat gun.

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 trim tab brain by Bennett Electric.
A simple, clean system for moving the trim tabs.

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.

New gray and black upholstery being made for the Contender, which matches the hull and center console.

Here’s an exclusive clip.

Check out the other episodes of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat below.

Episode 8

Episode 7

Episode 6

Episode 5

Episode 4

Episode 3

Episode 2

Episode 1

Watch the full episode below.

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Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat Episode 8 Shows Major Repairs to 19-foot Cuda Craft

In episode 8 of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat, the crew at Marine Customs Unlimited do some major deck repairs to a 2006 19-foot Cuda Craft.

To solve the leaking fuel tank issues, the team had to inspect the deck of the 19-foot Cuda Craft.

Originally, the Cuda Craft was brought to MCU because the fuel tank was leaking. But as the team inspected the deck, some major problems began to surface.

The team at MCU discovered a deck full of poured foam that wasn’t attached or evenly filled. The foam not only added float to the Cuda Craft, but also caused the boat to become saturated with water.

They found the deck to be filled with poured foam, which was uneven and full of pockets filled with water.
Because the foam was unevenly poured, water got trapped inside the hull with no way of draining.

The team carefully chipped and scraped away the foam all the way down to the stringers. Once finished removing the foam, they discovered the stringers weren’t properly bonded to the boat, which presented even more trouble for the 12-year-old Cuda Craft.

The team removed the foam all the way down to the stringers.
They also discovered the stringers weren’t bonded to the boat.

Before bonding the stringers, the crew sanded all around the boat and then applied new FGCI fiberglass and resin to properly bond the stringers. Once complete, the Cuda Craft was ready for new bilges, limber holes and a new deck.

They sanded the surface in preparation of bonding the stringers.
They used strips of fiberglass and resin to bond the stringers.
The finished product of the stringers now bonded to the boat.

Watch the exclusive clip of the boat deck removal below.


The team at MCU is now ready to install a new deck on the 19-foot Cuda Craft.

To make a new deck for the boat, the team chose to use a kiln-dried laminate for marine plywood, which is not only strong but will add an appropriate amount of weight to the boat to even out the ride and improve the boat’s overall performance on the water.

The first step to building the new deck was to create a frame – a template of the deck. After matching the laminate gelcoat to the boat’s interior, the team then began the careful process of layering the deck with fiberglass.

Up next was creating a new deck for the 19-foot Cuda Craft. First, a frame was made.
Then fiberglass material and resin was applied to the frame as the first layer.

After covering the fiberglass material with resin and dried, a bonding agent is evenly spread to create a watertight seal. Then the core material – in this case it’s perforated marine plywood – is laid in place and then covered with an airtight layer of plastic.

Using a suction hose, the air is removed to create a vacuum-sealed hold between the plywood and bonding agent.

A thick bonding agent was then evenly spread across the dried fiberglass.
Perforated marine plywood was laid over the bonding agent.
Using plastic and a suction hose, the team vacuumed sealed the plywood to the bonding agent.

After removing the plastic, the plywood is then sanded down to create a smooth, even surface. After which, another layer of fiberglass material and resin is applied to the deck.

The wood was then sanded down and prepped for another layer of fiberglass and resin.
An MCU team member pours resin onto the marine plywood ahead of laying more fiberglass material.

The boat is now ready for its new tank – a powder-coated fuel tank from TNT Custom Boat Works. To secure the tank into the boat, a small amount of foam is poured around the edges of the tank, which is then sanded down and prepped for a fiberglass sealant.

A new powder-coated fuel tank by TNT Custom Boat Works is installed on the 19-foot Cuda Craft.
The tank is then sealed into the boat using a small amount of foam, fiberglass and resin.

When the tank installation is finished, the new custom deck is installed and secured in place.

The new deck is installed and the boat is ready for the next phase of renovations.

Watch the exclusive clip of the new deck being made below.

And watch the entire Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat episode 8 below for more exciting boat renovations.

For the latest on Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat and all things TACO Marine, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our YouTube channel.

Stay tuned for episode 9!

We’re Back with Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat Episode 7

The pros at Marine Customs Unlimited are back in episode 7 of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat.

In this episode, we follow up with the 21-foot Paramount, which is being rigged with dual 10-foot Power-Poles on the transom.

Altenhoff mounts dual 10-foot Power-Poles to the 21-foot Paramount transom via a Jack Plate.

MCU Master Rigger Steve Altenhoff is tasked with mounting the dual Power-Poles, which come with two brackets designated for port and starboard on a Jack Plate.

Altenhoff must determine the correct Power-Pole bracket for the port and starboard of the Jack Plate.
Altenhoff attaches the brackets to the Jack Plate.

Altenhoff said having dual Power-Poles will help equalize the boat, whereas a single Power-Pole could cause the boat to be off balanced.

Watch the exclusive clip below.

Check out the other episodes of Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat below.

Episode 6

Episode 5

Episode 4

Episode 3

Episode 2

Episode 1

Stay up to date on all things TACO Marine by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

TACO Rub Rail Featured on Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat Episode 6

Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat continues with Episode 6.

We pick up with the 31-foot Contender remodeling project with the crew at the Marine Customs Unlimited.

The before photo of the 31-foot Contender that the crew at Marine Customs Unlimited is remodeling.

In this episode, the team remodels the dash panel, rigs new Yamaha Outboard engines and installs beautiful black TACO Rub Rail with a stainless-steel insert.

Now that the hull is painted, the 31-foot Contender is ready for brand new TACO Rub Rail.
The Contender got brand new black TACO Rub Rail with a stainless-steel insert.
Using every day tools, the crew at MCU easily installs the new TACO Rub Rail with a stainless-steel insert.
The new TACO Rub Rail beautifully finishes the hull of the 31-foot Contender.

Here’s an exclusive clip with the 31-foot Contender.

We also jump back in the warehouse with the 21-foot Paramount, which needed a complete overhaul from the inside out, including replacing the stringers, installing a new transom, replacing the boat cap and now painting the bottom.

Before they can paint the bottom, the team at MCU needs to do some fiberglass work to the bottom of the hull – smoothing out any trouble areas that may diminish the boat’s on-the-water performance and give it a perfect running surface.

The team at MCU needs to do some fiberglass work to the bottom of the 21-foot Paramount before it can be painted.
The bottom of the 21-foot Paramount has a lot of uneven surface that needs to be smoothed out.

To smooth out the hull, a straight edge is placed along the bottom to determine the high and low areas. Any low areas are marked and sanded down. Once the low sections are prepped for new fiberglass, the bottom outlines are traced on paper – providing the pattern from which to cut new fiberglass.

Using a straight edge, the team at MCU locates all the areas that need to be smoothed before the bottom can be painted.
Once the low areas are sanded down, fiberglass pieces are soaked in resin and then applied to the bottom of the boat.
Large areas of the 21-foot Paramount bottom needed to be evened out before it could be painted.

The fiberglass pieces are soaked in resin before being applied to the boat bottom. Once dry, the new fiberglass areas are sanded smooth and the bottom painted.

The new paint on the 21-foot Paramount looks amazing!

Here’s an exclusive clip with the 21-foot Paramount.

This episode also features a fully-remodeled 46-foot 1977 Whiticar named “Sabre,” which is now worth a staggering $1 million, and a project for a local environmental studies center that needed a new power pole installed on its boat “River Scout.”

We see a fully remodeled 1977 Whiticar, which is now worth a staggering $1 million.
Lastly, we see a new power pole installed on a research vessel named “River Scout.”

Check out the full episode below!

For more updates on Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat and all things TACO Marine, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter!

TACO Outriggers Installed on Bayliner Hardtop in Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat Episode 5

Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat returns with episode 5, which features the installation of TACO Grand Slam 280 Outrigger Mounts and Aluminum Tele-Outrigger Poles on the hardtop of a Bayliner boat named “Trophy.”

The pros at Marine Customs Unlimited [MCU] install new TACO Grand Slam 280 Mounts and Aluminum Tele-Outrigger Poles on this Bayliner named “Trophy.”
Steve from MCU opens the box of TACO Grand Slam 280 Mounts, which comes with all the hardware needed for installation. Backing plate sold separately.
The underside of the TACO Grand Slam 280 base.

To install the GS 280s, Steve Altenhoff with Marine Customs Unlimited had to create new holes through the hardtop for the outrigger base and mounting screws.

The boat’s owner wanted the outrigger mounts installed as far back on the hardtop as possible while also having enough hand clearance to use the outrigger handles. Steve carefully measured the length of the outrigger handle and the hardtop from the outside and backside edges to find the ideal location to install the outrigger mounts.

Before drilling any holes in the hardtop, Steve measured the GS 280 handle and also the outside and backside edges of the hardtop to find the ideal location to install the mounts.
Steve first drilled a hole for each base.

After drilling the main hole for each mount, Steve recommends aligning the outriggers as straight as possible before marking and drilling the mounting screw holes.

Steve positions the mounts as straight as possible before marking and drilling the screw holes.

Steve then removed the base prior to drilling the mounting holes. Once all eight holes were drilled, Steve applies a bead of caulk around the main hole to prevent water from reaching the exposed fiberglass before inserting the mount, attaching a backing plate and tightly securing the screws.

A bead of caulk was applied around the main hole for the GS 280s before inserting and attaching the mount.
Once the mount is inserted through the hardtop, wipe away any excess caulk. Some people add caulk around each screw hole or dip the screws in sealant before securing the mount in place.

Lastly, Steve attached the GS 280 handles, tested the rotation and then began attaching the pair of Aluminum Tele-Outrigger Poles.

Now that the mounts are installed, Steve inserts the Aluminum Tele-Outrigger Poles.
Lastly, Steve riggs each poles with a single line, using our TACO Standard Rigging Kit.
The outrigger mounts and poles are a great addition to Trophy.

Because it’s the boat owner’s first time using outriggers on Trophy, Steve rigs each pole for a single line using the TACO Standard Rigging Kit.

With rigging complete, the boat is now ready for some serious fishing!

The end result.

Watch the exclusive clip below and find full Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat episodes 1 through 5 at YouTube.com/tacomarine.

Florida Sportsman Episode 4 Revisits Contender Remodeling Project and More

Our partnership with Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat continues in episode 4.

The professionals at Marine Customs Unlimited continue their work on a 31-foot Contender called “Better Dayz,” which needed new fuel tanks and a host of other upgrades after being damaged in a hurricane.

Once the tanks were removed, they were taken to TNT Custom Boat Works to be cleaned and powder coated.

They begin by taking the fuel tanks to TNT Custom Boat Works to have the tanks cleaned and powder coated. To powder coat the tanks, the team at TNT use a process called Electrostatic Spray Disposition, which evenly coats the tanks in a chemical powder.

The tanks are being covered in a chemical powder during the powder-coating process.
The tanks are then baked for 12 minutes, which causes the powder to melt and form a hardened surface. Here are the results.

After the powder is applied, the tanks are placed into an oven for 12 minutes, where the powder is melted to form a hardened surface. The tanks are then reinstalled and sealed into the boat using a unique hardened foam.

Here’s an exclusive clip.


The Florida Sportsman team then meets with Jeff, Dalton and Mason Toole to discuss their completely remodeled 1987 16-foot Alumacraft.

Jeff Toole with sons Mason, front, and Dalton. Together, the Toole family remodeled the 1987 Alumacraft in honor of Dustin Toole, who passed away in a car accident.

More than just a dreamboat, dad Jeff tells how his oldest son, Dustin, purchased the Alumacraft when he was 18 years old with the goal of remodeling the boat. Sadly, Dustin passed away in a car accident before he got to complete his dreamboat.

In honor of Dustin, Jeff, alongside sons Dalton and Mason, remodeled the boat over the course of 10 months – turning the craft into what Dustin had ultimately envisioned.

The 1987 Alumacraft before being completely remodeled.

The Toole family extended the front deck, added gunnels on each side, extended the rear deck, replaced the transom, replaced the outboard motor, remodeled the mini tower and helm, replaced the fuel tank and batteries, incorporated brand new SeaDek throughout and added an array of other custom touches in memory of Dustin and his vision for the boat.

After completing renovations, the 1987 Alumacraft looked like an entirely new boat.
The Toole family remodeled the boat in memory of Dustin Toole. The fish seen here was a sketch Dustin drew and had tattooed on his shoulder.
In memory of Dustin Wayne Toole.

Watch an exclusive clip with the Toole family below.


Watch the full episode below and visit YouTube.com/tacomarine for Project Dreamboat episodes 1 through 3.