Category Archives: Rub Rail

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.

For all things TACO Marine, visit our Web site and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

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.

For more Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat updates and everything else TACO Marine, subscribe to this blog and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Cancer-Surviving Sailor to Embark on $1 Million Circumnavigation for Charity

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.

Heidi Trilsch and Jopie Helsen are set to sail around the world to fundraise $1 million 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.

“I found myself rubbing my neck and I figured, with my luck, I better go see a doctor,” said Helsen, who was treated at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, Fla.

Inspired by the many patients and survivors he met during treatment, Helsen knew he wanted to do something to help the fight against cancer.

During the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Md., he met Marty Siederer of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society [LLS] and Product Lead for the Leukemia Cup Regatta. Helsen discussed with Siederer his idea – to raise $1 million during a round-the-world sailing fundraiser for the charity.

“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.

Illustration courtesy of the World Cruising Club.

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 Voogd in 2004.

SKY – the 57-foot monohull Helsen and Trilsch will sail around the world.

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.

When TACO Marine VP Mike Kushner got wind of Helsen’s fundraiser and SKY renovations, he arranged for the company to donate brand new Rigid Vinyl Rub Rail with a stainless-steel insert, LED lights, a custom-made helm chair and a pedestal for the boat.

TACO donated new LED Lights, which help illuminate SKY’s cockpit for enhanced safety at night.

“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, Instagram and YouTube.

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 Featured on Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat Episode 3

Our partnership with Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat continues in episode 3.

The professionals at Marine Customs Unlimited worked on a 23-foot Albury Brothers boat belonging to the owners of Shurhold Clean-N-Simple. The boat was in need of new paint, a custom dash panel and brand-new TACO Vinyl Rub Rail.

In episode 2, we watched how brand new TACO Rub Rail was installed, which helped streamline the boat’s appearance and also keep it better protected on the dock.

In the clip below, we see the conclusion to the 23-foot Albury Brothers boat, which got a major facelift to the center console.

Find the full episode at YouTube.com/tacomarine in the Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat playlist.

Announcing a New Rub Rail Installation Video on FISH TACO TV

We’ve got a new Rub Rail replacement video with Captain Mark Henderson from the Liquid Fire Fishing Team and Captain Danny Avila of Hammertime Sportfishing.

In this video, Henderson, our Strategic Product Category Manager, and Avila, our Account Services Representative, remove old, damaged Rub Rail from a 36-year-old Classic Mako 228 and replace it with new Vinyl Rub Rail from one of our TACO Marine Rub Rail Kits.

Removing the old Rub Rail from a 36-year-old Classic Mako 228.
After removing the old Rub Rail, there was a lot of dirt that needed to be cleaned off.
Henderson shows a handy trick – applying masking tape above where the Rub Rail will be mounted and marking with a pencil where to drill the new holes.

After removing the old Rub Rail, Henderson shows how to avoid damage spots and where to drill new pilot holes for screws. Additionally, Henderson discusses various quick and easy tricks to avoid Rub Rail heartache, including how to prevent the Insert from shrinking, how to make the Rub Rail more pliable and how to find the center point.

After warming the Rub Rail in the sun, Henderson and Avila find the center point, which will be mounted at the bow.
Henderson and Avila begin mounting the new Rub Rail.
Henderson saws off the excess Rub Rail at the stern.
Henderson applies the new Insert to the new Rub Rail. Inserts are great for covering up the screws while also absorbing most of the impact when at the dock.
Henderson attaches the Rub Rail End Cap to complete the seamless look.
Henderson applies a bead of waterproof sealant on the top and bottom of the new Rub Rail.

During the month of April 2018, we’re offering a $50 rebate with the purchase of any TACO Marine Vinyl Rub Rail Kit.

REDEEM HERE

Each kit includes a continuous coil of Rub Rail for a one-piece installation without a seam, a continuous coil Insert, end caps (when applicable), screws and an installation guide. You can find our Vinyl Rub Rail Kits at your favorite marine retailer and the Rub Rail rebate online at tacomarine.com.

All of our TACO Rub Rail is made in the USA and backed by our industry-leading 5-year warranty.

Check out the video below and visit YouTube.com/tacomarine for more FISH TACO TV How-To videos.

Time is Running Out! Get $50 Back On Any TACO Vinyl Rub Rail Kit

There’s only two weeks left to cash-in on a $50 rebate with the purchase of any TACO Marine® Vinyl Rub Rail Kit – an exclusive deal that won’t last long. Find these kits at your favorite marine retailer today.

REDEEM HERE


TACO Marine® Rub Rail protects your boat against damage at the dock and also to enhances your boat’s appearance. Learn how easy it is to replace your boat’s Rub Rail in an exclusive FISH TACO TV video with Captain Mark Henderson below.


All seven of our Vinyl Rub Rail Kits come with one piece of continuous coil in Flexible or Semi-Rigid Vinyl Rub Rail with or without inserts and are backed by our industry-leading 5-year warranty guarantee.


TACO Rub Rail featured on Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat episode 2.

DISCOVER MORE

View the complete TACO Marine catalog for FREE here.

For more information about our Vinyl Rub Rail Kits and our extensive line of Rub Rail, visit tacomarine.com or fill out the contact form below.

TACO Rub Rail Featured on Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat Episode 2

Our partnership with Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat continues in episode 2.

The professionals at Marine Customs Unlimited worked on a 23-foot Albury Brothers boat belonging to the owners of Shurhold Clean-N-Simple. The boat was in need of new paint, a custom dash panel and brand-new TACO Vinyl Rub Rail.

Robert Souza from Marine Customs Unlimited put brand new TACO Marine Vinyl Rub Rail on the Albury Brothers boat for Shurhold.

In minute 4:30, Robert Souza with Marine Customs Unlimited talks about installing new TACO Vinyl Rub Rail – choosing the color black to tie into the new custom paint job and dash panel renovation.

Attaching the Rub Rail to the hull exterior.
Gently heating the Rub Rail to easily bend around the nose of the bow.
Attaching the Rub Rail Insert.
Attaching the Rub Rail Insert.

As a leader in marine manufacturing, we remain committed and passionate about our products, including our extensive line of Rub Rail. For more information on our TACO Rub Rail and other products, visit tacomarine.com or fill out the contact form below.

Before the insert was applied.
After the insert was applied.

Watch the full episode below and stay tuned for Florida Sportsman Project Dreamboat episode 3!

Save $50 When You Purchase a TACO Marine Vinyl Rub Rail Kit

During the entire month of April, we’re offering a $50 rebate with the purchase of any TACO Marine Vinyl Rub Rail Kit – an exclusive deal that won’t last long.

REDEEM HERE


TACO Marine Rub Rail protects your boat against damage at the dock and also to enhances your boat’s appearance. Replacing damaged, worn out Rub Rail on your boat is an excellent and inexpensive way to give your boat a fresh new look with the added bonus of increasing its value.


We’ve designed and manufactured Rub Rail for leading boat builders for more than 50 years and offer a complete assortment of Vinyl Rub Rail Kits for all sizes of boats.


All seven of our Vinyl Rub Rail Kits come with one piece of continuous coil in Flexible or Semi-Rigid Vinyl Rub Rail with or without inserts and are backed by our industry-leading 5-year warranty guarantee.

Installing TACO Marine Rub Rail from a kit is easy! Check out this video with John Greviskis from Ship Shape TV showing you how to install Rub Rail.

DISCOVER MORE

For more information on our TACO Marine Vinyl Rub Rail Kits, visit tacomarine.com or fill out the contact form below.

Maintenance Tips for Boaters Part 1: Year-Round

This is a two-part boat maintenance series. Part 1 focuses on year-round boaters in warmer climates while Part 2 focuses on seasonal boaters getting ready to de-winterize and summer-ize their craft.


While boating year around is an amazing benefit for people in warmer climates, we believe it’s important to remember crucial maintenance tasks that can often be overlooked.

For expert advice, we spoke to Hammertime Sport Fishing Charter Captain Daniel Avila – our TACO Marine Account Service Representative who fishes the Florida inland coastal waterways and offshore seas year around.

As a lifelong fisherman and Florida native, Avila has nine key areas he believes are essential for keeping warm-climate boats healthy all year long.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT & VHF

“The most important thing to check is your safety gear,” said Avila.

The minimum safety gear required by the United States Coast Guard [USCG]* is the following:

  • USCG-approved personal floatation device per person
  • USCG-approved throwable floatation device
  • USCG-approved fire extinguisher
  • Visual Distress Signal, such as a flare gun and flares
  • Sound-Producing Device, such as a bell, horn or whistle
  • USCG-approved Backfire Flame Control for controlling backfires of all gasoline engines installed after April 25, 1940
  • Ventilation, for the purpose of properly and efficiency ventilating bilges and closed compartments that contain gasoline [except permanently installed tanks that vent outside the boat]
  • Vessel Lighting, such as navigation lights, between sunset and sunrise and during periods of reduced visibility
  • Anchor, anchor line, de-watering device, such as a bilge pump, and an oar or paddle

Flares and fire extinguishers expire and need to be replaced as directed on the package or after use. Personal and throwable floatation devices, if not stored properly, can degrade in function and floatation.

Avila also recommends boaters ensure their VHF radio is working, even for short-distance excursions.

“Three miles off shore, you don’t have any cell phone reception,” Avila said. “That’s the only other line of communication you have with anyone else.”


FUEL SYSTEMS

Because boat maintenance differs from vessel to vessel, Avila said the best thing you can do is follow your boat manufacturer recommendations.

Performing regular checks of your boat’s fuel system is important, and Avila offers the following basics:

  • Make sure the fuel is good. Depending on how often you use your boat, water may contaminate the tanks or the fuel could degrade if it’s been stagnant. Incorporating a fuel conditioner can help revitalize stagnant fuel and mix in water.
  • Check the fuel lines for leaks or kinks. If you do need to replace fuel lines, there are several kink-resistant products available on the market.
  • Regularly replace fuel filters. Fuel filters help clean debris from fuel tanks and prevent debris from entering motors. Avila advises fuel filters be replaced at least every 100 hours or as recommended by your boat manufacturer.

BATTERIES

If your boat has trouble starting or if your batteries are a few years old, Avila said you may want to consider replacing your boat’s batteries.

When not using your boat, Avila encourages boaters to use their onboard battery charging system, if applicable, or invest in a battery tender – an external charger to keep boat batteries fresh.

If your boat does not have an onboard battery charging system, there are several low-cost, waterproof solutions available on the market.

“You don’t want to get stuck on the water with no battery and call a tow service,” said Avila.

If you’re unsure whether your battery is in good working condition, Avila said boaters can remove onboard batteries for testing at an auto parts store or boat yard. Another option is to purchase your own marine battery testing equipment.


MOTORS

Avila stresses that performing regular motor checkups is vital to performance and problem prevention. He recommends checking the following:

  • Motor oil
  • Oil filters
  • Spark plugs
  • Prop and lower-unit oil
  • Shaft seals
  • Gear wear-and-tear
  • Gear lubrication

Additionally, Avila recommends removing outboard motor props regularly to ensure they are free of fishing line or other debris.

For boats in saltwater, Avila said it’s important to thoroughly flush motors after each use with fresh water to remove salt deposits. He said both inboard and outboard motors are susceptible to salt build up. Flushing with freshwater will help ensure a longer life expectancy from your motor’s cooling system.


HULL & DECK

For boats that stay in the water after use, Avila said regular hull cleaning and bottom painting is a must. In warmer climates, barnacles can grow quickly. If left unchecked, barnacle growth impacts boat speed, fuel consumption and overall performance and health.

Maintaining a damage-free deck is just as important as a clean hull, said Avila, especially when it comes to boat safety.

As a charter boat captain, he said a clean and organized deck enhances on-the-water safety for customers. And while it’s normal for your boat’s deck to get scratched or dinged, Avila said minor DIY fiberglass repairs and upkeep will help prevent water damage and keep your boat looking good.

For older boats, Avila said it’s important to look for signs of rot, especially in boats that have organic materials, such as wood in the stringers. Check for soft spots along the hull and deck interior or have the boat inspected by a professional.


STEERING SYSTEM

Like fuel pumps, a boat’s hydraulic steering system is at risk for leaks or degradation over time. Avila said there are simple signs that may indicate your steering system needs maintenance.

If you experience sloppy or a delayed reaction while steering, Avila said this may indicate air in your hydraulic system or low hydraulic fluid.

“Simply adding some fluid to the reservoir can cure the problem,” said Avila. “However, if that doesn’t cure the problem, you may want to take your boat to a mechanic. There may be further issues within the system itself that require maintenance.”


RUB RAIL

Avila said replacing faded, outdated or damaged Rub Rail is an easy, low-cost solution to make an older boat look new again.

At TACO Marine, we offer seven Vinyl Rub Rail Kits for DIY installation, including options in Flexible Rub Rail, Semi-Rigid Rub Rail and Semi-Rigid with a Flex Chrome Insert.


ELECTRICAL

In addition to checking your VHF radio, Avila said it’s important to check lights, navigation systems, AC and other application electrical systems on the boat regularly.


TRAILER

Lastly, Avila said it’s important to ensure your boat trailer is in good working condition – free of rust and damage, while also having functioning lights and winch straps. Depending on how frequently you trailer your boat, trailer maintenance is easy to overlook.

“What can go wrong will go wrong,” said Avila. “That’s probably the best advice I can give you.”


For more information on how you can improve your time on the water, stay tuned for “Maintenance Tips for Boaters Part 2: Seasonal De-Winterizing” and also remember to subscribe to this blog.

*See all USCG requirements online at uscgboating.org for more details and requirements.