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I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

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BigWill1985
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:19 pm

I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by BigWill1985 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:30 pm

I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and let ya'll know what I sort of fell into! I just bought a 1966 (titled, but not delivered until 1968) Chris Craft Commander 38 Sportfisher! I ran the info on the hull number with the Mariner's Museum (it's only maybe 20 minutes from my home and where the boat is docked), and it looks like it is one of the few surviving Sportfisher models! The boat's Hull Number is FFA384003. The boat was repowered in 1988 with dual Marine Power, Inc 454's. The boat was used to take just a few short trips, and the owner had some kind of a medical emergency which placed the boat on the back burner. It has sat for ~5 years.

Believe it or not, the motors still fired up (with a lot of work). They have under 240 hours on both motors. The boat also has some sort of a Kohler marine generator. The interior hasn't been altered much (if at all), and everything seems to work. The batteries needed replaced, but all necessary equipment is functional! All navigating lights functioned, and the steering gear actually is in great shape. We motored her home to a slip just a few blocks from my home to work on her.

I have so far had to fix a lot of random odds and ends, but it seems that most components are working perfect. I am replacing several pieces of glass that were broken out and replaced with plexiglass. I'm also working to replace the exhaust boots since I've already found 2-3 nice sized cracks from dry rotting. The bilge stays pretty dry. It's actually pretty impressive how well this boat has weathered 5+ years of sitting. I even got outriggers, all lines, and 20 or so life jackets. The flybridge looks a bit rough, but EVERYTHING was functioning aside from the steering cable (that snapped when we were doing control checks to get the boat home). But, everything is there. I can rebuild most anything as long as I have something to work with. The aft deck needs replaced, and there is some cabinetwork that needs to be done. But, it doesn't look like much else needs to be done!

I do have a few random questions. Right now, it looks to me like there are three different bilge pockets. The front bilge poccket pumps straight overboard. I also seen a Jabsco diaphragm pump in the Engineroom bilge, and another below the aft deck. Do the Diaphragm pumps pump overboard or are they just used to consolidate the water? Also, how is the genset designed to be used? How do I fire it up? It's a pretty hefty Kohler genset, and looks like it could very easily be original. I can't find a control panel on the unit, and only have a selector below the help to select between Shorepower and the Genset. How do you light off the genset? I've operated many different gensets over the years, but this thing has me kind abaffled. Also, I have a few freshwater connections back aft. One has a regulator, and the other is just a female connector to hook a hose to. How should the freshwater system be laid out? What should I do to slowly and carefully pressurize the system and see what we have? I'm pretty capable mechanically and electrically, but tracing out every single wire and pipe is proving to be a ridiculous challenge. I also didn't get any manuals related to the boat. I have manuals for several things that the owner had previously installed, but nothing more. And, the gentleman I bought the boat from was 85 years old and couldn't remember many of the specifics of the boat. He owned it for 25 years, and you can tell he knew this boat top to bottom at one time. But, his mind isn't as sharp as it once was. I purchased the boat for a very reasonable price, with the caveat that it is 100% as is where is. But, I figure that if I'm going to rebuild everything and get it functioning again I might as well do things right!

This head also has a PAR Electroflush head with a Lectra San treatment system. I have not been able to get the Electroflush system to work, and can't get anything to light up or do anything with the head. Do any of you have the orignal info as far as what the breakeers in the breaker boes are supposed to be wired to? Like I said, there are no labels and I really don't want to bug the gentleman that sold me the boat. He already feels bad enough not remembering even how to hook up the shore power. I don't really want to make him feel worse.

I'll try to upload some pics here if I'm able. Believe it or not, she's really pretty clean overall. There are still a lot to do on her, but I think we're getting there. I have a diver buddy of mine coming by in a week ro so to clean the hull as best we can without hauling her out. I realize that we need to haul it out as soon as possible, but I really don't have the time to get it hauled out. If all goes well, I'll have her hauled out sometime this winter to get the hull stripped and repainted.

Thank you in advance for any help you guys can give.

~Will Courtier~
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jbyers
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 1:45 pm

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by jbyers » Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:58 pm

That's sharp........... what a find.

BigWill1985
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:19 pm

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by BigWill1985 » Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:15 am

I am insanely excited about this boat. I'm finding all sorts of spare parts all throughout the boat. The previous owner had 4-5 extra belts for the motors (which are all dry rotted now), new coils (spares, new in boxes), a few spare fuel pumps, a ton of lines that were in pretty good shape, and pretty much everything we would need to take a trip. I was absolutely amazed that when I flipped on the Air Conditioner for the Salon and Wheelhouse the compressor kicked on! There are two A/C units. The other one is located in the front of the Salon, and also has a vent that blows into the Stateroom. She needs a lot of work, but it's all there and more than able to be brought back to prime condition.

Do any of you know how the salon table folds down into a bed? I see that the table is designed to rotate somehow, but the base is bolted to the floor.

I found 2-3 extra Jabsco diaphragm pumps, and all kinds of other random pieces of hose just in case something gives. This man took incredibly good care of the boat as long as he coulld. I tuned up the Starboard engine and now she fires up instantly with a bump of the key. I think the fuel pump is bad on the Port engine, so I'm planning on working on that Friday. The boat also has a pretty impressive looking battery maintained located in the cabinet next to the helm. I'm not sure if it works or not, but there are trickle chargers in the Salon that are hard wired in to maintain the batteries while on shore power.

I do have a few more questions as well. This boat has what looks to be a factory (or extremely professional after market) Halon system for the engineroom. Do I need to worry about the system being degraded from years of sitting? I've worked with Halon systems on Naval vessels, and they kind of scare me. Are they pretty well manufactured to survive long periods of time? Is there any maintenance I should do on the system?

Also, where can I pick up some locking tabs for the windows in the Salon? They are little L shaped brackets mounted in a collar so they rotate and just block the window from opening. I need 2, and would like to pick up a few extras to hang on to just in case. I hate having to hunt down parts 2-3 times.

Thanks again for any help!

~Will Courtier~

jfrprops
Posts: 2058
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 10:41 pm
Location: Powhatan Courthouse Virginia

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by jfrprops » Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:55 am

Wow. nice find! In Va.? Rescue? on the Pagan River? I am surprised I never heard of that Virginia boat!

Sportfish models are pretty rare....there was a great 38 early Commander on ebay last few days....

Good luck and Go Boating....

John in Va.
1980 Fairchild Scout 30
19?? custom Argentine Runabout 16'
1954 Whirlwind deluxe dual ckpt 16'
1921 Old Town Charles River 17' (founding Captain, James River Batteau Festival)

jbyers
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 1:45 pm

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by jbyers » Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:22 am

As you know Halon can be a pretty toxic/dangerous chemical in a confined space. I think it would serve you well to have the system checked out by a local fire extinguisher system vendor with expertise in this type of system. Even someone who maintains computer room halon systems would most likely have the knowledge to check it out..................

BigWill1985
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:19 pm

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by BigWill1985 » Wed Oct 05, 2016 1:05 pm

jfrprops wrote:Wow. nice find! In Va.? Rescue? on the Pagan River? I am surprised I never heard of that Virginia boat!

Sportfish models are pretty rare....there was a great 38 early Commander on ebay last few days....

Good luck and Go Boating....

John in Va.
The boat was home ported out of Browns Marina in Rescue, VA. Apparently the boat has been home ported near there it's entire life. The previous owner was a pretty wealthy gentleman that had owned several Chris Crafts over the years. He even owned a 46 or so foot long wooden Chris Craft 25-30 years ago. The boat has just been sitting for quite a while. The guy started up the motors once a day all the way up to just a few years ago. He would run them 20-30 minutes every day to keep everything rolling. In all honesty, the boat is in great shape considering it's been sitting for this long. The Teak is all in great shape. Just needs to be sanded and oiled. It's all there, and really isn't all beat up!

I gotta check on eBay now to check out that boat. I'm pretty curious as to how many are out there!

~Will Courtier~

joanroy
Posts: 686
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:46 pm

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by joanroy » Wed Oct 05, 2016 1:56 pm

Total built is 70. Nice boat. Good Luck and HAPPY BOATING!

Howard Lehman
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:41 pm

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by Howard Lehman » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:44 pm

I found a 1967 38' Commander Sportfish on the Sheboygan, Wisconsin Craigslist site that you may like to look at to compare. Both look like very nice boats. Good luck, and Happy Boating.

BigWill1985
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:19 pm

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by BigWill1985 » Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:44 am

I seen that boat! That boat isn't actually the Sportfisher model, as best as I can tell. I am pretty sure that's the Sedan model, and doesn't have the dropped deck in the back. But, it's still a ridiculously good looking boat!

~Will Courtier~

BigWill1985
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:19 pm

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by BigWill1985 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:06 pm

Well, we are making great progress! The teak wood topside is coming along nicely. I have replaced all broken windows with marine grade laminated glass. I cleaned up the battery mess (had 5 batteries in the bilge since the gentleman couldn't lift them out). I had to rebuild both carburetors, and just finally got the exhaust hose fixed on the Port main. I still need to replace the fuel pump on the Port main, since the diaphragm is messed up on the stock mechanical unit and it dumps oil into the crankcase. Luckily, I caught this issue at the dock while doing test runs so nothing was damaged. I already have a Mr. Gasket fuel pump that should fit the bill nicely. I installed new battery maintainers, and have begun figuring out this incredible old girl. Once I replace the fuel pump, she should be ready to run mechanically. Then I get to plumb in the Lectra San head unit, replace the exhaust manifold on the genset, and she will be ready to take a trip!

~Will Courtier~

jfrprops
Posts: 2058
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 10:41 pm
Location: Powhatan Courthouse Virginia

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by jfrprops » Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:39 am

Ok Will...sound like real progress. A few things: "exhaust manifold" on the genset............keep in mind that though this is a quality boat it is an old one...stuff like that genset is now ancient tech and dangerous (see other post recently related to that).
C O emission is deadly and those old units scare me, not to mention the electrical currents etc etc.

If we are near each other in Va....I would be glad to come and do a walk through on her with you......neat boat.

John in Va.
1980 Fairchild Scout 30
19?? custom Argentine Runabout 16'
1954 Whirlwind deluxe dual ckpt 16'
1921 Old Town Charles River 17' (founding Captain, James River Batteau Festival)

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Don Vogt
Club Executive Team
Posts: 886
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 4:51 pm
Location: seattle, wa

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by Don Vogt » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:25 am

Congratulations on your purchase. Sounds like your experience would make a great story in the Brass Bell.
1938 Chris Craft 17' Deluxe Runabout "Jennifer II"

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tkhersom
Posts: 959
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:56 pm
Location: Edgecomb, Maine

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by tkhersom » Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:19 am

BigWill1985:

Congratulations and Welcome Aboard!

You are now the steward of a GREAT boat! As well as using this forum I would recommend you join and post questions on The Chris Craft Commander Forum, run by our good friend Paul Pletcher. http://www.network54.com/Forum/424840 Paul is one of the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to fiberglass Chris Crafts.

Good Luck and Happy Boating!
Troy in ANE - Former President CCABC

1957 CC 21' Continental "Yorktown" (Mom's boat)
https://www.chris-craft.org/boats/22625/
1958 CC 38' Connie "American Beauty"
https://www.chris-craft.org/boats/22607/
1985 Formula 242LS "Gottago"
1991 Formula 36PC "Band Aids"

Life Is Too Short To Own An Ugly Boat

BigWill1985
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:19 pm

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by BigWill1985 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 6:04 pm

jfrprops wrote:Ok Will...sound like real progress. A few things: "exhaust manifold" on the genset............keep in mind that though this is a quality boat it is an old one...stuff like that genset is now ancient tech and dangerous (see other post recently related to that).
C O emission is deadly and those old units scare me, not to mention the electrical currents etc etc.

If we are near each other in Va....I would be glad to come and do a walk through on her with you......neat boat.

John in Va.
I'm not far from you at all! I'm in Norfolk, VA and the boat is slipped at the Willoughby Harbor Marina. Feel free to shoot me a call/text if you wanna check her out. My cell number is 757-528-0028. I'm down there pretty much every Sunday.

You are correct about this genset. But, I do have experience working on these dinosaurs. I am pretty sure I can get her fired up and running like new again. Gotta make sure the exhaust is all sound and that she is electrically safe. I'm pretty decent at doing electrical work (and doing it safely). I'm actually going to finish up installing the second shore power breaker here this Sunday. I'm just running a single 30a shore power cable now, and would like to have the other cable as a back-up.

I got the Port main running like a clock, and now the Stbd main is overheating. I ordered in a new marine water pump for the freshwater side. I'm hoping that I can flush the entire system while I have her apart. She's getting closer and closer to being back at 100% propulsion wise!

-Will Courtier-

jfrprops
Posts: 2058
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 10:41 pm
Location: Powhatan Courthouse Virginia

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by jfrprops » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:24 am

got it Will....will do......busy time of year...but we will catch up when I am in tidewater area.

thanks,

John in Va.
1980 Fairchild Scout 30
19?? custom Argentine Runabout 16'
1954 Whirlwind deluxe dual ckpt 16'
1921 Old Town Charles River 17' (founding Captain, James River Batteau Festival)

BigWill1985
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:19 pm

Re: I'm the new owner of a 38' Commander Sportfisher!

Post by BigWill1985 » Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:37 pm

jfrprops wrote:got it Will....will do......busy time of year...but we will catch up when I am in tidewater area.

thanks,

John in Va.
Definitely do so! I love meeting other people that enjoy these boats. I'm really looking forward to having fun with the old girl this summer. We are rebuilding the aft deck right now. Gotta run new hoses for all of the deck drains, rebuild the framework for the deck, replace the header that supports the rudders, and lay a new deck down. We are slowly but surely getting her ready. If all goes well, we will have her 100% ready to roll by January or February.

- Will Courtier -

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