Kicked In The Head

Definition - Malahini:  A newcomer to Hawaii

So the Malahini is a newcomer.  Sounds appropriate.

This is my 2011 16 ft Mahogany Runabout.  It is a classic Malahini design by Naval Architect, Glen Witt from the 1950s. 
Construction of this boat was begun in 2006 by Don Witherspoon in Florida.  Don was a retired classic automobile and boat restorer turned boat builder.  This was the second Mahogany build for Don.  The first was also a Glen-L designed Zip.  Unfortunately, Don passed away in February, 2007 before completing the Malahini.  Don's son, Don Jr, planned to complete the boat and kept it in a workshop until February, 2011.  But after four years and still not enough time to do any work on the boat, he decided to part with it and I purchased it.  The Malahini was a completed hull with paint and fiberglass.  

At the same time I was considering the purchase of this boat, my dad was looking for a pontoon boat and I told him I may have one for sale.  When I told him I was going to buy a half built wooden motorboat and finish it, his response was something very close to this:  "A wooden boat!!!???...have you been kicked in the head...are you crazy?"   Dad was familiar with the older Century wooden boats that needed a lot of TLC and had to be pre-soaked so the wood would swell.  The Malahini now bears the name Kicked In The Head on her sides.  Thanks Dad for the inspiration!

At purchase, the boat had been flipped and was on her building cradle.  If you have built a boat, you know that means the frames and hull were completed.  It had been stained, fiber glassed, epoxied and painted.  I immediately had it sanded and clear coated by the same professional auto painter who painted Don's Zip and the Malahini in Florida.  The boat was DA sanded and then sprayed with 2-gallons of automotive clear coat.  Then it was progressively sanded up to 3000 grit and buffed to a smooth as glass finish.  This process took several weeks after I purchased the boat and it was then delivered to me in Georgia.

Before delivery, I decided to purchase an engine and a trailer to get those two items out of the way.  My wife actually told me to get a reliable engine and one with enough power to keep me from complaining.  A period engine was desirable since it would compliment the 1950s look.  But, age and reliability were also a concern for both me and my wife.  So, I decided to purchase a new or slightly used engine that was at the Malahini's maximum rating of 85 HP.  I looked at a few Yamaha engines from the 1990s between 60 and 85 HP and a slightly used 2010 75 HP Mercury Optimax (really nice, but heavy).  I wound up purchasing a 2007 Evinrude E-TEC 90 with which was slightly beyond the 85 HP rating for the Malahini. 

Being a modern engine, the E-TEC has a much higher torque rating than an engine from the 1950s.  It is also heavier.  Therefore, the transom had to be modified on the inside to accept this.  Since the deck was already installed, I had to really contort myself to make the modification.  I spent about a week on that project but there are two additional 2" thick transom knees with strongbacks that run up the battens to the first frame.  They are epoxied, fiberglassed and bolted to the battens and transom which is also 2" thick.

I was fortunate to find a nice 2006 Karavan trailer with swing away tongue for $750 which was less than half price.  The trailer was part of a lot of 300 trailers from a closed Maxum boat factory.  It had sat on a boat salvage lot since being purchased from the closed Maxum factory.  The fenders were a little sun faded and it was dirty with a few scratches, but otherwise very nice and well worth the $750 I paid.  It was sold to me and titled as a new 2006 trailer.

Even though I had a completed hull, engine and trailer there was still a lot of work left to do:  I needed an engine controller, control cables, wiring harness, steering system, fuel system, electrical system, electrical accessories (lights, gauges, pumps etc), deck hardware, windshield, rub rail, rear hatch covers, interior clear coat, floor, seat framing, upholstery, stainless steel trim, stainless steel transom bands, state inspection and hull ID application and on and on and $$$.  My plan was to have this boat complete and floating by May, 2011.  But being a working man with a family, I knew deep down that just would not happen.  So, the goal became August, 2011.  There are other builders I've become acquainted with whom would have finished long ago after the decking and clear coating were finished.  But, I have a tendency to over think things and I'm slow.  I was especially slow in this year's extreme heat.  The interior seating design took me at least a month to settle on and then the upholsterer took well over a month.  The heat and humidity also made it really difficult to apply any kind of clear coat or varnish to the interior and I wound up having to take my dash all the way back down to raw wood and start over.  It is OK for now, but I have decided to take her to an auto paint shop to have the dash and carlins re-sanded and clear coated during the off-season.

The official date for completion was September 17, just in time for me to completely miss The Gathering of Boat Builders #5 that was going on that same weekend on Nickajack Lake and the Tennessee River just west of Chattanooga.

The photos:

This deck fill was replaced over the winter of 2011/2012.  This one
required two 90-degree elbows in order to reach the tank.  Because
of that, I could not use a fuel pump...only a gasoline can.  Not good
for lakes with laws against such things.  I replaced it with a model
that had a built-in angle in the neck.  It was also a better quality
piece of stainless and also a bit more money.  But, it works
beautifully at the fuel pump.

Some Construction Photos
A few photos of the boat just after getting her back from the clear coating.  The building cradle made it so easy to roll her around for easy access.  It's really about ready for the trailer at this point. 
Here, the trailer is inside and ready for the transfer.
A fellow Malahini owner who just happens to live in the Atlanta area (we'll call him Sam), helped me transfer the boat.  Yes, the two of us did it with a shop crane I bought at Harbor Freight Tools.
The job is finished!

Using the shop crane, I could hoist and mount the 320-lb E-TEC without any help.  This is one of many times that I mounted and dismounted the engine.  I ran all the electrical cables, control cables, steering cables and fuel line.  But, I took it to an authorized E-TEC dealer for final rigging and computer programming.

Would I Do This Again?
Probably, but my wife would take some convincing.  My advice to anyone considering an abandoned project like this:  Check it out and get as much detail about the materials used as possible.  If you have already constructed a boat, you'll know what to look for in the framing.  It is also a good idea to know what the builder intended to use the boat for.  Was he/she planning to use it as a low speed river cruiser or was it built to handle some power and pull skiers?  In my case, Don's son had helped him build the first boat and was well acquainted with this boat.  So he knew a lot about the boat and that worked out well for me.  He even delivered it to me!  I've seen some partially built/restored boats on ebay that are for sale by brokers.  Those would definitely require some serious inspections if the original owner is not available for comment.  One thing I would do differently is focus more on creature comfort and not storage.  My boat has uber storage, but is short on leg room.

Link To My Kayak Build
Part 1
Part 2

Future Projects
I would like to build a little stitch and glue boat powered by a jet ski engine.  There is a Glen-L boat called the Dyno Jet.  If I had gotten into this a few years ago, my daughters would have loved a boat like that.

I would also like to build or buy a wooden sail boat.  I am thinking about the CLC sailrig plans or even the kit from clcboats.com.  It is compatible with my CLC kayak and is also a stitch and glue build.

I would love to own a big V-8 inboard woody.  There are some Glen-L builds out there that are real beauties.  I just don't think I have the patience to build a cold molded hull.  I could see myself building a ply-based model like the Glen-L Ski King or the Audeen.  In that case I would definitely go with a painted hull and bright deck. 

I would like to find a Century or Chris Craft that is recently restored.  One that is 1/2 restored that I could finish would be interesting.

But my FIRST project according to my 16-yr old daughter is a Stand Up Paddleboard.  I'm going to either just buy one or build a CLC Kaholo.  That has to happen in 2012 according to her and my wife is of the opinion that we need two.  So I have that going for me.

Projects like this are possible for about anyone with a few tools, a dry building space and some patience.  You'll need some cash also.  You can build a boat that is totally utilitarian or you can go for beauty and style.  Time and cash are the differences.  I've read about boats that some guys have built for $4k and others that are so much that they are afraid to add the receipts.  Branson Dave built a beautiful Riviera for $22k and it includes a big beast of a new engine.  I find it absolutely amazing that he could build that boat for only $22k and in only 13 months (http://sites.google.com/site/midnightcryproject/).  I personally stopped adding when I went over $15k. 

 27 Sept 2011
Sea Trial Day

Lake Lanier, GA.  Not our home lake, but it is very close to our primary residence and running  sea trials here is much easier than towing up to our lake in the mountains.  I was assisted by another wooden boat builder who currently has three wooden boats (all Glen-L designs).  He was a tremendous help and I would not have made it without his help 
The wind really had the lake churned up today and it was quite rough for a 16 ft boat.  But we put her in and the engine fired on the first turn of the key within 2-3 seconds!  Since it was so rough, I never got her much above 2000 RPM.  Water was definitely splashing over the bow and windshield.  We got pretty wet.  The bilge, however, remained bone dry and the boat floated nicely with the big 90 HP E-TEC on the transom.  I was worried about the weight of the engine causing the boat to ride low at the stern, but no more worries!

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

                       Below are launch photos at Aqualand Marina on Lake Lanier, GA


The Official Christening
16 October 2011

Since the first sea trial, I have not had the boat in the water.  Low rainfall this year has caused Lake Lanier to become a little low and many ramps are closed.  Lake Chatuge, our home lake is a TVA controlled lake and they always lower it by 8ft every year.  It is down over 4 ft this time of year and the better ramps become less friendly.  Plus, it has been a bit windy and rough up there.  But Lake Burton is always full.  It was built by Georgia Power for power generation along with Lakes Seed and Rabun.  Burton is about 1/3 the size of Lake Chatuge but at least twice as expensive!  LaPrade's Marina will be the site of the official christening (http://lapradesmarina.com/26/index.php?page/Gallery.html).   They have a beautiful ramp that just gently eases into the water and the water comes almost all the way up the ramp to the parking lot, I'll have no problem floating right off!  They are also a Hacker-Craft dealer.  Both Lake Burton and Rabun are very wooden boat friendly and are the home to quite a few old woodies.  These lakes are also known for their beautiful boat houses.  I've posted a few below.  Unfortunately, an EF3 Tornado struck in April, 2011.  It actually seemed to follow a road that hugged the shoreline for several miles.  The damage was still quite evident in Oct and there were many downed trees and damaged or destroyed houses.


Boat houses on Lake Rabun
The Official Christening Beverage
SweetWater 420, brewed in GA seemed appropriate.  It even has a little wooden boat on the label.
Wow, what a day!  The weather was around 80F and sunny with a steady breeze.  We also had two good friends along for the ride.  They even brought Champagne.  My wife did the christening honors with the SweetWater 420 and we were off.

The E-TEC engine accelerates quickly and the Malahini really performed well.  With four of us on board, we hit 40MPH before I had to throttle back for wakes and rougher water caused by the breeze. 

The difference in boat ramps at Lanier and Burton is huge.  The ramp at Aqualand Marina on Lake Lanier was at least 50 yards long and slightly curved.  The ramp below at Burton was a double ramp.  I'm right in the center in this photo since there were no other boats waiting.  The water literally comes right up to the parking lot and it's protected on both sides.  

The Wenches Prepare to Board
She is low and sleek


Kicked In The Head performed just as I had hoped.  The E-TEC starts instantly, just like a 4-stroke and it accelerates just as advertised.  We had a short burst up to 40 MPH with four adults.  We were out on the open water the wind was blowing making some areas a little rough and I had to throttle back.  At 37 MPH, the Malahini burgee flag ripped right out of the socket in the bow light.  It cleared the windshield and then whizzed by my wife's head in the back seat.  We were able to recover it (the burgee, her head remained intact).  We won't be running those kinds of speeds again with the burgee mounted.  I figure with just me aboard on good smooth water, this thing could do 50 MPH.  In a low riding 16ft boat, that is fast enough!

At this point Kicked In The Head has been on two lakes and neither of those is her home lake.  We have a very nice Floatair boat lift waiting for her in our slip but that will have to wait until spring, 2012. 
Contact Me:  limulus61@gmail.com

The new Official Adult Beverage of Kicked In The Head for 2012

Memorial Day Weekend, 2012
Kicked In The Head was finally introduced to her home lake.  Friday morning, my wife and I got a great ride and took her up to 40MPH.  But that was the last of the great rides for that weekend.  Since it was the major holiday leading into the summer boating season, the lake was crowded.  It was also windy and...wait for it...the water was rough my friends.  Small boats with just a little bit of a V-hull don't do well.  Kicked In The Head reminded us of that.  We got wet and had our brains and spines pounded.  I'm think I'm shorter.

I have more photos, but I've exceeded the upload limit.  I even removed about 5 photos and I still can't upload more photos.  If I figure that one out, I'll add photos.

To view framing, new dash and kayak photos, click the link in the far left column.