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  1. #1
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    Sidewinder/Panther complete restoration plus a bit.

    My name is Phillip and Im from New Zealand in the deep south Pacific down below and East of Australia.
    We are a small country of 5 million people but have a similar length of coastline as the USA so we are a boating Nation.
    My background is in Engineering and design but these days I am a manufacturer of a Product.
    At heart Im an innovator so rather go out and buy a ready made fast boat I like to build or adapt things and have had a few good boats over the yrs , mainly Axial flow jets (Hamiltons/ Kodiak) (Small block Chevs)
    The Panther/Sidewinder is an iconic boat here and most if not all are rotten so it made sense to me to restore one.
    I have two Sons that are keen boaties and they wanted a chick magnet to ski with so the 22YO sent me a link to this one for sale and here we are.
    My current boat is what is known here as a Fryan 440 deep Vee which is a 4.4m Aluminium fishing boat that weighs about 280lbs plus motor (40hp Merc XR Lightning).
    Its a good little fishing boat and will pull me up from a deep water start on a single ski but is no Chick magnet, especially with a name like "Bart".
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is the third thread related to this rebuild but I feel this thread is probably the right place.
    There is a background story so Ill start back a bit, around the early 1970's.
    In New Zealand early in the 70's a sleek new ski boat appeared around the ski lanes of Lake Taupo.
    It was different than anything Id seen before and was called a Panther, manufactured by Plylite.
    As a 12yr old I decided that whoever designed this thing was light years ahead of the rest.

    Later I learned that the Panther was a close copy of the sidewinder and didn't originate from New Zealand at all.
    This particular boat is a Plylite Panther and in NZ they carried the cast and chromed leaping cat emblem just below the gunnel.
    The panther also had a racy instrument mount in the center of the Dash.
    They were a mass produced ski boat that came new with Evenrudes from 115hp to 140hp and were probably good for around 45-50mph.
    When you start to pull one to pieces it becomes apparent that they weren't manufactured with racing in mind, in fact they were very average IMO.
    It appeared that this particular boat was assembled by a team of two fibreglass guys, one doing the port side and the other Starboard.
    The starboard side was not too bad and the Port side absolute ****.
    The Port side was very easy to dismantle, it basically fell to pieces because none of the glued components had bonded properly.

    The boat was purchased from a family that had had it for 30yrs and was described as original which it was.
    The motor was described as not going due to ignition problems but was tired also.
    This was all correct and the motor was scraped.
    The trailer was described as very poor but in fact it is very good and not requiring much work at all.
    Ive built lots of trailers in my time and the seller got this part really wrong.

    I paid 3k for the lot and towed it home.
    It was obvious before I brought it that the transom was rotten but thats a good thing because it would be a shame to rip out a good one and the transom was coming out no matter what.
    The job and photos start with a clean out of 30yrs of artifacts, the boat was a time capsule full of all sorts of old stuff.
    Old bottles of tanning oil, old life jackets and very old goggles and snorkel sets.
    bundles of small ropes, and old divers knief and various tools.
    The owner told me that as the boat aged it got slower and this could have been due to increased weight.

    So the photos start with the clean outClick image for larger version. 

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    Then the Motor comes offClick image for larger version. 

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    Then the transom starts to come outClick image for larger version. 

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    Then the floor and StringersClick image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Then the Boat needed to be set up in a jig to ensure the hull went back together in a near to original shape but in my opinion the original lines were so far out of whack that it would be a matter of just getting it close and then putting enough glass on the inside that the hull could be blueprinted from the outside later
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Then the transom and all the structure needed to be mocked up.
    The ply pad in the keel here is the top of the pad and not a tunnel as it may appear to be.
    This part is 8 inches wide but the total pad and tunnel width will be 13 inches.
    The underside of that beam is the top of the tunnel as shown in the sketch
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    The silver Fat Max level shows the new floor level which is 3 1/4 inches higher than the original floor allowing for much deeper stringers and broader structure to resist torque loads on hull.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The transom is 3 layers of 18mm marine ply thats about 2.5 inches and the floor of the transom well is 1/2 inch ply which will be well attached to the Transom and also to the Transom Knee which is attached or part of the 6 inch keel stringer so the motor will never fall off not even the way I drive.

    This is where Im up to so far
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	477929   Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	477930   Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by NZ Sidewinder; 11-28-2020 at 04:30 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Cool old boat! Looking forward to seeing it come together.

  4. #3
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    Welcome to S/F!! Keep posting the restoration........it looks good.

  5. #4
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    Thanks
    Yes ill keep posting updates until the boat is cornering hard around Bouys.
    If I stop posting it's because the Boat didn't make the turn ..Lol

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  7. #5
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    Today I visited the local fibre glass shop to talk about construction joint adhesives and the guy showed me a 2 pot product he uses.
    Its a tricky name to remember and it isnt an epoxy.
    It is slightly flexible and will stick well to Polyester.
    He said that its so strong that bulkheads can be glued and coved with it and thats enough.
    So Im going to use it to bed and cove my stringers but also glass over the cove.
    He also said he prefers to bolt the main transom knee of rough water boats which suits me because Ive spent my life bolting things.

    We also spoke about sidewinders and Panthers.
    He reckoned the NZ sidewinder was better built than the Panther and thats why most of the raced ones were Sidewinders and he told me about the mold defect in the Panthers which didn't find its way into the Sidewinders.
    Look at the Chines where they meet.
    I dont know how a company could allow a 1000 hulls to be built like this.Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #6
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    The Transom is now encapsulated and ready for the knees and well to be attached.
    The Hull is now the focus to get ready to accept the transom.
    Lots and lots of work that takes a while to show results.
    Reminds me of building houses, they take lots of time and money to get up out of the ground.Click image for larger version. 

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    This is the outside face of the transom and needs another 8, maybe 10 layers of glass once glued in
    Last edited by NZ Sidewinder; 12-08-2020 at 03:12 AM.

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  11. #7
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    A little more progress for a lot of hours.
    All the knee to transom and Knee to Pad structural joints will be ply to ply rather than poly to poly.
    Then coved etc in poly.
    The Transom isnt glued in yet because I intend to attach all the knees and the transom well to the transom and fully glass all that detail while the transom is on the bench.
    Once thats finished the unit will be fitted and the knees attached to stringers etc
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by NZ Sidewinder; 12-13-2020 at 05:54 AM.

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  13. #8
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    Ply and Glass is good to work with but having got this far I now appreciate Aluminium and steel.
    They are so easy and quick to fabricate with.
    The ideal boat would IMO have a molded glass top side and Alloy Hull.

  14. #9
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    Nice neat glass work. It takes some time working with glass to appreciate how versatile it is. I have used it on houses and have even made emergency repairs on industrial plumbing with it.

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  16. #10
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    Im trying this Glue
    Crestomer 1152PA-P
    Synthepol

    Its a 2 pot (MEKP) gel that is compatible with Polyester
    Last edited by NZ Sidewinder; 12-19-2020 at 10:26 PM.

  17. #11
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    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	479299The knees are now glued to the transom and the Transom Well floor is attached to the transom and also the top of the keel knee.
    The two outside knees are attached to transom also.
    None of this is yet glued to the hull as it will all be lifted out as a unit and fully glassed on the bench then fitted back in and glued and glassed to the hull.
    There is a long 12mm Stainless bolt through the top of the keel knee and transom.
    This 12mm bolt is in a 16mm (5/8) s/s tube that has a flange at the transom end so it can be sealed.
    I may use the same detail for the engine bracket bolts also.

    The spirit level is floor levelAttachment 479293






    Attachment 479292
    Last edited by NZ Sidewinder; 12-20-2020 at 05:38 AM.

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  19. #12
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    Transom is now out to be finished before being glued and glassed back in.
    All the ply will be encapsulated then re fitted and attached to the stringers Click image for larger version. 

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    etc.
    It will also get some floor support cleats.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  21. #13
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    Transom glued in with Crestomer 1152 A-P
    Heaps of work yet but this is a milestoneClick image for larger version. 

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    The transom has a cove to the hull and will be glassed in as well.

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  23. #14
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  24. #15
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Stock these boats are as rigid as a plate of jelly and the more I get into this one the more I realize they were designed as show ponies not race boats.
    Here the sides are getting some knees.

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