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Author Topic:   15 Sport Configurations
Roarque posted 06-10-2002 12:14 PM ET (US)   Profile for Roarque   Send Email to Roarque  
I have a traditional Sport setup with lots of mahogany and the helm on the port side which means that I'm sitting "low" on a bench when underway.

Is there a way to reconfigure to a "taller" helm where I can raise the seating and get a slightly (15 inches) higher perspective when I'm driving. I don't necessarily mean to go to a center console but rather to just raise everything up a tad.

I have found a source of mahogany planks that I could use for this project and I hope that others have tried this and found the best design for me to copy.

Also, should I just go to a custom upholstery shop to get my mahogany fitted with cushions or are there companies that provide Whaler seats for the 15 Sport?

where2 posted 06-10-2002 12:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Swapping to the console from a SuperSport might help raise the top of the wheel slightly. Not 15" though... To raise everything 15" you'll likely need a small side-console.
Highwater posted 06-10-2002 01:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    
I am in the planning stage of doing the exact same thing. Please post your ideas/plans/findings and I will do the same. Thanks!
ShrimpBurrito posted 06-10-2002 01:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
I'm in the same boat you are (pun intended). See the recent thread in Repairs/Mods.

I too am looking for some seat cushions. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Bigshot posted 06-10-2002 03:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
look at my post in marketplace for cushions.
Roarque posted 06-10-2002 04:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Roarque  Send Email to Roarque     
My research revealed photos on Page 50 of Cetacea showing the 15 in different transformations one of which showed me a swivel seat and cooler arrangement that will probably become my benchmark for renovating my 15 Sport - check it out and while doing so remember to smile with thanks at the work jimh has done to provide answers if we can only take the time to search.
jimh posted 06-11-2002 12:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Re: 15-Sport seating changes

If you have one of the older boats where the plank for the helm thwart seat is set right on the molded lip of the cockpit (like my 1976 boat), I would suggest trying a move to place the plank across the tops of the side risers, raising it about 3 inches.

Having tried this myself, I can tell you that you will find the plank of the original seat to be a little short. It will fit across the cockpit between the risers, but it won't overlap much. You would have to secure it on the underside in some way to keep it in place.

Another approach would be to remove the original mahogany thwart plank and save it for possible re-assembly later to "OEM" conditions. Then fabricate your own plank from a less expensive wood source. You could perhaps laminate some thinner boards with epoxy--I am not much of a carpenter or woodsmith so these suggestions must be verified with someone who is. The goal being to make a new thwart plank that you can use to mount some more stuff, drill some holes, etc., without ruining the original mahogany.

Once you have the elevated thwart plank in place, you could mount it by just cutting a slight notch in the risers, then using three wood screws at each side to secure it into the riser.

On this new thwart plank you could experiment with mounting some improved seats, perhaps a pair of swiveling padded seats with back rests.

To help the weight distribution, you could also add one or two risers under the seats going from the thwart to the cockpit floor.

The higher seat may also allow more clearance under it for moving the gas tank or battery out of the stern--something that might be good if your boat is stern heavy with engine weight.

As for the console, I guess you would have to see if it was too low for the new seat height or not. Making a new console would be more carpentry than I can describe in text without pictures.

I have noticed that practically every 15-foot hull I've seen has had some change to the seating. The simple thwart seat does not cut it for more than 30-minutes of boating.

Tom W Clark posted 06-11-2002 12:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
A few thoughts on jimh's comments above:

I am a carpenter. If you are going to build a new thwart seat, buying a single piece of wood is going to be the easiest. If you really want to make a project of it and drive up the expense then try laminating smaller pieces of wood together. But seriously, just buy a plank the size you want and be done with it.

Now you could buy a nice piece of mahogany of some other similar tropical hardwood or you could take the “bigshot approach” and run down to the lumberyard and buy a 2 x 12 and slap it on there with some drywall screws.

Either way you've raised the thwart seat to a more comfortable level but it is still just a plank. If you've got a 15 then you've graduated from the 13’ "school-of-sore-butts" and deserve something a little nicer.

Get yourself some upholstered pedestal seats. They're dozens of different types to choose from so you should be able to find whatever suits your tastes.

This weekend I was going through family photo albums and stumbled across what may be the only photograph I have of my 1979 Striper 15. I was reminded of how much I really like that boat. As much as I love the look of wood this boat had very little.

I bought it new and I bought it precisely because I was tired on pounding my butt in the 13’ Sport on those plank seats. The Striper was (and still is) a very practical arrangement regardless of what you are using it for.

The seats are up a little higher than a Sport. The console is where you want it. It's easier to get around because you're not climbing over those damn thwart seats. The pedestal seats swivel around for whatever you want them to do for you.

And it's a simple and relatively inexpensive way to equip this boat. There's no reason why a Sport 15 owner could not adopt this same seating arrangement and simply replace the rear thwart seat with a pair of pedestal seats.

All but the very earliest 15's have plywood across the entire floor of the boat so you can mount the pedestal anywhere you want. Why abuse yourself any longer?

Highwater posted 06-11-2002 02:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    
Many, many thanks for the excellent suggestions. I wonder if the 1977 15' is one of the early ones you refer to that do not have plywood under (in?) the fiberglass throughout the whole deck?

I do plan to move the battery under a re-designed console. If there is not plywood under the battery, I assume that I will need to 5200 a piece of mahogany onto the deck and then attach the battery box to the mahogany.

Ferdinando posted 06-11-2002 08:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ferdinando  Send Email to Ferdinando     

I had the exact same problem you did, I had a pristine 1986 15' which I did not want to sell but the years finally caught up with me and I just couldn't take the pounding and low seating, solution = sold it and bought a
Montauk, never regretted my decision.

Good luck / Fred

Tom W Clark posted 06-11-2002 09:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Check your hull number. If it's 5A0857 or later, it's got the plywood everywhere.

jimh posted 06-11-2002 09:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am glad Tom joined the discussion. Here is a man who can handle a saw (an oblique reference to his work on Chain Saw Whaler and an attempt at humor).

I have thought about the pedestal seat approach, but in my case I have a very early boat. The floor of the cockpit only has the small center stripe of wood. To overcome this I though of making a piece of wood to lay across the cockpit floor in the area where I wanted to mount the pedestal bases.

The wood insert would have a number of grooves or channels cut in the face that laid against the floor, running in a fore and aft direction, so that water could channel under it. I am thinking the wood would be completely sealed in an epoxy coating/finish.

Then I would secure the new wood insert to the deck by screwing it to the embedded wood in the center region. The wood insert would run the full width of the cockpit and be fitted flush against the sides. This tight fit would prevent and side-to-side wiggle of the wood; the screws into the embedded wood would prevent any fore-and-aft movement. With this new, external wood available to mounting things, I could install a pedestal seat base and try that approach.

I was also thinking that the above-deck wood insert could be nicely varnished so it added some "yachty" look to the boat. Or, more utilitarian, you could just paint it to match the gelcoat.

Any comments on this proposed carpentry would be welcomed.

harry posted 06-11-2002 10:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for harry  Send Email to harry     
I did exactly what you are talking about to my 15' sport, if interested I could forward you a photo or two
Bigshot posted 06-11-2002 10:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I NEVER did that to a Whaler Tom.....I did that to a 12' mirrorcraft and stained it mohagany and we then refered to it as the "Buddy Davis edition". Looked pretty darn good and all 3 twarts(5/4 pine?) was only $70.
russellbailey posted 06-11-2002 10:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for russellbailey  Send Email to russellbailey     
Echoing Tom's sentiments on comfortable interiors, when my Dad decided to move up from our 1976 13' Sport to a then new 1980 15', he specifically chose the Striper model for the more comfortable seats.
Tom W Clark posted 06-11-2002 10:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

I am speculating here, but I don't think your plan will prove entirely satisfactory.

While a piece of wood (and it would have to be something the size of the thwart seat) installed this way would not slide around as you say it might not be rigid enough to prevent the upward forces of a pedestal rocking. It is this withdrawal strength that is critical to a pedestal installation.

Even if the plank had drainage grooves in the bottom of it there will still be an annoying accumulation of debris and small amounts off water along the forward edge of the thing. It will also be a toe stubber.

While a nice piece of varnished mahogany looks nice in general I think it would look rather queer laying on the bottom of the boat. I think I would just mount seats directly to the thwart seat before I put a piece of wood on the floor.

I think the solution to the pedestal mount dilemma on these early 15’s might be to adopt some of the techniques that Boston Whaler used on the early Outrages when pedestal seats were used.

The idea of distributing the load of a pedestal mount over a wide area with the piece of wood is sound. But I would consider using two pieces of aluminum plate instead. This is what Whaler did in the 1970’s on the Outrage 21 and 19 when pedestals were installed.

On the 15’ without plywood everywhere there is a strip of plywood down the middle. It is 11 7/8” wide. (Why is is 11 7/8” instead of 12”? Because when you take a 4x8 sheet of plywood and rip it into four equal strips you will loose about an 1/8” to the saw blade’s kerf on each cut.) An aluminum base plate for the pedestal will therefore have solid backing for screws on the inboard side.

The question then is how to secure the outboard side. I think this is the perfect application for the epoxy “hockey puck” idea. This would also satisfy jimh’s near insatiable thirst for the use of West System Epoxies.

Install two, three, maybe even four hockey pucks under the edge of this aluminum backer and tap machine screws into it. This will provide a very secure attachment to the skin of the hull and this attachment will be distributed over a good sized area.

Because the aluminum backing plate is much wider than the pedestal base itself the leverage forces (read upward or withdrawal forces) on the fasteners will be much less. It would also have the benefit of matching an authentic Whaler detail from 1976 (see 1976 Whaler catalog, page 17)

Highwater posted 06-11-2002 11:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    
Tom, Many thanks for the hull number information. My 1977 15' is hull number 5A1247 so I have plywood throughout the deck. That is great news!

Is the wood embedded in the fiberglass, or is it under the fiberglass? When screwing into this wood, how deep can the screw go (below the gel coat) before it gets into the foam? What would be the ideal screw to use for holding down battery boxes or chocks for fuel tanks? Thanks! David.

Tom W Clark posted 06-12-2002 01:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

The 1/2" plywood is applied to the skin of the hull during lay up. It is set in resin and then covered with more chopped glass and resin thus totally encapsulating it. It is not, however, molded into the middle of the skin. It mostly lies beneath the fiberglass.

If you really want to maximize the grip of a fastener into this plywood then you want to use a sheet metal screw, not a wood screw. Just to be clear:

A sheet metal screw has a fully threaded shank. This shank is not tapered.

A wood screw is tapered and usually has an unthreaded portion of the shank just beneath the head.

To really, really maximize the strength, the fastener should go all the way through the plywood so the full diameter of the screw engages all the plywood. Of course you don’t want to go any further into the foam than necessary but a little way won't hurt anything. On the floor of a 15 I would estimate the total thickness of the plywood and fiberglass to be 5/8”-3/4”.

The bigger the shank diameter, the better. As the diameter of the fastener increases the gripping surface area of the threads increases exponentially (as the square of the diameter) and will be that much harder to tear out (withdraw). The secondary benefit of a larger diameter is increased sheer strength.

Highwater posted 06-12-2002 07:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    
Tom, Thank you for the excellent information and advice. David
Chris posted 06-12-2002 06:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chris  Send Email to Chris     
How about this......why not just get paded swival seats and attach directly to the thwart; Cabelas, West Marine even Wal-mart sell them. Note: if one wanted to keep the original Mahogany for the future, pull that plank and replace it with a cheaper plank from the lumber yard. A little staining (or painting), a few drill holes and you are set.
Are there any disadvantages? Pleas let me know as I am thinking of seating options also.
Highwater posted 06-12-2002 09:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    
My 15', which I bought three days ago, is set up with two swivel seats mounted on the thwart seat. In my opinion, there are several problems with this configuration. The seats are too low--the thwart needs to be raised at least as high as the top of the risers (is that the right term?). I don't like the swivel aspect--it would be better, especially in heavy seas, if they were stationary. Without the wrap-around railing and the support that railing provides underneath, the standard mahagony thwart is too thin and is not sturdy enough--they move vertically, especially in seas. If you were to stabilize them underneath you would lose the ability to mount large fuel cans there. You lose the ability for three people to sit on a thwart seat configured this way. And it doesn't look right. That's my opinion, of course.

What I plan to do is to make new risers that are about three-and-a-half inches wide. The bottom will be stepped to catch both levels (please help me with the right terms here). They will be five inches high, one inch higher than the originals. I plan on mounting thicker thwart seats in one-inch slots on the new risers (screwed down firmly, of course). The new thwarts will be 5/4 inches thick. Then the plan is to get seats like the swivel seats, only with no swivel. I will use three seats, side by side, on both thwart seats. This way each thwart will be like a bench. The boat will seat six comfortably. Just behind the front thwart will be a console that does all the way across the boat, like the console in a 13' Sourpuss. Like the Sourpuss, this console will not be supported from below, allowing a second large fuel tank to be put, hidden away, under the combination thwart seat/console. The steering wheel will either be in the center or will be just to the right of center, and will be mounted in such a way that someone 6' tall can stand up and can reach the top of it (I'm still working on that idea--is there such a thing as a telescoping steering wheel?). The right side of the console will be for my laptop and other electronics (out of the wind, behind the seat backs), and the left side of the console will serve as a step to get over the seat back that will be in front of it.

That is how I have configured my 13' Sourpuss and it works great.

All ideas/suggested/critisms are of course welcome.

skred posted 06-13-2002 10:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for skred  Send Email to skred     
Well, I've finally decided my Sport 15 has a non-Whaler fiberglass center console. I saw the pictures of the 1984-and-up model, and it's a cut-down Montauk console, and mine isn't like that at all. But, I digress....
I have two VERY sturdy pedestal seats and the room acquired by not having bench seats is significant. I'd certainly recommend that route.
skred posted 06-14-2002 09:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for skred  Send Email to skred     
Well, I spoke too soon. On close examination, my console is original (Whaler used a cut-down Montauk console), and I found the original thwart seat screw holes very well filled/hidden. If you like, I can e-mail you pictures of the two swivel seats installed on my 15. My temptation is to see if I can raise the console a teensy bit - say 6-8 inches....
Roarque posted 06-14-2002 11:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for Roarque  Send Email to Roarque     
Skred, if you don't mind, I would like to seee the pictures of your configuration.

Thanks in advance.


prj posted 06-14-2002 12:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
as a local with a similar set-up, i'd love to see them also. gently in small batches please. thanks skred.
Chris posted 06-14-2002 10:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chris  Send Email to Chris     
Skred, What are the deminsions of the console in the 15 Sport Center Console?
skred posted 06-17-2002 08:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for skred  Send Email to skred     

Your e-mail address doesn't work. Tried twice. Mine is Maybe I can send stuff as a reply to an e-mail from you.


skred posted 06-17-2002 08:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for skred  Send Email to skred     

If you've seen my pictures, I have an addition to this thread: I'd love to raise the original console about 6-10 inches. I'm trying to figure out an acceptable "shim" arrangement. It's ok the way it is, but it'd be a bit more comfortable if it were raised some.

whaleryo posted 06-17-2002 03:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for whaleryo  Send Email to whaleryo     
I just replaced my forward thrwart seat with an Igloo 72qt Cooler seat this weekend...should have done it sooner! The seat is very comfortable and it holds 3 PFDs, a flare kit, 1st Aid kit, and Spotlight with room left over for food and drinks.
ShrimpBurrito posted 06-19-2002 06:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
In raising the aft bench, say 10 inches, it looks like the best place to mount it is to the top of the seat risers. However, I'm concerned that an 18 inch seat riser (they're 8 inches OEM) is not going to support the port to starboard shear forces. The risers are screwed to the side of the boat, and I fear a little rocking will pull them out. Any thoughts on this? Also, raising 10 inches puts you above the SS rail, which also seems problematic.

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