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Author Topic:   Adding Center Console to 15 Sport
lucky 13 posted 02-29-2004 09:25 PM ET (US)   Profile for lucky 13   Send Email to lucky 13  
I just picked up this real nice 1983 15 Sport with the seatback option, a 70 HP Johnson and a galvinized Sportsman's trailer for $3200 (from a dealer!). The motor is exceptional and they added all new steering and control cables prior to my purchase (which will probably be too short for what I want to do with it). Some of the wood in the console is rotted, however, so I am going to outfit the boat with a center console from Carolina Skiff. I would like to cut a channel in the deck to accommodate the control cables and electrical wires. I have a lot of experience with glass work and boat outfitting and rigging so I think I can pull it off. But before I go tearing into it, I would like to know if any of you have rigged a 15 with a console and if any of you concealed the control cables in an innovative way without surgery. I have enough wood leftover from the old interior and my 13 (which has a center console in it now) to create a false deck made from mahogany in the area between the seat and the console. The thirteen was easy beacuse of the "ditch" down the center. The cables run under the seat and under a wide mahogany board then up into the bottom of the console on my 13. The 15 has a rather flat deck (actually is crowned in the middle to keep it limber). I am considering leaving the aft seat as it was originally installed and putting a low console like the rare original center console. However, my latest idea is moving that seat as far aft as practicable and placing a cooler seat between the old seatback seat and the new console. This would add the necessary seating to accommodate my crew (wife and two small girls).

Any suggestions?

jimh posted 02-29-2004 09:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Check with Clark Roberts. See:

ryanwhaler posted 02-29-2004 10:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for ryanwhaler  Send Email to ryanwhaler     
I wound't do any kind of "surgury" on the hull, you damige it but IMO it would murder the value of the boat if you ever try to sell it.

I saw a 15'whaler on this site somewhere with a custom center console. The owner had some plactic tube over the cables, it ran from under the console all the way back to the motor well, it was maybe about a inch and a half high.

II'd suggest doing something like that.

Good luck and congrads on your new boats.

keltonkrew posted 02-29-2004 10:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for keltonkrew  Send Email to keltonkrew     
don't cut into it along the deck and get the fiberglass channel from Carolina Skiff that covers it.
Backlash posted 03-01-2004 09:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     
lucky 13,

I don't think I would recommend cutting into the deck. I faced this same problem several years ago and ended up drilling a 2" hole from the sump/bilge well thru the foam just under the floor to the center console. I then inserted (pulled) a piece of 2" flexible plastic Carlon corrugated tubing and glassed in both ends.

I believe Clark Roberts did about the same thing with his 15' center console. E-mail me if you would like the particulars.


lucky 13 posted 03-01-2004 09:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for lucky 13  Send Email to lucky 13     

Thats just the idea I was fishing for. I really don't like the idea of using the Carolina skiff deck track. My "surgery" skills are pretty good as I have a lot of experience and the right tools and working conditions. I'm not worried about the boat retaining its value as I am not going to hack it. If I did put a channel in the deck, it would be hard to tell that it was not supposed to be there. But this idea of pulling a tube is so straight forward. Is the foam rather plyable so that you can poke a pull wire through and attach it to the hose (with one end tapered)and tug the hose through the foam? Or do you have to "excavate" a tunnel?

Mike Brantley posted 03-01-2004 12:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     

I raised the rear thwart about three inches by building a frame around the seat, making it a more substantial structure than a mere board. Pictures are linked below.

I wanted the center console model for its rigging tunnel, which is not present in our boats as you know. But I could not bring myself to cut into the deck to make my own tunnel. There really is no need with my setup, however. My rigging simply exits the console to starboard and runs down the side of the boat, just like it did with the factory helm. It's out of the way, doesn't look bad and requires no surgery to the deck. Again, see the pictures.

Note that the radio shelf has a slight angle to the edge that meets the console. The other end rests on the same riser that holds up the seats. I left the front thwart seat at its original low position so I can see over anyone seated there while I'm seated at the helm. I can stand and drive the boat, but only by gripping the very top of the wheel. I decided not to install a windshield, because it would get in the way of conversation with passengers seated forward. But I did install a stainless rail to the port side of the console, as well as a pocket for the fire extinguisher.

I had Lois Hall at Hall's Nautical make me some white pleated cushions for the bow, seats and the front of the console (a good back rest for the front thwart). The original seatback for the reat seat was too low to offer any back support to begin with, and now it's lower still in relation to my raised seat. I am thinking about constructing a taller rear seatback and having a cushion made for it, but as it is now I have easy access to the stern with the low seatback.

Here is a photo of the boat as she is now, with custom bimini up but not deployed, seat cushions in place and my newly purchased Evinrude E-Tec moto on the transom:

And here are some photos taken after the console and wood was put in, but before the cusions were made. The cushions are held in place by snaps that weren't yet installed whene these photos were taken.

Mike Brantley posted 03-01-2004 02:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
The post by me doesn't quite make so much sense because the first third of it is missing. I composed it offline and did a poor copy-and-paste maneuver, picking it up in midstream. Basically, I was telling Lucky that I was where he is now 14 months ago when I put a Carolina Skiff console in my boat. My console is mounted right of center with the rigging running down the side of the deck. I couldn't bring myself to cut my own rigging tunnel.

Anyway, I'm not certain exactly what's missing from the post, but you get the idea. I already deleted the original composition.

Backlash posted 03-01-2004 10:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     
lucky 13,

No, it's not that simple...the foam is very dense and you must bore a hole thru it to make room for the conduit. I used a plumbers bit (2-9/16" dia.), much like a Forstner bit, to drill out the foam. After every six inches or so of headway, a shop vac was used to remove the foam pieces/chunks that the bit removed.

If you stick a long wooden dowel rod thru your transom drain (from the outside) it will almost perfectly center itself on the forward wall of the sump/bilge wall. This is the secret to how the hole is drilled thru the foam using 18" drill bit extensions. The actual electric drill remains outside the transom for the whole procedure.

I will furnish step-by-step instructions if you are still interested.


lucky 13 posted 03-02-2004 02:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for lucky 13  Send Email to lucky 13     

I would like detailed instructions if possible. I think that this is something I would like to do. My drain hole from the sump is angled downward. Are the 18 inch extentions flexible to accommodate the angle?

Backlash posted 03-03-2004 11:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     
lucky 13,

Yes, as I recall, the brass drain tube is angled downward thru the transom and this actually aids in drilling thru the foam by guiding the bit along the underside of the plywood under the floor. No, the drill bit extensions are not flexible.

Step-by-step instructions to follow.


lucky 13 posted 03-03-2004 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for lucky 13  Send Email to lucky 13     
Thanks Backlash. I'm going to pick up the console over the weekend and place it in the cockpit in the appropriate location so I know how far forward I need to bore. I'm stopping by Home Depot on the way home from work to try and purchase some extensions and a hole saw and perhaps some carlon hose. You mentioned a forstner bit for the foam. I'm looking forward to the details. I will photogragh my progress and post links to my photo page.
Backlash posted 03-04-2004 08:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     
lucky 13,

You have e-mail. I'd hold off on buying the hole saw and extensions until you read my e-mail.


lucky 13 posted 03-09-2004 12:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for lucky 13  Send Email to lucky 13     
Thanks to Backlash I now have a 50 in. long tunnel from the bilge sump forward. I used many of the ideas presented by Backlash and a few of my own. Now that the tunnel is completed I will need to get the flexible carlon hose pulled through and fill the voids with expanding foam and then finish it by glassing the ends. Don't get me wrong, this was not an easy task for the average boat owner. However, if you are good with your hands, have some experience with fiberglass, and have the right tools, this is real "do-able".

Thanks to all who contributed ideas. I am going to start a new string showing the progress of my center console modification. I took a lot of photos of the process of making the tunnel. I'll post a link to them in the new topic.

Backlash, You da man!

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