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Author Topic:   Building a Pilothouse on a Montauk
fishmunger posted 11-06-2006 04:56 PM ET (US)   Profile for fishmunger   Send Email to fishmunger  
Ok, so I think I am going to be getting a bare hull 82' Montauk and I really want to build a pilothouse on it. Here in Santa Barbara I have seen several with unique and cool looking pilothouses. The reasons for the pilothouse is because I like to do a lot of surfing in far-off places like the channel islands and i want a boat that is light, easy to trailer, economical, easy to launch while alone, and dry in weather. I think the montauk would be perfect for surfing and fishing. So I have been drawing up some plans on how I'm going to build the thing...first off, I'm going for something that looks very similar to this....

I've looked at but i want to build my own so as to incorporate my own features. I plan to make it 4 ft wide and 4ft long, and about 6.5 ft high. I plan on building a compartment inside and underneath the dash to house the gas tank on the deck, shifting weight to the front and hopefully improving the ride and maximizing deck space. the tank will be 47" long and about 12" high and 12" wide. I will then have a fuel fill flush mounted into the side of the house.

Okay, so now that you've read all the mumbo jumbo and hopefully have some idea as to what I'm talking are my main questions...

1) I want to build it out of marine plywood laminated with fiberglass and epoxy resin, then painted...BUT what thickness wood and weight of glass should i use so that its strong enough but not too heavy, and should i laminate both sides or just the outside?

2) How would i secure it to the deck? I know there is wood under the deck, and I've seen several boats with a pilothouse but have yet to figure out how they held it down...

3)What are your opinions/ideas/recommendations/maybe links to someone else who has done something similar?


jeffs22outrage posted 11-06-2006 05:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for jeffs22outrage  Send Email to jeffs22outrage     
Nate here is a very detailed article of how a guy took a center console mako and turned it in to a Pilothouse cuddy.

and Here is a Montauk that has had a great conversion done.

Inspiration if nothing else.

Buckda posted 11-06-2006 05:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Nate -

Give me an e-mail and I will share contact info of a member here who has done a similar mod on his 15' Sport.

Do a search for Jeff Chamberlain - his aqua-blue 15' Sport is set up for exactly the kind of thing you describe.


fishmunger posted 11-06-2006 05:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for fishmunger  Send Email to fishmunger     
i've seen both those series of photos and YES they are major inspiration. both are extremely neat. I'm aiming to do a simpler version because i know i dont have the ability to do all the amazing work those guys did. thank you very much for all your help...anything else you guys find let me know. thanks
fishmunger posted 11-06-2006 05:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for fishmunger  Send Email to fishmunger     
this looks like that same boat...not really what i want to do, but cool nonetheless and inspiring...

HAPPYJIM posted 11-06-2006 06:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for HAPPYJIM  Send Email to HAPPYJIM     
Have you thought about searching for a Menemsha?

Buckda posted 11-06-2006 06:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Nate -

Jeff's forum screen name is "Skiff". A search for that will locate the name of the custom shop in Santa Barbara that might help provide some seeds to the pilot house setup you're looking for.

Good luck - sounds like a great project.


fishmunger posted 11-06-2006 06:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for fishmunger  Send Email to fishmunger     
not really looking for a meneshma. looking for a small pilothouse just to stand behind, even though meneshma's are pretty cool
fishmunger posted 11-07-2006 02:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for fishmunger  Send Email to fishmunger     
well i've pretty much got the idea hammered out...but does anyone have any advice on materials? thickness of wood..etc
WT posted 11-07-2006 02:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     

Check out Mill's full canvas for the Montauk. It provides you the shelter and a lot lighter than the pilothouse (not to mention, a lot less brain damage too).

Good luck,


fishmunger posted 11-07-2006 02:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for fishmunger  Send Email to fishmunger     
thanks for the info on the canvas enclosure, but being from the west coast and having worked on sportfishing boats here all my life, i really want something that can withstand a lot of abuse, so i have my heart set on a well-constructed and solid pilothouse. its hard to dig up info on what works and what doesnt because not many people have done this...maybe someone knows a website where i can find info on what thickness of wood, strenth of glass i would need...another forum that caters to boat building perhaps?
Don88outrage posted 11-07-2006 07:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Don88outrage  Send Email to Don88outrage     
Sounds like a neat project, a marine version of a surfin woody, surfboards strapped on top of the pilot house, woodgrain trim on the hull, Beachboys music blaring from the sound system......DO IT.
I've built electronics boxes and a livewells with glassed plywood as you described, those we're made from 1/4" plywood and they worked fine. I would think for a pilot house you would want at least 1/2" thick plywood, the foam cored marine plywood would keep the weight down, however, I'm not familiar with it's structural characteristics. These guys put a very nice pilot house on their small boats,

Good luck and post the pictures when you're done.

Binkie posted 11-07-2006 07:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie    
I would use Divinicil or another brand of dense foam board, instead of plywood for the structure, and then glass both sides for strength, resale value, to eliminate future rot, and ease in construction, and lightness. Commercial boat builders use this material, and not plywood anymore for decks and one off structures like what you are planning is as easy to cut as plywood. the only drawback is its expense, but in a project such as the one you are contemplating, it would be the way I would do it. Glass clothe and polyester resin bonds very well to dense foam board, so epoxy isn`t necessary, except at the seams which are held together with pins such as toothpicks, and the covered with glass tape and epoxy.
I would look for a website which is dedicated to fiberglass repair, and boat building.


Binkie posted 11-07-2006 08:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie    
The hardest and most important part of your project is the design work. You need to design something that fits the hull and looks like Boston Whaler actually built a pilot house Montauck, not like the abortion that you showed in your pic. The only way to do this is to first built a mockup of the structure out of sheathing plywood, and set it in your hull. Then you and others can look at it and come up with modifications that will look pleasing to the eye. The chances of just building it, and it will look good the first time are not very good. If you can find one to copy it would be a help.
Shamrock Boats in Cape Coral Fl. built a pilothouse model of their 18` and 21` center console, that looked really good. It was built back in the seventies. their modern boats are completely different, but maybe you could Google one up on the Internet, or call them 239-574-2800 for a pic.


Binkie posted 11-07-2006 08:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie    
I found a pic. of a 18` Shamrock Pilothouse model on Yachtworld. com. Check it out. Maybe they can E-Mail you some more pics, if you tell them your an intersted buyer.


andygere posted 11-07-2006 11:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
You may want to consider a small tube frame with canvas enclosure. It keeps thinks light, looks good and the canvas can be removed for towing or in good weather. My Outrage is rigged this way, and although mine is actually a small T-top, there's no reason a simple pilot house type from with aft overhang couldn't be substituted for the T-top. You will see a lot of warnings about T-tops on Montauks, most of them centered around the lack of suitable anchor points. Note that my Outrage has the standard "Montauk style" console, and the T-top is held to the deck by 16 screws and is tied to the console in 4 places. I have had no problems with it getting loose or showing any signs of stressing the floor or mounting points. Here's a photo to give you the general idea: SalmonDerby016.jpg Andys22Cuddy.jpg Namequoitberth.jpg

I would not put the boards on top, for the simple reason that the sail effect would adversely impact handling of the boat. I've seen a few Montauks in the Santa Cruz area that have custom stainless steel board racks that hang saddle-bag style off of the side rails. The racks are mounted high enough that the boards are not subject to constant spray, etc.

Another option is the Mills canvas set. This provides complete weather protection, but makes access to the bow somewhat more difficult. The upside is that with the addition of a wood sleeping platform, ala the Sakonnet, it can be used as a tiny camp-cruiser.

Photos at:

(Note, the boat has been sold a long time ago)

gcl posted 11-07-2006 11:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for gcl    
I recomend you contact Peter Legnos, who owns a fiberglass business in Connecticut. He is a master boatbuilder. He has great products that we can ship anywhere. Below is a link to his website:

gcl posted 11-07-2006 11:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for gcl    
That's "he" can ship, not "we" - I do not have anything to do with Mr. Legnos fine company.
fishmunger posted 11-07-2006 12:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for fishmunger  Send Email to fishmunger     
wow guys you gave me a ton of stuff to look into! i was especially interested in that foam cored plywood...that sounds like it might work. has anyone who has used divincil (the foam board) know how it works, like how you hold it together while glassing, etc...thanks for all the help so far!
Jerry Townsend posted 11-07-2006 01:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Nate - I would principally use glass - because it is lighter, stronger and easily maintained. Many people don't understand the strength of glass - which in my mind is kind of a wonder material. I have made 16' wood/fiberglass canoes - that weigh about 60 pounds and have run mild rapids with them - made horse trailer exterior covering and doors (lighter, much!! cooler on the animals, - been extensively involved with rocket engines where the cases were made of fiberglass,

The foam board should work fine - or you can make a "mold" of plywood, foam board, chicken wire with plaster-of-paris, (on your boat or in your shop) and then just use a parting material and glass the mold. Using a "mold", you can make the corners nice and rounded, and easily embody any frame or other item or feature you want.

You don't need all that much glass - an 1/8 or 3/16 inch (2 - 3 thickness of 6 - 8 oz material) thickness will do the job. Large panels can be stiffened afterward by emboding semi-circular sections of easily formed aluminum tubing (cutting 3/4 or 1 inch diameter aluminum tubing in half) in fiberglass on the inside surfaces.

Attaching to the Montauk - the principal loading will be from the front - therefore the front attachment will want to lift from the deck - so have as many "hold-down" attachments as possible. ---- Jerry/Idaho

fishmunger posted 11-07-2006 01:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for fishmunger  Send Email to fishmunger     
okay so here is what i have been thinking after scrounging the internet and looking at charts comparing materials...I have pretty decent skills with fiberglass (repaired a lot of surfboards) but i have never done fiberglass work on a boat and have no idea about to make a i was thinking of building it out of 1/4" marine okoume 1088 plywood enveloped in a layer of 10 oz volan fiberglass cloth on both sides and coated with epoxy, then painted. I am also debating using 3/8" but i think it may be unneccessary given the strenght of the glass...making a mold does sound much more work does that involve? thanks for all the help so far!
pglein posted 11-07-2006 03:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     
If it was me, I would forgo the wood coring and just build it out of glass. Wood coring is more useful when you need it to spread a weight load over a broad distance (like decking). When that's not necessary, it's just extra weight and thickness that you don't need. Fiberglass is a lot stronger than people realize. Build up to a thickness of no more than 1/4". 3/16" should be plenty for the sides. Perhaps, taper it so that you start thicker at the base and work down to thinner at the top, thus keeping the center of gravity low.

What you want to to is build yourself a mold out of plywood and lay the glass into that. This would even allow you to use gelcoat if you wanted to go to the trouble. One layer of woven roving sandwiched between layers of matt would be sufficiently strong in my opinion.

sunfowerggs posted 08-17-2009 04:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for sunfowerggs  Send Email to sunfowerggs     
Good post. I appreciate it

[url=][color=#FFFFFF][u]demande simulation pret personnel en ligne[/u][/color][/url][color=#FFFFFF] - Pret personnel en ligne et de comparer les meilleurs taux afin de... La demande de prĂȘt personnelen ligne[/color][url=][color=#FFFFFF][u]demande simulation pret personnel en ligne[/u][/color][/url]

sunfowerggs posted 08-17-2009 04:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for sunfowerggs  Send Email to sunfowerggs     
Good post. I appreciate it

pglein posted 08-21-2009 03:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     

I think we have a spammer here. I didn't follow the link, but I have a suspicion of what might happen if I do.

Buckda posted 08-21-2009 03:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I agree with Pglein - so I'll add a stronger message in hopes to catch your attention before you cut an paste...

DO NOT CUT AND PASTE THAT LINK until you check them out by searching the site through Google.

That may inform your decision on whether to go there or not.

R T M posted 08-21-2009 04:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for R T M    
I`ll take your advice Dave, but what could happen if a person did cut and paste that link?


Buckda posted 08-21-2009 04:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
From the descriptive results from my Google search, I'm pretty confident that I don't care to do the research to find out Binks.

(How is Binkie, by the way....hunting mice?)

R T M posted 08-21-2009 10:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for R T M    
Wow, that's scary, I would have cut and pasted it if I was left to my own resources. Thanks.

Hunting mice?? That's for feral cats. Binkie just lounges around the porch now. jpg .

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