Despite their pedigree and connoisseur value, former presidential yachts still fall into disrepair. When they do, there are yards like Moores Marine (Riviera Beach, Florida and Beaufort, North Carolina) with the expertise and imagination to make a distinguished yacht whole again. We first visited Jim Moores and his crew back in 2007 (see Professional BoatBuilder No.109). This winter, among other projects, Moores Marine has been stiffening up the 1931-vintage 92′ (28m) Defoe cabin cruiser and ex-presidential yacht Honey Fitz.
Moores is very experienced repairing aging Trumpy and Consolidated powerboats that have started to lose their strength and shape. Honey Fitz, which entered government service during the Truman administration, presented his crew with a now-familiar challenge of an old hull needing new frames installed without removing the interior joinery, or the four GM 6-71 diesels in the engineroom. The crew cut into the boat, removed planks, straightened the hull, and supported the engine beds and deckhouse with temporary steel braces while structural work got under way.
They shot this video of their unconventional installation of frames, made up of multiple white-oak plies and uncured epoxy, being driven to conform to the shape of the existing hull’s planking and ceiling. The frames won’t be so limber once the epoxy has cured—messy but effective. Note the relatively light scantlings of these frames for a 90-footer; their slight stature is offset by 8″ (203.2mm) centers.
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