Rybovich Refit Revisited

Dieter Loibner | Professional BoatBuilder Magazine

Sea Marine (Port Townsend, Washington) is working to complete the Pacific Northwest’s only Rybovich Refit, revitalizing and updating the vintage 1967 coldmoldedLone Eagle II.

A recent visit to Port Townsend, Washington, included a stop at Sea Marine to check on the refit of Lone Eagle II, a cold-molded 53 (16.15m) Rybovich from 1967 that found its way to the Pacific Northwest a couple of years ago (see “Sunshine State Transplant,” PBB No. 197, page 14). Originally named Little Pete, the boat needed structural upgrades and some revisions to alterations by previous owners. The goal is restoring the vessel to her original state, preserving irreplaceable details like the original ceramic sinks in the heads, while upgrading and updating systems and accepting compromises whenever necessary.

Much has happened since the last visit, despite supply-chain delays and a shortage of qualified labor. But as the principals of a busy boatyard, the boat’s owners, Pat and Sara Shannon, are accustomed to working on Lone Eagle II whenever the schedule allows. The boat is still in the same workshop but now resembles the original Little Pete, with a windshield replacing the plywood panels installed by a previous owner. The aft cockpit is still a work in progress, but its helm station is installed, even though the boat won’t fish. “Right now, we’re putting the coaming boards down,” Pat said during the walkthrough. “To keep it historic, we have to do it the way [Rybovich] did it, [but] it’s more difficult now.” He said he’d searched all over the world, but “hit the jackpot” with his own stash that yielded enough teak with the right dimensions that could be resawn for all covering boards.

The saloon has returned to its original configuration, with windows to admit daylight. Gone is the refrigerator that took up valuable space in the bar area forward. A large settee in the aft starboard corner will seat guests with space underneath to house the DC system. The Shannons decided to keep the massive corner supports of the windshield to hide reinforcements in the pillars for the flybridge. They had to remove termite-damaged wood and shored up all the deckbeams to better support the flybridge floor. Up top, the mahogany steering console with the round analog gauges moved forward nearly 2 (61cm) to give the driver better forward visibility. There’s no need for a tuna tower, but the flybridge needs a lid for shade and to attach the roll-down vinyl enclosures to seal the space in inclement weather. “We’re trying to use as many of the local trades as we can,” Pat said. He contracted with local naval architect Tim Nolan and composite boat builder Brandon Davis to come up with a lightweight (200-lb/90.7-kg) carbon fiber hardtop with all the wire runs for lighting and electronics, and farmed out the interior cabinetry to Haven Boatworks.

Dieter Loibner | Professional BoatBuilder Magazine

Pat Shannon explains how new transmissions were required to fit the new Volvo D8s into the space of the old Detroit Diesels.

In the clean, well-organized engineroom, nothing looks as it did when the Shannons bought the boat online. Gone are the two massive and heavy 550-hp Detroit Diesels, which found a new home in Texas, as well as the original gears of the two new Volvo D8s now installed. Pat said accommodating the new engines’ original gears would have required serious structural surgery on a crossbeam and longitudinals to move the power plants 14 (35.6cm) forward to get the shaft angles right and give them enough space. “We were afraid that we’d have a trim issue, so we didn’t do it,” he said. Instead, he took the hit of buying and installing ZF 286 straight-angle gears with a 1.966 reduction ratio that allowed the engines to stay on their old beds.

No need for air-conditioning in these latitudes, but the boat will feature amenities like StarLink Internet; a Bosch dishwasher; a U-Line cabinet icemaker; three refrigerators by Nova Kool (galley, saloon) and Dometic (flybridge); a Splendide washer-dryer combo; two Dometic 8100 Masterflush electric toilets; a Torrid MVS 20 IX 1,500W 20-gal water heater; and a plumbed Olympia 60,000-Btu furnace for hydronic heating. While the latter is running on diesel from a separate tank, the house loads will be powered by six Victron Energy lithium 25.6V, 200-Ah, LiFePO4 house batteries; two Victron Blue Power Quattro 24V, 5000VA, 120-amp inverter chargers; and four Victron Lynx distributors. The project’s electronics package will include a Volvo Glass Cockpit and Garmin electronics with a 4 (122cm) open-array radar, and 12 and 16 (30cm and 40cm) multifunctional displays. Other devices that require reliable power include a 1,500-watt Muir Capstan 24V anchor windlass, a Side Power SEP170/250TC 24V bow thruster, two Delta T Systems 24VDC Axial engineroom fans, and several washdown and bilge pumps, hence a new Northern Light 12-kW genset will replace the old Onan unit. Pat thinks the new engines and generator might shave 4,000 lbs (1,814 kg) off the vessel weight.

Dieter Loibner | Professional BoatBuilder Magazine

Sea Marine also installed six Victron Energy 25.6V, 200-Ah LiFePO4 batteries, plus inverter chargers and distributors.

Reducing pounds is an anticipated side effect of a CZone digital switching system. Pat said he’s willing to try again after mixed experiences with a different digital switching system on a previous project. “I got so frustrated with it, I just wanted to take it out…but today most of that has been corrected, and it’s all NMEA 2000. We’ll run a trunk wire and have a panel down below, a panel [in the saloon], and one on the flybridge. The panels will have 16 inputs to handle everything through a single wire. You could also run the boat from your cell phone. It’ll take out 500–600 lbs [227–272 kg] and maybe three months of wiring work.”

Dieter Loibner | Professional BoatBuilder Magazine

The original ceramic sink with images from ancient Greece was preserved in the head.

As the Lone Eagle II project approaches the finish line, the boat has that bespoke Rybo look, a rare sight in the Pacific Northwest, and soon she’ll be the personal escape vehicle for her owners and an ambassador for their boatyard.

Sea Marine, 419 Jackson St., Port Townsend, WA 98368 USA, tel. 360–385–4000, www.seamarineco.com.

—D.L.