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Major Bermuda Houseboat Projects - the rebuilding of a 57' Carri-Craft

by David Geraghty

Extreme Houseboat Rebuilding Project or Insanity?

Extreme Houseboat Rebuilding Project or Insanity?

Here is a short story depicting a moment of temporary insanity, and the biggest houseboat rebuild project of a lifetime, the rebuilding of a 57 ft Carri Craft.

“What on earth were you thinking?” seemed to be the most popular response when friends first laid eyes upon my latest purchase; a 57’ Carri Craft named ‘The Aristocat’.

Many years earlier in 1992, the catamaran had been trucked 1400 miles from the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri and then shipped to Bermuda where it was used for snorkeling and charter trips.

Later that same year, it had a fire in the engine room and sank in shallow water. It was re-floated and taken to a boatyard in the West end of the island where over the course of the following years it was stripped of everything valuable and left to die a slow and horrible death.

Some years later I was wandering around the very same boat-graveyard aimlessly inspecting the carcasses when I came across a pile of fiberglass purporting to be the ‘Aristocat’.

As the result of a bout of temporary insanity and with the encouragement of an equally dim-witted friend, I made enquiries with the boatyard and subsequently purchased the skeletal remains from its eager owner.

Over the course of the next five years the ‘Aristocat’ became my compelling companion, constantly demanding my undivided attention and carelessly consuming all of my time and money.

The first six months I spent armed with a crowbar and a circular saw, removing every remaining piece of wiring, plumbing and décor. Entry to the interior was afforded courtesy of a ten-foot hole in the side of the boat and to prevent the accumulation of water, thirty-eight separate holes had been drilled straight through the bottom of the hull.

The boat had no floor and
no windows, the ceiling had sagged and the engines were good for nothing more than to ensure that the rear of the boat remained steadfastly sitting on it’s bent propeller shafts.

Fortunately, I was able to restore her (Apparently, all boats are feminine) without any professional assistance. After countless bruises, numerous bloodied knuckles, a total of twelve stitches and three broken ribs she had been completely transformed. The boat was renamed ‘CORA’ and re-launched in October of 2004.

She now sits proudly alongside some newer boats in the marina but with her new lease of life she will hopefully be there for many years to come.

Cheers from Bermuda, David Geraghty.

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Reply - Answer
David, I am speechless and totally impressed with your dedication, skills, and your final vision of what your dream boat should look like.

I can relate to your friends comments about your bout with "temporary insanity", however dreams start with a vision and you have surely achieved yours.

May the weather and friendships created with "her" last a lifetime. Thanks again for your story and photos.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers and visitors will share and post comments about their extreme houseboat makeovers and experiences.

Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

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Comments for Major Bermuda Houseboat Projects - the rebuilding of a 57' Carri-Craft

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URGENT - David Geraghty Contact Details
by: Anonymous

Hi There, Does anybody have contact details for David Geraghty (e.g. telephone number, e-mail address). I need to contact him urgently. Thanks.

Houseboat Ceiling Treatment...
by: Daivd

Hey John, thanks for your comments; I appreciate it.

For the interior ceiling, I first pulled off all the old vinyl. I then took an angle grinder with a wire brush attachment and went over the whole ceiling. It didn't take much to remove the old glue, just a quick once-over but it creates hell of a mess!

Once the old glue was gone as well as any sheen of the original fiberglass, a water-based acrylic house paint with a texture additive stuck to the ceiling no problem and has stayed there. I used an oil-based paint for the head and the galley just so I could occasionally wipe it down.

Any Carri-Craft owner is a friend of mine so please don't hesitate to ask if I can help with anything else.


Major re-haul of Carri Craft
by: John Heron

Hi David, just picked up a 57' 1971 Carri Craft and in it for the long haul. It's on the hook and first off doing all the mechanical repairs first and cleanup, then windows and interior.

How and what did you do for the ceiling treatment? Please email me as the last thing I want to do is attempting to re-invent the wheel! Great job and hope to have same results at the end of it.

Carri Craft photo's
by: Anonymous

As requested, please follow link for more photo's.

window treatment
by: Don Olson

Hi David, I've a 1971 Carri-Craft with the flybridge and would like to do something similar to your window treatments to update the boat. Do you have any helpful hints of what to do or not to do in installing those large expanses of window.

For example, what material do you suggest? I was thinking of routing out the perimiter about 1' wide and 1/4" deep to rescess the windows flush with the sides, and then drill recessed holes about every three inches for screws.

I was not planning on any openings in the windows. I do have a hatch on the overhead for some ventilation.

I would like to see some more detailed phots of the interior and exterior please. Thanks, Don Olson

Perfect Houseboat Transformation
by: Tracy

David, I am in awe over the transformation and so impressed with the end result. I am considering retiring to a houseboat but do not want it to look too "boaty" (I lived on a sailboat for 6 years in the 80's).

Your interior (and exterior for that matter) is exactly what I would want in a houseboat. Nice to know it can be done! I would love to see more pictures.

CORA - the ultimate houseboat
by: David

'CORA' the special lady, is my mum's name. She saw it completed but died shortly before it was launched.

Houseboat Retrofit - Cora must be a special lady
by: Anonymous

All I can say is, Cora must be a special lady. I would love my home to look like this but I'm not thinking about that as much as how you colul see the structure and really believe you could rebuild it. Wow, thank you for the best recycled projest ever.

How long did this take you. When I have the time and money, I really think I'd love to live on a houseboat now. Thank you, I think I have a plan when I grow up. I'm only 65, if that dream can come true, I can dream to,lol. Thanks David... Oh, are you going to tell us who's the special lady?

Unbelievable Houseboat Refits
by: Inviktis

David, just yesterday I was trying to find out some more information on the Aristocat and how she sank. I had read about her sinking years ago and was wondering if she had been refloated or....... ?

The only thing I found yesterday was the same archived news article from the Royal Gazette saying she sank off Whites Island in Hamilton Harbor in 1992. That was many years ago.

Today I was relieved to see she is alive and well. I am awestruck at your design. I knew she had it in her all the time. You gave her superstructure a complete makeover. What a beauty. Hats off to you and CORA David!

Carri-Craft - thanks for the great comments
by: David

Thank you guys, I am flattered. Russell, if I get bored of doing nothing on my weekends, I'll be sure to pop down to your neck of the woods and start my new project!

Major Houseboat Projects - survive the marriage?!
by: joe stein

Only one question, if you were married did the marriage survive the restoration/transformation? Looks fantastic and you are an inspiration.

The Rebuild and Modernization of a large Houseboat
by: Russell

As an owner of an older, less than perfect Carri Craft Casa Grande 57 let me say that with a full understanding of the construction and design problems with a job of this size, I am impressed and in awe of your talent and drive to accomplish such a daunting task.

You not only rebuilt it, you redesigned it from the bow rubrail to the stern light. That boat no longer even looks like a Carri Craft. The design and upgrades have created a new breed of waterpuppy. That is no longer a carri Craft, It is a David-Craft.

The modernization and window design make it look like a design from the future. Congratulations on a job superbly done.

If you miss throwing your money around at a Carri Craft I will offer mine as your next target, I am anchored in Sarasota harbor wishing that my boat looked like that.

Your window and wheelhouse changes have left something that will outlive you and will most likely outlive us all.
Again, Congratulations on a job well done. Russell.

Reply - Answer
Russell, I couldn't have said it any better, and truly an inspiration for everyone. :)

IAN from

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