Rot Doctor


Subject: 1957 16′ Whirlwind Runabout (restoration?)
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 1999

My husband inherited a 1957 16′ Whirlwind runabout (all mahogany) on a 1962 Cox trailer (about 25 years ago). It was a very beautiful boat. He refinished it and used it every year for about 6 years. In 1981 when we had our first child, we took the windshield and hardware off, turned it upside down and covered it until the children get old enough and we have time. About 10 years ago, we turned it over with the intentions of maybe refinishing it, needless to say, it has been sitting there ever since. In 1985 we purchased a 1985 Fiberglass Bayliner, which we are still using. The wooden boat is still sitting. Many family members and friends have told us many times that we should refinish it and my husband said why bother, he knows it is beyond repair and is now probably just firewood. Last week we uncovered it to see what we should do with it. The boat itself doesn’t look so bad, it has some rotten wood on the deck between the front & back seat and there is a hole in the back bottom, and the transom, knowing this, my husband said he has proved his point. I don’t know much about boats, so I would like to know your opinion about what we should do with this boat, motor and trailer. We purchased the motor brand new in 1979, Mercury 70hp, it only has about 40 hours on it and it has been inside the garage covered since 1981, the paint hasn’t even been worn off the prop.

In your opinion, is there still hope for this boat and do you think there is any value to the boat, motor or trailer?

Thank you,


Sure, the boat is most likely salvageable. We have products and systems that simplify the process. But it’s still work (a LOT of work, I can almost hear your husband say!)

Basically what you do is 1) Look the boat over and be sure that the bad wood (rotted wood) is reasonably local, i.e., the entire hull isn’t totally shot. This is best done by just tapping it a little all over with a hammer and listening to the sound of the wood. If it’s a sharp, solid sound then the wood is good; if it’s dull, hollow, mushy, then the wood needs treatment. 2) Assuming that the wood is mostly good, then all finish needs to be removed from the outside of the hull and the entire outside treated with CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer). This will harden bad wood and help protect good wood. 3) What you do subsequent to the CPES treatment depends on how bad the wood is. If the rot is mostly superficial then chances are good that the CPES will do the job. If there are severely rotted sections, then these will either have to be replaced or treated with our L&L Resin to add strength and substance, and possibly our Epoxy Filler as well. It’s hard to make definite statements until you look at the wood. After all this then the hull can be re’finished with paint, or varnish.

We would be happy to look at photos of the boat and especially the bad sections and give you our opinion. We wouldn’t start you down a path that we weren’t pretty sure will result in a nice, useable boat. You could send these by mail or on-line as GIF or J-PEG images.

Is it worth it? Who knows? It’s always nice to save a boat, and if you didn’t want it, it would be saleable. Whether what you got out of the repair was worth the amount of work and money spent (which would be somewhere around $200–$300) only you (and your husband) can decide. How much would the repaired boat be worth? Can’t say for sure, but I’d guess somewhere around $1,200 – $2,000.

Come on back if I can answer additional questions or give you a little more guidance.


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