I have wanted to own and restore a ski boat for over 30 years. I finally decided to bite the bullet last year and buy an Australian made (near vintage) ski boat… to refurb/ restore as a project. I found this 1972 Pride Cheetah. The price was right and the stringers were in good condition.
I started the refurb in September 2019 and was working on it in my spare time.
Below is a progress video I started putting together on the weekend. I took photos of most steps during the project with the plan to create a slideshow type video to put onto YouTube. I found some copyright free music on SoundCloud that I felt would do the trick.
Here is what the video edit looks like so far. I’m doing the edit in Camtasia Studio. I quickly (very roughly) shot this video on my phone (it is very compressed and the colours are not correct). I’ll fill in the blank black areas of the edit and finish the video once the ski boat project is complete.
The plan was (and is) to fully repaint the boat myself. 25 years ago I was an apprentice sign-writer — the skills I learned back then have been invaluable to me ever since.
During Summer it was too hot to DIY repaint the boat in my yard; especially using 2 part marine paint.
So I waited till it got a little cooler. I’ve had some younger helpers working on the boat including one of our junior team members.
We’re working on finishing stage 1 of the project over the coming weeks (maybe 2 months). We’re still just working on it in our spare time.
The main jobs left to do in order to finish stage 1 and get it in the water are:
- Finish applying the undercoat (I’ve been rolling it). We’ll light-sand the first coat on the weekend and then apply the 2nd coat.
- Finish undercoat sanding
- 2x top coat colour the exterior of the boat above the waterline. I will be painting it ‘fleet red’. I will be doing a test this week to see if rolling the 2 part topcoat will work well or if I need to build a spray booth in my back yard and spray it. Either way I’ll probably still build and use the spray booth — if nothing else, it’ll help keep insects off the wet paint.
- Take the boat off the trailer so I can wash, fill, sand and prep the hull
- Repaint the hull
- Repaint the Cowl and new decals
- Get the trailer sand/ media blasted. Weld any area that needs structural fixes. Replace bearings and bushings if needed.
- Add a spare tire to the trailer
- Repaint the trailer
- Install marine carpet
- Re-wire everything. It’ll remain single battery operated for now
- Repaint the other seat (with vinyl paint)
- Refurb the steering wheel
- Get it in the water 🙂
I don’t often post personal projects here on this blog – usually I just post some of them to my Instagram account. But this is a pretty special project to me so I thought I’d quickly share.
The Seat Repaint
I got quotes to reupholster the seats. The quotes were more than I was prepared to spend. So I had a look on YouTube and Google to see if there are ways to successfully restore or repaint vinyl. Turns out there is vinyl paint. I did some tests and it worked really well. So I got too and painted one of the seats.
The prep process was a bit extensive, including the use of a repair kit, so I’ll probably create a separate video for YouTube about it sometime soon.
I’m happy with the end result. I’ll paint the other seat soon.
This project has been a real joy and labour of love. I can’t wait to get back into it this weekend! Really looking forward to seeing stage 1 of it finished… and in the water… and doing hot-laps up and down the river… and then going for a ski behind it! It is going to get a LOT of use!
PS. Though the Cowl says its a 90hp Evinrude, it’s actually a 1998 115hp Johnson. The guy I bought it off repainted the Johnson black and put the 90hp cowl cover on it. Bit of a wolf in sheeps clothing type thing going on. I’ve decided to keep it.
I need to credit and thank some people and groups for the advice and help with this project. All have been invaluable!:
- Danger Boats. Thank you heaps for all your videos including your small boat wiring 2 part video.
- The Pride Boats Facebook Group. They have helped me out heaps with tips and advice
- The Spray Painters Australia Facebook Group. They have helped me out with answers to my questions.
- Local Paint Shops and Local Marine Shops.
- Norglass Paints. Their phone support is brilliant.
- 2 of my juniors who have been great workers!
- My Dad and Mum. Their guidance and support has been extremely helpful!
- Many, many other YouTubers! I have a playlist on YouTube that contains many of the videos I have watched to help me learn how to do this project.
- Friends and family for their encouragement.
- The person who sold me his boat and the boat shop that vouched for it.
- I feel like I am forgetting people. I will add more to this list if there are more to add.
I’m pretty sure I want to keep the boat looking fairly basic and understated so it retains the ‘wolf in sheep clothing look’ and remains true to what the boat is and close to how it was when original.
I think I will keep the decals pretty basic (like the pic below). Some stickers to promote my businesses would be ok too I think. A big racing stripe on the bow hood would look neat too I reckon and be a good throw-back to the 1970’s.
I did a few other pre-visualisation concepts in Photoshop too — but they’re a little over-the-top IMO. I think I’ll hold off using them and keep a more flashy design for another up and coming project I have in mind.