1953 Penn Yan Swift CZT Water Test

1953 penn yan swift czt water test

May I say it? The mother of all milestones just swept past us and is quickly disappearing into her wake. Preserving this rather stunning 1953 Penn Yan 12’ Swift CZT, HIN CZT 2351, her period-correct electric-start 18 HP Johnson Seahorse and her TeeNee trailer has reached the finish line and soon will be trekking to her home waters in Seattle, WA.

I was stunned on her arrival by how complete, how original and how rot-free she was. Now she’s the stuff of museum displays, but, happily for her, she will soon be romping across the waters of a small lake in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.

She retrains her original canvas, all of her original hardware, including her incredibly rare water-skiing and her original mooring cover bows.

Other than a couple very minor Dutchman repairs, which Joe challenges anyone to find, every spec of her wood is original.

Fran Secor, Otego, NY, once again transformed a good engine into something very, very special. These electric-start 18 HP Johnson Sea Horse engines are incredibly scarce, so Fran was under special pressure that he handled with his typical good humor.

We are honored to have had this opportunity to complete a thorough, museum quality preservation on one of Penn Yan’s most iconic models.

She will travel in an enclosed trailer, but only after we’ve run her engine one last time without being connected to the tank so we do not leave any gas in the carburetor.

The Seahorse will be mounted on and shrink-wrapped to an engine stand which we will lash to the trailer’s wall.

Her newly-restored-and-painted tank will also be shrink-wrapped and likely stowed in the tow vehicle. (We did the land run test using her restored tank, but then emptied it. We’ve used a shop tank to run her now.)

We recommend running a 24:1 gasoline to 30-weight, two-cycle oil mixture (4 oz oil per gallon of gasoline) using only fully synthetic BIA certified TC-W3 two-cycle outboard motor oil, such as Star-brite Super Premium 2 Stroke Oil TC-W3.

We will spend some time doing some final adjustments, waxing her, ensuring every detail is ready for prime time. (We will be smiling when she leaves, but the smiles will be bittersweet for sure.)

Rather than type out all the materials’ names and source links correctly each time, you can find a comprehensive roster here.

1953 Penn Yan Swift CZT Engine Test

1953 penn yan swift zt engine test

This 12-foot, 1953 Penn Yan Swift (HIN CZT 2351) is as original a boat that has ever entered the shop.

She is complete and original down to her Penn Yan optional waterskiing bracket.

We will shoot and issue a detailed video covering her preservation soon. Today we are executing her on-land engine trial.

We are using, and her owners MUST use only Ethanol-free premium gasoline lest they destroy her Johnson outboard’s seals, hoses and other “soft” parts in a few outings.

The correct mixture is 24:1, even though some owners run 32:1 in an effort to reduce smoke, even though they are risking damage from insufficient lubrication.

Fran Secor, Otego, NY, once again executed and absolutely museum-quality restoration and conversion of this 18 HP Johnson from manual to electric start.

Fran disassembled the engine down to a pile of parts, pieces, nuts, bolts, screws and on and on. The video hardly does justice to his accomplishment.

One challenge remains, sourcing five- or 6-foont throttle and shift cables, as the standard 8-foot cables just cannot be shoehorned in the space available behind the helm station, which is aft in the CZT. Fran is hunting, and I’m sure he’ll produce a pair so we can finish assembly, enjoy her sea trail on Lake Champlain, and be loaded into the enclosed trailer that will squire her to her home in Seattle, WA. Note: we will release the engine for the cross-country trek, less it beat up the transom in the process. The Johnson will be secured to a strong stand, which will be lashed to the “V” in the front of the trailer. Only thing left is finding my own CZTM, the Swift that was fitted with mahogany trim. I am a buyer

1953 Penn Yan 12′ Swift CZT Preservation Complete!

1953 penn yan swift czt preserved

Here we are, with her preservation complete, and still we have failed to find either offensive aftermarket “stuff” that was added, or any evidence of any “woodwork” since this Penn Yan 12’ Swift, CZT-2351, left the factory in Penn Yan, NY in 1953.

She is original through-and-through, and elegantly so now, what with 24 coats of Pettit Hi-Build Varnish, and Total Boat Jade Green topside paint adorning her decks, seating and hull. No effort was spared in brining her back to as-new and absolutely show-ready condition.

“All” that remains is making her Tee Nee trailer look like this one. Oh, and Fran Secor, Otego, NY, who is an outboard engine rebuilder and restorer without equal, must finish restoring her 18 HP Johnson Seahorse.

Then, sometime next spring, but not before we “must” execute a thorough sea trial, she will be on her way home in Seattle, WA.

Now, if only I could find an early 50’s 12’ Penn Yan Swift CZTM of equal originality to store and add to our personal collection! Contact me if you have one that could be for sale!

1953 Penn Yan Swift CZT Varnish Update

1953 penn yan swift czt varnish

We are sooo close to completing the varnishing of this incredibly original 1953 12’ Penn Yan Swift CZT!

Once today’s coats of varnish have cured, Joe will hand sand the decks, rub rails and coamings one more time using P500 grit paper. Then she will be moved to the paint booth’s dust-free interior for a final two coats of varnish using Pettit Hi Build, (which has now been replaced by Pettit Flagship High Build Varnish 2015)

Reassembly will be next, after which we will set her back on her Tee Nee trailer for a trip to Marine Canvas of Vermont, where Chris Hanson, working with her owners, will fabricate two sets of seat cushions.

When she returns, we will move her to a different trailer so we can restore her Tee Nee to this standard.

While all these activities are proceeding, Fran Secor of Otego, NY, who consistently wins class Best of Show awards for his outboard engine restorations at the annual ACBS show in Clayton, NY, is working apace to restore her 18 HP Johnson Sea Horse to as-new and show-ready condition. We will finish this wonderful project by spring and be ready to transport her to her home waters in Seattle, WA.

We will not ship her before we can enjoy doing a thorough sea trial on Lake Champlain, so fingers are crossed that we get an early and warm spring!

1953 Penn Yan 12′ Swift CZT Hull Preservation Milestone

1953 penn yan swift czt hull preservation

Yes, our bad. We’ve been silent on our preservation of this incredibly original 1953 Penn Yan 12’ Swift CZT for several weeks.

Our defense? Applying coats of Pettit Easypoxy jade green topside paint to her canvas exterior, while other crew climb beneath her flipped hull to strip, clean and apply multiple coats of Sikkens Cetol Marine varnish to her interior surfaces is just not the stuff of informative video reporting. However, this morning we blew through this milestone and have flipped her aright so our attention can turn to her decks, gunwales and transom trim.

Anthony has been preserving all of the released interior seating and other components while we have been attending to the hull.

Our next task involves folding small strips of 80 grit paper in half and sanding every seam just enough – so that we have nicely sharp edges and have cleared all old varnish and stripper residue from them.

Would it be “OK” to just sand the surfaces fair, run the vacuum along the seams and call it good?

No. Doing so means shortcutting, something we will not do. More critical, however, is leaving all that residue in the seams risks spreading contamination throughout the varnish.

Once we’ve cleaned the seam channels and sanded the decks and all related surfaces fair, they will be bleached, stained and then sealed with at least three coats of Smith’s Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES).

Varnishing is next. In that connection, Pettit has updated its product line and replaced its EZ-Poxy Hi-Build varnish with 2015 Z Spar Flagship High Guild Varnish. We cannot see much, if any difference between the old standard and this new product, but Pettit seems to believe it has reinvented the wheel, particularly as regards UV protection:

2015 Flagship Varnish is considered the traditional standard in the marine industry, with reliable service, versatile application and tough yet flexible durability.

Flagship’s blend of resins and oils achieves excellent brushing performance that levels and sands with the same outstanding characteristics as 1015 Captains Varnish. Flagship boasts the highest screening of damaging UV rays for longer varnish life. This is accomplished through an ultraviolet light filter in conjunction with a hindered amine light stabilizer.

These filters warm woodwork to a light amber hue which will enhance the rich, classic brightwork appearance. A deep rich mirror-like finish increases with each coat of Flagship Varnish, which has the highest build and film depth per coat. Each coat also increase the outstanding abrasion resistance of Flagship Varnish.

1953 Penn Yan Swift CZT Hull Painting

1953 penn yan swift hull painting

Working from a Benjamin Moore color card supplied by her owners, George Kirby, Jr. absolutely nailed custom mixing and matching the rich green color chosen by the Swift’s owners.

The second coats of the Kirby topside paint had just been rolled on as I shot this clip, so it has not flattened out as it will when cured.

We are treating this painting process much as we would were we finishing the hull bright. Three to four build coats will be applied, followed by hand block sanding with 120 grit. Additional coats will follow, with block sanding using ever finer grits after every three-coat application segment. Once we are satisfied and the paint has a week to cure completely, we will flip her upright and begin working on the decks and gunwales.

Assembly will likely commence before the New Year. Yahoo!

1953 Penn Yan Swift CZT Filling & Fairing the Canvas

1953 penn yan czt filling fairing

This 12’ 1953 Penn Yan Swift CZT, hull number CZT 251, continues to impress us with her originality and excellent condition. We have yet, and now will not, sighted any rot anywhere in the hull.

While the exterior paint could not be saved, and simply began flaking off down to the canvas as soon as we touched it with 100 grit sandpaper, her canvas is in excellent condition, is tight on both the hull and transom, and appears to be original.

We stripped the paint and filler using Jamestown’s Circa 1850 Heavy Body Paint and Varnish Remover, a process that loosened the canvas a bit as it was wetted by the stripper, but once dry, it is drum tight over the entire hull and transom.

As she is the first canvassed Penn Yan Swift we’ve preserved, I reached out to Charlie Santi, who is renowned for his preservation of Finger Lakes, NY region boats, including scores of Penn Yans, for guidance in filling and fairing the canvas Penn Yan used.

Based on his advice, we are priming the hull and its canvas with TotalBoat Topside Primer. Fairing with 3M Marine Premium Filler, followed by two to three more coats of the TotalBoat primer will complete the topcoat preparation. Her owners, who live in Seattle, WA, chose a very rich British Racing Green for her hull. As I type, George Kirby, Jr., George Kirby, Jr. Paint Company, New Bedford, MA, which is renowned for its marine paints, is custom mixing semi-gloss marine topside paint that match the owners’ choice for us. (You should think about Kirby the next time you need paint. George and his wife, Sheri, offer a wide array of modern and classic colors, and are simply fantastic to work with).

We will have her ready for topcoat painting as soon as George can get the paint to us. We will keep you in the loop as we progress toward the day we can flip her over and continue working on her decks and interior. (We have cleaned and scuff-sanded her bilge and interior hullsides, and applied the initial coats of Sikkens Cetol Marine varnish to them, but must wait until she is upright to complete these tasks.

1953 Penn Yan CZT Swift Arrives for Full Preservation

1953 penn yan swift czt preservation

First and foremost, thank you to our Seattle-WA-based owner for entrusting his 1953, 12-foot CZT Penn Yan Swift, HIN CZT 2351, to a comprehensive preservation we at Snake Mountain Boatworks will execute.

While a final decision has yet to be made, in all probability we will also restore her Tee Nee trailer. She is powered by a period-correct mid-50s 18 HP Johnson Sea Horse that is now in the hands of Fran Secor, Otego, NY, outboard guru par excellence, who many of you may have met at his display during the Clayton, NY ACBS boat show each year.

The boat was last in Alabama, and advertised as original and little used. That such is the case was confirmed yesterday while I did some initial deconstruction so I could remove the outboard and its controls.

Simply put, nary a “hurt” is to be found, even on the closest examination. I was only able to find eight non-original fasteners, and those secured the four aftermarket cover batten holders. There is not a single damaged, rotted or broken rib in the entire hull. The worst “damage” where some scuff marks beneath the helm station, probably from when someone ran her wearing the wrong footwear.

Her canvas is original, but badly painted. Stripping it with a remover risks also releasing the filler/fairing material that is applied and scrubbed into the fabric as the final step in installing the canvas.

Rather, we will hand (block) sand the canvas on her transom and hullsides, wipe it down with acetone and then prime and paint it.

The bilge, seating components, transom interior and interior hullside surfaces appear to have been last varnished ages ago, which has contributed to what can only be recognized as elegant coloration and patina. We will not strip this bilge. Rather, we will first scrub it with soapy water and Scotch Brite pads or something like 220 grit paper, and wipe everything down with Acetone. We will then apply two to three coats of Sikkens Cetol Marine (not the high gloss variety).

Her decks, gunwales, rub rails and spray rails (post being released) will be stripped to bare wood, faired the little bit that will be needed, stained, sealed with CPES and varnished with 12-15 coats of Pettit Hi-Build varnish.

For now, however, as she’s back in the queue of boats awaiting preservation, I will scatter dryer sheets throughout her interior and then move her back into storage until late winter, 2020.