How is the hull constructed on a 1968 Owens 30ft Princess?

by Jerry
(Toledo, OH, USA)


Is the hull on a 1968 30ft Owens Princess constructed of double "Planking" or is it planking "Over plywood"?

Where are the areas of concern, regarding dry rot and other issues, to be aware of?

I am looking to purchase this vessel, currently shrunk wrapped. I cannot remove the wrapping but can cut open areas of concern that may want to be viewed.

In advance, thank you for your time and expertise.


Capt. Jerry

Comments for How is the hull constructed on a 1968 Owens 30ft Princess?

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Jan 23, 2016
by: Capt. Jerry


Thank you for the info.

Yes, it sounds like the boat I looked at in WIS.

Glad to see she went to a good home.

Also nice to know its here in the Toledo/Curtis area.

Had I bought her, she would be on the Maumee River.

Instead I went with a 32' Marinette Sedan.

If I recall correctly, on the Owens, pay attention to where the transom/hullsides and top deck areas all meet/join up etc.

It was/is soft but hard to get to from the inside due to tanks etc in the way.

Plus it was cold as hell att so I'm not sure the condition of the framing etc.

Also, it may be easier to replace the helm window frames with aluminum.

In the old pics they looked to be aluminum, but are actually wood.

Again, shes a good boat that just needs some TLC.

Glad she'll be getting it with you!

If you see some Marinettes around named "Ambition" or "Ambition II", stop over and say Hi!

Both are 32 Marinette Sedans.

Ambition is on the Ottawa river and Ambition II is on the Maumee river.

I'd luv to see all youve done to the old gal!

Good luck and thanks for your reply!!!
Capt. Jerry,

Jan 22, 2016
30ft Owens princes
by: James

Hello, I'm pretty sure the boat being talked about here, is my Owens 30 ft.

If it was the one that was for sale by center point yatch in Milwaukee, then it's my boat).

I bought it last spring and it's at meinkis Marina out in Curtis oh on Lake Erie.

Sooo, you are prob wondering how she is?

Well it was an adventure to say the least lol.

I've never owned a wood boat, so keep that in mind), it took a little over 24 hours to soak her, but she's pretty tight overall, the pump turns on about once every 24 hours.

The wood over all is in great shape, and I've only found a tad bit of rot, on the port side, by the left engine ( that's on the inside planking).

We enjoyed her all summer, and put lots of miles on her without any issues, beside on the starboard engine, the points went out (I will be replacing them, with the power packs in the spring), all the electronics are sound...

The previous owner, took nice care of her.

She is in the process right now, of getting a whole new paint job, on the outside.

I've already repainted below the water line, with two coats, and filled in some gaps.

I've redone all the wood railings (stripped down to bare wood and put 5 coats of new varnish), the rest of the boat will be finished starting in April.

She is a very sound and dependable vessel.

They honestly don't make them like this no more !

Even with the paint the way it was last summer, I got so many complements and folks wanting to come look at her (PS. I was the talk of the marina, as the wood boat guy lol) I was-am the only wood boat there.

My family is in love with her, as much as me :) as for inside the Cabin, it's still in beautiful shape, and the only thing I will be doing in there this year, is putting in new carpet and a smart tv.

Oh I forgot to mention, I lived aboard her for almost 6 months, and plan on setting her up to live aboard over the next coming up winter :).

If ya all have any questions feel free to ask, I have some pics of the inside and out, and I want to have a before and after of the outside paint job.

Aug 12, 2015
30' Owens
by: Dave S

In response to you question about the planking:
- Owens made (3) types of hulls in that length.
- Lapstrake, Plywood, and double plank. Lapstrake is easy to identify. Now, look for horizontal seams in the planking. If you see any then it's a double plank. If not then, plywood is the quess.

I'm not sure what the "Princess" model is. I know that if it is plywood sheeting there would not be any compound shape to the hull. Owens used double planking for their double sweep shape which used compound bending.

Double plank Owens are; 1/2" marine plywood cut into planks and layed-up in ~45 deg pattern (Forward pattern from the keel to the chine, Facing aft from the chine to shear.

The outer planks are 1/2" mahogany planks horizontal rows. They packed bedding between the layers.

Dave S

Jan 25, 2015
Any place in particular to look for problems on a wood Owens?
by: Capt. Jerry


Thank you for your reply and advice. I've had both a Chris-Craft(44) and an Egg harbor(37). Both are uniquely different, yet similar at times, as to where they will 'rot' first.

I am unfamiliar, besides the usual suspect areas, as to whether there are possible 'hidden' areas that I should be aware of regarding rot on an Owens.

I've also heard that some Owens are made with a plywood inner hull. Not sure if that is fact?

The boat is a 6 hour drive away and on shore for the winter. I was hoping to gather as much information before we ventured on a road trip.

The boat is marina owned and they basically want it gone. Though they are helpful, there is not a lot of information coming from their end.

Again, thank you for your time and expertise.

Capt Jerry.

Jan 24, 2015
Hull Condition
by: Paul

You need a little sounding hammer .... tap the hull and the good sound is solid (clack) and the bad sound is (thud) indicating soft wood.

If possible --- after boat is in water for a few weeks --- explore bilge with a bright light looking for rivulets (bad) of water..... water in the lowest area of the bilge is normal

Poke around with a screw driver --- looking for soft wood --- most common at the chine joint where the side panels connect with the bottom of the boat.

Replacing a little soft wood is no big deal ---- it is wood and much easier to repair than fiberglass.

However if lateral ribs are rotten that is much more serious.

Owning a wood cruiser is a calling. I have looked after 31ft 1967 Trojan since 2000, including two trips to the shed for minor wood replacement and one complete awlgrip paint job.

No regrets ---- look for Kokomo on this website.

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