Niska III

by Neal E.
(Saratoga Springs, NY)

Nisky II In storage

Nisky II In storage

I am a real estate agent in Upstate NY.

My listing, a 16+ acre estate on the Mohawk River went under contract in June of 2013.

Per the contract all items around the property needed to be removed prior to closing.

There was a WWII bulldozer, a 1930's pickup truck, snowmobiles, an antique fire truck, etc.

All of those items were removed except for one large item in a barn.

A 40foot 1965 Owens Tahitian.

The boat was commissioned to be built exclusively for the original owner of this property.

In its' heyday the boat had sailed to Tampa Florida, twice and "around the loop", Hudson River to Lake Champlain to the St. Lawrence, Lake Ontario then back up the Erie Canal.

The owners dream was to retire and live on the boat in Florida but when his wife took ill this never happened.

In 1987 the boat was pulled out of the Mohawk River into a barn and that's where she sits today.

Now, back to how I ended up her owner...

The closing date was only a few days away.

The homeowner didn't want to remove the boat, and the new owner wanted it out of there.

We were at an impass.

Both parties were going to walk away from the deal- it was going to fall apart.

Oy! I did NOT want that to happen.

Long story short...

I ended up the owner of the boat.

I have been given until May 2014 to get it out of there.

Easy job you might think.

Oh no.

It cannot be removed over land without MAJOR effort and expense due to trees, power lines, etc.

So why not just roll her back into the river?

Well, in the 25 years the boat has been dry docked the back bay has filled with weeds and silt and it only about 12" deep.

I need at least 2' 8" to float her.

I need to wait for higher water levels which will not occur until the Spring runn-off...

But I can't do it too soon because of strong currents and icebergs (recall: Titanic).

Having been sitting for so long she would leak and sink while taking up- and it would still keep leaking for a while.

Here is my solution:

I am going to re-do the bottom and seal her up.

I have researched the best method for me.

It is a 4-step process which starts with soda blasting the bottom paint off.

Fortunately she is in a barn and undercover for the Winter so I can be mostly out of the elements.

I will post on this forum from time-to-time.

It is a daunting task without an assured outcome.

And the clock is ticking.....

Comments for Niska III

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Aug 05, 2014
by: Mike

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Aug 04, 2014
Update on Niska III
by: Neal E

After sitting in the boathouse for another winter she finally saw sunlight for the first time since 1987!

Realizing it was way too big of a project in terms of time and $$ (plus the wife wasn't "on board") I decided to look for a new owner.

Long story short...I found one.

He agreed to pay moving expenses to his marina 5 miles away (plus pay me for the boat).

After surveying the site it was clear that the only way to get the boat on a trailer was with a crane- this meant dismantling the boathouse...ugh.

With me, the new owner and a couple other guys we did, in about 4 hrs.

Later that week, the crane and trailer was brought in for the move.

The only obstacle once it was on the trailer was the 90 degree turn thru 2 stone pillars at the end of the driveway...2" to spare!

Jun 02, 2014
Bottom Caulk
by: John

Hi,Dan I was wondering when you said you were going to recaulk the bottom, what product did you have in mind and is there old caulk or some else in the seams.


Apr 02, 2014
What a Find!
by: Dan

Congrats on your find! If spring arrives, you won't miss those doors.

I plan on re-caulking below the waterline. This is something I have not done before.

Doing the work is the least of my worries. I am more concerned with the time it takes to "Take Up".

I am trying to figure out the logistics of tying up a Travel Lift for a week and am considering the associated costs.

You mentioned a four step process for the hull preparation. Will this minimize the leakage when the boat is "Taking Up"?

Any details on this 4 step process? Do tell...


Mar 01, 2014
Sink the Boat
by: Ron

I had a 32ft. Owens double plank which would be similar to yours only a little shorter.

It had sat in a shed for 2 years before I got it.

When I put it in the water and had it hanging in the slings on the travel lift for 2 days and a sump pump pumping water for two days til most of the fountains cleared up in the bottom then the bilge pump would keep the water out.

It was a great boat for cruising.

I went through some really rough seas crossing Lake Huron.

The design of the hull allowed it to handle rough seas without problems.

Enjoyed a lot of cruising on Lake Huron, Georgine Bay, North Channel, Trent Severan waterway, Lake Ontario, Welland canal, Lake Erie, Detroit River, Lake St Clair, St Clair river.

Nov 19, 2013
Door and Pics
by: Anonymous

Hi Neal,

That sounds like the perfect solution, much better than a blue tarp.

Especially as the barn looks as though it already has more than enough ‘ventilation’ ;-)

Nov 18, 2013
Door remedy and some pics
by: Neal E (owner)

After the barn doors fell off last week I needed to come up with a solution to keep the wind/snow and rain out...

At first I was going to use a tarp but I can't stand the blue tarp look and I wanted some light in the barn.

I ended up putting up clear 6 mil plastic- I cut an opening for a small door on the lower left.

I will have sunlight with some solar heat as an added bonus!

Nov 11, 2013
Wooden Boat Restoration Rarely Runs Smoothly
by: Mike

Well, I've heard of leaks in the decks, rotten planks and the like but having the barn doors fall off is a new one.

Don’t despair she will be worth saving despite the setbacks.

All the best to you and "Niska"

Nov 11, 2013
A minor setback
by: Neal E

I got an email from the homeowner the other Day...the barn doors had fallen off.

I had propped them open to allow air and light in (they had been bolted shut since 1987).

The corners of the barn were so rotten that when the wind picked up they just fell off.

I went there the other day and put the frames back up and will cover with house wrap or clear plastic for the winter.

These doors were huge- 8'x16' each

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