The Purchase and Outfitting of the Carolina Voyaguer I

I purchased her in 2003 for $750. Found her sitting on the side of Hwy 51 a mile SE of Florence SC with a For Sale sign attached. Turned out that she was being sold by the owner's wife at the order of a judge when he (her former husband) was sent to jail for failing to pay child support. She came with two tanks of stale gas - which were taken by the shop that sold us a new steering cable.

Here is the power head hanging from a basketball hoop. It was removed to replace the plumbing for the water pump.

The motor was found to be in good shape. The only components that needed replacement were the water pump, and the rectifier for continuous 5 amp battery charging using magnets in the flywheel.

The boat needed a lot of attention! New battery. New steering cable. She had apparently been stored outside without cover for many of her 20 years. The fiberglass hull was solid, but a plywood floor several inches above it was rotten in many places. I removed some of the rotten plywood and found that she was not structurally dependent on this floor. One small hole in back formed by removing rotten plywood formed a great place to put her battery. The plywood floor at the center of the boat was reconfigured to be removable so that gear could be stored beneath. There was thus room to store ~100 pounds of fresh water and/or canned food (found that a standard tin plated steel food can was good for about 10 days immersed in salt water).

I removed nearly all of the plywood floor under the front deck to provide more room for cargo and legs. Left a 3 square foot platform near the bow to which I added a curtain of bungee cords between this platform and the underside of the deck to form a dry cargo hold. Access was difficult - lying in the bottom of the boat - but it worked well - providing storage for clothing, a sleeping bag, and a dome tent. It's "dryness" was compromised later as the rivets holding the deck to the hull were overstressed in 2005 when a cruiser on the ICW near Coinjack NC powered by as I made breakfast in the boat after sleeping in a duck blind. His wake drove my prow under the blind and then lifted it up into a floor joist! Serious damage was done to the running light and a bicycle attached to the deck! No damage to the duckblind.

The trailer was badly rusted. It failed in 2004 at 50 mph while returning from an outing to Badin Lake.

The rear attachment for the right suspension spring broke free, and the axle shifted several feet backward, but continued to bear weight until we stopped.

We pulled into the yard next to the road. Got the owner's permission to leave the boat for a week before returning with a new trailer.

Here is the Carolina Voyaguer hanging from his oak tree. He welcomed the old trailer as a contribution to his scrape metal collection. The new trailer (on the right) will soon be backed under her.

Here is a link to return to John Mattox's Carolina Voyaguer Project