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1981 Mako 21' - What have I gotten myself into?!?

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  • 1981 Mako 21' - What have I gotten myself into?!?

    Newbie here! Had been searching the forum for a few weeks and took the plunge today and purchased a 1981 21' bare hull. It came with a center console, leaning post and fuel tank, but I don't think any of them are keepers (or meant for the 21'). I've been digesting a ton of information; tips & how-to's from this forum, the hull truth and watching YT videos. There are so many things I'm looking at and a in turn a bunch of questions, but I'm going to try and keep it short and step by step.

    Big Picture:
    T-Top, Console w cooler/bench, Close transom w live-well, Suzuki 175 on a platform, seating hatches on bow, etc.

    Next steps:
    Remove barely tacked 2x6 framing and figure out stringer & deck layout.
    Research fuel tank size needed & get quotes

    I see there are multiple ways/materials to use as stringers, so I'm curious as to what suggestions you might have. My initial hunch was to use coosa/kay-cell, but then I saw some that used foam instead. I plan to consult a couple of friends/experienced boat-builders before settling in on a plan, but wanted to see what the pros/cons of the various products are. The current stringers seem to be in decent shape but in order to rebuild the deck, I'm probably better off rebuilding them higher with multiple cross supports rather than a frame on top of the stringers like the previous owner had setup.

    Also, any layouts/sketches or anything that I can use as a reference point to start drafting a digital model? I'm a highly visual person and having a 3D rendering of the boat will help immensely in my planning. It'll just be easier if I have a deck-plan/blueprint to start the digital rendering from.

    Although I was raised fishing/boating, I'm learning many of the technical aspects of the boat as I look into them, so please pardon any inaccuracies on my terminology.

    Very excited to take on this project. Thanks for your feedback!

  • #2
    Did you remove the deck or is that the way you got it?


    • #3
      Originally posted by eshaw View Post
      Did you remove the deck or is that the way you got it?
      Got it like that. Deck will have to be completely rebuilt.


      • #4
        I'm going to go out on a limb and say the stringers are not factory and have been redone. I am not certain about this and certainly no expert but I don't recall seeing a Mako with a stringer set-up like that with them being so low and the center stringer behind the tank. IIRC, from the Mako thread with the original builder of the boats giving us details of how they built them, the stringers were brought up to just below the level of the deck. I'm certain you can find some examples of this on this site as plenty of projects have had the deck removed exposing the stringers.

        Best of luck with your new project and hope you get out on the water soon and enjoy this labor of love!
        95 232 w/225 Opti Hollywood, FL


        • #5
          Thanks hectorsn ! I've looked around at multiple posts and have seen some of the original stringers. Great reference. I'll probably get a better idea of the kind of work on the stringers once I remove the framing on top which I plan on doing this week once I clear the tree above it and get some to work with. Great snapper catches btw! Hopefully that'll be me in about 1.5-2 years...

          During my search today I also found an 80's brochure so that's a great starting point to get planning and visualizing my plan. Already drafted a sketch which we'll be great to start jotting down the existing measurements for the stringers, etc.
          Attached Files


          • #6
            do you have Sketchup? I had made a few models from the factory owners manual drawing. Mind you they were simply interior layouts that I was playing with.


            • elle_b
              elle_b commented
              Editing a comment
              Currently I just use the web version but will probably upgrade to pro to tackle this and and a few other home projects. I'm not as well versed in BIM as in 2D software, but I can get around. If you don't mind sharing, I'd greatly appreciate it!

          • #7
            elle b, pm me your email address I'll send what I have


            • #8
              I don’t really mean to contradict the other post’s.
              But I would look closer at whether the stringers are original or not.
              truthfully it’s a little hard to tell with all the lumber in the way.
              I have been looking at my original stringers for almost or about 2 years, as I’m in the middle of a FULL BLOWN replace redo EVERYTHING mode. But it’s taking oodles of time and recovering from a few broken bones and surgery.
              I would “almost” say stringers are original, few people have the patience and nerve to cut into them.
              the cloth is the very coarse weave woven that is in my 69.
              most makos have 3 main stringers and 2 smaller 1-1/2”- 2” smaller almost mini stringer close to gunnel about 6-8” off the chine. For a total of 5.
              take your time and make it your own and forget about a finish timeline. Mine has gone from 2 years to now I’m figuring another maybe 2 with all the setbacks and COVID screwing up availability of stuff.
              but again I’m doing a total cut and gut.
              welcome to check out my thread and see a bare clean hull with original 1969 stringers still in place.
              I know we are talking 20 years difference. But mako kinda used same structural in about all their hulls before Ranger acquired them in early to mid 90’s.
              I’d be happy to send you any pics that I have. And I have a bunch not posted