View Full Version : Life and times of OHB

09-25-2012, 06:53 PM
Since it seems that OHB has owned more houseboats than years I have lived, I'd like to hear more about them. On the old forum he posted some pictures of his Kings Crafts. You mentioned that you had owned a few Pluckebaums as well. What were the details on those? What was your first houseboat? Did you ever have any "Oh Crap" moments?

09-26-2012, 11:53 AM
You asked for this:

I was born, hyper, December 6th 1939 in Bay City Michigan.

Dad told me I took my tricycle apart when I was 4 years old and the saga began.

1st. real job was Co Op at a body shop when I was 16. I started a love affair with General Motors in 1958 that lasted 34 years. I got my education there, and the job was more like a hobby, They sent me all over the world and actually paid me for it. GREAT EXPERIENCE.

Retired in 92 and did 3 Years as Plant Engineer at Shelby Die Cast Retired in 95 then did 5 years at Alabama Converter as Product design and Production Manager. Retired 02. Did 4 years as Safety coordinator for ARD concrete construction and got LAID OFF for the first time in my life when the construction boom went bust in 09.

Retirement SUCKS. I enjoyed working. All my jobs were fun and the people I worked for, and the people that worked for me were great. Now I rebuild mowers (25+ per year) and rehab and flip real estate to keep from going bonkers.

I have a love of cars, motorcycles and boats that started about the time I started to walk. Over the years I rebuilt over 30 cars, half a dozen motorcycles, several player pianos, antique pump organs and many pieces of antique furniture.

Started going with the love of my life when she was 13 and I was 15 got married in 1960. Adopted 3 kids that are still kids. Have an undetermined amount of grand children (first born got around), and 2 great grand children.

Half the boats we owned were projects because we were shy on money, I liked the restoration process, and we liked nice boats.

My first boat was a refrigerator liner that I floated in the dredge cut on the family farm during the annual spring flood. (I was 8 or 9)

My first real boat was a 14 foot molded plywood Wagemaker with a 25 HP Johnson. It was amazing how much nasty water this boat would take.

4 runabouts and 5 cruisers followed. Most were project boats mostly because they were wood. the most notable was a 1960 30' Chris Craft Cavalier that would fly.

The first houseboat was a 1966 54' Carri Craft. This was not the sleek glass boat that came later. It had steel pontoon hulls and was UGLY. Great party boat though.

The 2nd was a 1966 38' River Queen, twin 318s and Dana out drives.

3rd was a 1969 37' River Queen with 318s and Dana's. This was a fire damaged project. We skied behind this puppy. Lots of gas - times were good.

4th was a 1973 40' River Queen Star Stream Wide body. IMHO this was River Queens most out standing boat ever. We waited 6 years for this boat to become available. General Motors transported this boat to Tennessee for us when I transferred to SATURN in 1986. (they didn't ask how big it was. they asked after that:D)

5th was a 1977 47' Kings Craft. Rare model - most were 44's. Another project. Was our first live aboard.

6th was a 1977 48' KingsCraft Single level with Volvo diesels. Very rare, I never saw or heard of another one. This was a complete in and out project. I made a ton of money when I sold this puppy.

7th was a 1977 55' Pluckebaum, first boat that was pristine when we bought it. Truly the ultimate houseboat. We lived aboard until 2003 when we moved to Gulf Shores.

Did I have any "O Crap Moments"? None that i can think of.:p

Met up with the Pirate in the early 90's, fun guy, lots of good times. We started moderating 3 boating forums in the mid 90's and here we are.

09-26-2012, 12:08 PM
He forgot the ship he refurbished and sold to Cleo when she started traveling the Nile. Great days those were.

09-26-2012, 01:05 PM
Thanks for the great post OHB. I suppose we will never again read the words "I made a ton of money when I sold that puppy" when reffering to a house boat.
So lots of fixing up along the way. I would ask what would you consider some of your best upgrades? The kind that make you say "why didn't I do that years ago" or "that certainly was money well spent".

09-26-2012, 05:07 PM
The most involved item was a complete front canopy on the 66 River Queen. It had formed wood frames, vynil covering and was a general PITA. I would never do another one. The biggest single project, was the complete in and out refurbushment of the 48 Kings Craft. The other projects involved normal tear out, replace, overhaul and refinish.

The wood cruisers yearly maintenance requirements would be considered projects today. Back then it was just considered part of the ownership experience. The good old days, weren't.

Along the way I got to be pretty good with Dana Outdrives, Chrysler and Chevy Engines, Velvet Drives, electrical and plumbing systems. Over the years Marine HVAC systems became easy.

In all my years of boating I never "wore out" an engine. I broke a couple from freezing weather, but for me, change out wasn't that big a deal. House boat engines are easy to rig and replace.

The bottom came up and hit me several times but never did anything more serious than prop damage.

I was the "GO TO" guy where ever we slipped. Didn't have to buy booze or beer for many years. (never charged any labor).

I was always pretty anal about my boats and cars. It's been my experience that a good running boat with NO ISSUES, either operational or cosmetic, felt good during the ownership period. It sure pays off at SALE TIME.

IMHO the best bang for the buck is having an interior and exterior that has no blemishes and is not TACKY or to much different from when the boat was built. Best bang for the buck is having NO cosmetic defects. Recent understated interior carpet and nice neutral curtains without water stains usually get a good payback. If it's an aluminum boat new exterior carpet increases the value.

Fancy or upgraded engines, for the most part, can be counter productive at sale time. This is because the average house boat customer is pretty conservative and gets nervous on anything added or changed that didn't come from the factory.

If your boat is older, don't mention your 10 AGM battery, super deluxe hyper switched electrical sytem. This scares the average buyer (especially newbies) cause all they can think of is complications and future service. If the 1 in 50 buyer that appreciates this level of equipment comes along , by all means, point out all the advantages that he wants to hear about.

Poorest investment is in fancy, expensive electronics. Electronics appropriate to the boat, that WORK, won't reduce the value of the boat. Any thing that YOU buy over basic is for you alone to appreciate. It won't get you squat at sale time unless you run into an unusually appreciative buyer.

Legal for the area, head systems, THAT WORK are a MUST.

The real secret is to NEVER HAVE MORE THAN ONE PROBLEM AT A TIME. When you do, correct it ASAP.

The residual odors from smoking or having pets aboard will reduce the value of the boat at sale time.

I am very fortunate that machinery seems to like me. I get as much enjoyment in the fixing up process as I do in the riding in it afterwords.


09-27-2012, 07:24 AM
Great advice, OHB. I really believe your adage "NEVER HAVE MORE THAN ONE PROBLEM AT A TIME". I'm unsettled when I know there is a problem on the boat. I feel pessimistic and start thinking bad things about it. The best feeling comes after fixing the problem. More than one problem at a time leads to a slippery slope that people get on, and the general condition of the boat starts heading south. When you get too many problems piled up, it's easy to get overwhelmed.

09-28-2012, 01:09 PM
What is your story Pirate?

10-09-2012, 10:31 PM
NEVER HAVE MORE THAN ONE PROBLEM AT A TIME Not only good advice for boats, but life in general. Having been a Coast Guard officer I got used to juggling multiple problems all at once! It sucks. Now that I am retired for good i follow this rule religiously.