The "Madelisa" is a 20' Tolman Standard Alaskan Skiff. She was launched in July of 1995 after 18 months of construction time and is powered by a 115 Johnson (Suzuki) four stroke. With a 55 gallon belly tank she has a range of about 250 miles and is outfitted with trim tabs, an autopilot, a Navman fuel computer, GPS chart plotter and fishfinder.
She's a great boat and handles the open ocean very well. She's fished as far as 85 miles offshore and has been trailered many times down the Baja peninsula We have caught Blue and Striped Marlin, Sailfish, Dorado, Tuna, Roosterfish and just about every gamefish there, except for Wahoo. She's nicknamed the "Lucky Boat", because she does catch fish.
After finishing construction on the Chula Rodhog I decided it was time to go through and upgrade and refit the Madelisa. Some of the things that I incorporated on the Jumbo would be added to the Madelisa to make her safer and more comfortable.
As mentioned before the eventual goal is to take the Madelisa down to Mexico and leave her there so we have our own boat to fish with. Until then I will trailer her down if we fish the Sea of Cortez and take the Chula Rodhog if we decide to fish the Pacific side as we did on my most recent trip to La Bocana.
The changes I decided to implement are as follows:
1. New floorboards.
2. Move bait tank location to just in front of center console.
3. Increase the height of the transom bulkhead.
4. Build a new lean post with seats and a built in tackle box.
5. Move fuel filter/separator to covered compartment.
6. Fair and repaint inside and out.
7. Redesign the center console to incorporate storage
8. Totally re-wire the entire boat.
9. Add padded side coamings.
These pages will document the improvements and changes made during this project.
The bulkhead for the splash box was extended up to the bottom of the gunnels. While I never had a situation where I took a wave over the back of the transom, I thought it would be much safer to extend the bulkhead so that any water that did come in through the motor well cutout would be blocked from making its way into the cockpit.
This also now gives me a larger surface area to mount some rodholders for storage and change the location of my trolling rod holders to get them off the back of the transom. It'll be a much cleaner set up.
Although the floorboards have held up well for the past ten years I decided to go ahead and make new ones due to the new design of the leanpost. I made them out of 1/2" ply and used 2x2 battens to strengthen them. They were then covered with 20 oz woven fiberglass cloth. This is the same heavy cloth I used on the deck of the Chula and it's really tough stuff.
I thought seriously of glassing in this decking but there are definite advantages to pulling up floorboards and having access to the bilge so I decided against it. I will however, anchor them by mounting "tabs" of Trex on the side of the stringers and screwing the floorboards down into these.
Trex is a synthetic board used for building patio decks. It's made of recycled plastic and totally waterproof. I had a 2 x 6 piece that I cut into 3" sections and screwed into the side of the stringers. This provided surface area to anchor the floorboards rather than screwing into the stringers themselves.
New Lean Post
When I set out to retrofit the Madelisa one of the key things I wanted to do was maximize the fishing area in the cockpit. I moved the 28 gallon bait tank forward of the center console and that cleared the area behind the lean post and opened up quite a bit more room. I also wanted to reduce clutter on the deck so I installed built in tackle boxes in the new lean post. This way I can keep all my tackle close at hand yet off the deck and out of the way.
The lean post will house both batteries along with the battery selector switch and provide storage for life jackets and my ditch bag. I am also planning on mounting my trim tab motor inside. Wires and battery cables will feed up from the bottom through water tight connectors.
I made the seat top a "shoe box" design so I can take it on and off simply by lifting it off. It has a three inch lip so water is not going to be able to get up and in unless I hit it directly with a hose.
I reinstalled my rod holders and mounted a stainless grab bar to finish it off. Came out clean...
After looking at it for awhile I couldn't get out of my head that the leanpost just didn't look "right". It seemed too bulky. A light went on and I ended up cutting out a center section of the back. That did the trick and "opened" things up. I like the look a lot now...
I made the coaming pads by first screwing in a 5" wide mounting board into the inside of the gunnels. I then attached a piece of molding at the top of this board so that it would hide the back edge of the padded piece when installed.
Before padding and covering the outside piece I drilled holes in both boards and mounted "t" nuts in the upholstered side. To install the finished pad I put it up against the mounting board and threaded the bolt through the hole and into the "t" nut. Clean installation and the top molding prevents dirt from falling down behind the pad.
Re-locating the Bait Tank
I re-located the bait tank just forward of the lean post. It's not a very convenient location for access while in a hot bite but I weighed that against having more room in the aft cockpit.
I also addressed an issue I had with my old setup. The thru hull for the bait tank was located just above the water line due to the fact that I had to feed the 1 1/2" drain hose underneath the floorboards. Because of this location when I went about 25mph the hull squatted and the drain hole went below the surface creating suction and draining half the water in my tank. Not good.
By locating the new thru-hull forward and above the waterline, I no longer have that problem.
Fairing and Painting
I used fairing compound on the hull to smooth out the dings and dents accumulated after 10 years of use. I also changed the bootstripe and had it follow the waterline all the way to the bow. I did this on the Chula Rodhog and it really acentuates the sweeping sheerline of the Tolman and adds to the beauty of the hull.
In addition to changing the bootstripe I changed the paint scheme just a little by putting the same green from the bootstripe just under the rubrail to accent the Navy blue of the gunnel. This gives the gunnel a fuller/thicker look and adds to the sweeping sheerline.
I rewired the entire boat and consolidated my electronics by moving them from the electronics box to the center console. I did away with the overhead box because I wanted to simplify the look of the skiff somewhat.
Lastly I replaced all the windshields with new smoked plexiglass.