Project boats | Bertram runabout (unknown model or series)
The attention to detail on this restored 6m Bertram runabout (vintage unknown) project boat is just astonishing, particularly when you consider the owner’s limited experience with boat rebuilds and fibreglass restoration.
42-year-old Sydneysider Sean Killgallon says he knows a thing or two about fibreglass boats and how much torture they can take — after all, he spent 22 years in the Australian Navy on a 720 tonne, 54m fibreglass mine warfare vessel.
"If we didn’t strap ourselves into our bunks at night in a big sea we’d be tossed all over the place," he says. "I could feel the whole boat flexing in big seas like that, and that’s when I realised how strong fibreglass is."
22 years in the navy also taught Sean a thing or two about small boats and which of the many on the market are fit for restoration. "I’ve always liked Bertrams," he tells us. "Though to be honest I didn’t intend to rebuild this one when I bought it from a guy in Nowra, NSW, about six years ago," he says.
"I believe the boat is originally from Tasmania but I’m not sure, in fact I’m not even certain of the model designation. I think it’s a Caribbean but I wouldn’t put money on it. In any case, the idea of rebuilding it grew on me I guess, and of course I was egged on by mates who thought I could really do something with it".
It was "one of those things" he says. "It kinda just happened." And "kinda just" did most of the work himself — very little was handed to specialists. But here’s the thing. This wasn’t a ho-hum rebuild. Sean has totally reconfigured the Bertram and it’s no longer a modest runabout. The windscreen is gone, and the seating and helm controls have been shifted to create a very spiffy and practical centre-console. That’s rebuilding on a scale of magnitude you seldom see in a DIY project. The unbelievable part? This Bertram boat restoration was achieved on a budget of around $13,000.
Bertram runabout project boat specs
Engine 1986 Evinrude 140hp two-stroke outboard motor
Owner Sean Killgallon
Favourite fishing spot Browns Mountain, Sydney Heads
Target species Yellowfin, blue-eyed cod and gemfish
Bertram runabout project boat cost
Purchase price (pre-rebuild) $9000
New outboard motor Not yet
Battery and marine electronics $3000
Stainless work $6200
Trailer work Zero
Seats and trim $800
Fibreglass, timber, resin $2000
TOTAL COST Approx. $21,900
6 project boat restoration tips
Originally published in TrailerBoat #270, June 2011. Why not subscribe today?
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