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Old 12-11-2006, 05:41 PM   #1
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Scarab III - any good? Also diesel repower ideas

Hi, new to posting on this forum, so be gentle...also a bit new to performance boating but have been messing with cruisers for about 12 years now so I can tell which way is up!!!

I have always liked the look of the late 1980's Scarab and have been offered a cheap 1989 model with twin 7.4 litre Mercruiser 454s.

First question, are they a reasonable and well built boat?? I will be getting it surveyed but that will be telling me it is sound, but are they 'good' ???

Second, at some point I would like to think about a repower to diesel...Mercruiser do a 320hp with duo props that is only a little heavier than the petrols and looks about the same size. Mercruiser ran some models for me a while back and they reckon a shade under 50 knots is do-able.

Are the Mercruiser diesels a sensible option ?

Are there better diesels for the more "go-fast" type boats but still within a sensible budget?


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Old 12-11-2006, 10:44 PM   #2
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Hi, welcome to Boatmad.

What size Scarab are we talking here?

I think the general view is, that they're an average American 'mass produced' boat, that is, not a Cigarette, or Sutphen or any of the other 'high end' yank boats.
So it will be ok, but not great. unless it's a Larry Smith Scarab, as I believe he built the race line of Scarabs, and they're a different kettle of fish.

The Mercruiser diesel may not be much heavier than the big block, but it's pretty long, so make sure you have room within the confines of your bulkhead/firewall to fit the buggers in!

Don't know much about the Merc/VM in it's later, more powerful form, but think generally speaking, the Yanmar is considered more suitable for performance applications. though of course this is also a straight 6 motor, so is probably just as long.

Also, it may be worth waiting to see the outcome of the red diesel debate before commiting to the extra cost of dieselization.

jf
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Old 13-11-2006, 05:19 PM   #3
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I'm guessing you are talking about the 34 footer. More than likely it was built at the Wellcraft Sarasota plant and not in California by Larry Smith. They are reasonably well put together but not in the same league as the better custom and semi-custom built boats.

Re-powering with diesel would probably be un-economical. It would take a number of years of heavy use to recoup the money expended for re-powering.

You have mentioned that the boat is 'cheap'. Hopefully, it is very cheap as unfortunately, boats of this type have no great intrinsic value. IMHO, buy it if it's cheap enough, enjoy it for a while and sell it on. Don't go down the re-powering route.
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Old 13-11-2006, 09:43 PM   #4
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Great feedback, many thanks.

Yes it is the 34 Scarab III which went on to be the Excel...not a 38 Larry Smith.

I have some simple reasons for the Scarab....apart from just the looks. It has some accommodation and a few facilities too. The Larry Smiths are not weekenders, despite their size, and conversion doesn't look too easy....even stupid stuff like windscreens anda radar arch for mounting canopies in crappy English weather make a difference.

The diesel point is a good one but driven as much by petrol availability in Essex as economy (which may well go away with red diesel!!!!), there are few marinas with petrol facilities and petrol refuelling is expensive compared to the South Coast because the competition just isn't there.

As far as price is concerned I think £20,000 might be do-able which isn't bad...the re-power is certainly a season or two away as well and will run to about £20,000+ for 2 Mercruisers. Expecting a £40,000 resale is unlikely and as you say I would only be saving a few grand every year...I think I have a bit of paper that says 8 years payback...which is a long time.

Memory says the Yanmars were £20,000 each and not for the pair...
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Old 14-11-2006, 06:15 PM   #5
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you should be able to get the yanmar packges for £15,000 each, so thats £30k then you must be spending £10k on reffit (i guess?) as a min...

what about a nice Tomahawk MK2 with twin diesels 230hps, great weekender accom, layout space, nice windscreens, radar arch with brand new radar/nav kit etc etc £55k yours... gonna be a classic, so should hold the value...
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Old 14-11-2006, 06:54 PM   #6
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Tempting I can assure you, but the beauty with the Scarab is I can do it in stages...get the boat running, have a nice (unfortunate petrol powered expensive compared to diesel) year or two and then repower.

Even taking into account lower running costs of Diesel Tomahawk against Petrol Scarab fifty grand is top end for me...and like John Fuller says the red diesel debate might mean a glut of second hand boats come on the market and values will drop....

Lovely boat the Tomahawk 37...and if I could repower one of those I would be very happy but the petrol boats are too much cash...
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Old 15-11-2006, 04:04 PM   #7
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what about a donzi 33 crossbow? i have one with brand new magnum 350mpi's (petrol but small block) going in this week on bravo 3's i'm sure a deal can be done if you are interested
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Old 15-11-2006, 06:58 PM   #8
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Athito
I think if we lose the tax on red diesel, big diesel boats will plummet, i think lighter/smaller boats with smaller diesels i.e sterndrives will hold out okay as people will downgrade to buy them...

example a 10 year old 40ft sunseeker carmargue with twin detroits (400ish hp each ) on shafts, no-one's gonna wanna touch that type of boat..

only problem with your plan is that you buy the old scarab as project, but then you pop one of those old merc v8's or start having problems with them (likely), so then do you start throwing money at engines you are gonna scrap??
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Old 16-11-2006, 07:01 AM   #9
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good points....and it' going to be announced by Christmas too.....

My thoughts about the V8s were I can find a second hand one on ebay for maybe £1,000 and just swap them out...or if it does go bang that's the day the re-power project starts...
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Old 16-11-2006, 08:55 AM   #10
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What about gas turbine?

We know a certain bloke in the North East who's done that to a Scarab, don't we kids?
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Old 23-11-2006, 05:51 PM   #11
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Never got the scarab finished with the turbine but the hull is up for sale.
Its a 1989 38' Kevlar hull with SSMIV drive on extension boxes any interested parties drop me a PM
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Old 23-11-2006, 11:37 PM   #12
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That's a shame Jason. What was the problem with the turbine conversion? Technical difficulties, money, or a combination of the two (most likely!)

The bit you had done looked good though.
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Old 24-11-2006, 02:22 PM   #13
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Family and work taking up to much of my spare time.
I have acquired a 36' cat hull to simplify the conversion, done away with the splitter box. Now just using 1 engine 1 ASD 8 surface drive hopefully this should cut down on the amount of work involved.
Been nibbling away at the project but it is moving along slowly.
All the hard work is done, engine control system for over speed and overtemp, brake, governors ECT I just need to get stuck into the fabrication of engine mounts and the re-rig of the full boat.
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Old 24-11-2006, 08:18 PM   #14
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Quality job!

Looking forward to seeing the completed project.
Lots of my relatives live in Newcastle - I'll probably hear it when I'm walking along Tynemouth's Longsands!!
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Old 19-02-2008, 09:26 AM   #15
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I guess you don't need one of those boat hand rail barbecues in that thing.

just wondered how cheap they are to run compared to petrol or diesel, and are there any handling issues as i'm guessing its quite lite.
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Old 19-02-2008, 11:04 PM   #16
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donzi 28 zx

theres a lovely donzi 28 zx for sale on boats n outboards might fit the bill and coz its got 350 mag mpis its fairly good on fuel 72mph and need nothing imaculate down at drivers on its trailor
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Old 20-02-2008, 10:07 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Edwards View Post
theres a lovely donzi 28 zx for sale on boats n outboards might fit the bill and coz its got 350 mag mpis its fairly good on fuel 72mph and need nothing imaculate down at drivers on its trailor
so what you buying now .. ? or are you going back to the rib ?
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Old 20-02-2008, 09:27 PM   #18
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back to the rib

allo mate how are u .was gona opop in ya shop the other day was workin round at cosmic well to b onest ime gona use the rib this year the wife is going to find it dificult to get out on the donzi so its an expensive toy just sitting there realy looking forward to the 1st drivers poker run gona have the rib re tubed getin rid of the curly bits buy 4 now ike pop in n see ya soon andy
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