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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: November 12 2006 at 11:19 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

In 1981 the original Chris Craft company was bought out and became the  Murray Chris Craft Corp.  From 1984 to 1987 Murray Chris Craft built 46' and 50' motoryachts in Swansboro, NC which were known as Chris Craft Constellation 460s and 500s.  Altogether about 73 500s were built.  In 1987 Murray was bought out and the new owner produced a modified version of the 500 model which was known as Chris Craft Constellation 501.  About 40 were built.

These were wonderful yachts and still are but most of them are nearly 20 years old now and requiring more maintenance than when they were new.  As an owner of a 1987 Chris Craft Constellation I would like to use this forum to exchange ideas and experiences in repairing and maintaining Constellations.

If you have a Constellation or know of someone who does please post a message on this forum.

 

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on September 19 2010 at 13:41


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DiamondHead
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: November 22 2006
Posts: 2
Posted: November 22 2006 at 07:58 | IP Logged Quote DiamondHead

Hello!  My huaband and I are owners of a 501 Constellation located in South Florida.  She's currently for sale www.chriscraft501.com but we would be happy to discuss any maintenance issues. We've found the craftsmanship on ours to be outstanding ... no window leaks, solid hull, etc.  As you may know, the 501 has a single walk in engine room, which does makes life a lot easier. Let us know if we can answer any questions for you.

 

 

 



Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 25 2013 at 10:58
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BluesBarge
"Seaman"




Joined: December 12 2005
Posts: 41
Posted: November 22 2006 at 12:23 | IP Logged Quote BluesBarge

My vessel is listed, on the original documentation, as having been built by the Murry Chris Craft Cruisers Inc.  It was built in 1979.  I suppose I should look into the dates of the company purchase and name changes.

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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: November 22 2006 at 16:00 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

To Diamond Head

Hi Sheila,

I saw your boat at Pier 66 during the Ft. Lauderdale boat show.  She's beautiful! If I didn't already have one Connie in my stable I'd buy her.  Do you and Harry keep her in Jupiter?

The main purpose of this thread was to discuss maintenance problems but it doesn't look like you have any.  However, the thread may be of some use in selling your boat.  Someone may see her on this thread and also the fact that there are other owners out there to talk to makes prospective buyers feel more comfortable about purchasing a Connie.  If you see someone asking a question and you know the answer please post a message to them.

I've had my Connie for over 12 years now and am very happy with her.  But now that she's nearly 20 years old a lot of maintenance problems are showing up.  And that's the reason for this thread.  Good luck in selling Diamond Head.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on November 22 2006 at 16:31


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Pete37
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Posted: November 22 2006 at 16:14 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

To BluesBarge,

According to The Legend of Chris Craft by Jeffrey Rodengen, p. 237 G. Dale Murray didn't buy the boat division from Chris Craft Industries, Inc. until Sept. 24, 1981.  But that's just what I read.  It could be in error.

Are you speaking of the Coast Guard documentation or just some papers you have?  What is the length and model of your Chris?

I did some checking and your boat appears to be a 1979 Chris Craft 350 Catalina built by Chris Craft Industries (the predecessor of Murray Chris Craft) in Holland, Michigan.  It's hull number should be something like CCHDG539M80B.  The last 7 characters may vary.  It was an extremely popular boat.  But I'm basing that on the similarity pictures of boats on the broker's ads to your boat. Catalinas were also made in 28', 31' and 33' lengths.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on November 22 2006 at 16:57


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DiamondHead
"Seaman Recruit"




Joined: November 22 2006
Posts: 2
Posted: November 22 2006 at 16:20 | IP Logged Quote DiamondHead

Hello Pete,

Thanks for your response.  I'm glad you got to see DiamondHead at the Boat Show.  It's hard to believe she didn't sell there.  In fact, the brokers said before the show that if they were to bet on which boat would get the first offer at the Show, they would bet she would be the one.  There were a lot of lookers ... some came back two or three times, but no one was ready to write a check.  I can certainly understand ... its a big investment.

I'm glad you're happy with your Connie.  My husband has own three other Chris Crafts over the years and he's been happy with every single one. 

I thought I would put my two cents in on this thread because when we bought DiamondHead we had absolutely no knowledge about her, and no one to ask.  She had been traded in on a 70ft Neptunus and the broker wasn't familiar with her at all.  We learned everything the hard way... it was a good year before we really knew her well.  I wouldn't want to see that happen to anyone else.

To answer your question ... we left DiamondHead in Fort Lauderdale, at least for now.  It's much easier for the brokers to show her there than up in Jupiter.  Also, there were a couple of prospective buyers that were from that area, or Miami that have come to see her again.  We'll see what happens.

Take care ... and if we can be of any help re your Connie let us know. 

Sheila

 

 

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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: November 22 2006 at 18:12 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

To Diamond Head,

Hi again Sheila,

I was off wandering around another part of the web when I saw your post pop up.  I was a broker for a short time.  Didn't sell much but I learned a lot.  The two keys to selling a boat are shine and price.  The shinier it is the better it will sell.  And price, of course, is a key factor particularly in a large boat.  Price too high and it won't sell.  But I think your price is quite reasonable.

One reason it didn't sell at the show is that Pier 66 is kind of remote from the show.  And now that they have shut down the rotating bar on the top of the hotel there isn't much reason to go there.  You are smart leaving it in Ft. Lauderdale where the customers are. There's a much better chance of selling it there than in Jupiter.

There is another 1989 Connie 501 in Washington, DC asking $295K.  But she doesn't seem to be as clean as your boat.  I checked her out and she is hull 141. 

I'm here on the Eastern Shore of MD and spent a very disagreeable morning in 39 deg F rainy windy wet weather working on winterizing my Connie. Fortunately my boat is under a covered dock so I didn't get too wet but my enthusiasm for working on boats drops with the temperature.  Wish I was back in Florida but that will have to wait until January.

My gut feeling is that your boat will sell quickly.  I bet one of those lookers will come back with an offer.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate at that time).  Did you buy a new boat or is this the end of your boating days?

Here's a shot of my pride and joy

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on December 26 2009 at 14:29


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BluesBarge
"Seaman"




Joined: December 12 2005
Posts: 41
Posted: November 22 2006 at 22:55 | IP Logged Quote BluesBarge

Yes, the HIN is something like that.  The 80 in the 10th and 11th places indicate she is an 80.  During the Coast Guard documentation process a title search was done.  The General Index or Abstract of Title states, "This vessel was built at Holland Michigan in 1979 of FRP by Murry Chris Craft Cruisers, Inc. for xxx Marina, Inc."  This is, however, marked as, "By Affidavit of... for Murry Chris Craft Cruisers, Inc." and this information may have been collected after the original sale.

Pete, you wouldn't have been the previous owner of this boat, would you?  I purchased it from a gentleman named Pete.



Edited by BluesBarge on November 22 2006 at 23:00


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Pete37
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Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: November 23 2006 at 12:15 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

To BluesBarge,

Hi Barry,

I checked the CG documentation site for Blues Barge, BluesBarge, Gottago, Got Ta Go, etc. but couldn't find your boat.  So apparently you haven't documented your boat unless you did it under a different name.

The plot thickensConfused.  I checked the CG MIC site to find out what the CCH MIC meant.  It's listed as the identifier for the Murray Chris Craft Company of 100 Analine Ave, Holland , Michigan, 49423.  That's Murray not Murry.  But that's probably just a misspelling.  However, the same document says Murray Chris Craft didn't go into business until 12/5/1981Dead.

Sometimes when a company changes hands but still manufactures the same product at the same factory the CG doesn't change the MIC.  I checked back a few years (to 1977) well before Chris Craft was bought out by Murray and as I suspected the MIC was CCH when the orignal Chris Craft owned the company.  Apparently the CG reissued the same MIC to Murray Chris Craft.

I think that what happened is that your title researcher checked the MIC database and saw Murray Chris Craft but didn't look at the details and discover that Murray Chris Craft wasn't in business at that time.

Technically, your boat wasn't built by Murray Chris Craft Cry but it certainly is a close cousinTongue.  Murray picked up the Catalina 350 and continued manufacturing it at the Holland, Michigan plant until 1986.  So it's the same boat, made at the same plant even if the ownership of the company had changedWink. So you are at least an honorary member of this topicTongue.

But that doesn't explain why your boat isn't documented nowConfused.  Perhaps you just didn't bother.  Few boats smaller than 30' are documented but nearly all above 40' are.  Your boat is in the transition range where some boats are and some aren't.

Changing the subjectEmbarrassed.  No I am not the previous owner of your boatCry.  My Constellation 500 is the first Chris Craft I have ever ownedSmile.  Somewhere on one of these Chris Craft Topics I read that you kept your boat on the Bohemia River in MD.  Is that rightConfused?  I keep mine at the Narrows on Kent IslandBig Smile.  By the way these Emoticons can get out of hand can't they.

 

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on November 23 2006 at 12:21


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Pete37
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Joined: November 12 2006
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Posted: November 23 2006 at 13:51 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

To: All

Subject: Problems with Constellations

I've had my Constellation for 12 years now and have learned a lot about how it's built.  In that learning process I've uncovered a some serious hazards that owners of Connies should be aware of.  A list of a few is given below:

1. The fuel hoses have about reached the limit of their life and may need to be replaced.  Check them frequently.  When you work in the engine room do not step on them unless you want to replace them.

2. The acetal plastic thru hulls located about 6" above the waterline have about reached the end of their life.  Some owners have noted cracking.  My surveyor also says that they get brittle and break off after 20 years. That can cause a serious safety hazard. These lines are used for sink drains, bilge pump discharges, air conditioner discharges, etc.  There are about 22 of them and they should all be replaced at about $15 per fitting plus labor.  I must admit that I haven't replaced them yet but it is on the list for spring.

3.  The decks on Constellations are cored decks.  Be vigilant in making sure that there are no cracks in the decks or leaking around the fuel fills, water fills, handrail braces, etc.   If water gets into the core you may be facing major repairs.  I have seen some horror cases where nearly all of the side decks had to be replaced.

4.  Check the exhaust risers on your engines. If you have cast iron risers on your engines and they haven't been replaced they should be changed.  This is not a cheap repair (about $500 per riser plus labor) but the alternative to replacing them could be a major repair.  It cost me $22,000.

5.  The grey polybutylene pipe and fittings used in your plumbing system are very  prone to rupture.  Do not leave your boat connected to dock water pressure.  Most of the problems are not in the pipe but in the fittings which ironically are not polybutylene.  They are acetal plastic and poorly designed.  A company call QEST (not Quest) makes fittings that can easily be installed on the polybutylene pipe without any tools other than a wrench and pocket knife.  They are available at most hardware stores.

6.  The starter motors on your engines are pretty old now and will probably need replacement or rebuilding soon.  The one on the starboard side is a devil to get out.  Expect a bill of about $1,000 when the starter goes.

7.  All the rubber hoses on the engines and generators need to be replaced after about 10 years but surprisingly I am seeing a lot of Connies where the engines have their original rubber.  Replace them before they damage your engines.

8. Many of the ball valves on the thru hulls of my boat have become sticky and won't turn.  I am gradually replacing them.  The rubber hoses on all the thru hulls are also long overdue for replacement if you have the originals.

9. Fire on a boat is always a major hazard.  And most of those fires are started by overheated wires in your electrical system.  The electrical systems of the Connies manufactured by Murray Chris Craft were pretty well built and installed.  The major problems usually come from owner installed systems.  If you are not skilled in electrical work have a professional do it for you.  And if you have a boat with Rube-Goldberg wiring done by previous owners have it reworked by a professional.  Hardware store wire, wire nuts, twisted wire connections, etc. are a major hazard.

These are the problems that I can think of now.  Only a few of them are specific to the Connies while the remaider are generic to any middle aged boat.  That's a pretty good confirmation that the Connies were well built.

There are of course hundreds of PITA problems I can think of but they are not major safety hazards.

 

Pete37

 

 

 



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BluesBarge
"Seaman"




Joined: December 12 2005
Posts: 41
Posted: November 23 2006 at 21:06 | IP Logged Quote BluesBarge

Pete,

Thanks for the maintenance tips.  Those apply to most of us, 

No, the documentation is not complete, I was seriously miss informed by the selling dealer.  Had the original documentation been signed, on the back, by the seller I could have transferred it for only $8 and would have had no issues.  I guess they just wanted their "document fee" for filing a title and registration with Maryland.  They told me I had to file for "New Documentation" with a vessel documentation service for $350 to $500.  They then said I could do the state registration for a mere $150. 

I have since placed the CG form (CG-1258) for document exchange and am waiting for it to be finalized.  The CG said it should only be a couple of weeks.

And, yes, I am a cousin and am pleased to be an "Honorary Member" ;-) (Which imodicon is better?

Barry



Edited by BluesBarge on November 23 2006 at 21:09


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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: November 26 2006 at 16:26 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

To All,

Some you may have noted that the Chris Craft Constellations have an unpleasant tendency to accumulate water on the side decks when it rains.  The cause of this puddling is that the deck mold was improperly designed without enough slope to the sides.  Apparently nearly all of the Connies have this problem and the puddling is normally on the starboard side because they list slightly to port due to the weight of the generator.

Some owners have considered drilling holes in the deck to solve the problem but this is not a good solution because the deck is a cored deck.  Any leakage into the core could cause major problems.  A pipe would have to be used to drain the fluid to a point below the deck.  But since the thickness of the top surface of the deck is only a little more than 1/8" it would be difficult to seal around the pipe.  It's not an impossible solution but is a rather difficult one to implement.

My solution was to adjust the trim on the boat so there is no list to port.  By placing about 100 lbs. of old anchor chain under the exhaust pipe on the starboard side I have achieved much better trim and most of the puddling has disappeared.  I think another 50 lbs. would completely eliminate the list and the remaining puddling.

Access to the area where the chain is stored is obtained by removing trim panels on the starboard side of the master stateroom.  The amount of ballast may vary from boat to boat.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on November 28 2006 at 00:12


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Furman1
"Deckhand"




Joined: November 27 2006
Posts: 227
Posted: November 27 2006 at 15:01 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

I have a 86 Chris 500 and I have the same problem with water standing on the starboard deck.  I tried adding weight to the starboard side, but that didn't solve the problem. What I ending up doing was to drill a horozonal hole at the toe rail (wood part) and insert a brass tube. I then inserted a section of 1/4" nylon line. This acts as a wick to drain the deck.

I also had to replace all of the fuel lines (360 ft) I had a diesel smell that I couldn't get seem to find a source.  The fuel lines were slowly weeping diesel. I had to wipe the fuel lines with a clean paper towel to discover the problem.  In the process of replacing the lines I discovered that my aft tanks didn't have shutoffs on them and I added them.  Since I replaced the fuel lines my diesel smell has gone away.

The next big project I had was to replace all of the AC lines and thru hulls. I was just going to replace the thru hulls but the hoses were so hard that I couldn't change the thru hulls without  cracking the hoses. There is approx. 210 lf of 5/8 AC hoses on the 500. I also replaced the distribution manafold and added cut off valves for each supply line. This way I can shut down each supply line or adjust and balance water flow to each AC unit.

What was amazing about these hose replacements is that all could be accessed with removable panels.

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Pete37
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Posted: November 28 2006 at 00:10 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Furman1,

I tried wicks made with plastic tubing stuffed with rope.  But I didn't insert them in the toe rail.  I just routed them overside at the low spot in the toe rail.  My wicks worked to some degree.  However, while I tried to hold them in place with weights, the spring lines kept pulling them out of place.

Your wick inserted in a horizontal hole in the toe rail is an interesting idea.  The only problem I see is that you have to be careful while drilling that you don't rupture the upper skin of the cored deck.  There is also the possibility that over a long time you might get some dry rot around the brass tube.  However that could probably be controlled with proper caulking.

Pete37



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Pete37
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Joined: November 12 2006
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Posted: November 29 2006 at 20:04 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Furman1.

Here's how to add a picture to your post.  Click "Image Upload" (the last icon to the right on the top row of icons).  This will open the "Image Upload" window.  Use the Browse line to find your picture, verify that it is of the right size and type and click "Open" to put its name on the "Image:" line.  Now click "OK" and the image will be uploaded.  The picture is usually too big so find one of the corner handles, click and hold on it and drag it down to make the picture smaller.  Clicking and holding on the center of the picture will give you a way to place it where you want.

T

The picture above was obtained that way.  It's a picture of my latest water toy (sister ship).  No, that's not my son.  This, by the way, is what happens to a Constellation if you don't keep it in the water.LOL

Adding pictures takes a little practice but it's really very simple.  Looking forward to seeing some great pictures from you.



Edited by Pete37 on September 10 2009 at 18:44


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Fantasy
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Joined: November 30 2006
Posts: 324
Posted: December 01 2006 at 20:54 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

Have any of you had a problem with rain leaks below the starboard side upper salon window?  I think it may be related to the aft door design but I've added a teak drip cap on the bottom of the door and recaulked around the door.  Managed to slow the leak but not eliminate it.  I have a 460 without the cockpit overhang roof but a friend with a 500 has had similar problems.

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Pete37
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Posted: December 02 2006 at 17:05 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Fantasy,

You've got a nice looking boat.  I'm familiar with her.  You have her docked in a  covered slip on the Sassafras.  I'm surprised that with your boat being under a shed that you have window leak problems.  But of course when you go out you're exposed to rain.

I have the 500 model with the small covered aft deck.  But even with the covered aft deck when I get a driving rain on the stern water hits the aft door runs down its surface and dribbles under the door onto the upper salon carpet.

Has anyone filled the window track or window box with any type of caulking?  This sometimes fills the drain hole and causes a leak.  Also after nearly 22 years the window box may need to be repaired or recaulked.  If you recaulk you need to take the entire window out and remove the lower tracks before recaulking.  It's more work but the only way to get a complete job.

But before you do that, run some water on the window with a hose and see if water comes out of the drain hole.  If it doesn't you have a plugged drain hole.  If water does comes out of the drain hole, block it temporarily with a cork or some tape, fill the windowbox and then look for leaks.  If it doesn't leak (other than over the top of the box) your problem must be on the seals at ends of the window.  Sometimes the glass cutters don't shape the glass the same way as the window opening and this leaves a crack for the water to come in.

You also ought to check the seals on the aft door.  The usual way to diagnose window leaks is with a hose on a warm dry day in the summer.  But that's a long way off here in Maryland.Angry

Pete37



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Fantasy
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Posted: December 02 2006 at 19:35 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

<p>Hi Pete,</p> <p>You've got the right boat but I'm only under the shed from May to Oct.&nbsp; Right now I'm in GA and will be heading further south after the Holidays.</p> <p>I'm familiar with the rebedding process and I'm hoping not to go that route (here's a great site that discusses the topic in a couple of articles http://www.yachtsurvey.com/WindowRepair.htm ) at least until I do some more detective work.</p> <p>That aft door is a terrible design on an otherwise great boat and I've corrected the worst of it with a shaped teak strip mounted on the door&nbsp;just above the threshold.&nbsp;&nbsp; The rest is caught in a shallow pan that I keep handy&nbsp;for the worst driving rains.&nbsp; I've also redone the door seals. </p> <p>I don't think the problem is with the window drains (actually slots on my frames), they appear to be&nbsp;clear but I'll watch them.</p> <p>The 46 is a little different from the 50, having two open&nbsp;hawespipes on each&nbsp;corner at the stern for lines.&nbsp; The cleats are in a box that may be reached from the interior and I suspect that those boxes pool water that seeps into the salon, but I'm not sure.&nbsp; The boxes&nbsp;are at least partially lined with&nbsp;fiberglass but may not be draining through the limber holes, especially if we're light on fuel and a bit bow down.&nbsp; By the time I'm aware of the problem the water is usually all along the starboard&nbsp;side floor and my wife is pulling out beach towels.</p> <p>I appreciate your feedback and any one else that has dealt with a similar problem.&nbsp; I'll report back to the group if I find the source and solution.</p>

Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 25 2013 at 11:02


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"Fantasy"
460 Chris Craft Constellation
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Pete37
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Posted: December 04 2006 at 10:11 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Fantasy,

Wish I was in Georgia.  It's cold here in MD (near freezing) and expected to stay that way for the rest of the week.  I've got to go down and do some work on the boat today and I'm not looking forward to it. 

At one time we (my wife and I) thought we would take our boat south each winter but responsibilities to elderly parents killed that idea.  And now the cost of fuel and sky high dockage rates make taking our boat south unattractive.

I checked the articles on window leaks on Dave Pascoe's site.  He makes a lot of good points.  But he was talking mostly about fixed windows (ones that don't slide).  The windows on the sides of your upper salon should slide.  At least they do on most 460s.  There's a big difference between fixing sliding and fixed windows.

After my last post to you I remembered that I've seen a couple of 460s which have special canvas covers over the entire aft door.  Perhaps they too have had leak problems with that aft door.Ouch

The 460 was designed by Dave Martin for Pacemaker and first appeared on the market in 1978.  In about 1980 Pacemaker went out of business and the 460 was picked up by Uniflite who continued producing it until 1984 when they went out of business.  Just before they folded they modified the hull molds, added 4 feet and came out with the 500.  But they only made a couple before they went out of business.  In 1984 Murray Chris Craft picked up the molds and continued producing 460s and 500s until 1988 when they went out of business.  Murray also introduced the 501 model in 1987.

Anyway, it looks like some Pacemaker and Uniflite owners might be interested in this site too.  There were far more 460s built by Pacemaker and Uniflite than by Murray Chris Craft.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on December 04 2006 at 11:31


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vanphill
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Posted: December 06 2006 at 00:19 | IP Logged Quote vanphill


Hi Pete!

Thanks for your letter!  I will be happy to be part of the forum, but my 1987 Connie 500 is currently for sale in St. Joseph, Michigan.  The problem is not Ark Angel - but rather me!  I had a major accident on I-94, wheel came off my Yukon) as a one car event October 30th of 2005.  Didn't walk for 6 months and with rods and plates in my leg and pelvis - I couldn't make it into the engine room if I had to.

It is too bad, as the Connie 500 is the best (can't call her a boat) ship I ever owned!  They are very stable - if a bit wet- in rough water, with plenty of power and great comfort.  This is the best craft I know for its size to dock in the wind!  There is almost no slippage.  Sure can't say that for the 53' Hattie!  And, the Hattie is so under powered you either re-build the engines every 1000 hours (by turbo over pushing them) or you can't get out of your own way.

When I brought Ark Angel into our marina for the first time, all my friends wanted to see her!  The first one on board was a dock mate with a CC 381, just like the one I traded up from.  He stepped into the upper salon and took one look at the lower helm and said, "Wow! This is a ship!"  I think his comment summed it up!

If you know anyone looking for an 87 Connie with an all new interior (including custom drapes) and up-to-date electronics – that has always been “fresh water” – tell them to call me or contact Larsen Marine.

As to the question from Fantasy – the solution to his water leakage problem on the port upper salon window could be two things depending on the location of the leak.  If it is at the top – check the railing stanchion mounts above and any seat mounts on the fly bridge.  At 20 years old some leakage can come in where they meet the fly bridge decking because of movement over time.  Then it can wick down and into the screws securing the upper part of the window track.  If the leaks are at the bottom of the window – take them out!  Yes they just lift up and tip out – but be careful you’re on stable footing as they are not light or small.  Then really clean the bottom track and its weep ports.  I cleaned mine every year because they collect mold and my wife was a nut about mold.  Remember mold can plug the weep ports and back the rain water up.

Van Phillips



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Pete37
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Posted: December 06 2006 at 18:24 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Van,

Very sorry to hear of your accident.  I prowl the broker's ads and knew your ship was for sale but sent the letter anyway.  About half of all Connie 500s are for sale at any given time.  She's a great looking yacht and you must be heartbroken to have to give her up.  Perhaps someone on this site will see her and be interested.

Maybe you need a Connie 501 with a stand up engine room.  Hope to see some future posts from you.  I sent out about 33 letters last week and you are the first to respond.  I knew that about half were to owners with their yachts up for sale and therefore not too likely to respond so that's about equivalent to 16 letters to active owners.  Will be sending out another 35 or so next week which should cover most of the 500s.  Then I've got to work on letters to the 460 and 501 owners.

Took a quick look at your ad on Yachtworld.  Your yacht is very similar to mine (also built in 1987) except you have the office while I have a guest stateroom.  Wish I had the office but that's not the way she came.  Have thought about converting to an office.  Wonder whether anyone has done that.  You've got a very pretty ship and I think it will sell soon.  But at close to $300K "soon" can be measured in years.  Two years is not uncommon.  Don't get anxious.

Hope your health continues to improve and that perhaps you can change your decison to sell.  Pop in another shot of your yacht together with some chitchat any time you want.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on December 06 2006 at 18:27


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Fantasy
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Posted: December 08 2006 at 09:26 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

Thanks for the posts, Pete and Van.  The flybridge stantions, etc. are a good leak possiblility, especially if the water is running down the bridge deck core and then runs down into the interior cavity of the salon walls where the bridge deck and salon walls are connected.  The only evidence of water is at the upper salon floor, next to the wall.  I'm 99% sure it's not a window problem and I may take out the electrical box on the teak wall and see if any stains are visible on the fiberglass behind it.

Re: cruising south, it is an expense but we do a lot of anchoring and have found a number of inexpensive marinas and a few free tie-up docks.  This allows us to splurge every once in a while and stay for a couple days at attractive ports.  We stay inside on the ICW and travel at hull speed which increase our nmpg from about .4 to 1.2 over planing speed.  We're not in a hurry but I do take it up on plane for a few minutes once a day to blow out the soot.  Skipper Bob is a good source for cheap fuel prices which have run us from $1.99 to $2.10 so far. 

And then there's the savings on winterization, storage, personal aggravation and chiropractors.  I tell my wife we can't stay home that cheap.

John



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Posted: December 08 2006 at 13:23 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Fantasy,

Since the fuel prices have risen so high, I have been running my boat a lot at low rpm to cut the fuel consumption.  I get about 1.0 nmpg at 1300 rpm versus just under 0.5 nmpg at my cruising speed (2000 rpm, 18.4 knots).  I started last year and have increased my low speed running this year.

However, last spring I began to worry that excessive low speed running might be  damaging my engines.  The problem is that at below 1200 rpm the engines never reach the recommended low end of the operating temperature range (170-190 F).  This causes a buildup of deposits in the engine which can damage the engine.  All the diesel engine manufacturers warn that excessive low speed operation can damage your engines.

So I called Johnson & Towers (J&T) this spring to get a reading from them.  They concurred that extended low speed running would damage the engines.  No real surprise since it is in their owners manual and the Detroit Diesel Series 92 Service Manual.  However, according to J&T, a few minutes running at high speed will not correct the problem.  Soot is only part of the problem.  But what they did tell me was that if I ran the engine at an rpm which would bring it to 170 F I could run it all I wanted without damaging the engines.

I did a little experimenting and found that 1300 rpm would bring the engine up to 170 F and would give a speed of just under 12 knots.  Fuel consumption, as mentioned above was about 12 gph or 1.0 nmpg.

Hull speed is normally considered to be at a speed length ratio (SLR) of about 1.33.  And the SLR is defined as the speed (in knots) divided by the waterline length (in feet) of the boat (about 45' for a Connie 500).  This makes hull speed about 8.9 knots for a a Connie 500.  My 12.0 knots is a SLR of 1.79 which is quite a bit above hull speed and not as efficient as running at displacement speeds.  But it is a hell of a lot better than running at the normal cruising speed of 18.4 knots. 

In terms of gallons per hour (gph) my 2004 fuel consumption was about 17 gph while my 2006 fuel consumption was about 12 gph.  At my level of use (about 70 engine hours per year) and today's prices (about $2.50 per gallon) that's a saving of nearly $1,000.  At 12 gph the cost of running the boat at $2.50 per gallon (at least from a fuel consumption standpoint) is only $30/hr.  At a steady 12 knots and 1.0 nmpg it's only $27.50/hr.

You might be surprised at the gph numbers.  Most of my trips are short hops of one or two hours.  In 2004 I was doing my cruising at 18.4 knots and getting only 0.5 nmpg.  That's 36.8 gph not 17 gph.  The reason for this big difference (more than 2:1) is that quite a bit of time was spent at 6 knots getting out into open water at the beginning of the trip and getting into the anchorage at 6 knots at the end of the trip.  Not much fuel was used at 6.0 knots but a lot of time was so the gph dropped drastically.

Running at 12 knots I burn only 12.0 gph or less that 1/3rd of  cruising speed so you might expect a huge saving.  But again, a lot of time is spent at 6 knots entering and leaving port so the savings in gph is less than you might think.  Still, $1000 is not a negligible saving and I find that 12.0 knots is a nice comfortable speed to operate at.

Sorry for the math.  My engineering background is peeking out.  The bottom line is don't run your engines at temperatures below 170 F any more than you have to.  It can damage them.  Even a high speed half hour blowout at the end of a long run at idle isn't going to correct the problem.  But at about 1200 rpm they will reach 170 F, you can run them all you want and the fuel consumption is still reasonable.

I spotted a Connie 460 with the canvas over the back door that I mentioned and will take a picture of it today.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on December 08 2006 at 15:14


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Furman1
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Posted: December 08 2006 at 14:06 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

 

Pete, I agree with what you said, but wouldn't engine temperture have a lot to do with what water temp you are runing through and what thermastats you have on your engines?  Not just rpms.



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Pete37
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Posted: December 08 2006 at 15:06 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Furman,

Yes it would.  The rpm I mentioned was for normal conditions.  If for some reason your engines reach 170 F at a lower or higher rpm then you could run them at that rpm.  But I would be a little bit suspicious if the rpms were drastically different.  Check your temp gauges to make sure you are running within the operating range of the engine.  By the way the range is 170-187 F not the 170-190 F I mentioned in the previous post.  But I don't think that 3 deg. makes much difference.

As to thermostats, I am speaking of the 170 F Thermostat listed in the Detroit Diesel Series 92 Service Manual on page 7 of Section 5.  The only other thermostat offered by J&T would be the 180 F thermostat listed on page 8.  I called Andy Gorman of J&T way back on 9/6/00 and he said the 170 F thermostat was the one used on all the Connies.  He also said that 178-180 F was the normal range of temps at 2000 rpm.  But if someone has changed your thermostats, I would call J&T for recommendations.

Pete37



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Posted: December 08 2006 at 15:09 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

I think your numbers are right on target.  It's always a bad idea to run engines, especially diesels, below operating temps for extended periods.  Crankcase dilution is the major problem but gum and laquer deposits are also bad news.

The specs for the 6-71TI's (on most 460's) are only slightly different from the 6V-92's. The 71's operate between 160 and 185, and the manual recommends that if you need to idle for a long while (like waiting for those damned bridges in Virginia), to keep it above 800rpm.

In my case, I run at about 1350 rpm which yields about 8.5 knots in slack current (any more than that and she starts to squat, any less and she's too cool). I'm pretty paranoid about what's going on in the engine room so I do visual checks about every hour or two.  Those checks include temperature checks at various points on the engine and transmission utilizing an infrared gun.  Generally, my coolant temperature is about 165 at the thermostat and my oil temp about 230 at the pan, both of which are in line with the specs.  Nevertheless, I still put the balls to the wall about once a day to blow it all out and to make sure that everything is working as it should.

I'm running about 200 hrs a year and do an oil analysis annually to make sure there are no developing problems.  I'm showing 1400hrs now and so far, everything is looking normal with no perceptable dilution.  I have thought about putting smaller engines in when it comes time to repower but then I would lose the ability to dodge a storm and probably market value, too.

I'm also swapping out my analog oil pressure and water temperature gauges for digitals (merry christmas to me!) but I'll still do visual/manual checks.  I really do like to monitor those engines closely.

John



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Furman1
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Posted: December 08 2006 at 15:14 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

I like the idea of digital gauges.  Do you have a source and are you getting new senders?

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Posted: December 08 2006 at 15:23 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

Hi Furman,

The cooler raw water temps should have minimal effect on your coolant temp.  Once the engine reaches the normal operating temperature, the thermostat should maintain it by restricting the water flow when it's too cold and opening when it gets warmer.  It may cool it off a little faster but that's it.

It doesn't get cold in Savannah, does it?

John



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Posted: December 08 2006 at 15:29 | IP Logged Quote Furman1

Only a few days a year. In the winter I have block heaters which keep the condensate out of the inside of the engine and the engine room warm and dry.

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Posted: December 08 2006 at 15:35 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

Yes Furman,  I figured if I couldn't have your digital Flo-scans I could at least get a couple engine gauges.

Here's my source, I'm getting the gauges and new senders and I'll let you know how it works out.

SummitRacing.com

Only kidding about the cold days in Savannah.  We're in Brunswick and it's been mighty chilly!

John



Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 19 2013 at 13:17
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Pete37
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Posted: December 08 2006 at 15:36 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi John,

I like the idea of digital gages too.  Especially the temp gages.  What's your source and cost?

Pete37



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Posted: December 08 2006 at 16:13 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi John and Furman,

RE: Digital Gages.  Apparently our messages are criss-crossing.  I asked about the digital temperature gages after John had already answered the question.  I checked with Summit's technical department and found out that the gages really aren't digital.  Only the display is digital.  Basically they are digital voltmeters which read the voltage across an analog variable resistor mounted on the engine. 

The resistor called a "sender" is mounted on the engine and decreases it's resistance as the engine heats up.  The resistors they use are analog and of the same type as used in your existing analog temperature gage system.  If you want a digital display the Summit gages are fine but don't expect them to be any more accurate than your existing gages. 

These gage systems aren't digital.  Only the display is.  The only truly digital marine gages that I know of are tachometers.  If there were truly digital temp gages I would buy them.

Most of the errors in your gage systems are due to ground loops and stray resistances in the wiring system of the boat.  Fixing them requires cleaning up your boat wiring.  Buying a better display won't make them go away.  Sorry to be a "party pooper".Cry

RE: Leaks.  If the deck of the flying bridge is like the rest of the decks of the boat it consists of a molded sheet of fiberglass supported by athwartship wooden beams bonded to the molded fiberglass sheet.  Wiring, pipes, etc. are fastened to the beams and heaven help the poor bastard who has to fix those wires or pipes because the whole mess is enclosed at the bottom by a headliner.  If you think the water is coming in through leaks at the stantions there is a pretty good chance that it will drip down onto the headliner.  If your headliner has no stains your deck probably doesn't have any leaks.  But run a dry cleanex across the bottom of the headliner the next time you have leaks to see if the headliner is wet.

If you decide to rebed the stantions don't completely remove the screws.  Just back them out far enough to get the sealant under the stantion.  The screws are usually screwed to a backing block located under the deck and the backing block is usually bonded to the deck but sometimes the bond fails.  If this happens the backing block falls away when you remove the screws and winds up on top of the headliner.  Lots of luck trying to get the backing block back where it belongs.  Headliners are very difficult and expensive to repair.

RE: Florida.  I guess if you are going to Florida every year, the 2000 mile round trip at 10 knots would be 200 engine hours just by itself.  I've got about 1600 hours on my engines but at 200 hours per year you will be passing me very soon. 

Glad to hear that you understand that low temperature running of diesels is bad for them.  An awful lot of folks don't understand that and think that a couple of minutes at high speed makes up for all sins.  Yes, your boat would probably squat at about 9 knots because that's approximately hull speed.  After that she'll flatten out though.

RE: Engine Replacements.  Putting in smaller engines would definitely be a mistake.  They won't be any more efficient (in spite of what the salesmen say) and the problems of changing an engine setup can be extensive.  Plus, from a buyer's perspective smaller engines are unattractive.  If you want to scare away buyers put in smaller engines.  If you want to be fuel efficient, just slow your present engines down.  Make sure you keep them up to temperature though.  Your best bet would probably be an out of boat major overhaul.  That way you can be much more thorough and have the engines repainted so that they sparkle.  The last I checked overhauls were going for about $15K on 671s and $20K on 6V92s.  You can't touch that with a new engine.  And if you are about my age an overhaul would be a lifetime solution.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on December 08 2006 at 17:37


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Posted: December 08 2006 at 17:44 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

Interesting point, Pete and a distinction that only an engineer would immediately discern.

They should probably advertise them as "numeric display gauges" rather than "digital."  At any rate, I wasn't trying to correct gauge error, just make them easier to read.  I find the scale on my temperature gauges to be particularly difficult since there is so little needle space between 160 and the dot that is supposed to be 200.  That could probably be corrected with a needle gauge with more dial sweep but the digital display was more appealing.  Hopefully, it won't fluctuate so much that it becomes annoying.  I'll let you know.



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Posted: December 08 2006 at 18:11 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi John,

If you want easy reading they may be the ticket.  Just make sure they are daylight readable.  The interior of a car is much darker than a flying bridge.  Also make sure they are not too bright at night. 

They are automotive gages which may not stand up in a marine environment (particularly on the flybridge).  Strangely, I don't find any marinized versions of these gages in any of my catalogs (except for tachometers).  Yet the digital automotive versions are cheaper than the old marinized analog gages so you would think there would be a market.  I will check on the web to see if there are any makers of marinized digital instrument gages.

Don't throw your old gages out.  They are becoming difficult to find and many people are looking for replacements.  My problem with the present gages is that they are notoriously inaccurate.  But of course that's not really a gage problem it's a problem with the boat's wiring.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on December 08 2006 at 18:20


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Posted: December 09 2006 at 08:20 | IP Logged Quote Fantasy

<p>Thanks.&nbsp; I use the lower station almost exclusively and that's where the gauges will go.</p> <p>CruzPro offers marine digital readout gauges with more functions, including nmea output.&nbsp; They're about 3x the cost.</p> <p> http://www.mpsadventurer.com/cruzpro_digital_water_temp_gage _with_alarm.htm</p>

Edited by Sonja Lowe on September 25 2013 at 11:01


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Posted: December 09 2006 at 10:57 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi John,

Yeah, the Cruzpro looks like a much better unit than the other digital gauge you had.  I looked around the web and marinized digital temperature gauges seem to be going for $100-$150 each which is about what you are saying.  The audible alarm and NMEA interface are nice features.  It even has non-volatile memory for the settings.  Very nice but even with this higher tech it still uses the old fashioned analog temperature senders with all their inaccuracies.

One problem you should check out is that your present lower station and flybridge temperature gauges share the same sender.  Each gauge does not have its own dedicated sender.  And if you remove either gauge from the system it screws up the reading on the other gauge.  Therefore, if you are going to install this new gauge on the lower station you may have to install a new one on the flybridge too unless it has exactly the same impedance as the old gauge.  And you may also have to replace the sender. 

Check with the Cruzpro to see if their gauge will calibrate properly with a system which has the old VDO dual gauge sender, one Cruzpro digital gauge and one old VDO analog gauge.  The oil pressure gauges would have the same problem.  If the Cruzpro gauges do calibrate properly your cost for four new gauges is only about $400.  But if they don't you may be looking at a much more expensive modification.

I'm assuming you have the VDO Standard Series gauges because that's what was installed on most of the Connies.  But if you don't the comments above may not apply and please ignore them.  However dual gauge/common sender systems were common on all lines of gauges so you had better check what you have.

Pete37

 



Edited by Pete37 on December 09 2006 at 21:02


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Posted: December 10 2006 at 23:28 | IP Logged Quote admorgan

Hi Phil

I am looking for a Chris 50 connie or a 501. I was told by a broker that the 501s were very unstable and not to even consider one unless it was stabilized. Have you heard of this or not. I figured since he had a 500 listed he was just knocking the 501s. Any info you can give me or a source for info on these boats would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Al

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Posted: December 12 2006 at 10:34 | IP Logged Quote vanphill

Al:

The 501’s are more expensive and were very popular when they came out as they were basically the Hattie 53 - but at a more economical price.  The Hattie’s got a real bad reputation for their lack of stability and hence the need to stabilize them, as their flat’ish bottom (which made room for more living space below deck) had a tendancy slide on the water.  To copy the popular Hattie layout CC had to do a bit of the same, thus reducing the deeper "V" and keel of the Connie 500 (They also widened the entry “V” at the bow where the hull cuts into the water).  Remember the 501 was introduced just before CC was taken out by the Federal Trade Commission, when Murrey was trying to take over the boating industry.  So, they were more trying to fight anything that was popular at the time - than improve on a design.

Advantages and Disadvantages -

- Unlike the Hattie the 501 was better powered for it's weight.


- The 501 has one big salon with the galley at the fore end, where the 500 has an upper and lower salon.


- The tendency to slip on the water is a problem only if you want to broaden your boating weather envelope.  Ie. Boating in windy choppy weather, which is often the case of you are cruising.  That is one reason you will notice most 501's are either on the smaller lakes OR they are stabilized!  There are some on the lake in Texas (can't remember the name) for example.  You also rarely see them on the rivers like the Tem-Tam and Kentucky because of the tendency to slide on the current, which is a real problem when docking.  Most of the 501's I've seen don't set off on the “great circle tour” for example!


-  I personally loved the 2 salon design of the 500 better!  It allowed us to entertain guests in the upper salon - while my sons watched a movie in the lower salon.  For the few big parties we had we could put the booze on the back deck behind the upper salon and the food near the galley which forced people to not clog up the area at the table and circulate.


- Finally, I did look at one 501 which was 50K more than the 500.  It as well needed stabilizers!  I asked several Hattie owners about the cost of stabilizers and while it was expensive - the real deal killer was the warning to only let someone do them at a Gulf or Atlantic marina which did them "all the time".  They are certainly not done on the Great Lakes very often - hence the warning!  The round trip to say Mobile or Florida - made me stop looking at the 501 and the Hattie 53 (which was always under powered as well).

 
Hope all this helps!

Van (Phillips) "Ark Angel"



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Posted: December 12 2006 at 10:59 | IP Logged Quote vanphill

Pete:

I put digital "tacks" on both my upper and lower helm and love them.  You can count to 1 single RPM.  Had the accident not happend I planned to re-do all the gauges.  I used the following -

Aetna Engineering
P.O. Box 152 · Grand Rapids, Michigan USA 49501-0152
O-379 Lake Michigan Dr NW · Grand Rapids, MI USA 49534  
Phone: 231-223-9867 · Fax: 231-223-9467 · Toll-free: 800-776-7962

They are the same ones used by the Coast Guard!  And, they fit right into the exsisting openings.

Van




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Ark Angel - The fresh water Constellation 500
Lafayette, Indiana

Slipped in St Joseph, Michigan
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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: December 12 2006 at 11:31 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

To Admorgan,

Hi Al,

I think, as you say, the broker was trying to dump on the 501s in order to sell his 500.  The hulls of the 500s and 501s are exactly the same.  Dave Martin designed the 46' hull for Pacemaker way back in 1977 who built the boat for about four years and then sold the molds to Uniflite in about 1980 when they went out of business. 

Uniflite built the boat for about 4 years until 1984 when they also went out of business and sold the molds to Murray Chris Craft.  Just before Uniflite went out of business they stretched the 46' hull by 4' and introduced the 50' hull.  And finally Murray went out of business in 1988 and sold the molds to OMC in early 1989.  In all the Connies were built for about 12 years (1977 to 1989) and in all that time there were no changes to the molds other than the 4' extension made by Uniflite to create the 50' Connie.  The 501's were introduced by Murray in 1987 and continued until 1989 when Murray sold out to OMC. 

OMC made extensive interior and topside modifications to the Connies in 1989 but left the mold alone and only sold a few before shutting down the Connie production in 1991.  While the Connies were definitely in competition with the Hatteras 53 motoryacht, there never was any attempt to modify the hull shape to mimic the 53.

All 50 foot Connies  have exactly the same hull and engines and weigh pretty much the same.   Neither the 500s or 501s are unstable in my opinion.  If you really need stabilizers on a 50' 50,000 lb. boat maybe you should take up golf.

The 500 has a displacement of 54,000 lbs while the 501 is a little lighter at 49,500lbs.  This may be because the 500 was listed wet (loaded with fuel) while the 501 was listed dry.  But regardless the 10% difference in weight isn't enough to make a big difference in roll.

I have a 500 and love it but if I could trade it even with a 501 I would snap it up in a New York heartbeat.  I love the walk-in engine room.  But there are a lot of folks who prefer the 500 layout and the 500s are less expensive.  The 500 is a great boat too and I repeat "I love mine".  If you or your wife are prone to seasickness get stabilization but otherwise don't worry about it. 

By the way there are some beautiful 500s and 501s for sale now.  I've had about 30 boats in my boating experience and the 500 is the most stable boat I've ever had.  But when I get my 80' Burger that will be even more stable.

Good luck with your search for a Connie,

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on December 12 2006 at 12:11


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A Murray Chris Craft Constellation 500
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