More Marine Trader Makeovers

We have been working fast and furious to get new projects finished for a possible trip north to the Chesapeake. One of the projects was to get the chartplotter installed at the flybridge, which we have had for months, and to reinstall the compass as well as replace the non-functioning amp gauge with a voltage meter. There are those that prefer an amp meter but we much prefer to know at a glance what the alternator is doing by the voltage it is putting out. The replacement was pretty straight forward with only a bit of rewiring. The compass had been mounted over on the centerline of the bridge so viewing it from the helm was a bit awkward. In addition I had built a box to mount the plotter rather than spend $300.00 for a navpod. The box was built from teak plywood, epoxied over and painted with Awlgrip. Since all of this needed to be mounted we decided to paint the helm area with Awlgrip before mounting the equipment rather than mounting it and removing it again later for painting. Both the compass and the plotter will be very helpful and important on the trip north. We choose the Standard Horizon CP300 plotter because we had used it extensively on our previous boat and were very pleased with the performance. We are not big fans of integrated systems so the stand alone plotter fit very nicely into our budget. IMO is the best bang for the buck, was very dependable for us in the past and is very user friendly with a simple menu set up. In addition it uses the C-Map navigation chip and again we do prefer that to other formats.

We used Awlgrip Cloud White with a base of three coats of 545 primer followed by three coats of paint. As is our usual practice, the primer and paint were rolled on using foam rollers with no tipping needed. A thorough sanding with 220 grit was done between each coat. The Awlgrip calls for sanding with 300 grit but in the past we have had issues with the paint sticking. With the 220 we have had no issues. After painting, the teak was sanded to bare wood and coated with Sikkens, as we have done with the handrail, caprail, window frames and hatches. The results look fantastic! There are still sections left to be done but we won't have to remove anything that we just installed to do those areas. Once the painting and varnishing were finished, the hardware was reinstalled and everything was properly bedded to keep the water out from under the bridge. We are currently working on installing speakers in the flybridge to run from the stereo and CD changer in the main salon but those are not yet finished.

One other small but important project we completed was to mark the anchor rode so we know easily how much rode is out at any given time. Our system is very simple and consists of strips of nylon webbing sewn through the line. One strip is at 50 feet, our minimum, then two strips at 75 feet, three strips at 100 feet, four strips at 125 feet and so on. This gives us both a visual reference and can be determined at night by feel without being rough on the hands. It runs through the capstan on the windlass with no problem. We also have about another half dozen projects under way and will post them as we complete each so stay tuned.


  1. Once again great work. And I really love that bimini top! Great color!

  2. Hi from the cold north. Love your website and your boat. Just over a year ago we decided after 25 years of sailing to move to a trawler but didn't find the right one until last summer. I had looked at this site a few times after we looked at a nicely cared for 1980 Marine Trader 34 while we put in offers on two other boats. One offer was not accepted and the other boat didn't measure up during the survey. In the meantime the price of the MT 34 dropped significantly so we jumped. We got to move it from Toronto, across Lake Ontario, up the Trent Severn waterway, through Georgian Bay to our home on St. Joseph Island in the North Chanel. Just love the boat. At present it is hauled and I am in the process of finalizing our list of winter work. We are getting some major repairs and upgrades done by professionals and I am trying to decide what other projects to tackle next spring (boat is currently sitting 6 hours away). Obviously your project lists and comments on your boat are invaluable to us. We thank-you very much for the information you have so generously shared. Rod & Cindy “Wanderer”

  3. Rod and Cindy, Congratulations on your new boat. Based on our experience, you should be very happy with it. We feel for you on the projects but it is after all, a labor of love. Our project list is getting much shorter and we have some new ones in the completion stages to publish soon. We are very happy that the site has been helpful and maybe even an inspiration. Good luck and most of all,have fun. Chuck and Susan

  4. Hi from Europe!
    After a life time of sailing boats, my wife and are in the final throws of purchasing a MT34DC! The decision was made because are current 31 foot sail boat is becoming increasingly difficult to truly enjoy with our 4 month old and 3 year old kids. We need more room and less lines under load waiting to take off busy little fingers!
    The boat is in need of a lot of cosmetic work, but otherwise has no big issues.
    Loving your site and actually read pretty much every post prior to making the decision to go ahead and by the boat. So thanks for all the good advice!
    Keep up the great work.


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