HomeStreet/Miss Madison offseason overhaul has gone quicker than expected
Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:03 PM
Offseason repairs to the U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank/Miss Madison are complete and all that is left is a new coat of paint for the three-time defending H1 Unlimited Champion.
FRESHENED UP INSIDE AND OUT: Miss Madison crew chief Dan Hoover works on the unlimiyed hydroplane at the Miss Madison Racing shop on Wednesday. The boat has been overhauled over the offseason and is now being repainted similar to the color and design of sponsor HomeStreet Bank last season. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Miss Madison Crew Chief Dan Hoover and his crew have spent the offseason replacing parts of the center section and giving the boat its first true offseason overhaul since it was built in 2007. After nearly four months those extensive repairs are finished.
“It actually went quicker than I thought it would,” Hoover said from the boat shop on Wednesday. “We’ll have it painted in the next couple of weeks and then start putting the hardware back in it. I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out.”
Hoover’s offseason plan was to replace much of the wood in the interior of the boat with carbon fiber. While the outside hull is exclusively made of carbon, many of the interior joints and compartments — such as the bulkheads that hold the skid fin in place — were made of wood and were beginning to show deterioration.
Hoover and his crew replaced that wood as well as several parts of the interior that were made of aluminum. While there is still plenty of aluminum left in the boat, nearly three-fourths of the hull is now carbon fiber.
The decision to go to carbon fiber was made for several reasons, according to Hoover. For one, the carbon is much stronger and should withstand the rigors of a rough season much better than aluminum. Another is that repairs are much easier to make on a carbon hull.
“When I was working on the large (offshore boats), they were 100 percent carbon fiber. Once you bolted the engine in, it was set and there was no vibrating loose,” Hoover said. “On these boats you’re constantly tightening things down because they vibrate loose.”
In recent weeks the boat was sanded down and a coat of primer was applied to the hull. On Wednesday, the underside of the boat was painted white and Hoover plans to paint the top of the boat in the next week.
The color scheme will be the same as last year, with sky blue as the primary color with white and black highlights. Crewmember Jimmy Gilbert will be in town from his home in Houston in mid-March to reinstall the electrical systems and the rest of the crew will get the hardware back in place. Hoover says the boat should be back together by mid-April at the latest.
The newly-refurbished boat will get a chance to hit the water twice before the season kicks off at Madison on Fourth of July weekend. There will be test sessions in both Tri-Cities, Washington, and Guntersville, Alabama, in June and the team plans to attend both.