3 years in restorati on: Smiley the 25’ f ormer commercial fis hing boat is ready f or work


The Smiley, named after Smiley Guthrie one of the original owners and built by Cortez master boatbuilder Leo Taylor in 1968, was donated by its most recent owner David Titlebaum to F.I.S.H. in 2008.

Since 2008, a group of volunteer boat builders, Rick Viera foreman, with Bill Stapleford, Joe Hunter and Barry Stephens as his crew, (as well as many others from time to time) under the direction of the Florida Maritime Museum Master Boatbuilder, Bob Pitt, have completed a total restoration of the boat. With the outer hull planking laminated with epoxy and 1 1/2oz. fiberglass mat, the frames, flooring, and decks replaced, the Perkins 6 cylinder diesel engine on her new mounts and 4”x8” Cortez teak frames fully serviced as required, from sandblasting the block to replacing heat exchangers and oil coolers, and with her new coats of paint she is ready to assume new duties.

Over the years Leo Taylor, Smiley Guthrie, John Banyas and others have used her for fishing mullet, mackerel, pompano and other fish. Completed, now she will become the RV (Research Vessel) Smiley for the Florida Gulf Coast Maritime Museum at Cortez.

She will be providing the means for introducing visitors to the history of the Cortez Kitchen area, its commercial fishing heritage as well as the related Tampa Bay waters. She will enable the scientific study of local fishing waters, fish, shellfish, and other creatures in the local aquaculture. She will also be fitted out for the more genteel task of taking visitors on casual tours around the Cortez Kitchen and other local waters.


Published in: on April 18, 2011 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  

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