The boat had been sitting in the field so long it seemed more like a lawn ornament. Propped up on its side, a hole in the hull, weeds growing in and around it, it looked to all the world like an abandoned wreck.
But Adam Pederson knew better. With one glance he recognized the hull shape: it was a Martini.
“These aren’t really well-known boats, but they’re very distinctive,” says Adam, who owns Eleven North Marine with Nicole, his wife. “If you know what you’re looking at, you can spot them right away.”
Adam and Nicole know Martini boats well because they already own one. It, too, was in rough shape when they bought it – although not as rough as this one – and Adam had brought it back to glorious life. So even though this hull was a wreck, they also knew it could once again become something spectacular. All it would take is time, materials, and a great deal of skill.
Adam has the skills and can access the materials. The time, on the other hand, was another matter. “This was clearly not going to be a priority in spring, summer, or fall, when Adam is working on our customers’ boats,” says Nicole.
Adam and his team repair and store hundreds of boats a year, working on everything from tinnies to antiques to high-end wakesurf boats. Eleven North Marine operates a large repair and storage facility just south of Orillia, and they also travel to their customers’ docks to do mid-season repairs. From before ice-out to after freeze-up, Adam and Nicole are busy ensuring every one of those boats has meticulous care.
But in mid-winter, Adam knew there would be a few windows of opportunity when he could work on a passion project like this. “I work on boats all the time, and I love it,” says Adam. “But this one I knew I would really love. It was just going to be fun!”
Martini boats were built by a small boat shop in Miami in the 1970s. Martini Marine – not to be confused with the Martini Racing team, which is funded by the Italian beverage company – later changed its name to Corsa. Martini/Corsa was known for building fast, seaworthy boats for offshore use. At seven metres, this boat was the smallest vessel the company made.
Getting the 1978 Martini back into shape began by taking it completely apart. That meant cutting the deck off and stripping out the remains of the rotten wood stringers, and scraping away years of dirt, grunge, and rot.
While Adam has restored many boats over the years, this would be a rejuvenation rather than a restoration. “I didn’t feel the need to be completely historically accurate with this project,” says Adam. “This was all about having fun and turning a decrepit hull back into a boat that runs great and looks fantastic.”
That approach allowed him to steer away from the boat’s original colour – “it was this absolutely hideous teal green,” says Nicole.
It also meant he could make a serious upgrade to the boat’s power.
“This would have been powered with a 330 hp (454 cubic inch) Mercruiser engine,” says Adam. “We decided to take that up a bit,” he adds with a grin.
In fact, he installed a 610 cubic inch big block Chevrolet engine, something that wasn’t even possible in a boat this size in the 1970s.
Having run Martini boats before, Adam knew that this hull could handle the extra power. “If anything, this rides even nicer than the one we already own,” he says.
Of course, restoring the boat involved a lot more than repowering it. Every part of it needed to be either replaced or rebuilt, including upholstery, electrical systems, and fibreglass. “We had someone do the upholstery, but other than that it was all done right here in the shop,” says Adam.
In a busy boat shop where the customers come first, this project took patience. In all, it would be three years before the former wreck was ready to be tested on Lake Simcoe. And after all that, how do Adam and Nicole plan to use their boat? They don’t: it’s being sold at auction this summer.
“For Adam, it wasn’t ever about wanting to have another boat,” Nicole explains. “It was about the project, the process.”
“It was just a fun thing to do,” Adam adds with a grin.
TEXT A. WAGNER-CHAZALON | PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN