October 26, 2018
"I really had no idea what I was getting into," said Howard Preissman, of Stuart, when asked about his 1977 46-foot Whiticar. Preissman's profession was in the medical field, but the thought of overhauling an old boat and selling it for profit had gone through his mind. "I was looking for a new business opportunity, and have always been drawn to boating." Bringing previous wood working experience to the table, he figured it would be a worthy venture. "It needed a lot of mechanical work in terms of carpentry, you look at the inside and it was just beat up. But I figured it was something I could do."
The previous owner had unfortunately let the boat deteriorate into unworkable condition, leaving it sitting in the water for five years before Howard was able to get ahold of it. Once the deal was made, Preissman assessed the situation and decided that grinding the whole boat down to bare wood was necessary before starting the rebuild.
He quickly realized that he wasn't going to be able to handle this giant project on his own, and decided to bring in a a crew of professionals. A mechanic, electrician, and painter were just a few of them.
Being built in the 70's, there were features that had become outdated. Inside the boat, the sleeping quarters were redone, making two staterooms instead of one. The bathroom was also redone, closing in the shower and modernizing it all. Howard wanted to make this boat suitable for a family of four.
Jumping out to the cockpit, the helm station was replaced by a chilled bait tray and tackle station. Various storage compartments and new rocket launcher also filled the cockpit. Up in the bridge, everything was gutted, leaving a clean slate for a whole new layout. Long storage boxes that doubled as seating were installed, and a whole new helm station was built to accompany modern day electronics. Preissman also added another captain's chair for guests on those long rides to the Bahamas. In doing all of this though, he didn't stray away from the classic look that Whiticar is known for; paying homage to the legacy these boats made in the sportfishing industry.
The finished project totaled one million dollars, and years of work. But when it came time to sell, Preissman decided against it."I was certainly designing the boat for my family and I, I just thought I was building the dream for someone else." The Sabre now spends its time fishing the Gulf Stream for pelagics and meandering through the Bahamas with the Preissman family.