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Late Start-er
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Edit: This thread is getting long and will get longer still so here are some page/post numbers for reference if you are looking for something in particular. JT

Starts here - History of the Belmont in our family and getting it back out on the water
Pg 3 / Post 40 - Getting Dad back out there in his old boat
Pg 4 / Post 53 - Mr Ed trailer, hubs, pads, prop
Pg 6 / Post 78 - Underwater hardware, strut to prop
Pg 6 / Post 84 - Optional motor
Pg 7 / Post 86 - Change from Halibrand to split case Casale v-drive, driveline, alternator mount and upholstery modifications
Pg 8 / Post 99 - More trailer stuff
Pg 9 / Post 118 - Boat show
Pg 9 / Post 123 - Change from original fiberglass fuel tanks to custom aluminum, bulkheads, etc
Pg 10 / Post 140 - Floors
PG 10 / Post 145 - Underwater gear and Blower



In June 2013, I began getting Dad’s boat ready to put back in the water for the first time in about 15 years. The boat is a Belmont flat bottom, made by Smitty Weeks at Belmont Boats in Fresno, CA. Smitty was Dad’s friend so Dad was able to get the third 19-foot fiberglass flat bottom Smitty made. Smitty kept the first one for himself and another friend got the second one.

This was the second boat Dad bought from Smitty. In 1965 he bought a used 20’ or 21’(?) deep hull wood Belmont that he sold in 1967 to help pay for the flat bottom. Dad had to save money everywhere he could to have this boat.

Dad bought the nearly blank hull from Smitty, with no holes in it. Dad wanted to build the boat himself, from the hull up. He even set up the prop shaft hole and support, fin mounts and cavitation plate with Smitty’s help. He bought all the other parts and put the boat together, with limited tools, in his garage. Our neighbor, Dad’s friend Wayne, is an amazingly talented guy and he helped Dad. It is registered as a 1967 but Dad registered it after the build. We believe that he started buying parts, and may have taken delivery of the hull in late 1966 but we know it was in the water around March of 1967.

Although I am sure Dad wanted a full-blown drag boat to race, he settled to build his beauty as an awesome workhorse ski boat for the family to enjoy together. He got a brand new 1966, stock, Olds 425 ci long block in a crate from the factory and matched it to a Halibrand v-drive. I remember the first ride I took in the boat. When I heard the v-drive WHINING, I thought something was wrong! That v-drive is still running fine but it can make cows on the lakeshore cover their ears!

Instead of zoomies like I saw on drag boats or bitchin over-the-transom headers on other boats, he used wet Edelbrock exhaust logs going thru the back of the boat to reduce the number of skin grafts required after a long day of pulling numerous skiers. Instead of having a pedal to adjust the cavitation plates, they are adjusted and fixed for skiing. It has a 3-blade prop that he chose for pulling power. I remember him pulling 4 of us skiing at one time on several occasions (I was a bit thinner then). He built the back-to-back seat frames, driveline cover, fender pads and step pads and applied the stitched upholstery he had made for it. It is pitch-black, with a silver metal-flake trim and white upholstery with black trim. He had one rule that he never waivered from – STAY OFF MY DECK!! I have a new appreciation for this rule, as I am now the one polishing the deck. He always wanted to keep it sleek and clean; no extra holes in the dash, no name painted on the back. Hell, he even rigged the trailer license plate to fold up under the back. He used to tell people the name of the boat was, “Boat.” However, I found an old photo that Mom labeled, “NoMoDough.”

It can seat up to 6 people with a couple skis on the floors beside the engine. Dad must have taught over 100 people how to ski. He invited all of their friends, neighbors, co-workers, relatives and their kids to come up and ski with us. He sat in that boat pulling skiers all day, every weekend, for many years. I remember launching just as the sun came up, setting up a 3-family or more camp at the picnic tables up from a beach where we were known to operate out of, and still being there after dark, eating off the barbeque and dodging bats (the flying kind). We spent every Saturday and Sunday skiing until there was more rock surface than water left in the lake in the Fall. Dad also took me up for additional skiing Wednesday’s after he got off of work. I always wished I could be a competitive slalom skier so I skied as often and long as I could. The only people I can remember that Dad ever let drive the boat was Mom and Wayne, but only to pull Dad skiing.

Most of the time, Dad took the boat to Millerton Lake north of Fresno, CA, because it was closest to us and good skiing water could usually be found somewhere on the lake, especially in the mornings. We sometimes went to Pine Flat Lake, just east of Fresno and tried the Mendota Slough a couple times just a few years before Dad moved away. For many summers, our 2-week family vacation was spent taking the boat to Shasta, staying in Cabin 18 and using the Salt Creek Boat Dock.

I remember when I was about 12, I informed my Dad that he could use the boat for as long as he wanted, as long as he returned it to me when he was done with it. He finally gave me back MY BOAT in 2000 but it had to sit in my garage until I recently retired and had time to mess with it. It still sounds funny to me to call it mine.

I am interested in learning more about the history of Belmont Boats in Fresno, CA. Recently, the new owner of the shop, now called Belmont Marine, told me that Smitty passed away in 2010 at the age of 93. His son, Lynn Weeks, who I also knew while growing up, ran the shop after Smitty, until it sold. I was told that Lynn is in poor health and probably would not be able to share the family’s boat shop history. I would also like to try and find any other Belmont owners and maybe see as many of the boats as I can.

I look forward to being a part of the Club’s functions, meeting the other members, learning more about our boats and exploring new waters.

PS – Next week, I will take this evolution to the next step. I am taking Dad to the lake. Even at 83 years old, I know he will love getting to play with his sweet old toy, running again just like it did when he used to enjoy it so much.

Thanks,
JT (JusTrouble)

Ive got pics to share as soon as I learn how to get them from my computer onto the threads. Any help would be appreciated!!

EDIT: for clarification, that is Dad sitting in the Belmont with the steering wheel and tach in the background in 1967 and then my ugly mug trying to duplicate the photo 46 years later...
 

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Before I bought my Kurtis in 82 or so, I was looking for a nice flat for hot rodding and skiing. I looked at a Belmont and loved that boat. Had a bit larger cockpit than most, very similar to the 19' Sanger Family Ski. Unfortunately, the Belmont I was looking at needed a fair amount of work and a new Sanger was outside my price range. Stumbled across the Kurtis and that was my first flat.... Still really like the lines of both the Belmont and the Sanger FS 19... Looking forward to pics of your restore...
 

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Late Start-er
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Before I bought my Kurtis in 82 or so, I was looking for a nice flat for hot rodding and skiing. I looked at a Belmont and loved that boat. Had a bit larger cockpit than most, very similar to the 19' Sanger Family Ski. Unfortunately, the Belmont I was looking at needed a fair amount of work and a new Sanger was outside my price range. Stumbled across the Kurtis and that was my first flat.... Still really like the lines of both the Belmont and the Sanger FS 19... Looking forward to pics of your restore...

Honestly, he kept such good care of it that it didnt take much to get it back in the water. The pads he made for the trailer steps were falling off so I re-made them the way he did it. The rust under them was bad so I tried to deal with it short of repainting the entire trailer. I still have to do the fender pads. The tires were a crack up, production date stamped from either 1982 or 1992, dont know which. I have to shimmy the tandem trailer in and up against the wall to fit in the garage. The first time I did it, the bias ply tires left powdered rubber on the floor and flat spots on em! Cats had gotten into the garage and pissed on the chrome wheels with big moons and ruined them. I buffed out the paint and polished up the upholstery and it all looks damn near like new, 47 years later.
 

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Late Start-er
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The motor is bone stock, has more hours on it than I could count and has never been touched. I have the "Pull" tags and "Deliver" tags that the factory put on the crate with instructions to leave off the exhaust manifolds, as ordered, the way they used to do back in the day. Based on old pics, he started out with the Quadrajet but by 1968 that was gone and replaced with a Carter. I dont know if they didnt make adaptors back then, if he couldnt afford an adaptor or if he just decided to make his own. He got several different aluminum plates of different thickness, cut them out to the size of the carb base and then cut the center out of them to create an adapter from the square bore Carter base to the spread bore manifold. Stacked together with gaskets he cut from sheets, they raised the carb about 2 inches. It worked great for decades and never had a vacuum leak. He used to be very proud of the black wrinkle paint which is now pretty tired and the clear, see-thru spark plug wires he made up back then. It still runs the vacuum distributor with points and condenser inside. He also gave me 2 boxes marked "Boat stuff." One of them had lots of Carter jets and 4 boxes of 8 AC Delco spark plugs he got to dial in his new carb. He finally parked the boat a few years before he brought it to my house. It sat in the garage a couple years without being used. When he took it to the lake it wouldnt run. I rebuilt the carb and just couldnt get it right and I didnt have time to work on it until this year. I gave up on the old Carter. I have the great fortune of living in a neighborhood full of old Hot Rod guys, some of whom used to own flats and hydros. Bill gave me a Holley 600 he had on a shelf to try. I learned how to rebuild it and tune it and the boat runs great but a little hot. I borrowed another neighbors Demon 750 off his W-30 Cutlass and Holy Crap it runs GREAT! I have to eventually give it back so today Bill gave me a Holley 750 double pumper with manual secondaries, which seems very similar to the Demon. Im going to go thru it tomorrow if I cant find someone to go to the lake with me tomorrow to play with the Demon again!
 

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Late Start-er
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The only other problem was the Neovane V505 water pump seal was out. I was referred to a great guy named Steve in Huntington Beach who set me up with an affordable replacement V755 which pumps a great deal more water, which I believe is a good thing. So now it is in the water and I have found myself so totally addicted that I cant stand the days I cant go.

Thanks for the replies. Made it all even better.
 

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Late Start-er
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I havent noticed this type of setup between the motor and v-drive in any of the other boats on the site.
 

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Good stuff:))THumbsUp ..... I remember it used to be all about skiing .... if you went to the lake or river with someone, you were going to ski or learn to ski ... somewhere along the way that all changed, maybe too much work for todays boater:happy:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for all the details..you have a sponge for memory...That's a bad ass deal and will be for years to come...great story and the pic of your Dad then and now is beyond priceless...ENJOY..!

What a CRACK UP! Yep, that was Dad in his boat in 67 but when I found that pic last week, I took a buddy up to the lake here to try and re-create that photo. That is actually ME in the second pic!!! Although I look and feel 83, Im only 56 but they were all tough ones! I hope to be able to get a couple pics of Dad driving the boat for the first time again next week. If Im successful, I'll post em. Hell, he might look younger than me; I never thought of that. And my memory is shot after being able to count my concussions on two hands. Going thru all of Dad's photo albums, piecing together that info and trying to drag info out of him has taken more time and effort than I have put into the boat. Talking to people adds to it and Im writing it all down so I dont have to remember. Having it all together to be able to share it and have it appreciated makes it worth the effort. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Good stuff:))THumbsUp ..... I remember it used to be all about skiing .... if you went to the lake or river with someone, you were going to ski or learn to ski ... somewhere along the way that all changed, maybe too much work for todays boater:happy:
Lots of injuries brought an unwelcome halt to my skiing days, much to my dismay. I still think about trying to do it again. Need a BIGGER ski! My competition O'Brien with dual fool boots would feel like a toothpick now. To be fair, I havent done this board floating thing. Well actually, we did something similar when dad cut out a 36" round piece of plywood, painted it and drug me on it behind the flatty. I could stand on it, spin around, go out of the wake, but it was too boring. I am amazed how FEW skiers I have seen since going back to the lake. I could be wrong but skiing just seemed harder than that board floatin thing they do now. I liked it better when the lake was FULL of FLATbottoms and skiers instead of these ocean-wave making, flatbottom sinking monstrosities I see out there. But they sure look like they skim through the rough stuff more comfortably! What do I know...
 

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What a CRACK UP! Yep, that was Dad in his boat in 67 but when I found that pic last week, I took a buddy up to the lake here to try and re-create that photo. That is actually ME in the second pic!!! Although I look and feel 83, Im only 56 but they were all tough ones! I hope to be able to get a couple pics of Dad driving the boat for the first time again next week. If Im successful, I'll post em. Hell, he might look younger than me; I never thought of that. And my memory is shot after being able to count my concussions on two hands. Going thru all of Dad's photo albums, piecing together that info and trying to drag info out of him has taken more time and effort than I have put into the boat. Donzi, Fountain Brands Go Factory-Direct Talking to people adds to it and Im writing it all down so I dont have to remember. Having it all together to be able to share it and have it appreciated makes it worth the effort. Thanks!
I was trying to figure that pic out as well, thought maybe it was your Dad 15 yrs ago since that was the last time it was in the water and it didn't sound like you had it back in the water yet.

Lots of injuries brought an unwelcome halt to my skiing days, much to my dismay. I still think about trying to do it again. Need a BIGGER ski! My competition O'Brien with dual fool boots would feel like a toothpick now. To be fair, I havent done this board floating thing. Well actually, we did something similar when dad cut out a 36" round piece of plywood, painted it and drug me on it behind the flatty. I could stand on it, spin around, go out of the wake, but it was too boring. I am amazed how FEW skiers I have seen since going back to the lake. I could be wrong but skiing just seemed harder than that board floatin thing they do now. I liked it better when the lake was FULL of FLATbottoms and skiers instead of these ocean-wave making, flatbottom sinking monstrosities I see out there. But they sure look like they skim through the rough stuff more comfortably! What do I know...
I skied for the first time in many years not to long ago (on a bigger ski) .... it went pretty good until the next a couple days I had a hard time moving around I was so sore, and I consider myself to be in good shape! The problem now is finding someone to pull me .... used to be able to get rides from almost anyone! most the time now its just my wife and me in the boat. And yes the bigger boats now don't help the water conditions ... I guess it is all about comfort now.
 
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