Flying Again: Keeping a Checkmate Starliner in the Family
For Sam Nesius, the idea of selling his 1989 Checkmate Starliner changed when he was getting it ready to show to a potential buyer. Everything was set for the sale, but Sam fell in love with the boat all over again. Sam has had many Checkmates and really loved the size and family aspect of the Starliner, which is the same hull as the Starflite in bowrider form. I am biased, my family had a Starflite growing up and they are very cool boats, with incredible styling. This was Sam’s 5th Checkmate and the only downside with the Starliner was some of the cosmetic things that are natural given the age and the original Yamaha 225 was a bit of a gas guzzler. After consideration with his wife, it seemed like a simple refresh, polishing, update the interior, make some hardware upgrades and a modern engine would bring it back.
Sam spoke with Checkmate in Bucyrus Ohio, which does offer restoration services, and arranged to bring the boat in. Once the boat was in Ohio and upon further inspection, it was determined it would take more work then everyone thought to get it back to 100%. In the end, the boat was given a complete overhaul, it is basically better than new now with modern hardware and new gelcoat. The boat was stripped down and totally redone. Sam decided to keep the color scheme similar in design to the original but to sharpen up the colors. After the refinishing and blueprinting to the hull, the gelcoat was applied. The blue and white look incredibly sharp. A few modern touches include the custom interior that takes some features from the newer Checkmate Pulsares, custom side panels, integrated speakers and Sam opted to go with Pirelli flooring in place of a carpeted floor for durability. With new wiring, 2 battery system with charging banks, great stereo and a new Atlas jack plate, you need an engine that can back it up.
With a new custom interior, a new Pirelli floor was used, along with custom side panels, new wiring, wheel and stereo.
With that in mind, the Evinrude G2 250 HO was the perfect match. Sam, in his own words claims “the G2 is a beast.” Plus, the G2 colored panels really make it look custom to the boat. And since Sam is a former Navy helicopter pilot, you know he will make use of all that power, yet enjoy the efficiency of the new engine.
Checkmate’s are known for their distinctive looks, performance and family oriented models. Bill Combs started the company when he was racing boats in 1963 and continued to build boats with his family for over 40 years. In 2013, Global Marine Power Inc. purchased the company and continues to operate out of Bucyrus Ohio.
How does the Starliner go? Just over 70 MPH with a 26.5” Bravo XS prop. Sam runs his boat in the Cormorant Lakes area of Minnesota and lives nearby in North Dakota. Family is a big part of the equation and the Starliner is perfect for that. I can see why Sam restored this classic, it is really hard to find a new boat that looks this good and can perform, yet take the whole family out. This is a beautiful family sport boat. Thanks Sam.
Getting ready for the overhaul, the bare boat was outfitted with everything new, from the steering wheel to the wiring.
Getting prepped for new gelcoat. The hull was taken down and blueprinted.