Raised in an engineering family and now a mechanical engineer himself, Dale Dupuis freely admits that it’s his nature to question the inner-workings of gadgets and make them his own. “I was that kid at 6 years old who took the lawnmower apart, and my dad would have to yell at me to put it back together,” he says with a laugh. So it’s no surprise that when Dale purchased his first Sea Ray, a 300 Sundancer, the gears in his engineer’s mind started turning.
However, not until his second Sea Ray purchase in 2010 did his passion for tinkering really take over. While browsing boats for sale online, Dale came across a 2002 340 Sundancer that caught his eye, but not for the reasons one would assume. “The boat was basically a basket case,” he says. The Sea Ray had been totally neglected, left to the mercy of the elements. “I mean, it had no engines, no transmission, the exhaust was hanging off… The cabin hatch had been left open and seeds blew inside, causing grass to grow in the carpeting. It was bad.”
Dale and his wife, Tina, couldn’t resist taking a 12-hour road trip from their home in Highland, New York, to North Carolina to check it out. After surveying the damage, Dale knew that this rescue project had his name written all over it. “My wife turned to me and said ‘Really? You’re going to buy this thing?’” he says. “But, she knows the skills I have for doing this sort of thing, so she said, ‘Okay, let’s do it!’”
Over the next two years, Dale worked tirelessly to replace all of the missing and corroded parts, which included engines, a generator and the engine hatch. He even fabricated his own boat-sized shelter around the 340 so that the New York winter weather wouldn’t slow him down.
Today the Sundancer, which the Dupuises have lovingly named Mustang, is fully restored. What started out as a beautiful boat is once again a beautiful boat—with a few added perks. In addition to a customized sound system, kitchen appliances and a flat-screen TV, Dale opted to install PlasDECK synthetic teak panels from TT Custom Marine, customized to fit his boat and design dreams. “I love the traditional, marine look of the PlasDECK panels,” he says. “And the appearance is very close to real teak decking.” Dale and Tina teamed up to easily install the teak decking in the cockpit and swim platform in less than a day. “The process really is simple, and the stuff is fantastic,” Dale says. “PlasDECK is great when it’s wet because you don’t slip on it. It’s also very easy to clean and maintain.”
Now that the hard work is done, Dale and Tina love to sit back and relax onboard their beloved Mustang. This past summer, the couple enjoyed two 11-day cruises along the Northeast coast, including a stop at the Liberty Landing event held for Club Sea Ray members this past July. As for next year, the duo says they’re ready to purchase another, even larger Sea Ray in need of some love and elbow grease. “We have no children,” Dale says. “We have a Sea Ray. That’s our child!”
Want to see more from Mustang’s epic makeover? Check out Dale’s fascinating blog.