A longtime Sea Ray fan in Norway restores a 1988 Pachanga to its former glory.
Boater Erik Paulsen’s love for the sea extends to both work and play. During the day, Erik works as the Director of Business Development for Sea-Cargo, a shipping company based near his home in Bergen, Norway. At night, you’ll find him tucked away in his boathouse, restoring old Sea Ray treasures. His latest project: the transformation of an ’88 Pachanga.
It was 1988 when Erik was first captivated by the Pachanga’s ride quality and handling. “One of my neighbors owned a dealership that sold Sea Ray boats,” Erik recalls. “He invited me to ride on the 22-foot and 32-foot Pachangas he had in stock. I couldn’t afford to buy one at that time, but I never forgot the way it behaved in the water and waves, taking 90-degree turns so smoothly.”
It took a few years, but in 1996 Erik and his wife, Synnove, finally purchased their very own Sea Ray Pachanga. They enjoyed the boat together for three wonderful years until the birth of their first daughter, when they decided the Pachanga was too speedy for a newborn. So they traded in the sport boat and moved on to a Sea Ray Sundancer.
Still, the Pachanga memories lingered, and around the time his daughter turned fifteen, Erik decided he was ready to have a Pachanga back in the lineup. He first purchased a 22-foot model and spent months restoring it, only to realize it was a little smaller than what he and his family were looking for. So he sold the boat, newly in mint condition, and went searching for a 32-foot Pachanga instead.
The process proved to be more difficult than anticipated. Erik needed a boat that not only possessed the original gel coating but that was also CE approved, due to Norway’s strict import regulations. It took a lot of searching but finally Erik found an ’88 Pachanga, just like his first boat back in 1996, with an owner on the Island of Menorca, Spain. It was clear that the 32 Pachanga would need some love, but, trusting in the quality of Sea Ray, Erik purchased the boat and had it shipped to his boathouse in Norway to begin its restoration.
Upon the Pachanga’s arrival, it became clear that restoring this boat was not going to be an easy task. The ’88 Pachanga was in less-than-optimal shape, with a corroded engine, busted upholstery and dull, worn-down surface paint. Luckily, this was familiar territory for Erik. With a tinge of nostalgia and a hopeful spirit, he grabbed his sander and polish and went to work.
Several months of after-hours labor later, Erik was able to restore the boat to like-new condition with its original pristine gel-coat finish. He completely replaced the engine, sterndrives and gimbal houses. He had the upholstery redone to resemble the original seating, down to the details, including sewing the Pachanga name into the rear seat. And he restored all the original paint, which was quite an arduous process. Finally, with a lot of TLC, Erik once again had the ’88 Pachanga that had captivated him all those years ago.
“There is nothing like the quality of a Sea Ray,” Erik says. “Whenever we bring the boat out on the water, everyone is very interested to have a look. They cannot believe the way an old boat can look so new. But that is the thing about Sea Rays: If you put in the care, they will last a lifetime.”