| | Just Bought a 1987 Mark Twain 23.5 Footer and Love It!
To answer your question about how good a boat is a Mark Twain . . .
The boats were built in Frankfort, Illinois in the 1980s to early 1990s. Another boat manufacturer took over their plant in Frankfort in 1991, so they were obviously out of business by then.
From what I have researched myself--which, by the way, seems to be little out there about these boats--they are well built, heavy duty boats quite stable in rough seas.
It seems the cheaper made and cheaper priced Bayliner and Glasstron boats companies forced them to close their doors because their focus was on quality as well as performance and built to last.
Now, from a personal standpoint, and now a Mark Twain boat owner, I can tell you I found a soft spot in the cuddy cabin after having the boat only one weekend.
However, this is of no fault of the builders. I looked at many boats before I bought this one; and frankly, older boats tend to have been neglected without properly covering them at times. Therefore rain water gets in the cabin, drains to the lower hull cavity and forces moisture to rise and soften the marine plywood.
Today boats are completely fiberglassed on both sides of the cabin floor and thereby protecting them against rotting.
I have already cut out the bath section of the floor and found the hull quite sound and strong, something that surprised me for a boat built in 1987! Only one very small spot on one of the stringers had also rotted partial down from its surface, maybe two inches long and about inch deep. I cleaned it completely out as a denist would a bad cavity. I filled it with "Kitty Hair," a concoction of fiberglass fibers and resin in quart can. You mix a hardener with it and the stringer, or any area you want to fix becomes like new and hard as a rock!
I was turned on to this fix by a young mechanic at the marina where I have my boat moored.
This week I will cut the replacement hardwood, void free, 1/2" plywood and boat every inch of it in at least two layers of resin and fiberglass, then adhere it to hull with resin and hardener, then fiberglass the seams and surface a few more times to found a perfect cabin floor. Sanding with two grades of sandpaper will bring it to a smooth finish. Then I can paint it with an anti-skid marine epoxy deck paint.
If you like, we can exchange ideas and sources while getting our Mark Twains back to like new condition.
Btw, the engine, electronics, and outdrive all work perfectly. The previous owner also had just put in a new $500 shifter assembly. Frankly, I stole this boat for only $1400. It has a stove, sink and full head, all working.