The Robb Report COLLECTION (June 2005)

Text: J. B. Howell

"The Viper is the Ferrari of our boat world," says boatbuilder Robb Bloem of Stan-Craft Boat Co. It's long, sleek, and sexy."art_10_1

Crafted from African mahogany, Stan-Craft's 26-foot-long Fastback V10 Speedster is designed for velocity, from its low profile to the racer-style cockpit, cigarette boatlike design, and the inboard engine - the same engine that drives the Dodge Viper. "Everything about it exudes speed," Bloem says of the 550 hp vessel. "When you're going 50 or 60 mph, it feels like you're going 80 or 85 mph."

Each custom boat is made by the 72-year-old family-owned company in Post Falls, Idaho. The wood is hand-blocked to avoid impurities and to produce a mirrorlike finish. Each boat, finished with 15 coats of UV-protected varnish, can be customized in numerous ways, such as the color of the stain and seating, the steering wheel, and the windshield. Other options include stereo systems, built-in coolers, swim platforms, cockpit heaters, and GPS gauges.

"Every piece of hardware is handmade and cast in bronze or brass with a chrome finish," Bloem explains. "We only build eight to 10 boats a year, which allows for great attention to every detail. Our clientele is very exclusive."

art_10_2Stan-Craft also puts a premium on function. "Not all of our clients are boating professionals - they want their boats to be easy to maneuver," Bloem says. To increase user-friendliness, Stan-Craft installs a bow thruster - a mechanism that allows the boat to move sideways when parking - in each custom creation that measures 22 feet and longer. "Bow thrusters are typically found on 40-foot yachts and longer, which are a bear to park," Bloem says. "The thruster makes parking very easy."