Workboat (August 1999)

Stan Craft Boats delivers passenger ‘Torpedo’
Charles B. Summers

Granted, she doesn’t look like a workboat but given her job of carrying passengers for hire, that’s what she is.

In the spring and fall, Keith Snyder runs fishing charters on Idaho’s Lake Pond Orielle, but summer tourists are more interested in sightseeing. As a result, between June 15 and September 15, he moves his operation 30 miles south to Lake Coeur d’Alene, where he sells 30-minute boat rides at $15 a head. While the boat ride is an attraction, the boat itself – a new 29’, all wood, 1930s-style "Torpedo" runabout – is just as appealing.


workboatBuilt last winter by Syd Young, owner of Stan-Craft boats, Post Falls, Idaho, the triple cockpit, six-passenger boat is powered with a 415-hp Mercruiser and will hit top speeds around 50 mpg. Although such craft are associated more with the rich and famous of years past than a modern commercial tour boat service, Snyder believes it is ideal for the clientele he has in mind.

"Idaho lakes have quite a history of using wood water taxis," explained Snyder. "Our service is not a water taxi as much as it is just a thrilling boat ride. The opportunity to take a spin in such a classic boat is part of what will sell the tour. It will leave the Coeur d’Alene Resort every half-hour, and we’ll be able to show passengers a lot of the lake’s north-end highlights with that much speed."

Young’s father started Stan-Craft Bats in 1933 on Montana’s Flathead Lake. Young moved the business to northern Idaho, where he now does new construction (four to five 25-30 footers annually), restoration of classic runabouts, and general boat repair at a six-acre facility in Post Falls. Other wood workboats built by Young include two custom-designed, 30’ water taxis delivered to the Coeur d’Alene Resort in 1990 that still look like new after 9,000 hours of operation.

Construction of Snyder’s 29-footer features 1/2" African mahogany planking with a double, diagonally planked bottom. The first layer is 1/4" with a layer of vinyl bedded in 3M 5200 between it and the 1/2"-thick second layer. All frames are 3 1/2"x1" African mahogany sawn to shape and assembled with double gussets at the 3 1/2"x1 1/2" chine bars; 3 1/8"x7 1/2" longitudinal stringers run full length. Stainless-steel fasteners and 5200 bedding compound are used throughout.

The wood hull and planked deck are stained, then finished with five coats of epoxy and six layers of clear urethane enamel. The final coat is sanded with 600- and 1,200-grit sandpaper and buffed to a mirror finish.

In addition to good looks, this $140,000 classic speedster will offer passengers an unusually smooth ride, despite the lake’s often choppy water conditions. "Our bottom design has been developed and refined over the years until we now have an incredible set of lines," said Young. "Although only six degrees at the stern, the dead-rise becomes extremely deep in the bow, probably 50 to 55 degrees. It has a very soft entry, fabulous turning characteristics, and no bad habits of any kind."