For sheer grace on the water, there’s nothing like a mahogany boat. For mahogany boats, there may be nothing like those produced by StanCraft Boats of Post Falls, Idaho, close by the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene.
Anyone pulling into the marina of the nearby Gozzer Ranch Golf and Lake Club will notice a fleet of the sleek and elegant mahogany craft. These are the runabouts and day-trippers that the successful people who make that exclusive club their refuge (including John Elway, the former Broncos quarterback) use as their boats of choice.
And the StanCrafts boats are as much works of art as they are vessels of work. The artisanal builders sculpt the finest African mahogany into gleaming, roaring Art Deco-like trophies. At the Gozzer docks Elway’s Missile model is 36 feet of beauty and beast. Powered by two 700-horsepower engines, the boat can easily exceed the lake’s 50-mile-an-hour speed limit, and do it with an extraordinary ride.
That ride has often been described as a hot knife through butter, but that doesn’t quite say enough about the sensory connection between boat, water and driver. Robb Bloem, owner of StanCraft, has his own Torpedo model on the lake, a 29-footer propelled by a 525-horsepower engine. Push the throttles forward and the boat comes alive, though the bow barely rises. Get it up to 40 knots and the one-foot chop on the lake is mere ripple. Push it into a turn and it digs into the water, the stern holding tight.
“We are known for the quality of our work, the looks of our boats and our ride,” says Bloem. “We worked a long time to build a boat with a ride like this. They have deep V forward and low deadrise at the stern.”
StanCraft boats range from 17 to more than 40 feet, and while they have developed specific models, no two boats are ever quite the same. About 3,500 man-hours go into the average boat. So as not to “dilute our product” they seldom build more than 10 in a year.
Prices for StanCraft boats begin at about $175,000 and go up to about $1.4 million. StanCraft has recently produced two tenders to be used with European mega yachts and they are now the owners’ treasured toys, just like StanCraft owners everywhere.