"Lazy-S" A Former West Coast Rum Runner
Following an 11 year restoration, in 2010 Greg Suldan re-launched “Lazy-S” on Mason Lake near Seattle, Washington. After 82 years the 1928 Gar Wood Baby Gar 28 once again brings smiles to people faces when they see the her back in the water. “Lazy-S” first brought smiles to peoples faces during the prohibition in 1928 when she began life as a Rum Runner, transporting illegal liquor to from Vancouver, Canada to Washington’s Puget Sound region. Powered by a big 1414 Cubic Inch 300 HP V-12 Kermath Sea-Raider engine and 310 gallon fuel capacity which made her fast and hard to catch in 1928.
Suldan’s Boat Works Inc in Port Orchard, Washington (near Seattle) was started by Byron Suldan in 1946 and has remained a family owned and operated ever since.
The vintage Baby Gar 28 has also had many names over the last 82 years such as “Lazy-S”, “Hoot”, “Toy Yot” among others and is once again named “Lazy-S”, or “Lazy-Scoundrel” to her friends.
Here’s the story of “Lazy-S” in Greg Suldan’s own words…
Over the years I have heard many stories about the 1928 28’ Gar Wood known to me mostly as the “Toy Yot”.
The one that has always intrigued me the most is about how the “Lazy-S”, (what she was named at the time) came back in the Puget Sound area.
Around 1945 Don Bancroft, a friend of my dad’s and his brother in law, John Willock were hunting over in the Coeur d’ Alene area of Idaho and spotted this old boat in a field. John said to Don, “If you want a really fast boat, this is the one you should get.” John proceeded to tell Don about the time he spent in the US Coast Guard, during prohibition, and how this was one of the boats that they knew was running booze from Vancouver, Canada to Port Townsend, Port Angeles and surrounding areas of Seattle, but they could never catch her. Due I’m sure, to her heavy construction, twelve cylinder Kermath power plant, and bulked up fuel carrying capacity of approximately 310 gallons.
In 1927 a smaller version of the original Baby Gar was introduced at the National Boat Show in New York. The new 28′ Baby Gar was an instant hit and sales exceeded those of the larger 33′ model. In addition to these stock runabouts the small Algonac plant built high speed custom cruisers and the Miss America racers. According to the book Gar Wood Boats – Classics of a Golden Era by Anthony S. Mollica Jr – In 1928 the company (Gar Wood) sold 70 units of the 28-foot Baby Gars. The production included 29 Runabout Models, 40 Sedan Models, and 1 Limousine Model. – Texx
When I saw the boat with that tri power set up and heard the rumble of the exhaust, I knew I had to have her. She was beautiful even with the mushrooms growing from the sides of the cabin. After talking to Burt Connel and (begging) with my dad, it was decided that this was just too big of a project for a 15 year old kid. Dad (Byron Suldan, Greg’s father) would buy the boat, bank roll the project and I would help in replacing the cabin and bringing the old girl back to life. August of 1967 was one best years of my life. Dad showed me and my brother Mark, how to layout and build a new cabin and fiberglass that year. We also learned how to pull an engine and replace it with a new short block.
After cruising the boat for a year with the 312, it was decided that we needed just a little more power. Dad picked up a used 427ci Ford Trojan conversion from Doc Freeman’s in Seattle and had it rebuilt by Bremerton Charleston Transportation in Bremerton. The bigger engine was just the ticket, it gave us about 17 knot cruise at 2750 rpm’s, with a top speed of 32 knots at 4200 rpm’s.
The family used the boat for vacations, fishing and just having a good time. The first date I had with Sherryl, my wife, was on the “Toy Yot” with my good friend John Holladay and Sherryl’s friend Gail Plummer. There was also the time, (Sherryl was 9 months pregnant with our son Chad) we took that the boat to Blake Island and walked the island and she delivered early the next morning. Was her mom ever mad! As all things in life, times change and we move on and Dad bought a bigger, newer, 1958 Hunter boat that was big enough to take the whole family on. He sold the “Toy Yot” to Dan Stotsenberg in the mid 1980’s.
Dan had the boat for a few years and completely refurbished her and installed a 390ci Ford using the marine parts from the 427. He sold her to Scott Vagrin on a contract and then ended up repossessing her for nonpayment. Dan later sold her to Steve Sauers, Bruce Albert and a couple of other partners, I don’t recall their names. Later on Bruce and the other partners were bought out by Arlond Goodwin.
I, along with my friends; Andy Schwartzbacher, John Lee, Marshall Maring and Bruce Bronson, cut the cabin off the “Toy Yot”, repowered it with a 534ci Ford Sea-Master, 1.5:1 gears, 18×21 prop and started her journey back to what she has become today, the “Lazy-S”.
Here’s Greg and his buddies below after the old cabin top was finally removed from the boat.
The restoration work began in 1999 and was completed in the Summer of 2010.
That is NOT a real Gar Wood.
I agree. I don't know what it is, but it is not a Gar Wood. I had a 1928 28' Gar Wood once – looked nothing like this. they were raised deck boats then.
Also, the Kermath V-12 did not even exist in 1928.
With the liberal application of booze the possibilities are endless.
Today both Matt & I have been flooded with phone calls and e-mails from the Woody Boater Community about this story.
In the spirit of responsible reporting and in an attempt to set the record straight, we will further communicate with the owner of "Lazy-S" and provide a follow up to the story.
That's what we like, more controversey. Things were getting a little boring here!
she's a beauty regardless of what she is!
More controversy? Oh No! Please don't make us look at hats again!
Matt and Texx, I have to agree with the others here. Even if this was built from Gar Wood plans it would not have had a batten seam bottom. And a riveted bottom to boot? Sounds like a Canadian builder to me.
MATT, WHAT IS THE ANSWER? IS THIS A GARWOOD? THANKS
I have just written a mystery set in Puget Sound which has an old rumrunner. May I have permission to use the 1955 photo? I will credit and send you a copy of the book – Pride’s Puget Sound.
Hi Bob – Thanks for your inquiry. We will follow up and confirm by e-mail.