"Lazy-S" Part Two – Gathering Information From The Woody Boater Community After 80 Years

The Antique & Classic Boating Hobby is like no other hobby on the planet, with some of the best people on the planet. Any time you attend a boat show, a seminar, or just visit one of the many social web sites or forums dedicated to the hobby, it’s almost guaranteed that you will meet someone who is willing to share their knowledge and experience with you. The diversity of the folks in the hobby is also what makes it so great, from the collectors, to the brokers, to the restorers, to the vintage fiberglass folks, to the engine builders, on and on… all with the same common passion.

I have only been involved in the hobby for about 8 years and still consider myself as a relative newcomer to the hobby, but I have made so many good friends and contacts it’s just incredible. A perfect example of this was when we attended the Warner Collection Auction in October. It was almost like homecoming week or a family reunion, it was that much fun to get together with everyone and talk about our favorite subject – antique boats!

I have been blessed with the opportunity to contribute to Woody Boater for a while now, and as a result I have made many friends along the way. When we do a story about a fellow Woody Boater or their antique boat, you quickly make a new friend and create relationships. The most recent example of this was yesterday when I recieved an e-mail from Matt Smith at 4:30 PM to say that he was on assignment in Maine and had no access to the internet. The e-mail simply said… “Texx – I’m not going to be able to post anything tonight, it’s 4:30 PM, it’s dark and it’s cold…” That’s my cue to come up with a last minute story for Tuesday. I had some photos of “Houston Girl” from Tahoe this year, and called my friend John Allen in California for some help. By 6:30 PM I had the photos and information from John to do the story.

If I didn’t have to work for a living, I would still be driving around Minnesota visiting folks from the boating community!

So by now your probably thinking to yourself, “Texx, what the heck does this have to do with the “Lazy-S” story?” Well, one of my newest friends is Greg Suldan, the owner and restorer of “Lazy-S”.

Last week when we first published the story about “Lazy-S” Matt and I received many e-mails and phone calls from the Woody Boater community with questions and comments about the authenticity of Greg’s boat. Some of the folks also commented on the site with their observations and concerns. In the spirit of responsible reporting, we decided to follow up on these comments with Greg Suldan in attempt to gather more information about the boat for both Greg and the Woody Boater community. Maybe we could help set the record straight?

The challenge I was faced with was to phone Greg Suldan while he was on vacation in Arizona and figure out a way to tell him that some folks in the hobby were questioning if in fact what he had, and just spent 10 years restoring, was actually an original 1928 28′ Gar Wood. I was guessing that the conversation could have gone two ways – He could have cussed at me and hung up in my ear or listened to what I was about to say. Thankfully for me, Greg was wide open to any suggestions or comments from folks in the community, that could possibly shed some light on what it could be. We shared a few laughs and Greg told me that based on his knowledge, the boat has been titled as a 1928 28′ Gar Wood for over 60 years.

Greg Suldan has known of this boat since he was a kid and it has been in or around his family since 1967 when his father Byron first bought the boat for him and his son (Greg) to work on together. Greg first dated his wife in this boat, and he loves it as it’s become a part of his life. Now some dude named Texx is calling to say that after all those years, it may not be a Gar Wood. Fortunately for me Greg patiently took it all in stride.

Greg has been very gracious and has offered to take more photos of the boat, share any information he has about the structural aspects of the boat and help in any way he can to work with us with the objective of learning more about the boat and it’s history.

However, Greg is my friend and I don’t want this to become confrontational or negative. I would like to think that together the Woody Boater community can share their thoughts and vast knowledge in a positive way, for a common goal. That’s what the Antique & Classic Boating Hobby is all about.

So that said, we encouarge anyone out there to share their thoughts with us either in the comment section at the bottom of this story, or by e-mail or phone and together we can have some fun with this. After all winter is here…

I have included many of the same images that were shown in the original story last week for purposes of reference and comments. Also some old black & white scanned images that Greg had of “Lazy-S from back in the day.

Here is an image from 1999 when Greg bought the boat for the second time, just prior to starting the most recent 10 year restoration.

Removing the old cabin top.
And a few shots of the restoration work. The rivited bottom may provide some clues to the boats designer or original manufacturer. Greg has some knowledge of this if necessary.
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Below are a few photos of “Lazy-S” after she was restored and re-launched this summer. Not the best quality photos but I wanted to include them to get across that at the end of the day, regardess of what we learn about the boat, it’s beautifully restored and will be enjoyed by Greg Suldan and his family and friends for many years to come. That’s important.

One of the many e-mails we received at Woody Boater regarding the Lazy-S story last week was this one from Bruce Middleton at Absolute Classics Marine in Kelowna, B.C. Canada. Bruce said…

Just a comment regarding Texx’s story yesterday about the Rum Runner (Lazy-S) story.

Based on the pictures shown in the story of the boat as a cruiser style I immediately thought of a boat that is for sale in one of our listings that looks remarkably similar – as shown below.

It was built in 1926 as a 30′ runabout in Nelson B.C. (Canada) by Walton Boats from a Hacker (or possibly Gar Wood) design along with two other identical hulls, all three of which still exist. It was converted to a cruiser style much later but is well documented and I’m guessing like the boat in the story, could easily be converted back to the Hacker runabout design.

Of the other two built one was shipped to the coast (Vancouver, Canada) and is currently also one of our listings as a project boat – as shown below.

The third hull was the locally famous Lady Bird race boat (shown below) that at one time held some kind of world Speed Record in the 1930’s and was raced up into the 1950’s. It was restored in the late 1980’s in it’s final revised race shape of the late 1940’s complete with it’s original Liberty race engine supplied by Gar Wood and is now on permanent display in the Nelson Museum in Southern British Columbia, complete with its trophies and memorabilia. The museum has a lot more details on that one as well as Walton Boats – could be a story in that on it’s own.

As for the boat in Texx’s story – my guess is the boat could have also been built locally from a Hacker or even Gar Wood design as that was common practice on the west coast since it was costly and difficult to have eastern built boats shipped out west.
As another example we also have a listing for a 1928 Hacker design runabout (shown below) that was built here in Kelowna B.C. by Jones Boats (by Art Jones) for a prominent local family that was originally powered by a big Kermath that, for all intents and purposes, looked identical to a Hacker Dolphin. It was restored a number of years ago by Dave Lobb when he was still in Seattle.

So I guess the gist of my comment is that there is a chance that the boat in the story could in fact have been possibly a Hacker or Gar Wood design probably built in the Pacific North West possibly in Seattle or even Vancouver, Canada and yes was likely built for the Rum Running side of the story as that certainly happened in these parts. Don’t know if this helps the story or quells the masses but just my two cents.

Bruce Middleton
Absolute Classics Marine
Kelowna, B.C. Canada

Thanks Bruce. We would enjoy hearing anyones comments or receiving any positive feedback about “Lazy-S” and hope to learn more about this beautiful piece of boating history. If you prefer, you can also e-mail your comments, photos or information to me at texx@woodyboater.com As they say in the radio business, the phone lines are now open for callers!

7 replies
  1. WoodyBoater
    WoodyBoater says:

    Wow.. a boat babe story would have been fine.. I am going to Maine more often… What a great follow up and Houston Girl is also a great story.. Its disapointing that these are only up for a day at a time.. With over 1300 stories now. There is so much cool stuff here.. Click around.. The stories are timeless.. Except that Chris craft toilet seat on ebay.. That was a chance of a life time.

    For me, the story of lazy s is what this hobby is all about. You dont see this with cars.. Its always something different.. Something strange, and always fun.. Thanks Texx for bringing this to us..

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I think what Mr. Middleton said is accurate.

    In comparison to a 1928 Baby Gar 28, the Gar Woods had a raised deck coaming, the transom was about a foot narrower, the sheer line and freeboard was quite different, the cockpits were smaller, and the gauges were individual up until 1930. Gar Wood did experiment with a variety of bottom methods, but never rivets.

    With the frame spacing this boat has, it is too heavily built to be a Gar Wood, and was most likely a one-off speedy cabin cruiser. Also keep in mind that the Kermath V-12 did not come on scene until 1931.
    It is still a cool boat.

    FRED WAGNER says:

    Dear Matt- I do like your Woody Boater website & I have been visiting it since year 2002. I am fortunate to have grown up on Lake Austin, Texas with my rememberances of all Woody’s-Chris Crafts, Centurys, Correct Crafts, etc. I had a teacher who had a CC Barrell Back Speedster to which we high school seniors of her class got to ride in & that was all it took for me to become hooked. My Dad did own a 1959 Lone Star Monterery Outboard Boat with 35 hp Mercury motor to which we as a Family had some very good times in the 50’s & 60’s. I am on my 2nd fiberglass speed boat-1976 Checkmate 4 seater-85 hp Johnson Javilin-very fast for its size 15 ft. My all time favorite-1966 Century Coronoado with Hardtop. Just wish that I could afford one at present time-since I am now 65 & retired from Industrial Sales Career. I have attended Wooden Boat Shows @ Wheels/Keels-Houston,Tx & Lake Lewisville-North Texas (Dallas Area)-Southest Area Chapter-ACBS. As for you-please just keep these informative atricles coming everyday. Thank you, Fred Waner-Houston,Texas.

  4. matt
    matt says:

    Thanks Fred, I just got back from Texas.. What a cool .. wait.. hot place for fun boating.. You are a lucky man

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