The building of the Vamoose

October 2006

This effort began 15 years ago in 1991. I wondered what I was going to do in my retiring years and how was I going to get away from city life we have grown to love. As a young man I worked my way thru school by delivering boats in summers from Holland Michigan to the east coast and remember those days on the water as the most peaceful and energizing days of my life.

I developed a few goals in those formative years relating to the water, some of which were:
1st to renew that life style that only life on the water can supply. Rita and I have taken many trips on the water, one which was 3500 miles long.
2nd was to build a boat that would hold my family such that they could share the lifestyle and serenity I have known.
3rd was to find a naval architect with the knack of practicality & known ability to build a boat of this caliber. Fortunately - I found George Buehler a naval architect who has designed & built many boats of this nature in Seattle Washington. George gave me the courage to start and complete this boat by reading of his own boat building efforts.

I inherited this urge to build a boat from my Dad - Carl Rundquist. As a pre-teen I watched evenings as Carl built a number of boats. Carl was an engine builder and builder of many Gold Cup race boats. He named his boats Vamoose the first and four additional boats thru Vamoose the fifth. Carl supplied the initial inspiration to build this boat.  I named this boat Vamoose to thank him and carry on that tradition commemorating his years of boat building.

The process began in 1992 when a group of engineers and I laid out the boat full scale on 3 ft wide pieces of brown paper taped together to form a 60ft by 20ft mosaic on the gym floor at Kirkwood High School. I purchased a truck load of mahogany from Honduras. I then sawed, planed and honed those pieces and began to sub assemble the pieces in my basement in Sunset Hills. After three years, Rita my lovely wife, said it's time to move those pieces and resulting saw dust to another building which I did. I subsequently moved the boat four times and ended up at Port Charles Marina in St. Charles in 2005 to complete and test all the systems aboard.

I estimate it took in excess of 50,000 hours to complete this boat.  That's equivalent to 25 years of full-time labor. Many of those hours were spent in our basement cutting out the pieces and later assembling.  Progress slowed some as business pretty much got in the way.  Then many other talented folks helped me complete this project. I will forever remain extremely grateful for their work . Work of this kind is truly a labor of love. Personally I loved every minute of it and will be forever thankful to the workers who made it possible. I will miss this boat building activity. In the past 15 years many folks asked "how's the boat doing" those questions were very important as they kept me on task to complete this project. To those folks I am extremely grateful.

Aboard a vessel of this type everybody works. If you stand still for any reason you end up scraping, sanding, painting or varnishing and a sunburn to boot. When the work is done there's always time for reading, swimming, fishing, diving, cooking, drinking, partying, napping and dreaming.

When discussing this boat I sense the fear emanating from the ladies present as wives and girlfriends fear me - because they fear this boatbuilding thing might be catching. I'd say for those inclined - go for it!

Boating & boat building is a wonderful sport and a lifelong learning experience. Actually the best part of this learning experience is about to begin - the actual use of this vessel first in Naples Fl, then St. Thomas Virgin Islands and then wherever the wind blows.

This has been a 15 year quest and is a classic example of the race not going to the swift but to those who endure to the end.

This boat is 58 ft long, 14 ft wide, draw 6'6" and weighs 22 ton. This boat will sleep eight, two comfortably and is listed by the coast guard to foolishly hold 49 people (based on the square feet of deck). It includes all the comforts of home including a water making system from seawater, a combination washer drier, a gimbaled stove for cooking, a deep chest freezer, a refrigerator freezer, a micro wave, a coffee maker a stereo system, 2 TVs, - and all the things you generally have at home.

The boat has an 80 hp diesel engine, 2 water storage tanks, 2 fuel tanks, a gray water tank and waste tank, 9 pumps for various jobs, an alternator, a very big isolation transformer, a generator set & four huge batteries.

The boat includes a complete complement of electronics like on any ship at sea including: three vhf radios for communication between boats & harbors, a single side band radio for use at sea to call home, radar, side scanning sonar, three depth finders. The boat is built to single handle and will be served by three sails a Jib & Staysail forward of the mast and a mainsail aft. The many systems aboard this boat are designed to go forth into harms way and return with a big smile on the captain and his wife's face.

Thanks for your interest and questions these 14 years as you have kept
us interested. Stop in and see us if you are in Naples Florida where we have a marine propeller tool company or St. Thomas or wherever the Vamoose is and we will share our good times with you. 

Many have asked just what are we going to do with this boat when completed and our answer comes from John Masefield the great English poet who wrote a poem called "A Valediction."
Which begins:
"We're bound for the blue water where the great winds blow. It's time to get the tacks aboard, it's time for us to go."

We are always available by email at billr@airmasters.com
Bill Rundquist