Something about the mahogany Rumrunner inspires flights of fancy. As the curvy boat skips past more ordinary vessels, you half expect to see revenuers — if not pirates — in hot pursuit.
Often mistaken for a vintage wooden collectible, the 36-foot Rumrunner was commissioned in 2005 by Cape Harbour developer Will Stout. It serves as a sort of mascot for the development and its namesake restaurant, and it is meant, Stout says, to be a true community boat.
“Occasionally I’ll go to Rumrunners and pick up whoever’s on the dock for a short ride,” Stout says.
The boat was built by Hugh Saint and Tom Stovall of Hugh Saint Inc., a custom wooden boat builder in Cape Coral which has clients all over the world.
During years of finding excuses to drop by their shop, Stout kept eyeing a runabout hull designed by the legendary naval architect John Hacker, who built many of the memorable boats of the 1930s and ’40s. Stout had seen his first Hacker Craft at the age of 10 and lost his heart to it, and this proved irresistible.
With a top-notch team modifying Hacker’s original design to make it more of a commuter boat, the hull became the basis of Rumrunner. Rumrunner recalls the boats used by bootleggers in Prohibition days and famously resembles Tempo, a boat Guy Lombardo piloted to Manhattan clubs.
The builders protected Rumrunner’s layers of rich Honduran mahogany with high-tech epoxies. Art Deco details flourish in the interior, which features mahogany planking, leather seats and custom millwork by craftsmen from Naples Guild. With air-conditioning, surround sound and all the comforts of home, it’s a pleasurable ride.
Wooden boats have a different feel on the water and different harmonics from vessels of fiberglass and metal, Stout says. Even the fish prefer it.
“Wooden boats have a soul,” Stout says. “This is a special boat.”