by Ron Yandt member of the Inland Empire chapter
I grew up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho about three blocks from the City Park and beach. I spent a lot of time at the beach swimming and watching wooden taxi boats taking people on rides. Several of the taxis were built by my Uncle Bob and his son Robert. Robert operated a Yandt taxi boat and when he had an open seat, I would ride along.
Many years later after my Uncle Bob had passed away, my son, Wes and I decided that someone should carry on the legacy of the Yandt Boat Works. With the help of my cousin Robert, we located a 1963 20’ Yandt utility, the Vouvray, in the Seattle area. We had little woodworking skills and no skill at boat restorations. After asking questions and getting several different answers to the same question, we bought Don Danenberg’s book “How to Restore Your Wooden Boat”. We used it as our guide.
The Vouvray was in a lot worse shape than what appeared when we started the restoration. Half the bottom frames, the transom, all the side planks, and deck planks needed to be replaced. Many hours, 5,000 screws, and 7 years later, we launched.
We have spent the last nine years enjoying “The Uncle Bob” and telling the story of Yandt Boat Works at all of the local boat shows.
Five years ago, another Yandt boat found us. The Skippy Jr. was living in the Seattle area and the owner decided it should be in the Yandt family. He tracked us down and a year later my son, Wes bought us another restoration project.
The Skippy Jr. is a 1940 23’ Runabout designed after the Garwood Streamliner with a rear engine V-drive. It was originally used as a taxi boat for many years on Lake Coeur d’Alene.
We estimate Uncle Bob built 75 boats in about 50 years. We have located 8 Yandt boats all in various conditions from completely rebuilt to grey. The most famous Yandt boat is The Greyhound, a gentleman’s racer, built in 1921. The Greyhound was restored by Alan Thomle in Stanwood, Washington. Alan has been to all of the Northwest boat shows.