by Gregory McLean member of the Thousand Islands chapter

The Vanquish caught my eye at first glance – as a classic inboard river boat and that was enough to spark my initial interest. My lap-strake Lyman needed work and without a boathouse I thought fiberglass might be a more durable way to go.

I had been casually looking for something to fit the bill and the Vanquish checked a lot of boxes. It was designed with the Lyman look I appreciated with many of the attributes – traditional inboard, roomy open cockpit and wood trim (I still desired at least some wood). Vanquish (Vanguard was the original name) was designed by renowned architect Doug Zurn (MJM boats, Shelter Island, Marlow Explorer) as just such a boat. With many of the classic features as well as extras such as tunnel drive for shallow draft (appreciated around our many river shoals) and modern efficiencies such as fuel injection yes, it checked most of the boxes. Also a key factor was the local connection – it was conceptualized, designed and assembled in the Thousand Island area of the St Lawrence River. The owner of the company was a friend, Adam Harden, who knew how much I admired the Vanquish. Adam had the vision for such a boat and contracted with Zurn in 2002. Within approximately 6 months they came up with the design. Adam then worked with North-End Composites of Rockland, Maine to build the tooling to manufacture the first two boats. Subsequent hulls, decks and fiberglass small-parts were built by Hustler Boats in Long Island, NY but shipped to Wellesley Island, NY in the Thousand Islands for assembly, engine installation and painting of the hulls. A total of 18 were built before Adam sold the molds and patterns to Morgan Huntley who continues the line in Newport, Rhode Island.

Propitiously I found the last one Adam built (a 2008 model) by perusing online classifieds for at least a year. In storage in a marina in St Joseph, Michigan, it was a long way from the Thousand Islands. But it was in excellent condition having rarely been used on Lake Michigan with about 100 total hours. We were far apart on price but the general manager at the marina was helpful and tenacious and brought us together. My wife and I then flew out for a brisk mid-April sea trial and with the help of Peter Mellon (Antique Boat America, Clayton, NY) had it shipped here. We have since put on many hours each summer, it gets attention wherever she goes. We’re now building a boathouse so another Lyman may be in the future but the Vanquish is certainly here to stay.

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