Robb Lamppa...2002 Vegas XT with 2007 Evinrude ETEC 200
My boat was originally custom built for an individual up in Canada. It is a John Spaeth built boat. The boat is an epoxy lay-up with a balsa core and really beefy transom so it is a pretty special Hydrostream. My understanding is that the gelcoat was not able to be sprayed in-house and an individual was flown it to tape the pattern and spray the fades.
The boat was originally rigged with a 200hp Johnson and some of those pictures are still floating around the internet of that package as a unit. I also have some pictures of this boat being displayed at a boat show up in Canada. The boat was then sold and was then rigged with a Merc 250XS. The second owner of the boat claims he never hit anything with the boat but noticed a delamination of the bottom of the boat once he put it on his lift after a day of boating. What I do know for sure is the boat took a solid hit at some point as the bottom was delaminated on the one side with stress cracks that migrated 10 feet forward from the transom and crossed to the other side of the hull. The damage was either initiated by the first owner and completed by the unsuspecting second owner or the damage occurred by the second owner. I will probably never know the real story on the damage. I can only go by what I was told.
I bought the boat in damaged form. The boat had the motor taken off and had a full interior, gauges, and was rigged for Mercury power. The boat immediately caught my eye as probably the nicest Hydrostream I have ever seen. I forwarded the pictures I had to a friend and he said that if I didn't buy it, he would. The boat sat for sale for some time because not many people had a real good idea on how to repair an epoxy layed-up boat. The repair is more complicated than a regular fiberglass repair and I believe that is why it sat for some time and the price kept dropping. I made multiple calls to boat repair shops beforehand to see if this thing could be repaired. I even called John Spaeth himself as he inspected the boat after the damage to see if he could repair the hull. John told me the boat could not be repaired. A very strong statement from the man who built the boat. However, after talking with several repair shops in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, I was told it could be repaired. I decided to take a chance on the project, worst case scenario would be I would be out the cost of the boat/trailer if it was deemed a total loss.
After a 30 hour non-stop round trip drive from Hudson, WI to Port Huron, MI I picked up the boat on the Canadian side and had to bring it through customs which was uneventful. I brought the boat to Imperial Boat Repair in Hudson, WI and had Jim and his crew go to work. The repair work was actually done by a very knowledgeable guy who actually built boats for Howard Pipkorn when the Hydrostream boat company was in it's hayday here in Minnesota. I heard a few interesting stories about Howard and why the company ultimately went down. The floor of the boat was cut out and a mold was made of the damaged side of the boat hull prior to repair to be able to mimic the lines of the bottom during the repair. The hull was repaired both inside and out and the floor was then secured back in place.
I designed a new boat interior complete with the Hydrostream logo embroidered with UV protected thread into the new vinyl. Scott Beard of Eveleth, MN brought my vision to see the light of day as he stitched together a beautiful new interior and I met my goal of jazzing the interior of this thing up a few notches.
I then replaced the entire carpeting in the whole boat and installed a rockin' stereo system which this boat had never had before. Hard to imagine running a boat with no tunes at all!! I replaced all the gauges with a newer style Livorsi package for another aesthetic upgrade . A GPS recall speedo was included with this new installation as I definitely wanted as few holes in the transom as possible. A 2007 Evinrude ETEC 200H.O. was strapped on the Gorilla transom jack by a friend and myself, I completed the rigging myself and then brought the motor in to have the ECM reflashed for any upgrades. I then put the rest of the boat together.
I then sent the lower unit to Titus Grisham (www.low-h2o.com) to perform his magic on the lower unit. A low water pick-up was added as well as lengthening the lower unit and adding a torque-tab and a complete paint job to top it all off.
I never intended to build this boat as an all out lake rocket but more of a very sharp looking boat that certainly would be no slouch. Because of the lightness of this hull and the massive torque of the ETEC motor, this boat really has some strong mid-range pull. I have been experimenting with props and some have definitely worked better than others. I have been told that a Merc Lightning ET 30p would be the prop for this boat but I haven't broken down to spend the money on one as of yet.
Here are some pictures of a couple of my buddies' Hydrostreams. The HST is an '89 with a 1995 Pro-Max 225. The boat has less than 50 hours on it total since rolling off the line. An absolutely stunning original boat. The other Stream is a "sleeper" family boat: a 2005 Hydrostream Voyager XT with 2005 Mercury 250XS.
I currently have two summers on this repaired hull and I am looking forward to starting my third summer on it here shortly. It was a much larger overall project than I had anticipated but the end result is a boat that I am very proud of and it will not see a forth owner for some time.