What If Wooden Boats Hadn’t Stopped Evolving In The 1950s?

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Jeffrey Jones remembers asking that very question when he first bought property on Lake Tahoe, an area known for classic watercraft. “What would they look like?”

Along with Tampa-based architect Angel del Monte and champion race boat designer Michael Peters, the Florida businessman set out to find an answer. The result was the 33-foot AlphaZ, a high tech wooden motorboat capable of speeds over 100 mph.

In Graphis Magazine, Issue 340, the team outlines how and why they decided to pursue the project.

Applying techniques developed by Peters for boats made of lightweight, synthetic compounds, the AlphaZ features a stepped hull and a surface drive propeller that rests equally above and below the water to minimize drag.

“The key was to apply a lot of racing technology to a wood boat,” says del Monte. Indeed, critical to the design was negotiating the use of wood, a heavier material than its synthetic counterparts. However, by factoring together the desired maximum speed and an 850 horsepower-racing engine, they arrived at an acceptable weight of 5,700 pounds. The hull was constructed of full-length mahogany planks from bow to stem — so unusually long that they had to be procured from piano manufacturer Steinway. The boat also features a one-piece hand-carved mahogany dashboard, a single-piece laminated glass windshield with no exposed hardware, and hydraulically-operated mooring hardware with navigational lights.

Its other custom features — wood and stainless steel controls, a rudder box with a titanium rudder, and molded water-resistant leather seating — make AlphaZ a combination of classic craftsmanship and recent racing and boating technology. The AlphaZ is a one-of-a-kind, premium speedboat that can only be had at quite a price.

“Right now, if someone wanted to walk up and buy it,” says del Monte, “it would probably cost around $2.5 million.”

To read and see more of the famed AlphaZ, click here.

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AlphaZ 3

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