1985 Custom Steam Powered Launch

  • 28 ft
  • Antique and Classic
  • Jamestown, RI, US

Yacht price :

  • 1985 Custom Steam Powered Launch
  • 1985 Custom Steam Powered Launch
  • 1985 Custom Steam Powered Launch
  • 1985 Custom Steam Powered Launch
  • 1985 Custom Steam Powered Launch
  • 1985 Custom Steam Powered Launch
  • 1985 Custom Steam Powered Launch
  • 1985 Custom Steam Powered Launch
  • 1985 Custom Steam Powered Launch
  • 1985 Custom Steam Powered Launch


Presenting a custom 28' launch with an antique wood-fired steam engine that has been fully restored.  "Hope" has gone through a complete refit of her 1985 custom hull as well as the 1905 Davis & Son steam engine and wood-fired boiler.  She is a sight to see.  Her current owner has taken incredible pride in bringing back this classic and has painstakingly attended to every detail from the varnished mahogany to the polish brass.  "Hope" is a must see.

On display at the CT Boat Show in Essex, CT May 4-6.

Disclaimer: The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his/her agents, or his/her surveyors, to instigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.(6677608)


Basic Information

Steam Powered Launch
Jamestown, RI, US
Vessel Name:
Boat Type:
Antique and Classic
Hull Material:
Hull Type:
Hull Color:
Flag of Registry:

Dimensions & Weight

28 ft - 8.53 meter
28 ft - 8.53 meter
6 ft 6 in - 1.98 meter
Draft - max:
Bridge Clearance:
Dry Weight:


Cruise Speed:
Joystick Control:
Engine Type:
Drive Type:
Fuel Type:
Max Speed:


Total Cabins:
Total Berths:
Total Sleeps:
Total Heads:
Captains Cabin:
Crew Cabins:
Crew Berths:
Crew Sleeps:
Crew Heads:



Owner's narrative - Brief history

We purchased her in 2014 from San Jose California from a man named Alan Amerian the original builder. Her original name was San Joaquin.  He built the boat over 4 years finishing in 1985.  At the time, a group of friends got together and had under a dozen hulls laid up from Bud Leutza, a boatbuilder in Santa Cruz, CA.  All the deck castings (railings, bits, chocks) were cast and sets were made.  Each boat was fitted out by the individual owner, all on the west coast.  Alan was a cabinet maker, which is why Hope has such a nice interior of solid mahogany.  The boiler is a non-code stamped boiler made by a boilermaker out west named Jerry Blaine.  The boiler was professionally made, and is Hope's second boiler.  The engine was purchased from a man in upstate NY and was said to have been a launch engine on the Connecticut River.  It is a true antique, 1905 of English/canandian design, built in Kingston, ON, Canada.  The date is only approximate because all records of the original builder were lost in a yard fire around 1910. 

We purchased the boat and had her shipped across the country on her own trailer. After a few uses, I made the decision to completely rebuild the boat to my own standards.  I also wanted to "marinize" her for use in salt water.  I completed the restoration over two winters, using her sparsely in the summer between refits.  The second refit was the most extensive, removing every piece of machinery/fitting from the hull.

Owner's narrative - Detailed specifications

The skeg, rudder and shaft are stainless steel. The shaft was replaced new in 2017.  The prop is a bronze three-blade Michigan prop of 28 x 32".  A new cutlass bearing was installed in 2015.  The steering system is an Edson cable steering system, with two stations.  One forward and one aft so the boat can be single handed. 

The interior of the hull is finished white with Bilgekote in 2017. The hull stringers, boiler and engine bearers of oak were glassed into the hull in 2016-17.  During this time an oil catch pan was also glassed into the hull under the machinery spaces. 

The boat was re-wired with marine grade wiring and circuit boards with an on board 110v battery charger for the two tractor sized batteries on board. Originally she was oil fired with an electric fuel pump, I removed the fuel pump.  The only thing that uses electricity is the navigation lights and the Jabsco vane type bilge pump.  An automatic bilge pump is not installed. 

The wires for the spotlight and the stern light are run, but not hooked up.   The bow light works and is an LED inside the bow light fitting.  I use a lantern for the stern light, hanging it from the canopy.  This does not convey with the boat.  A removable stern light (plastic) is provided. 

There is a 15 gallon make up water bow tank, integral to the hull in the forepeak. There is a deck fill up forward of the bow light. 

The canopy is ¼" glass over plywood, finished bright underneath and with brightsides interlux paint topside.

The interior floor boards are fir and mahogany inlay I believe and are all finished bright. They were wooded in 2017, where three coats of west system epoxy followed by 3 or 4 coats of varnish were applied.  Note: all varnish is Pettit "flagship" varnish. 

The deck is plywood with a teak veneer on top. It is not glassed over.  The varnish on the deck is maintained and was wooded by me in 2014.  There are probably 6-8 full coats of varnish on the deck, the most recent application in late 2017.  The deck railings and hardware are cast solid bronze, most everything else shiny on the boat is brass. 

Hope is described as a wood fired condensing launch. Steam is boiled in the boiler with a wood fire, used by the engine and exhausted to a keel condenser (same as a keel cooler) where it is condensed back to water.  A vacuum pump that is belted to the propeller shaft (in forward only) pulls the water from the condenser and discharges it to a tank located on the inboard starboard hull called a Hotwell.  From the Hotwell, feed pumps draw water and pump it back into the boiler to complete the circuit of water. 

Over the winter of 2015 and 2017, the boiler and engine were removed from the hull for overhaul.

Owner's narrative - Engine and boiler details

Boiler work and description.

The boiler of hope is described as a three drum water tube boiler of the Roberts type. The pressure vessel is steel and black iron pipe and was built in the early 1990's.  The three drums run fore and aft.  Two smaller diameter mud drums are located port and starboard (of the boiler pressure vessel) and a larger 8" diameter steam drum is located in the top center of the boiler.  Smaller generating tubes of 1" diameter connect the mud drums to the steam drum in a criss-cross pattern, where the fire is burned underneath in the firebox. This is how steam is made.   There is 65 square feet of heating surface, with a 30 foot economizer pipe installed.  Bolier feed water is fed through the economizer before entering the steam drum to warm the feedwater.  Feedwater is also heated by the "feedwater heater" which scavenges engine exhaust through a copper heat exchanger. 

The boiler is feed water by four means. A hand pump that is also used for testing the boiler, a 3/8" Penberthy steam injector, a dual acting 2 cylinder piston pump called a hypro pump belted off the engine, and an 1895 steam duplex (two cylinder) reciprocating pump.  All draw from the Hotwell, or from the 15 gallon makeup water tank located integral to the hull in the forepeak. 

The safety valve is a sealed Lunkenheimer safety valve set to pop off at 180 psi.

In 2015 and in 2017, I replaced all of the refractory insulation, and ceramic fiber blanket insulation around the forward, aft, port, and starboard panels of the boiler. I also replaced the inner flue liner (all sides of the boiler) and outer forward and aft panels with stainless steel.  I also made a stainless steel outer ash pan liner in 2017 to protect the hull from radiant heat.  Essentially, the outer casing (non pressure vessel) of the boiler has been completely replaced in stainless steel, damper door too.  The wood lagging on the boiler was wooded and refinished in 2017.

All auxiliary piping is of schedule K copper pipe, or appropriately sized black iron pipe.  All valves are high pressure rated of the globe or gate type.


Engine work and description.

The engine also got a complete overhaul in 2016-2017 winter. The high pressure valve bore was precision honed by a shop and a new high pressure spool valve made and fitted.  This enabled the valve to run true within the cylinder block.  I stripped the engine paint completely, re-filled the casting, primed and painted with high temperature engine paint.  I also re-Babbitt'd (Babbitt Bearings) the valve eccentric straps.  This is a molten bearing of tin and lead poured into place and ground in place.  The engine runs like a top.

The engine can be described as a 1905 Davis & Son compound (meaning 2 cylinder).  It has a radial valve gear (valves on the side, athwartship of the engine crankshaft) of the Bremme type (English).  The high pressure cylinder is 3.125" diameter, the low pressure cylinder is 5.5" diameter, with a common stroke of 5".  Expressed as 3.125 x 5.5 x 5".

Owner's narrative - Refit details

2015-2017 Refit details


  1. Oak stringers and bearers glassed into hull.

  2. Interior hull sanded and painted with bilgekote.

  3. All woodwork wooded and re-varnished.

  4. Boat re-wired with marine grade wiring.

  5. All bronze fittings removed and had clear coat removed for favor of polishing after use.

  6. Deck wooded and revarnished & maintained.

  7. New 1 3/8" SS shaft in 2017.

  8. New cutlass bearing in 2015.

  9. Oil catch pan glassed integral to hull under machinery space (during 2017 hull stringer work).

  10. Kerosene burning equipment/auxiliary equipment removed during 2017 re-fit for favor of wood only burning.

  11. Keel condenser re-bedded in 2017.

  12. All new copper auxiliary piping of schedule K type (high pressure rated) silvered brazed together. Other fittings include NPT pipe connections and flared copper pipe, all high pressure rated. All valves are high pressure steam rated for the job of the globe and gate type.

  13. Hotwell rebuilt with a sightglass fitted.

  14. Canopy edge rebuilt by the method outlined above, painted and varnished 2017.

  15. All floor boards wooded and refinished with west system epoxy and varnish.

  16. High pressure hand pump rebuilt 2017. New ram fitted and new valves.

  17. Jabsco type vane bilge pump and piping fitted. (Electric).

  18. Trip gong type engine signal bell added 2016.

  19. Deck hardware rebidded with dolfinite traditional bedding compound after deck was re-varnished in 2017.


  1. New refractory insulation (first defense against fire in firebox) of ceramic fiberboard in 2015.

  2. New stainless steel inner boiler liner of the four sides of the firebox in 2017.

  3. New ceramic fiber insulation around boiler casing in 2017.

  4. New stainless steel outer panel of the boiler forward and aft backheads in 2017.

  5. New stainless steel ash pan outer liner with ceramic fiber blanket insulation (underside of boiler) in 2017.

  6. New steam blower pipe installed 2017 (induces draft).

  7. New ash pan door of stainless steel in 2017.

  8. Wood mahogany lagging wooded and refinished in 2017.

  9. Re-plumbed the entire circulatory system of the boat properly 2015-2017.


  1. Cylinder block for the high pressure spool valve precision honed true 2015.

  2. New high pressure spool valve made and fitted 2015.

  3. Engine stripped and painted with high temperature paint 2017.

  4. New eccentric strap Babbitt bearings 2017.

  5. Main steam line inspected and repaired 2017.

  6. New oilers fitted for the eccentric strap bearings 2017.

  7. New thrust bearing installed 2017.

  8. New copper feed water heater fabricated and installed 2017.

Misc inventory
  1. 10 Adult PFD's

  2. 1 "throwable" square PFD.

  3. Boat specific tools, ones that are critical to engine assembly/disassembly. Note, my personal tools located in the boat tool box do not convey in the sail, only the specialized tools required for the maintenance of the engine.

  4. All the old kerosene burning equipment including the burners, fuel pump, gauges and 2 metal tanks. None of it is installed and is loose.

  5. A mandrel form that was used to pour the new Babbitt eccentric strap bearings.

  6. Flagpole

  7. An antique Rushmore spotlight (not hooked up) that is removable. The base is fixed forward of the cockpit coaming, aft of the forward bit.

  8. Steam oil that is specific to the operation of the engine.

  9. The two onboard batteries.

  10. A plastic LED stern light that bolts to the aft cockpit coaming.

  11. Three docklines.

  12. The canvass towing cover for the boat. Its in rough shape, I use it, but it is barely usable.

  13. The two axle steel trailer for the boat.

  14. All valves and gauges necessary for the operation of the plant.

  15. One steam three-chimed steam whistle (a lot of the videos show two whistles, only one will convey with the sale.


The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.


Presented by

Craig Nann

Craig Nann

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