Home Broker's Best 1929 80′ Custom Classic Fantail

1929 80′ Custom Classic Fantail

by Randy Woods
Brokers Best - Deerleap

This month’s Brokers Best listing is a true historic treat for all boaters. Built in 1929 by Vancouver, British Columbia’s Hoffar-Beeching Shipyards, Deerleap is an 80-foot, wood-hulled Classic Fantail yacht that has plied the waters of the West Coast for nearly a century and is still going strong at her current moorage in Port Orchard. For the last 40 years, the craft has had the same owner, who has painstakingly maintained the vessel and burnished its reputation for understated elegance.

Still appearing like a vision straight out of the Roaring Twenties, the handsome yacht was originally built for Andrew McLimont, president of Winnipeg Power and Light. Deerleap was first powered by Hall-Scott gasoline engines and was built specifically for excursions from Mexico to Alaska, providing maximum views through its wide windows, wraparound teak decks, and roomy foredeck.

Today, the layout is nearly identical to the original design, with a large observation salon and teak-lined formal dining room midships on the main deck, featuring a mahogany period table for up to eight people under a crystal chandelier. Signs of the yacht’s opulent heyday include silver service and serving pieces, cut-crystal decanters, and dinner china embossed with the ship’s name and logo.

The compact galley is located forward, equipped with a period O’Keefe & Merritt four-burner propane stove and electric oven, a microwave, a trash compactor, and a full-sized LG refrigerator and freezer. To port, the window over the galley sink lets in plenty of natural light and stunning views. Two steps up from the galley, a spacious pilothouse is fitted with a fully modern suite of navigation electronics and bow-thruster controls to make mooring easier. A day head has been added just aft of the pilothouse.

Aft of the main deck living area, French doors open to what is perhaps the vessel’s most notable feature: a spacious, covered aft deck surrounding a central teak dining table. A new Sunbrella provides shade for the semi-circular seating area that lines the fantail.

Deerleap has had a colorful history since it was commissioned. For a few years, it was conscripted for military service during World War II, when it was re-fitted with heavy-duty Vivian 120HP diesel engines. Later, it was purchased by mining engineer Campbell Church, serving in his fleet of chartered yachts. During this period of the 1950s and ‘60s, celebrities such as Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, John Wayne, and the Kennedys were among the notable luminaries on board.

Since being auctioned off to the current owner in the 1980s, Deerleap has undergone extensive restoration efforts, including the grand circular stairway that provides access from the salon to the four staterooms. Forward to starboard is the full-beam owner’s suite, complete with en suite head and shower. Just aft of the owner’s room are two staterooms with crossed over/under bunks and a vanity and shaving sink. Aft of the stairway is a shared head and shower, and further aft, on centerline, is another full-beam stateroom, featuring raised twin bunks.

Despite its age, Deerleap handles well under a competent skipper and line handler, the owner says. The engines have also been upgraded with twin Gardner 6LX 125HP engines, which replaced the old Detroit Diesel “Screamin’ Jimmies,” making it a demonstrably quieter cruiser. Besides the noise reduction, the newer engines make the vessel incredibly efficient for its size, burning four GPH at 1,200 RPMs to reach a cruising speed of 7.8 knots, giving it a 2,400-nautical-mile range.

The stately vessel has won several awards at the Classic Yacht Association (CYA) Annual Wooden Boat Festival, but it does not sit idle like a museum piece. Every year, the boat cruises for 16 to 20 weeks up to the Broughton Islands of Northern B.C., and occasionally to Alaska. Describing the seaworthiness of Deerleap, the current owner says he once sailed the yacht off the Oregon coast “lying completely on his sides” during a fierce storm. “I never doubted her for a moment,” he added.

This will be the first time in 40 years that Deerleap has been available on the market, so this is a must-see opportunity for those interested in Northwest maritime history. Through September 25, the vessel will be the in Broughton Islands, but it will also appear at the Victoria CYA Wooden Boat Festival, September 1-5, in Victoria, BC.

Specs & Info

LOA 80’ · Beam 17’1” · Draft 8’10”

Tankage (Fuel/Fresh/Black)

1,500 gal. / 1,000 gal. / 20 gal.

Twin Gardner 6LX 125HP Engines


NW Yachtnet
Tacoma, WA
Steve Shull

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