Even great still photography can’t evoke the full grace of a boat moving on the water. So I was excited when Orlando-based photographer Tom King called me last week to say that he’s produced a video of his father’s Raveau runabout.
The Raveau owned by Dr. Bill King is a “second-generation” model constructed by Bob Walwork, who helped Marcel Raveau build the original series of runabouts for Mercury Marine in the 1960's. Those boats were successful race hulls, based on a boat Raveau designed for Mercury founder Carl Kiekhaefer to use in Operation Atlas, the successful attempt by Mercury in 1958 to run a single outboard-powered boat non-stop for 25,000 miles. These second-generation boats are all-wood, drop-dead gorgeous and reportedly a blast to drive.
The video is available on the Tom King Photography site and includes some comments by Walwork from his shop.
I called Walwork this week, and he told me that the two boats you’ll see next to him in the video are the Raveau runabouts that’s he’s presently working on.
“I’ve got two 17.5-foot boats going here right now,” said Walwork, “and they are likely to be the last two I build. One is for a customer, and the other I’m going to keep for myself.”
The Raveau story is also re-told in a feature article by Bill Jacobs in the March-April issue of Wooden Boat Magazine, which should be on newsstands this week. You can also buy a digital subscription to Wooden Boat. And there’s more info on Raveau and some great vintage photos of the 1960's-era race boats at WR Walwork and Associates.