As a professional athlete, Wayne Gretzky was widely known as “The Great One,” probably the most talented human being ever to lace up a pair of skates. Long retired after 20 seasons of play in the National Hockey League, he and his wife, Janet, now enjoy a vacation house on Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho each summer. New to the Gretzky’s dock is a custom-built, 34-foot powerboat that is quite a head-turner.
“The couple was looking for a luxurious wooden powerboat capable of entertaining family and friends in comfort and style,” says master craftsman Jim Brown of Coeur Custom, an outfit that’s been crafting sleek wooden boats for nearly 20 years. “We’ve built a lot of boats, but the Gretzky’s 340 Steinway HT is probably the most remarkable boat I’ve built during my career,” he adds.
The 340 is the result of vigorous collaboration between the Gretzkys and Coeur Custom. The payoff for the hard work is an elegant bowrider/dayboat design that packs impressive performance and an array of features aimed at providing exceptional comfort on the water.
Brown and the team at Coeur Custom crafted the 340’s double-planked hull from sapele, an African hardwood that is beautiful, tremendously strong and rot-resistant. The Coeur Custom team showcased the material by “exposing” it on the topsides under many coats of high-gloss varnish. Like the name suggests, the 340 Steinway shares many of the elements you might find in a handcrafted piano.
The Gretzky’s focused most of their collaborative efforts on the interior of the boat. Bespoke features include upholstery and pillows embroidered with a representation of Wayne’s “99” jersey number, the only one ever to be retired league-wide by the NHL. LED lighting accents the boat’s looks, both on deck and under the water, and fenders are hidden away in a wooden rack behind a flip-down wooden panel. The most remarkable custom element might just be a retractable teak swim step, which hides in the stern with the push of a button.
The deck plan includes a large upholstered sunpad aft with a backrest that faces a swim platform. On the main deck is a colossal socializing area with a sectional-couch-sized lounge set behind a removable teak table, bench seating for two and a mini galley with sink, icemaker and refrigerator. The area can be shaded from the sun by deploying the electric Sureshade. A boarding door is concealed in the topsides to starboard.
Under a hardtop are a pair of twin benches—one is at the starboard helm station and a companion seat is to port. A wraparound windshield deflects wind upward and away from the helmsman and guests. Between the two seats are steps that lead to a walkthrough to the bow lounge, which has two forward-facing chaise lounges and an aft-facing bench with backrest. A head with an electric Nano toilet and sink is located at the walkthrough area.
Though Lake Coeur d’Alene is largely protected, a dominant southwest wind can pipe up during summer and howl down its approximate 12-nautical-mile fetch. Brown says that wind and heavy weekend boat traffic can turn the lake into a washing machine. “It can get rough out there, so we engineered the hull to provide a dry and stable ride,” he says. Running photos show the effectiveness of a swooping forefoot and plumb bow, which, along with a set of sapele spray rails, drive spray down and outboard. The V-shaped hull transitions aft to a sharp 21.5-degree transom deadrise, which should provide a smooth ride, even in a hard chop.
Concealed beneath the sunpad are a pair of 430-hp MerCruiser gas inboards mated to Bravo III sterndrives with digital engine controls and Mercury’s Joystick Piloting for Sterndrives. Top speed is around 43 knots, according to Brown. “We’re extremely happy with the performance, and the joystick is a true gamechanger,” he says. “A simple nudge of the joystick moves the boat perfectly sideways; it’s kind of spooky but really cool.”
There’s more electronic wizardry at the wood helm, including a pair of 12-inch multifunction touchscreen displays. A nice touch is a wooden armrest for the joystick control.
Brown says the Gretzkys’ facial expressions when the boat was delivered were the tell-all. “To see their eyes light up, to see them each take the helm of their boat for the very first time, those were very special moments indeed.”
Fuel: 100 gals.
Water: 25 gals.
Power: (2) 430-hp Mercury inboards with sterndrives
This article was originally published in the November 2021 issue.
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