On a 100-degree afternoon several weeks ago, Advocate photog Danny Fulgencio and I met Dean Smith at White Rock Lake and he took us for a little joyride in his steamboat, which he built himself, at home in his garage, from a retired sail boat.
It takes a while to get the engine going and Dean mercifully took care of that part prior to our arrival.
By the time we met him, he was dripping sweat but looking quite happy.
Once we got moving — topping out at about 5 mph — it was easy to see why Dean is so satisfied with his project.
People frequently decompress by building things—the steamboat is Dean’s version of the guy refurbishing that ’65 Mustang or constructing complex model airplanes. As he pointed out, it’s nice when that model actually does stuff, like motor you and a couple friends around the lake at sunset.
Captain Dean Smith and his homemade steamboat appear in the September issue of the Advocate [see extra photo gallery here too]. In print, however, we can’t give you sound, which is a vital component of what Dean calls the “anthropomorphic experience” that is steamboating.
So while Danny shot photos and ducked low lying branches under the Mockingbird Bridge, I simultaneously steered and recorded Vine videos. I strung a few together below. Now if only we could deliver via the web the boat’s enchanting smells.