Cascade Owners Unite


Cascade Owners Unite

This is a group for Cascade Yachts (Yacht Constructors Inc.) owners and fans. Based in Portland, OR, they build the Chinook & Cascade sailboats lines.

Location: Portland, Or
Members: 17
Latest Activity: Sep 1

The First Fiberglass Production Sailboat
The following is an excerpt from an article by Scott Gibson published in the Freshwater News (November 1984) on Yacht Constructors and the Chinook 34, the first model they built in 1956. The 'Cascade' line began production out of the same facility in 1961 with the Cascade 29, followed shortly by the Cascade 42 in 1964, and thee Cascade 36 in 1967.

Boating historians usually cite 1959 as the year that the first production fiberglass sailboat was produced, referring to the Pearson Yacht Company introducing the 28-foot Triton at the New York Boat Show that year. By then Yacht Constructors had been in business for two years building the Chinook 34!

In 1955 eleven Portland sailors wanted newer, bigger sailboats. Thinking of a joint building effort, they looked around for a design acceptable to all. Merl Starr and Tom Green, today's owners of Yacht Constructors, Inc., were two of the original group.

Tom and Merle were very impressed by the potential of fiberglass as a boat building material, in spite of its shakey reputation. They persuaded three of the original group that a design for a 34-foot wood sloop by well-known Philadelphia naval architect Frederick Geiger could be built in fiberglass. This was a daring proposition; no one had ever built such a large boat in fiberglass before.

Building your own fiberglass boat has one very big disadvantage - you must first invest a great deal of time and skilled labor in building a "plug" and then from the plug building a mold. Once you have the mold you can use it to form one or many identical boats. That is why no one wanting to make only a single boat is likely to do so in fiberglass unless he can borrow an existing mold. But it becomes worthwhile when five people pool their labor and money so each can end up with a boat at great savings.

It took the five sailors about eight months to build the plug and mold. They began in April of 1955 and finished in November of 1955. After converting the designed-for-wood plans into plans for a fiberglass construction, they went into production with Tom and Merle directing operations. Their three co-workers were Wade Cornwell, Henry Morton, and the late Dr. Jarvis Gould. During the next year they produced five identical boats, one for each guy. They called these boats Chinook 34.

Chinook hull #1 was launched April 20, 1956. Merle Starr got hull #5, launched in July 1957. It was Christmas before he built the mast and rigged the vessel. He sailed PYXIS the first time during a mild spell in January 1958. Merle still has PYXIS now, 27 years later, and she is in excellent shape.

They might have sailed off in different directions and that would be the end of the story, but three of them did not.

Yacht Constructors took their first order in the fall of 1957. They built a Chinook 34 for the late Dr. Donald Laird of Portland. This was the first of over 700 boats to come from the plant. They continued building the 34-foot Chinook until 1968 when they shipped the 70th hull to Maryland and terminated the model.

Yacht Constructors is a remarkable company in many ways. Most unusual, perhaps, is the fact that they have survived and even prospered for almost 30 years. Many other fiberglass boat-building ventures were launched in this period, but many foundered. Yacht Constructors is the oldest American fiberglass boat building company under continuous ownership.

Discussion Forum

Stanchion holders

Started by Tad. Last reply by Ray Brown Aug 26. 3 Replies

Hi rob.. I'm out here..

Started by Roy Gault Nov 30, 2012. 0 Replies

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Cascade Owners Unite to add comments!

Comment by Ray Brown on September 1, 2015 at 10:10am

Thanks for the follow-up.  I sent hem an email and am hoping for a response.


Comment by Doug Crombie on August 27, 2015 at 4:14pm

Ray, I forwarded your request to a Cascade resource I use here in Oregon, Becker Enterprises. Here is the reply:Doug,

Thanks for the note.  However, we do not have any of the Cascade “sugar Scoop” stern modifications.  Tom suggested that the Cascade Yacht  Works   503 440-0233    485 SE 5th St. Warrenton, OR  97146   is supposed to have all those molds.  We have never had any contact with them, and wish you luck in your quest.
We have very limited items from Yacht Constructors.  Modified dodger mold, 36 rudder mold, and a 36 stern hatch mold.   We repair them, and custom make whatever parts we usually need.  We’ve repaired/modified 7 Cascade 36 yachts, two Cascade 42 yachts- one low side and one high side.  And built two Cascade 27’s, and repaired two more.
But we didn’d save much in the way of spare parts.
Hope you find what you need.
Comment by Edward Hart on August 27, 2015 at 8:55am
I am looking for a set of plans for a Cascade 29. I am going to post this all over the net to see if anyone has a set.
Comment by Michael Mc Laughlin on August 26, 2015 at 2:13pm

I'm thinking of selling my Cascade 36 "Transcendence" which is in the Caribbean.

Great boat, lots and lots of equipment, in good condition and 2 TransAtlantics under her keel.

If anyone is interested let me know and we can discuss.

Stents are concentrating my mind on the things that need doing.


Comment by Ray Brown on August 26, 2015 at 10:34am

Has anyone been able to contact the new owners of the company?  I would like to add the sugar scoop stern with the storage compartment.  Our intention is to join the cruising ranks in 2017 and would love this last addition to Breezin' prior to departure.  Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.



Comment by Edward Hart on July 30, 2015 at 5:04am

 Well, after a year, work has finally started on my 29.  I found an engine. A 3GM30 Yanmar. The old Palmer gas was taken out today. In a week we will be back in the water, with a new engine. The Yanmar is a new engine never been installed in a boat. It sat in someone's garage for 15 years.

Comment by Edward Hart on July 24, 2015 at 8:43am

 Scott, I would like to have the info that you have on the 29;s I have one but I can't find the hull number. The hull was laid up in Japan 1964.

Comment by Scott MacManus on May 24, 2015 at 5:48pm

This is great info on the history of the Cascade 29.   I have Hull #18.  I also started at list of all the hulls I could find of the 29s on a previous quite a few.  Can post it if anyone is interested.

Comment by Edward Hart on May 24, 2015 at 2:21pm

 I am just checking in.  I'm looking for a diesel for my 29. Price range around $3000. used.  I have an old Palmer gas in her now. If anyone wants it,free let me know. but it is in Maryland.

Comment by Doug Crombie on May 21, 2015 at 8:36pm

always open for coffee or a sandwich.  Retired now.  Email me on


Members (17)


Latest Activity

LHOgden commented on SeaKnots's group O'Day Corner
"Good luck !"
John commented on SeaKnots's group O'Day Corner
"Thanks Lynn.  The blocks do line up with the bung holes on the top side rails.  Looks like I'm going to have to just start taking it a part to see what I have. John "
LHOgden commented on SeaKnots's group O'Day Corner
"Even though I owned an 1980 O'Day 30, I can't answer that question.  However, a builder that screws in hand rails on a 30 foot cruiser would be asking for liability claims.  I don't believe O'Day would have done…"
John commented on SeaKnots's group O'Day Corner
"Thanks Lynn, My Oday is an '84 Oday 30.  It does have one or two white caps on the cabin overhead, but it also has an interior handrail that is mounted on black rubber blocks.  I removed a bung from one of the interior handrails and…"
LHOgden commented on SeaKnots's group O'Day Corner
"John, It depends.  What model O'Day are we speaking about?  Who put the rails on in the first place?  Are there white caps about 3/4 of an inch on the cabin overhead under where the handrails are?  If yes, the rails are…"
John commented on SeaKnots's group O'Day Corner
"Has anyone ever removed your handrails for resealing?  I have a leak and I'm not sure if I need to remove them from the topside or from below in the salon. "
John posted a discussion

Resealing handrails on Oday 30

I'm going to attempt to reseal my handrails on our 84' Oday 30.  I noticed there are screw holes (teak plugs) both on the topside and down in the salon.  Does anyone know if both screws need to be removed to reseal or just the topside screw?See More
Luis Vieira de Sá replied to sam's discussion Engine hour meter whacky in the group Beneteau 40 & 43
"Hi, Just before my starting battery (six years old) went dead when I was at anchor (that was another story) I was having erratic readings or better saying - the lcd was very difficult to read even during the night. When the new battery was mounted,…"
Sep 25

© 2015   Created by CAN DRAC.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service