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: 18
Latest Activity: Oct 20

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

1972 Cascade 36'

Started by Shaun Pickering. Last reply by Edward Hart Oct 20. 1 Reply

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 john simpson on October 16, 2015 at 11:41pm

I need some advice on the chain plates of my Cascade 36. They are the type which were embedded in the fiberglass hull roving. I have been pretty diligent about keeping them properly caulked, so that salt water would not migrate down there and cause any crevice corrosion however.....I have no idea what any previous owners did. I have noticed some corrosion, around the little stubs that stick through the roving, inside but looks like nothing serious.

Problem is, I can't see whether there is any internal deterioration or not. The boat was built in 1975 and has had a few coastal trips, plus the ocean voyage I just did, to Hawaii. 

What prompted me to think about this was the recent failure, encountered by the McHaffy's, on their Hardin 45, which had a similar arrangement. I am planning another offshore trip and would love to keep the mast upright!

Does anyone know how long these last or how to best inspect them, or have any experience replacing them??

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Comment by john simpson on October 10, 2015 at 7:55pm

hawaii%20sailing%20002.JPG Tracker%20Round%20Trip%202015.PNG   For anyone contemplating an ocean crossing with a Cascade 36, just wanted to share two items I incorporated, that were really useful on a recent round trip to Hawaii.

I made a deck, to cover the life raft, so I could store it in the cockpit and thus make it easier to launch if I had to. I also added two 4 inch cockpit drains, through the transom. We took a couple of waves, over the quarter, and it drained instantly. seldom did we get water sloshing back in from astern.

I added a "backwards" tiller too, which enabled us to keep the Monitor lines out of the cockpit, and tilt the tiller out of the way.

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.


Members (18)


Latest Activity

Mike Brown replied to Harry's discussion Finding and Preventing Problems in the group Beneteau 40 & 43
"Harry, thanks for sharing the info on your two problems and fixes. Fortunately I haven't seen the mainsail fuller issue. I have seen the shower sump problem though. On my boat pulling and reinserting the red/hot lead at the box under the sink…"
Mike Brown replied to Robert & Sandy's discussion YANMAR 4JH5E GEAR SELECTION PROBLEMS in the group Beneteau 40 & 43
"Robert, thanks for the update, glad all is well. As for lapping the gear box cones in such a short period of time I still have my doubts about it. Just remember not to fix something that isn't broke.  Mike"
Robert & Sandy replied to Robert & Sandy's discussion YANMAR 4JH5E GEAR SELECTION PROBLEMS in the group Beneteau 40 & 43
"Morning SeaKnots team, especially Mike. Well Liberte been has slipped, antifouled and polished and most importantly the Gori feathering three blade prop has been serviced. Surprise, surprise there was quite a bit of coral growth in the gearing, not…"
John Hanrahan posted a blog post

Beneteau 43 two cabin slip covers

We are taking out cat Genny to the Bahamas this year and I am fearful of the beautiful white leatherette salon cushions.  If anyone has had cushions made could you please give us a name of the maker.  We can make them ourselves if we had the dimensions but would be happy if there was a custom supplier.  The boat is in the Abacos and we are in Halifax so we can't go and measure.Many thanks, JohnSee More
James Taylor replied to Larry Witty's discussion B43 Inverter Buzzing/humming noise in the group Beneteau 40 & 43
"I looked at the Beneteau USA site under electrical and did not see the transfer switch on your boat in their images of factory installed equipment ( see below) so I'm assuming the transfer switch was installed as a part of the inverter…"
Nov 18
Edward Hart posted a status
"Stopped in Norfolk. New diesel running fine."
Nov 14
Larry Witty added a discussion to the group Beneteau 40 & 43

B43 Inverter Buzzing/humming noise

Hello -Have a 2008 B43 hull 40 which I purchased second hand about a year ago. been very happy with the boat but have 1 annoying problem I would like to resolve. When switching on the inverter I have the following 2 potential issues:1) Voltage display is low, shows between 102-106 volts2) Humming noise coming from some sort of auto switch which is encased in a white plastic box behind the cabinet where the radios are mountedI only have the problem when the inverter is on, no issue with shore…See More
Nov 10
Edward Hart posted a status
"Hooligan is now back in the water with a new diesel and we are heading down the ICW from Annapolis to Jacksonville."
Nov 7

© 2015   Created by CAN DRAC.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service