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Cascade Owners Unite

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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.

Website: http://www.cascadeyachts.com
Location: Portland, Or
Members: 25
Latest Activity: Apr 10

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

Keel epoxy coating flaking off

Started by john simpson. Last reply by john simpson Mar 14. 2 Replies

29 Cascade Owners

Started by DJ Wardrop. Last reply by DJ Wardrop Jul 21, 2018. 3 Replies

Stanchion holders

Started by Tad. Last reply by S/V Compadre May 19, 2016. 4 Replies

Comment Wall

Comment

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

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.

Michael

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.

Cheers,

Ray

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 webpage...got 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 dcmmprod@gmail.com

Comment by S/V Compadre on May 21, 2015 at 8:30pm

Great Video Doug Crombie! How much more footage do you have? Any of the old factory or Hanz? I'm also in PDX and would love to hook up with you guys, maybe have some beers and talk Cascades!

Comment by john simpson on April 13, 2015 at 10:28pm

Thomas: Maybe you've already done this project.

Here's how I handled the same issue on my ol' 36, Koru. 

Grind the surfaces, with 36 grit, about 4 inches back from the center of the joint. (angle grinder is quick, but messy).

Cut strips of good heavy E glass cloth (about 12 oz) , 8 inches wide for the length necessary, ON THE BIAS. That way, they'll lay in nice and flat.

Cut two more layers, progressively narrower, at 6 and 4 inches wide.'

Mix up a thickened dose of polyester and lay a nice fillet into the corner of the joint area. Use cardboard cut to make the radius.

Allow this to set up, but not fully cure, then paint a coat of polyester onto the surface.

Lay in first the 8 inch, then the 6 & 4 inch cloth strips, wetting thoroughly to remove all bubbles and any creases. I made them neater by adding a little strip of fine mesh along the very edges, just to finish it off.

Should be good to go after all, that's they way the factory did it; I watched them.

Comment by Thomas panter on December 28, 2014 at 1:00pm
Hello, I am the new owner of a 1965 cascade 29. Does anybody have any info as to whether bulkheads were owner installed or manufacturer. I ask because the main bulkhead in mine is joined to hull with Very small strips of glass. Only a few inches. And only one layer. It seems to have pulled away in a few spots and although an easy fix(no rot in bulk head) I wonder about the way it was attached initially. Given how strong the hull is I can't believe the manufacturer would skimp on this joint if it was critical to structural integrity, however if owner installed and not structural I am not as concerned. To fix it all I need to do is adjust my stand and re-bond it to the hull. I will be doing a bit more thorough glass job than what was there initially. This boat is nowhere near mint condition but has the potential to be a very pretty and fun boat for me and my family here on lake champlain. Thanks for any info.
 

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Robert & Sandy replied to sam's discussion need VIN alternate location urgently in the group Beneteau 40 & 43
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