Updated Monday, Jun 23,  2009

 

History (or lack thereof);

The Islander Yacht Corporation

Compiled by: Skipper Wall,

Islander 36, 1973, #154 “SnowFlower”

(h)775.882.4798   (fax)775.882.2498 

(SFO cel)415.265.2416

 E-mail: nvsnowflower@pyramid.net

 


Islander Yachts Sign
Click to enlarge

It

 was my original intent to learn about the Islander Yacht Corporation. Such as all the sizes of boats manufactured, numbers of boats built in each size, dates of production, naval architect and anything else of interest to an Islander Yacht owner.

I have talked to many people who were connected with the Corporation through the years and learned smidgens of information. But in reality, not very much for the simple reason it has been eighteen years the Islander Corp closed it’s doors and everyone involved have gone on to other endeavors and interests and have long forgotten their involvement.

I have edited lots of material from many sources.

 

In the first part of May 2009, after many years of basically no new information I received e-mails from Charlie Underwood and Robert Perry. These e-mails are in red at the end of this “history”. Charlie’s and Robert’s e-mails give a very definitive, detailed and informative and a most welcomed addition to my very sketchy history.

As I have stated, these “remembrances and personal comments” are theirs alone and must be read with almost 35 years of time gone by! Thru-out the “history”, Charlie has edited my comments (in red). I think each of you will find Charlie’s e-mails to be very interesting and enlightening, I did!

 

F

rom Justin Thompson of Sail Info, Belleview WA. The McGlasson was the original Corporation, then Wayfarer Yachts and finally Islander.  In 1968, Wayfarer sold Islander to Cosmodyne Inc. for over a million dollars. In 1971 Cosmodyne Inc. sold  Islander to Radlon, Inc.  Cosmodyne took back Islander from Radlon when Radlon experienced financial difficulties.  Mission Marine and Associates subsequently purchased Islander from Cosmodyne.  As a result of the Mission Marine Chapter 11 in 1979, Fuqua Industries acquired Islander.  However, Fuqua closed Islander in 1986.

 

The following from Ralph Brown;

McGlasson went into bankruptcy sometime prior to 1963 and

 Ralph Brown and Ben Kanter, in Southern California bought the  McGlasson corporation out of bankruptcy for $10,000.00 in  late 1963.

, changed the name to Wayfarer Yachts(?) in the middle  1960’s and sold it in 1967. Cosmodyne Inc becoming the “parent” at this time..

During this period they produced the I21, the I24 I24B and bought Excalibur from Tom Pearson and Joe McGlasson built the I29. Joe designed all these boats, He built the molds in his backyard and “Islander made the plugs.

The Islander 37 was built during The Wayfarer period.

The I33 (which is anI32 with a flush deck) was built prior to the I29.

We bought the molds of the Lapworth44, built 1, Then it became the I44 and built 10.

 

From Jim Gravelyn’s web-site about all the Islander yachts the following was originally gleaned..  Webmaster is now ; Brain Soderberg  of Islandersailboats.com

Brain.soderberg@islandersailboats.com

He is an I28 owner.

This is a very good web-site about all the Islander Yachts.

In the mid 1950’s Joseph McGlasson (died 1993) designed and built a 24foot wooden sailboat, the “Catalina Islander”. In 1961 approached Glass Laminates to help him produce this 24 footer in fiberglass. The mold carried the lines of the planks of the wooden 24 and became the signature feature of the Islander 24 and other Islander models later. In 1962 Glass Laminates and Joseph McGlasson   went their separate ways. Glass Laminates changing their name to Columbia Sailboats and introduced their Columbia 29. Joseph with his McGlasson Boat Co. introduced the  Islander 32. The breakup was not amicable. But if you see an Islander24 sitting next to a Columbia 24, Columbia Contender 24 or a Columbia Challenger 24 you will se identical boats except for the hull planking lines removed. You might understand the animosity Joseph felt toward Columbia.  That’s a little Columbia history thrown in.

As an aside, Along with McGlasson & Columbia building fiberglass boats in Costa Mesa, Ca. Jensen Marine were building the Lapworth designed Cal 24.

Then Westsail began building the Westsail 32 heavy displacement cruising sailboat. So at this point in time, Costa mesa had to be the fiberglass capital of the world.

By 1963, the McGlasson Sailboat Co. was incorporated as the Wayfarer Yacht Corp. with McGlasson as principal owner and designer.  Wayfarer was bought by a Ralph Brown sometime in the mid 1960’s. And in 1967 we start seeing the name Islander Yachts with the white “swoosh” sail in the black rectangle for a logo.

Ralph Brown had a friend in the marketing department of Airstream Trailer(in Mexico).

This friend did all the advertising design for Islander. One of his creations was “our” logo the “swoosh”. Ralph Brown said: “We gave him a boat for his work”.

In 1968 Wayfarer sold Islander Yachts to Cosmodyne, Inc. A relationship that lasted only three years. In 1971,Cosmodyne sold Islander yachts to Radlon Inc.

 

As a subsidiary, Islander sold kit boats under the name of Yachtcraft.  Ed Carter, an owner of a Yachtcraft Islander 37, says the kit boats were generally discontinued models, constructed in the same place that current models were constructed and by the same workers. The Islander 36  replaced the Islander 37.

At some point in the early 1970’s, Tradewinds Marine, also of Costa Mesa bought the molds for Bruce King’s design of the Islander 55.

Nordic Yachts(see later comments about Nordic) & Mariner Yacht Co. fit in to picture somewhere.   The Islander 48 supposedly began life as an east coast built Mariner 47. Then there is a person who owns what looks like an Islander 32, has I32 specifications, Islander 32 manuals but his title has “Iona” and the hull number is not an Islander hull number.

 

Islander Yachts Inc. closed its doors in March 1986.  Buster Hammond was president at the time.  This was along with many other sailboat manufacturers that went out of business, due in part to a general decline in the market for sail boats, including: Cal, Pearson, Gulfstar, Endeavor, Irwin, Morgan, Cape Dory, Bristol, Tartan, Down East and Columbia.

 

Joan Richards, founder of Odyessey Sail in Costa Mesa, talked to Bill Lapworth which brought forth no information. She spent considerable time and effort thinking of names for me to call and spending much time on the phone herself trying to learn about people of the Islander Yacht Corp. She is responsible for several of the names listed below.

A letter to Frank Butler of Catalina Yachts had the same “no information” results. We had been led to believe he had purchased many of the files of the bankrupt corporation.

We have been told that the files after the auction were probably tossed in a dumpster and now lay buried under twelve years of landfill. But according to Don Wilson (Islander Dealer in SFO Bay), Fuqua Industries, Inc. bought all the files and put them in storage somewhere. Fuqua Industries, changed its name to Actava Group, Inc. and was subsequently combined to form Metromedia International Group, Inc of East Rutherford NJ.  At one time did make the “Snapper” lawn mower. They also make boat trailers, Ked shoes and athletic clothing.  We have never had a response from Metromedia or Fuqua.

Svendsen’s Boatworks in Alameda was a major commissioning yard for the SFO Bay area.

The best source for the Islander 36 files may have been with Mr. Luke Chang, San Grabiel, CA. He was the treasurer of Newport Offshore Yachts, the company purchased the molds for the I36 in approximately 1986.  The company’s phone and Mr. Chang’s home phone are disconnected when we tried to call in January 1997 with no new number given.

 

W

hat we do know, construction of the Islander yachts was last in Irvine, California.

The original name was the McGlasson Boat Co. then the Wayfarer Marine prior to becoming the Islander Yacht Corp. This would have been in the 1960’s.

In Irvine California, the headquarters building with 30,000sf to include all engineering, purchasing, accounting, marketing, executive offices and the 70,000sfproduction area.  From Ralph Brown regarding plant sizes:

 

The 17th Street manufacturing facilities were open sided, so work in process boats were protected from the rain.  There was a100’ production line. In a typical week we would produce 2 to 3 I32’s, 3 I29’s, 4 I24’s, 3 i21’s and 1 I37. Most sales came from boat shows but here was an on-site trailer for on-site retail sales.

 

T

he following is from Glenn Martin (2014) who started working at the Islander 36 Yacht Corp in the fall of 1974. Started grinding decks on the Islander 30 until 1979 where he replaced John Stuwe as foreman on the Freeport 41. Become a "leadsman" at the birth of the Freeport 36. His comments are: We were building beautiful boats and says they were the best production boats built in its time. It all came together upon moving to Irvine. Good crew front office, supervisor and the guys that built the Islanders, Spanish, S. Americans, Vietnamese and us long-haired(his word) Americans. Worked under John Stuwe and Tim Price. At the peak of production working with John Stuwe on the Freeport 41, John made a bet with the front office our crew could build 4 Freeport's in 30 days. They did and was awarde a 4 course dinner, drinks and a live show. This cost the front office $1,500. Under the roof at Islander there was a unique feeling building those sailboats and as I look back now we were making history in a time we'll never see production sailboats like that again. Glenn went on to become a successful artist in 1980 and is now retired on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua and looking for an Islander!

 

J

ust met with Matt Lerner, former Director of Marketing and he has given me some more information about the Corporation.

After Wayfarer Marine, the company was sold a few times to different corporations. When Matt Lerner was there, the company was controlled by David Trumble of Newport Beach. At this time Islander was apart of Mission Marine which owned a chandlery in San Pedro  and  Pacemaker and Egg Harbor Yachts.

The Company did go into Chapter Eleven.

As an aside, the Ericisons, Pearson’s and Islander’s were all built in the same locale. So whenever either of the factories was slow the workforce would move from one to the other.   However, Islander management generally did not hire employees from boat builders like Ericson, which had a labor union.

 

A

ccording to Brian Parker, the last Operations Manger for Islander, the company closed its doors in march 1986 never to build another Islander yacht.  Contrary to speculation the company did not file Chapter 11 before it closed although it did have serious financial difficulties.  The I28, I34 and I36 were built right up until the end.  In fact all work in process had been completed and finished boats were sold.  Some of the tooling and raw material inventory was sold to Catalina and some of the molds were shipped to Perris, California where they were stored for years.  Cabo Rico Yachts, a builder in Costa Rica, apparently had interest in purchasing the assets of Islander.  However, a sale to Cabo Rico Yachts was never consummated.  Robert Perry states in his book, “Yacht Design According to Perry,” that the Islander 34 tooling was sold to Nordic Yachts where another half dozen 34’s were built.  The disposition of the remainder of the tooling is unknown.    

 

J

ustin Thompson, Sailinfo has helped  clarify much of the information below.

Justin has over 2500 plans of boats. If you are curious about a boat you can reach him on-line: Internet:justin@sailinfo.com.

 

I

n an e-mail from Leif Beiley, he said “I liked working there because quality and performance were high priorities and all the boats in the line were pretty, especially the 36.”



 

H

orror of horrors!!! In the August 97 issue of “Northwest Yachting” was a picture of a 34’ powerboat with the name “Islander”. Sheerline similar to a sportfisher. Manufacturer most likely the Islander Co. of  Vancouver, British Columbia.



 

W

ith the above, everything listed below, please take with a grain of salt…

Now having covered myself, if anyone knows more than what I have listed, I would like to have any information  such as:

1. Time frame for the production of each boat,

2. Numbers of each boat built,

3. Naval Architect of each design,

4. Corporate Officers thru the years, particularly at time of bankruptcy,

5. Dates the various companies that ended as the Islander Yacht Corp.

                Wayfarer & McGlassen are two that we know.

 

T

he following are people that we have talked to or we are reasonably sure were involved with the Islander Yacht Corp at one time or another:

Buster Hammond, Last President (deceased in 1995?).

 

Hank McCormick, (deceased), Sales Manager.

 

Joe McGlasson, Original founder Islander, first as McGlasson Marine

                now retired in Oregon.

 

Ralph Brown, National Sales Manager & owner of Wayfarer Yachts.

 

Ken Wetzel, Kit boat manager.

 

Swede Johnson.

 

Gary Jensen.

 

Buffalo Cano.

 

Joe Artese, Industrial designer.

 

Charlie Underwood, Chief Engineer; currently Senior VP of Viking Sport Cruisers,  Joined Islander in 1970, Left in 1977 as V-P of Manufacturing.

 

Matt Lerner, Director of Marketing, now with Naples Yachts, Naples, CA.

 

Ed Noina, In charge of the production in the factory.

 

Steve Muszlay, Director of Engineering (Deceased).

 

Leif Beiley, In-house designer in 1975 & 76. Now Naval Architect in

Garden Grove, CA.

 

Phil Arnold, In-house designer after Leif Bailey?

 

Don Wilson, Major dealer in the SFO bay area.

 

City Yachts @ Gashouse Cove in San Francisco, also a dealer in the SFO area.

 

Ken Smith, President before Rolland Mayotte. The following is from Ken:

At the beginning of the I36, the most popular 35/36 footer was the Erickson  35.

I chose Alan Gurney and Joe Artese. I was responsible for several Islander designs: I41,I40 motorsailer, I30, mark2. And finalized the demise of the I55.

Another note, When Ken took over there was no documentation on any of the boats they were building. No bill of materials. He assigned Tork Johansen to construct a bill for every boat being built. Everything was in some bodies head prior to this time!

 

Ben Cantor, Another name associated with Islander Yacht Corp.

 

Bill Gorman & Jack Meager; Bill Gorman Yacht Brokerage.

 

Mary Blair, purchasing Dept. Later worked @ Skipjack Boats.

 

Jon Peters, purchasing and Materials Manager. Now owner Mission Hardwoods.

 

Kame & Amy Richards, Had in their files a Spring 1979 copy of “Islander

                                Breeze”. Lots of useful information about the boats in

                                production at the time.

 

Jim Clough, Quality Control manager.

 

Jack Sinclair, 1974-78; Purchasing Agent and Senior Buyer.

 

Robert Emy, Stockroom manager, 1970-73. Now director, Service Operations, Sara Lee Coffee & Tea.

 

Tork Johansen, Engineering.

 

Greg Smith, Engineering.

 

Marty Novak, Product Development.

 

Jerry Henry, Production Manager.

 

Steve Ribeau, Purchasing Manager.

 

Pete Temple, Controller.

 

There are still several people who may have information such as, Jim Dewitt, Skip Elliot. Someday I’ll contact these people and pick their brains.

 

A Diane Beeston 1979 Yachting calendar featured 3 months with Islander 36’s shown.

 

The following men were in charge of the various designs/production areas:

 

1. Bahama                         Tommy Wilson.

2. Freeport                     Robert Perry N.A.

3. The “inside lady”    Corine Stuart.

 

 

 

L

ist of boats as we know at this time:13 November, 1997

Kit versions of Islanders were known as Yachtcraft according to Justin

Thompson.

 

Islander 56     A 1992  Islander in name only. A Lavamos design.

                                Saw advertised for sale in the October 1999 Cruising World.

 

Islander 55     Bruce King, NA; Joe Artese had a thousand hours of

                                                design work on this boat before it was shelved.

Only some hulls were built. No deck molds were laid up.

In a 69 issue of “Sailing Directory” there was one of these

boats shown under sail.

 

From Leif Beiley; Molds sold to Tradewinds Yachts in

approximately 1975. He was commissioned to design

virtually a new boat using the existing hull. At least three

were built. Hull # 1 was for the Beach Boys band. Unique in that it had a 16 track recording system, an electric piano and a bathtub with Jacuzzi. It is still sailing.   #2 hull, “Quintessence”  for Dr. Eric Tarr. It was yellow hulled. Sailed in the LAX/Catalina area until the 1980’s.

 

A built-in hand carved wine chest dating from the 1600’s.

The overhead was lined in cream-colored suede.

In February 1981 this boat left on a around-the-world cruise. Mr. Rae Bordua sailed to Papeete on this cruise. This boat has since disappeared.

 

A third boat was built “Good News”, owner; Wes  Gary, presently in Newport Beach, CA. Westerly Marine built the mahogany interior as their first complete boat construction. They have built AC boats. Electrical by the owner (C W Productions who were suppliers to Islander, Catalina & Ericson) provided electrical wire looms & distribution systems.

 

From Matt Lerner, one sold to the Kennedy Family and he believed it was raced in the Boston area for a period of time. It had a green hull and ended up in charter service in the Virgins named the “Green Dragon”. From Josh Carson, Owner of “Southern Trades Yacht Sales in the BVI’s. When the Kennedy’s owned it the name was “Curragh”. The boat was originally built for Jessie Phillips and was named “Charisma” and Kennedy purchased it from him. Josh Carson bought it in 1989 and was named “Quiverfull”. It is an aft cockpit, white hull now is painted flag blue.

 

There is presently another green hull boat named “Green Norseman” now in the BVI’s. This boat is a center cockpit model.

                                                The Islander/Tradewinds 55 was one of the last boats

                                                designed by King to the old CCA rule. Considered a rule

                                                beater because of the 38’ waterline. Lots of speed

                                                potential what somewhat compromised because of the

                                                center cockpit and deluxe  accommodations.

Wayfarer Yachts; 1969 @ $75,000.

 

A third boat “Vantage” owned by Robert Grant in Southern Calif. This boat was built by a Bernie Ramming of Catalina. This was in the late 60’s or early 70’s.  White hull with

blue trim.

 

Jim Gravelyn says a fourth boat is in the Caribbean named “Kachina”. It is currently for sale. Hull # unknown.

 

Islander 53                     Bruce King, NA: There is one, “Polaris” Cutter rigged, afloat

San Francisco  Bay  owned by  Modern Sailing Academy.

                                                We’ve been told four were built.

 

Islander 53                     Bruce King, NA. 1979 center-cockpit, advertised in the   

                                                December(?) & July 2000 issue of latitude 38. Sloop rig.

                                                1st year built, 1967. Last 1978.

 

Islander 48                     Ted Brewer, NA;   Produced from 1982 to 1985.From  Justin                                                   Thompson; This boat was originally the    Mariner 47 and

                                                built on the East coast. He has sailed on this model.

                                                Buster Hammond got the molds from mariner when it went under.

                                                In the late 1980’s, This boat became the Islander 48C.

                                                From Steve Wolf the following:

                                                The first boat was built for Al Wolf who had gone to Ted

                                                Brewer with some ideas for a 47’ ketch.  The molds are sitting

                                                In a parking lot in New Hampshire. And are “for sale”.

 

Islander 44                     C. William Lapworth, NA; Principally a kit boat. Maybe ten

                                                were sold. Idea was to get people into a boat for under

                                                $10,000. This was probably in 1972.

                                                Maybe a couple were fully outfitted.

                                                Wayfarer Yachts; 1969 @ $40,000

                                                1st year built; 1965

                                                Molds purchased by Yachtcraft.

 

Excalibur 44                  1st year built, 1967.

 

Islander 41                     Alan Gurney, NA: An IOR design. Only six were produced.

                                                Molds purchased by Yachtcraft and one built by

                                                Yachtcraft. 1st built, 1973. Probably the only year in

                                                production.. One boat named “Osprey/Coverage/Brass Tacks”

                                                is in Michigan?

 

Islander 40                     Doug Peterson, NA

 

Islander P40                  Listed in one of the boat directories. #1 hull launched in

early 1979 to Ron Greenberg. One of these first boats was sold to a North executive Dick Deaver. The boat was named “Fast Track”. Matt Lerner had worked with Dick Deaver on the deck layout and that Deaver was very positive and pleased with the delivery.

He also said he knew of no litigation as I had previously stated.

                                                As of the Spring of 1979 twenty-six people had made

                                                deposits on the “Queen of the Islander Fleet”.

 

Islander 40                     Charlie Davies, NA. predecessor to the Freeport models. Saw in an ad Motorsailor ketch  in “Santana” Dec.97 issue. A second listed in Lat/38

                                                issue June98 in Costa Rica at Bahia Luminosa Resort.

                                                About 18 were built before this model was redesigned into the

Freeport 41 by Robert Perry.

 

Islander 38C Robert Perry, NA; Listed as an Islander but in reality is a                                                                             Freeport 38C.

                                                This is a Freeport 36 extended somehow. Will have to check

                                                with Robert Perry someday.

                                                1st built, 1972. Last 1974.

 

Islander 37                     Bruce King,NA; 10 to 12 sailing on SFO Bay. There was a

                                                one design class on the SFO Bay

                                                Wayfarer Yachts; 1969 @ $25,000

                                                1st built, 1966. Introduced at the NY boat show. Sold 20 for                                                  $19.995.00. Last  built1972.

                                                The molds were purchased by Yachtcraft  and several

                                                were built by Yachtcraft.  Sold as kit boats.

 

Islander 37                     Bruce King, NA; Listed in one of the boat directories.

Motorsailer                  Same hull as the I37.

 

Islander 36                     Alan Gurney,NA: Presently living on the Isle Of Islay off

                                                Scotland’s west coast. Still designs an occasional

                                                cruiser. Now an author, currently finished writing a book

                                                “Below the Convergence”. Sailing magazine says it’s a

                                                “cracker to read”.

 

                                                Ken Smith, President of Islander was responsible for introducing the

                                                I36 to the sailing public and had a very close hand in her conception.

                                                Alan Gurney designed the hull and rig.

                                                Joe Artese designed the deck and the interior.  

See a copy of an e-mail about Islander from Joe Artese at the end of this “history”. Joe conceived radical changes to the conventional outward appearance of the cabin sides and top of a cruising/racing yacht. He introduced the segment of an ellipse in lieu of the usual circle to form the cabin top. He sloped the aft end of the cabin and cabin sides inward from the usual vertical. More ergonomically fitted cockpit combings provide a sleeker more graceful look to the boat.

 

The following compiled by Art Fowler, owner of “Zenith.”

Don Wilson is another gentleman who was actively involved with the I36 in its early days. He sold over 150, more than any other dealer anywhere. His involvement started at the SFO Boat Show at the Cow Palace in about 1969. He met Hank  McCormick of Islander Yachts. Don & Hank hypothesized about the marketability of the I36. Don decide to pursue it so he went to southern CA and attempted to meet with President Ken Smith. Mr. Smith was not receptive about meeting with Don who was still in his twenties!  Don was thrown out of the office   twice. But Don finally prevailed and had a fruitful and productive meeting.  His dealership was in the Alameda Yacht Harbor, now Fortman’s Basin. 6 or 8 months later another dealership in the SFO bay started but never reached the activity of Don Wilson.

Of course, equally important were all (us) buyers.  And the first I36 buyer in the SFO Bay was Lou Zevanov and wife Diana. They later sold her and much later bought her back. It was his efforts to organize a fleet began on 17th November 1973. Lou met with several new owners of the I36 at Coyote Point YC. Wayne Hallenbeck, owner of Williwa (now Palau) was elected the first commodore of the I36 Association of San Francisco Bay. This gave the organization the legitimacy to compete in the SFO Bay “one Design” of the Yacht Racing Association.  This predates the I36 fleet at the San Francisco by one year. Lou’s efforts also dissuaded Islander from making some cost-cutting attempts to compromise the original design.

 

The qualities they saw in 33 years ago have endured the tees of time.

Don sums it nicely, “ I’ve been a dealer for many boats…but I never had a relationship like I had with Islander Yachts. I believe today I would have great success selling new Islander36’s”.

 

From Art Fowler: And many others would have to agree. For the purpose of this information there are three terms that define the Islander 36; “Pedigree”; Background, history, or origin of something;

“Legacy”;  Something that is handed down or remains from a previous generation or time ;  Classic; Top quality, generally considered to be the highest quality or of lasting value”.

 

In an article in the February 2000 Cruising World, Robert Perry quoting from another article in the 1985 Cruising World series on yacht design: Explained how Joe Artese’s breakthrough interior for the Islander 36 forced designers to incorporate architecture and interior design into boats. “The sailboat interior was no longer going to be allowed to be the ‘boy’s cabin in the woods’” he wrote. “It was on its way to becoming the ‘condo’”.

There are +/- 150 on the SFO Bay and Delta area. There were approximately 250 sold in the SFO Bay area.

                                                There were approximately 770 built. But in an article by Peter

                                                Bohr in “Sea”, January 1988 it was said that “slightly more

                                                than 1000 left the Islander Yacht’s Costa Mesa, California

                                                plant.

 

Aluminum mast extrusion was produced and supplied to Islander by Clint Berkey of Le Fiel Engineering and Islander’s in-          house  rigging specialists fabricated the spars and rigging. The masts at Ken Smith’s time were aluminum              tapered with streamlined spreaders.  Previously Islander masts were not tapered.

 

One of the most successful run of a production boat.

Hull #13 is still on the SFO Bay owned by a member of the

                                                Golden Gate Yacht Club.  Hull # 1 was cruised and raced in Southern

California out of the Long Beach Yacht Club by Hugh Lamson the original owner. Hugh was doing a major refit to the interior.  As of this date I believe Hugh died several years ago.

                                                Molds were sold to Newport Offshore Yachts. Molds

                                                location was unknown until just recently when I received

                                                an e-mail from a Capt. Greg Hunter, Head Hunter helmuts

                                                in Perris, CA. Don’t know how long they will be there.

                                                The labor time to manufacturer an Islander36 was +/-700

hours. Part of the reason for this time was for the rather complicated interior liner and the use of secondary molds to create the shapes that Joe Artise had designed. The boat had four primary molds including.  the two hull halves, the deck and the liner.

                                                (The Swans are also built in port & starboard halves).

The San Francisco I36 Association is now 33years old.

                                                The Association  races one design cruises to many locations in and

                                                around the Bay area including the near coastal waters.

                                                In the Spring 1979 there were sufficient I36’s sailing

                                                the Detroit area to have a One Design Fleet.

                                                Cost; 1975; $29,932: 1978;$47,400

                                                As of the Spring 1979 560 had been launched.

                                                Even in 1979 “Sehigh” made the crossing to Hawaii. Patti &

                                                Jerry Sehi owners.

                                                Years of production were 1971 thru 1986 with a gap of

                                                three years from  1980 to 1983. 770 built.

 

Islander 34                     Robert Perry, NA: 14 built. Molds sold to Nordic Yachts.

                                                The boat resurfaced as the Nordic 34.

                                                According to Leif Beiley Yachtcraft purchased some I34

                                                molds and produced a couple as kit boats.

 

Islander 34                     Saw a brochure of a lapstrake/bowsprit design. Wonder

                                                if this is the one who J. McGlasson is the NA?

                                                Also known as the Yachtcraft 34, kit boat.

                                                Bill Gorman did not think any of these were ever built.

                                                Brochure had interiors which could have been very good

                                                renderings. We know of one boat like this. Owned by

                                                Michel Goulet of Quebec City, Canada.

Another I34 has surfaced that is ketch

                                                rigged and has a bowsprit. Hull # 5072 in Campbell River

                                                B.C.

 

Islander 33                     Listed in Cruising World’s boat list. At least one on SFO

                                                Bay. Built by Wayfarer Yachts in +/-1965. 1969@ $14,950.

                                                Wayfarer(most likely, J. McGlasson) listed as Naval  

                                                Architect. 1st built, 1964. Last 1971.

 

Islander 32                     Robert Perry, NA; Production drawings by Leif Beiley.

                                                One owned by Matt Mikkelborg.

                                                Molds are located at Capt. Greg Hunter’s: Head Hunter

                                                Helmets, Perris, CA>

                                                Somewhere in this I32 mix is a model built by Iona.

 

Islander 32 Mark II    Robert Perry, NA.  Introduced in 1976. with about 400 built.

                                                Robert Perry told John Kretschmer

                                                The 32 was inspired by his I28. A good review of this boat

                                                Is in the March 2003 issue of “Sailing” magazine.

                                                These boats came with a tiller or a wheel.

 

Islander 32 “Wayfarer”    Designed by J.H. McGlasson, NA; First built1963.

                                                Last built, 1967. A narrow beam, long keel design.

 

Islander 30                     J.H. McGlasson,NA; 1969 @ $9,450

                                                As an experiment, two were fitted with outboard motor

                                                wells. Matt Lerner owned one from 1969 to 1972.

                                                PHRF of 228. He said he won everything in sight!

                                                In the “Sea” January 1988 article about the Islander 36

                                                it said “in unit volume it(I36) was outsold 2 to 1 by the

                                                islander 30.”

 

Islander 30 Mark II    Bob Finch, NA  Same boat as the Bahama 30.

                                                First built,1971; Last built 1985. 500 built.

 

Islander 30A                 Alan Andrews, NA: Pure racer. First year built, 1983.

 

Islander 29                     J.H.McGlasson, NA; Wayfarer Yachts. 1969@$11,950

                                                Listed in Cruising World’s boat list and saw one racing

                                                in the 1997 Double Handed Farallons race.

 

Islander 28                     Robert Perry, NA; He considers this boat one of his best

                                                designs.

 

Excalibur  28 Robert Perry, NA: Last year built, 1985.

 

Islander 27                     A.S. Pendell, NA; Wayfarer Yachts. 1969 @ $6,950

                                                Newport Offshore Yachts marketed this boat as a trailerable

                                                Boat in 1988 after the bankruptcy. We have been told it was a

                                                 proto-type. We do have brochure, Sort of, not well printed.

 

Excalibur 27                  listed in a boat directory. 1972.

 

Islander 26                     Robert Perry, NA; Listed in a boat directory.

Production drawings by Leif Beiley. 16 built; Last year production 1977.

 

Excalibur 26                  1st Year built, 1966.

 

Islander 24                     J. McGlasson, NA: Same hull as the Bahama 24, but different                                                                 deck & cabin layout.

                                                1st Year production; 1961,, Last 1967.  We have been told that 3 of                                   these have sailed around the world! First models were from a mold                                                made from the original  wood 24. One sailed to Europe!

 

Islander 23                     W.I.B. Crealock, NA; Wayfarer Yachts. 1969 @$2,750

                                                Also built in the United Kingdom by Russell Marine.

 

Islander 21                     J. McGlasson, NA; Listed in a boat directory.

 

Islander 17                     Know of one in Lafayette CA . A 2nd is located in Indiana, Owner,

                                                Jeff Burch.

 

Islander 16                     Listed in a boat directory.

 

 

 

 

Bahama Group:             Not much known about these boats:

 

Bahama 21                       One owned by a Vallejo YC member.

 

Bahama 24                       J.H.McGlassen,NA: 1969 @ $4,295; 500 built,

                                                1st Year production, 1964, Last 1970.

 

Bahama 26                       Listed in a boat directory.

 

Bahama 28                       Robert Perry, NA; Last year built; 1985.

 

Bahama 29                       J. McGlasson, NA: Last year built, 1969.

 

Bahama 30                       Bob Finch, NA Same hull as the Islander 30MKII.

                                                When the deck mold got to old a new deck was designed

                                                in-house and it became the Bahama30. Last built 1985.

                                               

 

Freeport Group:       Islander dropped the Freeport name in the late 1980’s.

                                                At this time, the F36 was reconfigured to the I(F)38C.

Their website is:  http://groups/yahoo.com/group/FOGgers/

 

Freeport 41                   Based upon the I40 motorsailor, which had been designed by Charlie Davies the Freeport 41 was redesigned by Robert Perry NA,

The Freeport 41 is ketch rigged.  There were about 65 sold by Islander.

                                               

Freeport 36                   Robert Perry, NA: Production drawings by Leif Beiley

Three medium sized windows at raised salon.

1st Built, 1977. Last 1984. 150 built.

 

Freeport 36                   Robert Perry, NA: Originally conceived as a charter

Center cockpit            boat for a charter company in Florida. 30 boats ordered  

Never delivered as the company went bankrupt.. Same hull as the F36.

In the Fall of 1981 Bob Perry found six under construction.

Robert never received a commission.

Five are “known” to exist. All 1982 model year.

This from Tom Hieronymus, Owner of “Mojito” located in SFO

Bay.

 

 Freeport 38C              Robert Perry, NA: Shown in the brochures as an Islander 38C.

                From Justin Thompson: basically an F36 with the

                                                “B” interior and the quarter berth from the “A” interior.

                                                Extra length is added length in the bowsprit. A different

                                                rig, longer boom, mast a foot forward, two large

                                                windows in the salon. Main salon & settee slightly

                                                larger. Only produced for two years.

                                                Robert Perry, NA.

 

Freeport 44                   Sail plan only. Preliminaries only. None ever past this

                                                stage of development.  

                                                Islander Yachts, NA

 

The following were designed but never built to Justin Thompson’s knowledge:

 

Islander 25

 

Islander 31                     Robert Perry, NA.

 

Islander 37                     Robert Perry, NA.

 

Freeport 44                   Robert Perry, NA.

 

Islander 58:                   Bruce King; NA. Called the “Westlawn Project”. Never Built.

 

 

The following were the Corporations addresses at their respective times.

 

Wayfarer Yacht Corporation

Joseph McGlasson, Owner & Designer (deceased 1993)

Yachtcraft Division

1682 Placentia Avenue

Costa Mesa CA

714.646.7437

 

Islander Yachts

Division of:                                                     in the spring of 1974:

Cosmodyne Inc. and later

Radlon, Inc                                              1922 Barranca  Road

777 West 17th Street                               Irvine California

Costa mesa  CA 92627

714.646.7434

 

Tradewind Yachts    Founded by: Bob Lynch (deceased)

Costa Mesa, CA

Out of business early 1980’s

 

 

 

 

From an e-mail from Industrial Designer, Joe Artese, to Skipper Wall; Dated 3/29/2002

 

It seems that as I read the history you posted on the web, that much of the history that I gave you several years ago was not there.

I ran into Charlie Underwood, the young chief engineer during the development of the I-36, at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show 3 or 4 years ago. He was then president of one of the East  coast production sportfish builders, which, I believe, was Viking.

A little more history concerning the time that I was working with Islander.

When I was originally contracted by Ken Smith in 1969, he had just left his post as regional sales manager at Columbia Yachts to be president of Islander.

When I was contracted to design the 36, I was also told that there would be 3 initial designs, two Gurney designs of 36 & 41 feet. The 3rd boat was a cruising design by Charlie Davies originally known as the Islander 40 motorsailer.

The I-36 had so much new thinking in it that it was problematical for the engineering team. I had to fight for each & every design feature. They tried to “simplify” things by developing an alternative layout that was more conventional but didn’t work a the couch would have stuck out the hull. Fortunately, the original I-36 design survived with a couple of exceptions such as hull ports at seating level which Gurney objected to.

Soon after getting the development of the 36 underway, Smith had a heart attack and was replaced by a temporary manager, I don’t remember his name.

                Although Islander told me that if I came in low on the I-36 design fee, that Islander would “make up for it on the next boat”. This was only a verbal agreement with Smith however, and I was not included in the design process for the next boat after Smith was no longer in the driver’s seat.

According to Islander’s then in house naval architect, Torkiel Johanson, Underwood wanted to design the second boat of the new group, the Gurney designed 41, himself. Unfortunately for Islander, the I-41 was an unmitigated disaster and only 3 boats were sold before it was taken off the market. The first of these boats was named “Rubber Duck”.

The 3rd boat was the Davies designed I-40 motor sailer was similarly doomed. This was a center cockpit layout with an aft cabin. This boat was distinguished by parallegram  shaped, 4 paned windows in the aft quarter topsides and a row of “great cabin” windows across the transom. This was an attempt at old world romanticism but the center cockpit layout divided the space into tiny unworkable spaces. The small salon had a dinette to port and a galley opposite.  One had to go out on deck into the weather to enter the small aft cabin.

I must admit that I was more than miffed at being squeezed out of the equation by those that took over in Smith’s absence. And I did take some peasure in the fact that the failure of these two boats highlighted the relative success of the I36.

One day, the redeeming phone call came. I got a call from Hank McCormack, Islander’s marketing manager. He said, “Joe, the I-40 motor sailer is dead in the water. The pipelines are filled. Our dealers can’t unload the boats they have. We finally recognize that it was you that made the I-36 go for us and we were wondering if you could turn things around for us with a redesign of the I-40”?

Knowing what the problems were in the I-40 I knew that I could do the fix that Hank was looking for. We met to hash out a deal. He offered me a royalty and a design fee to be determined on the complexity of the redesign. With the best lawyers in Newport Beach and a signed agreement in hand, I was exhilarated and set out to draw up my redesign proposal.

The redesign proposal was simple but very effective. I scrapped the molded interior liner which allowed me to lower the interior farther down into the hull. This accomplished 3 things. It lowered the center of gravity, improving the performance but it also radically lowered the ungainly height of the cabin visually transforming the boat. But most importantly, lowering the interior allowed me to create a passageway under the deck that contained the galley and connected the previously unconnected spaces. This totally opened up the interior and allowed a very sculptural approach. I finally got the portholes at seating eye level  that I had treid to incorporate in the I-36.

Two weeks later I presented the resigned proposal to Islander and put up the drawings on the engineering trailer walls. They were very excited. Knowing that I was protected by our agreement I left the presentation on the walls at McCormack’s request. He wanted the new owner of Islander, Dave Trumble, who no one had met as yet, to see the presentation.

A week later, Hank called again to tell me that Trumble had seen the redesign and was “ecstatic” and wanted me to “come in and discuss the real nitty gritty”. I assumed that he meant the design fee as the royalty had already been agreed upon.

When I got to the meeting I was met by Bob Pool who had been my chief engineer when I was senior production designer at Columbia Yachts. Pool had been hired by Trumble as a consultant for this project. Bob & I had a good deal of respect for one another and I was flattered when he told me that my “preliminary proposal was so complete we didn’t need any more from you”. Bob didn’t know that I had a few more tricks up my sleeve that were not depicted in the preliminary proposal. This soon became academic however as I met with Trumble for the first time.

After an initial exchange of pleasantries, Trumble surrised us all by stating that he didn’t know of anyone who was paying an interior designer royalties and that he wasn’t going to be the first to start. He handed me a check for $10.000 in lieu of our agreement. I gave the check back to him since, by my reckoning, the design would bring about $60,000 in royalties and I reminded him that Islander and Artese had a contract and that Islander was free to incorporate my design or not but if they did, they were obligated to pay me if they used my design in whole or in part. Trumble said that he would think about it and get back to me. A week laterI got a letter from Islander thanking me for my proposal but basically saying, “that Islander had decided not to accept my proposal”.

A few months later, I opened up Yachting magazine and was dumbfounded to see an Islander ad showing my design, now called the Freeport 41, with Bob Perry’s name on it. I immediately called Perry and he told me that he did not know that I had been involved. That he had been trying to get his foot in Islander’s door and they had invited him in, showed him a set of drawings with the title block cut off and asked him how much he would charge to incorporate the redesign. He said that he would do it for $6,000 and Islander said, OK.

I, of course, sued Islander and after several years of depositions and counter suit s, we stood before the judge in the preliminary hearing where the judge indicated that he thought the settlement would be around $80,000.That very day that we arrived in court for the trial, the judge informed us that Islander had just informed the court that they had filed Chapter 11. We would have had to chase Trumble through the New Jersey courts and his many of umbrella companies. Exhausted and out of money, we decided to drop the suit. We heard later from McCormack that Trumble had looted several million from Islander and the surrounding community and had built several house on the waterfront in Newport Beach.

After doing the Freeport 41, Perry was asked to do the I-28 as a “mini 36”. He even incorporated my stylized cove stripe arrowhead as well as several other of my design features. The Freeport 36 followed soon thereafter.

Prior to doing the redesign of the Freeport 41, McCormack commissioned me to design a new interior and deck for their I-58 which was Bruce King’s first hull design as a Westlawn project and was then an Islander kit boat. Trumble dismissed the project when he took over and it was never built.

Soon after, Buster Hammond moved into the driver’s seat at Islander. Hammond had previously been manager at Ranger Yachts which was a Jensen Marine Company.

 

 

 

Email to Skipper Wall of May 4, 2009 from Robert Perry, Naval Architect, who designed most of the Islanders after the I41:

 

Dear Islander Association:

I read with interest the letter from Joe Artese concerning his role in the history of Islander Yachts. I know Joe and I have a lot of respect for his design talents. My problem is that his recollection of his involvement in the Freeport 41 is not the same as my own recollection. Of course I recognize that we all have our own way of remembering things and facts can become very malleable over 35 years. That said this is how I remember it.

 

I had met Buster Hammond, Hank McCormick and Bob Babson at the Long Beach Boat Show in 1973. I insisted to them that they needed me as their house designer. I almost said it as a joke. Buster came back at me with: We have been thinking about a 28’er. Would you be interested?”  I went back to Boston, where I lived at the time, and for weeks I did nothing but draw variations on the Islander 28 theme. I sent prints of to Buster several times a week. Finally he said, “We like what we see but we want to try you on a preliminary project first to se how we work together.” That was fine with me. The job turned out to be the redesign of the Islander 40 design by Davies. I don’t recall ever seeing any drawings on that project by Joe Artese. I had heard the name from the Islander guys but only in passing. It was clear he was not going to be a player in the new redesign project. The job was given to me. I redesigned the bow, the rig, the deck and the layout. Islander decided to call the boat the Freeport 41. I was paid $1,500 for the entire job. I like Joe’s number for pay better but it’s just not accurate. I was young. I had no idea what my efforts were worth. I think Islander sold about 50 of the Freeport 41’s. I got no royalty but I did get my foot in the door.

 

When I designed the I-28 there was no attempt on my part to copy Joe Artese. I had far too much self confidence in those days to think I needed copy anyone. I just drew a 28’ hull that I had been working on for some time, with a dish like midsection and relatively narrow BWL. The layout, like all my production boat layouts came about after consulting with the builder and going back and forth thru a series of preliminary designs.  The style of the interior of the I-28 was very much the work of Hank McCormick. We followed the same design sequence in producing the I-32, I-26 and Freeport 36.

 

The last time I saw Joe Artese he was working in a HOME DEPOT hardware store near Seattle. I did not say hello. I had always personally found Joe quite bitter about his own Islander experience while I was anything but bitter about my own. I truly enjoyed working with Islander.

 

That’s how I remember it.

 

Bob Perry

 

 

 

Letter of May 15, 2009 to Skipper Wall from Charlie Underwood, former Chief Engineer and VP of Manufacturing for Islander Yachts from January 1970 until April1977:

 

Dear Skipper:

 

The purpose of my letter is to provide the Islander 36 Association and you with a brief history of Islander Yachts during the time that I was employed by the company.

 

At 26 years old in January 1970, I was hired by Ken Smith, who was President of Islander Yachts, as Islander’s Chief Engineer with responsibility for Engineering and Product Development.  As a third generation boat builder I had come from Kettenburg Marine where I was trained as a Naval Architect by Paul Kettenburg and my father, Charles Underwood, while studying Engineering at San Diego State College.  When I joined Islander Steve Muszlay, Engineer, and Tork Johansen, Naval Architect, were employed in the Engineering Department.  Product Development was led by Marty Novak and Mike Howorth.  Mike later went on to co-found Pacific Sea Craft and Cabo Yachts.  Other key management then in the company included Hank McCormick, Sales Manager; Jerry Henry, Manufacturing Manager; and Steve Ribeau, Purchasing Manager.  At the time Islander was a Division of Cosmodyne, Inc., a small conglomerate in the aerospace industry.  It is still a mystery to me why Cosmodyne would have wanted to be in an industry so different from their core business.

 

Ken Smith, who had joined Islander a couple of years earlier, had come from nearby Columbia Yachts where he was responsible for marketing and sales.  At the time Columbia was the largest sail boat builder in the country and Costa Mesa was the epicenter of sail boat building in the USA.  With the advent of less expensive fiberglass construction the entire industry had experienced tremendous growth during the late 1960’s that continued into the 1970’s.   While he was of President of Islander, Ken continued to be directly involved in the company’s marketing and product planning efforts in addition to his general management responsibilities. 

 

Yacht Craft had been established by Islander in 1969 as a separate company to sell kit boats based on out of production Islander models.  Duncan Macintosh, who currently owns Sea Magazine and the Newport Boat Show at Lido Village, was managing Yacht Craft at the time.  He was followed by Ken Wetzel and later by Kelly Miller.

 

In January 1970 Islander was producing the Bahama 24, I30 Mark II, I32, and I37 in large open buildings located at 777 West 17th Street in Costa Mesa, CA.  Offices were located in a couple of old houses on the property.  The Bob Finch designed I30 Mark II had just come into production, which was the first boat that Islander had produced with an interior liner.  This became a highly successful model that was produced well into the mid 1980’s.  The I30 Mark II struck a great balance for the racing/cruising sailor and was competitively positioned in terms of pricing.  At the peak of this model’s popularity we produced the I30 at a line rate of a boat every two days.  Reportedly about 500 units were produced, which were strong numbers in those days.

 

The I36 was the first new model that we developed after my arrival at Islander.  The design had already been completed by Naval Architect Alan Gurney and the interior layout and deck were designed by local Industrial Designer, Joe Artese.  At the time Alan’s architectural services were in demand because his boats, including “Windward Passage”, were winning races.  Joe, a very creative stylist, had previously worked in Engineering at Columbia Yachts.  Both Alan and Joe had been commissioned by Ken Smith.

 

While it is relatively common today to team industrial designers with Naval Architects and Production Engineers in designing and developing new models, in 1971 it was a rare occurrence.  Unfortunately from the beginning there was little or no teamwork in the design process.  First Alan Gurney designed the boat, then Joe Artese designed the deck and interior and finally the Islander Engineering and Development team took Alan’s and Joe’s designs and developed the I36 for production.  Alan was not pleased with Joe’s modifications to his structure and Joe was not interested in compromising his layout and styling so that it could be produced in a reasonable way.  Ultimately, however, we were able to work through the issues with neither Alan nor Joe quite satisfied.  However, the overwhelming success of the final product with 770 boats produced was quite an accomplishment for all involved.  Introduced in 1971 the Islander 36 hit its target market dead center as a competitive racer, a comfortable cruising boat with a state-of-the-art interior and attractively priced.  Joe’s outstanding I36 interior would continue to influence Islander’s interior design for years to come.

 

Shortly after the introduction of the I36 Ken Smith suffered a heart attack and was away from the office for a number of months.  During that period Ken advised me that he had commissioned Charlie Davies, a local Naval Architect to design the I40 Motor Sailor, which was a traditionally styled center cockpit ketch.  In fact, Ken first showed me the drawings at his home in Tustin.  Ken made the decision to go with Charlie’s design without the use of an industrial designer.  With input from Sales Manger Hank McCormick, who was very creative in his own right, our Islander Engineering and Development team completed the design details and developed the first I40 Motor Sailor, which was introduced into production in early 1972.  With a long keel the I40 Motor Sailor was not particularly fast although it was very stable in a sea and was a comfortable cruising boat with a raised salon and a VIP stateroom forward and a large master cabin aft.  Hank and I liked the boat so much that together we purchased two of them.  Unfortunately the market did not quite share our enthusiasm.  About 18 Islander 40 Motor Sailor’s were produced before the boat was redesigned and marketed as the Freeport 41. 

 

Not long after Ken Smith’s return to Islander in 1971 as President, the company was sold by Cosmodyne to Radlon, Inc. a very small conglomerate that was owned by Rolland and Clifford Mayotte.  The Mayottes, who had been involved in the movie industry and more recently owning a house trailer builder, were new to the boat business.  It was also during this time that Engineer Steve Muszlay left Islander to pursue other interests.  Steve was eventually replaced by Greg Smith, Ken’s son.

 

After Islander’s acquisition by Radlon, Islander continued under the management of Ken Smith until sometime in 1972 when Ken and Controller Pete Temple left Islander on short notice.  We were subsequently advised by Cliff Mayotte that Radlon and Islander were having cash flow problems.  Rolland Mayotte then assumed the position as Islander’s President and his brother Cliff became Controller.  Islander’s financial situation began to improve as sales continued to be relatively strong.

 

Sometime around 1972 Bob Babson joined Islander as Regional Sales Manager working for Hank McCormack.  Bob had been living in Hawaii and was campaigning and selling boats designed by Britton Chance.  An outstanding sales person and with extensive racing experience Bob became a valuable member of the team championing the performance aspect of our products.  For several years Bob owned and raced an I36 with his partner George Jefferies. 

 

Directly after the introduction of the I40 Motor Sailor we began engineering and development of the I41, which had been designed by Alan Gurney.  This was to be a racing/cruising design with emphasis on racing.  Gurney’s initial design featured a high sheer line with a low deck house that looked a bit utilitarian.  The final design, which featured a well integrated deck with a uniquely curved deck house and an attractive spacious interior, was styled by Tork Johansen under my direction.  The first two I41’s were sold as bare bones racers and were constructed by the Development and Engineering staff in a remarkably short period of time.  The first boat went to Dave Cuckler of Newport Harbor Yacht Club and the second one was sold to another avid racer in Chicago.  As I recall both were delivered in early 1973.  While the I41 received good reviews for its appearance and accommodations, it did not prove to be anywhere near as race competitive as anticipated.  As a result there were only about six I41’s sold.

 

In 1973 shortly after the first I41 was introduced Jerry Henry, Manufacturing Manager, and his assistant Heinz Lebrenz left the company to join a Florida yacht builder.  Partly as a result of our successful efforts in producing the two custom I41’s Rolland asked me to take responsibility for manufacturing in addition to engineering and product development.  I agreed to do so and was promoted to VP of Manufacturing, which is a position that I held until I left Islander in April 1977.  During those years we developed an excellent team of manufacturing supervisors including David Deary, George Lonza, Tim Price, John Stuwe, and Luis Torres among others.  Don Brendlinger, formerly with Columbia Yachts, became Product Development Manager and my right hand man.  I learned a lot from Don, who had extensive experience in manufacturing and product development.

 

During the same year Cosmodyne ended up with control of Islander again as Radlon continued to endure financial problems.  Vic Scopack, an executive with Cosmodyne, became President of Islander and asked me to assist him as General Manager until the company could be sold.  With little knowledge of the boating industry Vic was a good interim manager who kept Islander going in the right direction.  As part of the change Steve Muszlay also returned to Islander, this time as Chief Engineer.  Of Hungarian descent, Steve, who had a great sense of humor, was a talented engineer and inventor who became a key player in the Islander’s engineering and product development effort.  Steve was always coming up with innovative ideas for new hardware.

Fortunately it was not long before Islander was acquired by Mission Marine and Associates, which was headed by David Trumble.  Mission Marine also owned Los Angeles Marine Hardware and California Marine Hardware.  In the beginning Dave made an excellent decision in hiring Buster Hammond in 1973 to become President of Islander.  Buster came from Jensen Marine where he had founded Ranger Yachts, builder of a successful line of racing/cruising boats designed by Gary Mull.  For Islander Buster was like a breath of fresh air.  Not only was he a seasoned industry veteran he was an outstanding manager who knew how to get the very best out of people through positive motivation.  Under Buster’s management Islander’s culture changed dramatically through his establishment of professional policies and procedures to management training and by fostering a more positive atmosphere.  Buster was a boat builder, a racing sailor and a great guy to work for.

 

Unlike Islander’s previous two owners Dave Trumble was interested in both short term and long term profitability and upon analyzing the company’s needs he demonstrated that he was willing to invest in the future.  Shortly after his acquisition of Islander, Dave contracted Bob Poole, former VP of Engineering for Columbia Yachts to find a new manufacturing facility for Islander and to design a factory layout.  Islander’s new site would be a modern facility located at 1922 Barranca Road in the Irvine Industrial Park.  With careful planning in 1974, we moved Islander’s manufacturing operation into the new plant over a weekend and were back in full production on the following Monday morning without losing schedule.  Within the new building Islander ran three production lines, which initially consisted of the I30, I36 and I40 Motor Sailor models.  With a fully enclosed facility, as compared to the open buildings in Costa Mesa, and an intelligent layout the production flow improved significantly.  Located in the building were the Mold Shop, Wood Mill, Spar Shop, Stock Room and Assembly Line Area.  Attractive offices were positioned in front of the manufacturing facility on Barranca Road.

 

Over the next several years we were able to improve production efficiency by 20% while increasing production three fold as a result of:

·         Increasing sales.

·         Moving into a more efficient facility.

·         Acquisition of new machinery and equipment.

·         Supervisory training and implementation of an incentive program.

·         Moving to modular interior construction.

·         A more tightly controlled production schedule.

·         Development of an excellent production team.

Soon after Buster took the helm in 1973 he began to look for a Naval Architect who could take the company forward in the development of racing/cruising models that would be as successful as the I30 and I36.  At the Long Beach Boat Show that year he met 26 year old Robert Perry who was there to promote his Valiant 40 design.  As Bob explains in his excellent book, “Yacht Design According to Perry”, he boldly said to Buster, “You need a new designer.”  After Bob sent Buster an outstanding design proposal for an I28 Buster agreed to hire Bob.  However, Bob’s first project was the redesign of the I40 Motor Sailor into the Freeport 41, as sales of the Charlie Davies designed I40 Motor Sailor had declined significantly. 

 

In reviewing Joe Artese’s letter on your web site he claims that he designed the Freeport 41, gave drawings to Hank McCormack and signed a contract with Islander.  While Joe may have made a proposal to Hank, it was simply not accepted by Islander.  As Bob Perry explained in his letter to the I36 Association and in his book, the Freeport 41 redesign was his alone with the exception of verbal input by Buster and Hank.  In co-owning two I40 Motor Sailors I know that Hank had some very definite ideas about changes that would benefit the Freeport 41.

 

By adding a foot to the bow, a much improved interior layout with a passageway from the salon to the aft cabin, a lower deck house and a more powerful rig the Freeport 41, which was introduced in August 1975, was a major improvement over the I40 Motor Sailor, which resulted in incremental sales of about 65 additional boats.  Although, this type of product had a very limited niche in comparison to the racing cruising market that would ultimately drive Islander’s financial success. 

 

In his letter Joe Artese contends the I40 Motor Sailor would have been a more successful boat if he would have been initially involved in this Charlie Davies design and he may have been right.  However, ultimately the Bob Perry designed Freeport 41 not only had a great interior and attractive exterior styling it also performed better than the I40 Motor Sailor with a more efficient and powerful rig.  It would have been great to have Perry design both the I40 Motor Sailor and the I41 from the beginning but he wasn’t around then.

 

As soon as we completed development of the Freeport 41, Islander finalized the design of the I28 with Bob Perry, who proved to be a great listener.  Buster and Hank, who were close to the market, naturally had a lot of input into the design process.  Much of the input for I28 interior design and new interiors to follow came from Hank.  Buster was more focused on the competitive positioning of the product as well as performance. 

The I28 would be the first boat that we would develop with modular interior construction in that the interior of the boat was fabricated in the Mill and assembled on a fixture outside of the boat and installed in the open hull before the deck installation.  This not only saved time in assembly, it also saved weight as opposed to building the boat with a fiberglass interior liner and it gave the interior a warmer look with the increased use of wood vs. fiberglass. 

A great performing boat, the I28, which was first launched in July 1975, proved to be an absolute success for Islander.  At the peak our manufacturing team, with George Lonza running the production line, was completing an I28 every eight working hours.  Of all the new models that we developed the I28 was definitely one of my favorites.  In fact, Buster Hammond and I owned and raced an I28 together.  Although I have to admit that Buster was by far the better helmsman.  As a matter of coincidence my father had built two Kettenburg sail boats for Buster’s father in the 1950’s, the last was a K38.

 

Next was the design and development of the I32 which was introduced in 1976.  This was a larger version of the I28 in terms of layout and style.  With a higher sheer line and proportionally greater beam the I32 had a commodious interior compared to the I28 and most other competitors at the time.  With more space in the interior there was room for a much larger head and more stowage.  Like the I28 the I34 was built with a modular interior.  It was also during this time that Islander, at Hank’s urging, began to design a retro look into the interiors of the boats with stained oak counter tops and wicker fronts on the traditionally styled teak cabinet doors.  Bob Perry called this the “California rococo” interior, which had great appeal for a period of time.  As I recall, Hank had been introduced to this style by a particularly good looking female interior designer.  The I32 turned out to be an outstanding product and a smart investment with about 500 boats delivered.

 

Following the I32 Buster asked Bob to design an I26, which was conceived to target a lower price point than the I28.  While the I26 carried over the family appearance of other Perry designed Islanders, the I26 design was less complex in terms of exterior and interior layout and construction details. The I26 was powered by a Volvo gas powered engine with an integral drive system that penetrated the hull bottom.  While this was a good sailing boat and very competitively priced it was not particularly successful with only 16 boats sold.  The message was clear – stay on track with sophisticated high quality, good performing boats with innovated layouts and stylish good looks.

 

The last development project that I was briefly involved with in 1977 was the Freeport 36, which was completed after I left the company.  This boat was conceived as comfortable cruising boat that would be more affordable than the Freeport 41.  As compared to Bob Perry’s racing/cruising designs the Freeport 36 featured far more interior volume and a large salon deck house with bigger windows.  Performance was excellent for a cruising boat of this relative size and proportions.  In “Yacht Design According to Perry” he states, “I raced an early Freeport 36 against a Gurney designed Islander 36, and we ran boat for boat throughout the race.”  With about 350 boats produced the Freeport 36 proved to be another winner with excellent market share.

 

During the years that Mission Marine owned Islander Yachts, at least through the 1970’s Islander became one of the largest and most profitable boat builders in the country due primarily to:

 

·         Innovative new models designed by Bob Perry and engineered by Steve Muszlay and his group.

·         An intelligent product development effort by Don Brendlinger and his team.

·         A strong dedication to improving efficiency by our manufacturing organization.

·         Great support by John Peters and his purchasing and materials people.

·         A tireless marketing and sales effort by Hank McCormick and Bob Babson.

·         A fine effort by Harvey Deeter who was responsible for quality assurance and customer service. 

·         Buster Hammond was a superb manager who understood the product, the market and our capabilities and who motivated us all to excel. 

·         Dave Trumble provided excellent strategic direction and the opportunity to succeed.

 

Another factor that I believe was important in Islander’s success during these years was that so many of our team personally owned and sailed the product that we built.  This enabled us to better understand the product and our customers.

 

With Islanders financial success, Mission Marine took advantage of an opportunity to acquire other companies and elected to do so in the form of a “leveraged buy out.”  In 1976 Pacemaker Yachts and Egg Harbor Boat Company were purchased from Fuqua Industries.  Together Pacemaker and Egg Harbor, located respectively in Lower Bank, NJ and Egg Harbor City, NJ, were several times larger than Islander in physical size and in revenues.  As a result of the acquisition, Dave Trumble asked me to take a position with Pacemaker as Executive VP, where eventually I became responsible for manufacturing, engineering and product development for both companies. 

 

While Pacemaker and Egg Harbor along with Islander continued to improve their profitability through the late 1970’s, Mission Marine began to have a serious problem with cash flow when the prime interest rate jumped to 18% at the end of the decade.  With a major increase in short term debt due to the Pacemaker and Egg Harbor acquisitions, Mission Marine was unable to make interest payments to its lenders at the much higher rates.  As a result Mission Marine filed for Chapter 11 under Federal Bankruptcy Laws in late 1979 and Dave Trumble agreed to leave the company.  During that time I was first asked to assist Mission Marine, which was then headed by Maurice Coneff, and later Fuqua Industries, which then controlled the company, to help resolve the situation at Pacemaker and Egg Harbor.  In doing so I kept in touch with Buster at Islander.  At the end of the Chapter 11 process the assets of each of the companies were sold and Fuqua Industries, which had little appetite for the boat business, ended up with the assets of Islander.  Reportedly Islander continued to operate under Fuqua ownership until 1986. 

 

In his letter to the I36 Association, Artese states, “We heard from McCormack that Dave Trumble had looted several million from Islander and the surrounding community and had built several houses on the waterfront in Newport Beach.”  Having been close to Mission Marine and the Chapter 11 process I am quite certain that David Trumble did not loot money from Islander and in knowing Hank’s character I am confident that Hank would never make that kind of a statement.  I can only say that it is unfortunate that Joe Artese remained so bitter about not having the opportunity to continue to design for Islander.

 

Long after the dust settled at Mission Marine in the late 1980’s, during the time when I was President of Trojan Yachts, I was pleased and honored to have the opportunity to hire two of Islander’s former key employees including my mentor Buster Hammond, who became our West Coast Sales Manger and Tim Price, Islander’s last Operations Manger, who became Trojan’s Manufacturing Manager.

 

Good people associated with Islander Yachts designed, developed, built, sold and serviced some great boats over the years.  It gives me great pleasure to see so many Islanders still being sailed and appreciated.  Buster Hammond, Hank McCormack and Steve Muszlay among others from Islander who are now deceased would be proud.

 

Best Regards,

 

Charles Underwood

Senior Vice President

Viking Sport Cruisers, Inc.

 

In a following e-mail( 9 June 2009) from Charlie Underwood he talked with Matt Lerner about his association with the Islander Yacht Corp and the following is part of it:

In about late 1972, working as a yacht broker in Long Beach, CA, Matt sold a 40’

Motor Sailor to the Levitz(furniture) family. As a result of this experience Matt got to know the strengths and weakness of the boat and discussed them extensively with hank McCormick, who was Islander’s Sale’s Manager. Subsequently, when Hank began to think about a redesign for the 40’ Motor Sailor, he invited Matt to work with him on developing some interior design concepts. According to Matt, Hank came up with the lowering of the floor in the salon so that a passageway could be created between the salon and the aft master cabin. Separatly, matt & Hank each sketched new interior layouts and reportedly they came up with a similar design. Hank & Matt then reviewed their conceptual layout with Buster Hammond who was enthusiastic about their proposal. After a revision to move the position of the hewad in the aft cabin toward the center to allow for for clear passageway forward, Buster sent the sketches to Naval Architect Robert Perry, who incorporated their ideas into the final design. I questioned Mat about whether  or not he had seen any drawings by Joe Artese regarding the Freeport 41. In addition to not seeing any of Artese’s drawings Matt was not aware that he existed until he read Artese’s e-mail to you, which is posted on your web site. Once the first Freeport  41 was delivered Matt placed an order for hull #5 for himself and enjoyed sailing the boat for a number of years. In about 1978 Matt joined Islander as the East Coast Sales Manager and left not long before the company closed in 1986. Matt says that there were a total of 145 Freeport 41’s produced into the mid 1980’s. Beyond that that there were an additional 15 hulls and decks sold to Yacht Craft.

 

In talking to Matt he brought up another point thatled to the demise of Mission Marine & Associates, which I had forgotten. During the late 1970’s Los Angeles Marine Hardware in San Pedro began to experience problems with the company’s union. In an effort to break ties with the union David Trumbl3 elected to close the store in San Pedro and open a new marine hardware operstion in San Bernadino, CA. In doing so Mission Marine drew from the profits of Islander Yachts and Pacemaker Yacht Company to fund the new hardware operation, which eventually failed due in part to its loss in relationships with its customers, the San Pedro commercial fishermen.

 

Matt Lerner (81 years young), still works a a Yacht Broker in Long Beach, CA.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Skipper

Here is some info on a few boats that have been sailed actively in the Great Lakes.  I have sailed against, but never on, an Islander 41, Gurney design, many times since the late 70's. This boat started as "Osprey" and was owned by a syndicate in Leland MI headed by Mike Fisher.

 

They raced actively in the Great Lakes and the SORC winning a controversial victory there in '75 or '76. This boat then went to Detroit for a couple of years as "Coverage" and was owned by an insurance guy named Larry Nichols (sp?).

 

She came back to the Traverse City area in '79 or '80 as "Brass Tacks" and was owned by a local dentist and his wife, Wes & Janie Schulz. They raced actively until '87 when the boat went to Muskegon MI, still named "Brass Tacks" and owned by Gary Schottke. Gary raced the boat actively until the Spring of '95 when she fell from her stands while under bottom repair and was heavily damaged.

 

She was then bought from the insurance co. by Torresen Marine in Muskegon. Torresen repaired the damage and painted her white (she had been blue from at least '79 on), but much of the equipment had been removed prior to Torresen receiving it from the insurance co. I'm checking with Torresen to see if it is still there or gone somewhere else. It would make a great cruising boat as it was HUGE down below and was a freight train on a reach.

 

 

The other I-41/Gurney was in Bay City/Saginaw on Lake Huron and I don't remember much about it, but could contact some friends on that side of the state for more info.

 

 

My stepson and family bought an Islander 40 about 3 yrs ago that has been around Northwest MI since new. We have sailed on her often in Lake Charlevoix and the "4 foot" difference between her and our I36 is amazing. She weighs half again as much and the cabin space is awesome. Our 2 grand-daughters, now 3 & 5, are growing up on this boat and they love it.

 

There was another I40 down state in Holland called "Rumors". I raced against her 10 years ago while on a Pinnacle 29 that rated PHRF 90. I don't remember what the I40 rated, but was very close. It was interesting to race against a boat so different in size and yet so close in rating.

 

There are quite a few Islanders around Northwest MI as there was a very active dealer here from '75 - '85. He will be returning soon from Florida and I will try to pick his brain for more info about Islander and any interesting boats.

 

All for now -- Eric Lind