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Old 14-08-2008, 17:13   #1
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Any pre-glass boat era sailers here?

I'm looking at a 1962 galaxy 32 which supposedly was among the first glass boats. So say in the 50's it was wood or nothing? I'd like to see a reply here from someone who was out sailing the high seas when there was no such thing as a fiberglass sailboat.
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Old 14-08-2008, 17:22   #2
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I'd like to see a reply here from someone who was out sailing the high seas when there was no such thing as a fiberglass sailboat.
Gordy is the "Old Fart" around here.
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Old 14-08-2008, 18:41   #3
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According to this Boating Life article, the first fiberglass boat was in 1942. First mass-production fiberglass boat (Glastron) in 1956.

I have a 1963 Glaspar G3. Well, more accurately I have a 1963 Glaspar G3 hull.

-dan
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Old 14-08-2008, 18:49   #4
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Glaspar? Is that a sailboat?
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Old 15-08-2008, 09:33   #5
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Thunderbird

Our first "real" boat--other than sailing dinghy's that is--was a home-built 1958 era 26+' Thunderbird designed by Ben Seaborn at the behest of (I believe) the Weyerhaeuser company for the purpose of finding uses for plywood. The yacht was actually very handsome—at least to me—and sailed really well but was a bit tender until she heeled down to her chine ("put her should in it") after which she simply refused to heel any further and went like a scalded cat. Many of the older members of our club looked askance of our “yacht” with its 48” headroom, until we blew past them enroute to an anchorage on Angel Island or in the Alameda estuary.

She was a great boat. Powered by an old Evenrude 6hp “Fisherman” in a well that could fold up for a fair bottom (believe it or not, that old outboard was still starting on the first pull when we gave it away in 2002--after 35 years!). Our lighting was by Oil Lamps that also heated the boat (always a necessity on San Francisco Bay) as were our running lights. We carried 5 gallons of kerosene and 5 gallons of gas in jugs in the lazzerett locker, cooked on a pressurized 2-burner kerosene stove slung in gimbals on a counter that slid back under the port cockpit seat, had 3 5-gallon water jugs, one of which could be mounted on a shelf above a “wash basin” that drained on all points of sail, regardless of heel (by being carried out and dumped over the side—although this once cost us our cutlery and the only can opener we had aboard); and, a galvanized bucket with a folding toilet seat and lid that fit under the head of one of the v-berths in the forepeak (which was fitted with a privacy curtain). No holding tank smell with that!

Without any thru-hulls, the boat was very dry unless it rained heavily or you were pounding into a head-sea in which case she leaked around the mast boot no matter how much roofing tar we used to seal it. She smelled—and creaked—like a ship, and many times I was quite content to settle down under an old woolen Army blanket to a good read by the light of an oil-lamp in Ayala Cove, where we would be lulled to sleep by the moan of fog-horns (at least until some fisherman came pounding in at 0-dark thirty, threatening to breach our tiny fog-bound cocoon).

The first “plastic” boat I went aboard was newly purchased by a friend and while I was impressed by the roominess, I remember the foul pungency of not yet fully cured fiberglass which neither my, nor my wife’s nor dog’s noses could tolerate (poor Bonny—our old Australia Sheppard—sneezed relentlessly for hours after that short visit!) While I have failed to keep it, I vowed never to own a boat made with such odious materials--a vow I recall whenever exposed to that oder!

We never sold our old T-Bird. After the flood of plastic boats in the early 70's, few could see the beauty of a little old plywood boat, and none would have her, even for free. She finally succumbed to dry-rot in areas of the hull that no man could reach and we broke her up in an old boatyard that was soon itself to be broken up and converted to a shopping center at the head of a creek in San Rafael. (We got much more for her lead keel, old bottom action bronze winches, mast and sails then we paid for her but I still felt horribly guilty.) We still have her oil-lamps…

s/v HyLyte
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Old 15-08-2008, 11:07   #6
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A Google turned up this post, created yesterday, right here on cruisersforums.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...can-18255.html

Circular reporting at it's finest.
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Old 15-08-2008, 13:06   #7
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HyLyte...

That is an awesome story. Thanks for sharing. If I read that correctly, you had oil running lights ?!?! That is mint !
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Old 15-08-2008, 13:09   #8
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Great story HyLyte and well written. I remember seeing quite a number of Thunderbirds out on the SF Bay when I was a teen. Funny how some things you just forget until someone reminds you with a story like yours.
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Old 15-08-2008, 13:13   #9
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Originally Posted by usa-068 View Post
A Google turned up this post, created yesterday, right here on cruisersforums.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...can-18255.html

Circular reporting at it's finest.

so, you have some thoughts on the Galaxy or .... Why were you googling Galaxy?
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Old 15-08-2008, 13:55   #10
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Hylyte,

A buddy of mine had a T-bird back in the early eighties. I believe his was a pop-top. He sailed that thing all over California from SD to the SF Bay. In fact he earned the nickname "Southeast Eddie" because he would wait for southeast storms to catch a ride up the coast rather than beat into the westerlies.

Mike
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Old 15-08-2008, 23:23   #11
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They still make 'em in wood, in Gig Harbour, WA: Launching 2 Aug 2008. Plans are still available, and cheap at $50. If I remember correctly, the tbird is similar to the folkboat in that wooden boats are quite competitive with grp and carbon boats. Some history is available on the T-Bird 50 Years site.

I've seen and sailed with quite a number of these light, fast boats in the PNW/BC Canada waters. There are a number of them for sale extremely inexpensively: TLC boats going for 3k and often less, but a very nice example on Yachtworld is going for $9k while a yard wreck is up for $950. I knew of one which came back here from 3 years in Central America, her bachelor skipper thinking that marriage required standing headroom. (The boat was sold, the marriage fell through, the skipper very much regretted things and moved aboard a west wight potter last I heard.)
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