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John Wadman's Barbara Joyce, Yankee #141, Mission Bay, California - Lost in an Arson Fire in Cartagena, Columbia - updated May 11, 2016

March 28, 2011. John posted the following on the Forum. Barbara Joyce is a 'newly found Dolphin', our 175th, despite the her unfortunate loss in the arson fire. We are standing by for more about this boat, and hopefully some pictures. Stay tuned...

I owned Yankee Dolphin hull # 141 which I bought in King Harbor, Redondo Beach, CA in the mid 80's. I gutted the main cabin with a sawzall and built a nice teak interior. I built a propane locker in the forward end of the cockpit footwell with a teak lid which reduced the size of the footwell for offshore sailing. I mounted a Navik self-steering vane on it and got an Autohelm 1000. I added a small solar panel also and rebuilt the entire rig. The mainsail and working jib were original and I added a 155 genoa, a 120 reefable genoa, a storm jib, and a cruising spinnaker. I also added a set of self-tailing lewmar winches on the coamings and moved the original winches aft a bit as secondary winches

In November of 1987 I set sail from Mission Bay on a five year cruise thru Central America, the Canal and into the Caribbean. What a great boat! On a trip from Newport Beach to Mission Bay (bouy to bouy) the boat averaged 6.6 knots on a broad reach in light to medium air. In a winter storm off of Isla Guadalupe, Baja California, running under a storm jib alone, the boat took three knockdowns in one night but popped right back up and just kept on going. That was early on in my cruise and really solidified my faith in the construction and design of the boat. I can't think of a better pocket cruiser for the money. . . attractive design, good speed for her waterline, tough. I'm amazed that Old Boat Magazine hasn't featured the Yankee Dolphin or Pacific Dolphin***. I named her after my mom as a promise to her before she died of cancer. . . Barbara Joyce. She was ultimately destroyed by an arsonist in Cartagena, Colombia.

John, Barbara Joyce

Webmaster Note: Good Old Boat Magazine did do a feature article on Yankee Dolphins in 2004. It is included here on the website. Click here to go to it


August 21, 2013. It took a while but John and your webmaster reconnected. He sent in the following email

 Thanks for (the GOB) article. I would encourage any young person or couple who want to go cruising and go NOW to find one of these boats and do some light modifications and take this boat ANYWHERE! I endured some heavy seas in winds gusting to 50/55 over a 12 hour period while running under storm jib and with the navik self steering vane steering. I was a few miles inside of Isla Guadelupe,  Baja California. I averaged just over 7 knots over the bottom for this period. I felt that the boat handled it better than I did.

John Wadman


May 11, 2016. John posted a lot of stuff on the Forum and we have added his comments on Outboard Motors (exhaust issues), Dinghies and Solar Panels to our Technical Section dealing with these subjects. Click the underlined links to go there.

John also gave us a detailed description of his work to set up Barbara Joyce for serious ocean cruising. This is well worth reading and we have placedit in our Stories Section - the title is Setting up Barbara Joyce. Click here to go there.


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