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Lunn Laminates, an early Dolphin Builder, Port Washington/Huntington, NY (updated February 3, 2012)


Lunn was a family owned company that was a contract manufacturer for fiberglass components for many different customers, including the US Navy - torpedo tubes, periscope housing parts, and even for Corvette body parts. They also built the tooling, and were the first builder, of the Allied boat, the Seawind.

According to Roy Berg, former chief engineer at Lunn (and first owner of the Black Dolphin), they received a contract from O'Day to build 25 Dolphins in late 1960. The tooling reportedly came from O'Day and was possibly modified in some ways. For example, the original O'Day/Marscot tooling produced a hull in 2 full length pieces which were then bonded together in a later operation. Lunn reportedly modified the tooling to make the hull in one piece.

Stan Secora (JATO # 7) who is a marine architect recalls that Lunn had an interesting female mold release system in that, after curing they floated the hull out of the mold using water with some kind of hose connection system. He also recalls that the Lunn built boats had a one piece hull.

Lunn-built Dolphins also had a reputation for being lighter. Lunn was a very important builder in these early days of the Dolphin and your field investigators are working hard to better understand their role, especially in how they may have changed the glass layup to achieve a lighter boat, or perhaps a different weight redistribution.


On December 12, 2008 Doug Berg, son of Roy Berg, sent in the following email (edited)


I sent the following picture to show you where Lunn Laminates placed their ID Plate for the vessel on the archway.  BTW, Lunn started in Port Washington early on, but the Dolphins were built in Huntington after they moved from the Port Washington facility.  They were built in the same plant as the first fiberglass corvettes were built... in Huntington.

Best Regards


Interestingly, the Lunn built Dolphins had a nameplate that did not mention O'Day, and the marketing literature put out by US Yachts, a marketing/sales company formed to market the Dolphin starting in 1961, does not mention O'Day either.


This is the nameplate of Louis Classen's Spirit of Fellowship Lunn built hull # 223 (Lunn's 23rd Dolphin - their 25 boats were numbered starting with DO-200. Click here for a larger image.

There is an interesting story about the start up of Lunn's production told by Ralph Heinzerling, owner of Jack Rabbit, and repeated here. Ralph bought Jack Rabbit new directly from O'Day - it was their NY show boat in 1961. The salesman was a Dick Sheenan (sp?). This boat had 2 large windows cut into the starboard side of the hull so interested show go'ers could look into the boat without getting aboard. This 'feature' of Jack Rabbit needed to be removed so it could be sold after the show. Ralph negotiated a discounted price and had the boat shipped to Port Washington.

The second part of this story - Ralph had planned to do the fiberglass work himself but Lunn Laminates, located in the same town that Ralph lived, contacted him and offered to do the work at no cost to him. They told him that they were going to be building these boats under a contract from O'Day and it would save their people a lot of time to have his boat to look over and measure. Ralph said they did a great job of filling the holes and fairing and finishing the hull. They also told him that they were going to build the boats because O'Day could not make any money building it themselves!


May 19, 2009. There were some problems reported with the production of Dolphins by Lunn. They had a reputation for being faster, and had lighter, more flexible decks, possibly a consequence of varying/lowering the resin/glass ratios. Bob Larson, who was an early investor in O'Day, and in US Yachts, the sales and marketing arm of O'Day for the Dolphin, recalls that he personally delivered the first Lunn built Dolphin to a customer in New Jersey, and that it leaked badly though pin holes in the hull/centerboard area. According to Bob, this led to a re-engineering of the laminate layup at Lunn, a project led by Warren Dellanbach, an engineer and also one of the early investors in O'Day. Interestingly, there was no mention of this engineering effort in the S&S Dolphin 24 files, nor even of Lunn Laminates involvement in the production of Dolphins!

Sandy van Zandt's Hound, an early Lunn, first owned by Alfie Fuller of Watch Hill, RI, was a 'leaker'. Stan Secora reported he was consulted on this problem by Alfie and that it was eventually dealt with by Lunn by recoating the interior - a complicated project.



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