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Number of Dolphins Built, by Who, and When - A Work in Progress - Click the underlined to get into the subject deeper (updated September 27, 2014)


There were 3 major builders of the Dolphin 24 - O’Day Corporation's subsidiary Marscot Plastics in Fall River, Massachusetts, Yankee Yachts in Inglewood, California, and Pacific Dolphin in Anaheim, California. In addition, O’Day/Marscot had at least 3 subcontractors, Lunn Laminates in Port Washington/Huntington, New York, F.L. Tripp & Sons in Westport, Massachusetts, and J.J. Taylor & Sons in Toronto, Canada. The very first boats were built by Marscot Plastics for George O'Day and Associates, Inc. This is what the nameplate on Passage, hull #10 says. Unverified information indicates that O'Day 'acquired' Marscot Plastics in 1958 and moved it from New Bedford to Fall River. Or, Marscot Plastics may have been an independent company and was only formally acquired by O'Day in late 1960.

At this point we do not know how hull numbers were assigned, and who assigned them. After November 1972, the hull identification number (HIN), was stamped on a tag or molded into the transom of boats built, according to numbering system set up by the U.S. Coast Guard. Prior to 1972 builders used their own systems. Also, simply using hull numbers, when we can actually determine one, can be misleading. For example, Yankee Yachts' founder, John Shumaker, built his first Dolphin from bare hull, #71, provided by O'Day. He built a wood boat on that hull. She was his personal boat and he named it Yankee. Was this a Yankee (which did not actually exist as a company at the time), or an O'Day Dolphin? We assigned it to Yankee but.....Reading on you will find many more examples of this problem. So, hull numbers do not appear to be entirely reliable as the indicator of who built how many boats. Click here to see more about Nameplates and Builders Numbers

We have a letter from Ray Story about his Loki, Pacific Dolphin #277, in which he says he was told by one of the past owners of Pacific Dolphin that Loki was the last Dolphin. On the other hand we have Mike Zint's Grand Finale which has Pacific Dolphin nameplate #300. Loki was Pacific Dolphin's show boat and might have been built earlier but may have been the last one sold? And then we have the story of Rod Kulbach's Monika, presumably Hull #301, built by Rod in wood on a fiberglass hull made using the Pacific Dolphin molds - several years after Pacific Dolphin went out of business. These molds were last reported in a lot near the San Diego Freeway - no one knows if they were ever used again after #301.

Jay Picotte's Recovery was one of 4, perhaps 5, Dolphins, built by F.L. Tripp & Sons in Westport, MA - but Recovery does not appear to have a hull number. The Tripp boats were built from 'Kits" supplied by O"Day and were, probably, incorporated into the O'Day hull numbering system, but we do not know for sure. These boats are assigned to Tripp. An interesting tid bit - Jack Hubbard's Hornet, a Tripp built boat, carrys the sail #2975. The number 75 is because he was told that this boat was built for Sham Hunt, O'Day's sales manager, and it was hull #75. When the acquisition of O'Day by Bangor Punta was announced early in 1966, Sham decided to sell this boat and Jack bought her.

Chris Vandersteen's Lezah was built by J.J. Taylor & Sons in Toronto, Canada and also does not appear to have a hull number. There is one published estimate that J.J Taylor built 10 -12 Dolphins. These boats were also built from 'Kits" supplied by O'Day so these boats may also be, or may not be, included in O'Day's numbering system. Webmaster Note: January 3, 2012 - Your webmaster spoke yesterday with Jim Taylor whose grandfather founded J.J. Taylor and Sons. He told me that, as far as he knew, the company produced only one Dolphin 24, that for Dave and Hazel Morris (Lezah is Hazel spelled backwards). And, a conversation with Hazel Morris, who was the first owner of Lezah, indicates that this boat, with unfinished interior, and the unattached deck suspended above the hull was exhibited at the January, 1960 Toronto Boat Show. This in a effort to display the potentials of fiberglass as a boat materials technology . Developing...see Lezah's page.

Probably the most intriguing parts of the story of Dolphin 24 production is from the beginning, late 1959/1960 to 1965. How many Dolphins were actually completely made by O'Day Corporation's arrangement with Marscot Plastics, a company owned by fiberglass boat building pioneer Palmer Scott, eventually to become an O'Day subsidiary. We know O'Day/Marscot's major sub contractor, Lunn Laminates built 25 boats in 1961, perhaps into early 1962. These boats were not from Marscot/O'Day supplied kits, according to Lunn's former Chief Engineer, Roy Berg. Was their tooling new tooling built by Lunn? or tooling shipped to them by Marscot/O'Day? Most probably the latter, with modifications made by Lunn, ie., converting Marscot's 2 half hull molds, bonding themtogether, into a full hull mold.

Its been reported that there were at least 22 "Kits" supplied to boat builders (early Yankee, Tripp and J.J.Taylor, and perhaps others), and to private individuals. These were sometimes bare hulls, and also complete fiberglass shells, no interiors, sometimes with centerboards and rudders, and sometimes not. In the cases where hulls only or kits were supplied to individuals, as in the case of hull # 12, Marionette, your webmaster's boat, these are counted as O'Day/Marscot built boats - inconsistant with how we account for 'kits' supplied to professional builders but......

Then we have the matter of royalties. There were no records at Sparkman & Stephens regarding numbers of boats built - an over zealous effort to clean up their files years ago resulted in the loss of many of their Dolphin records. But there was correspondence regarding collection of royalties. O’Day considered the bare hulls they supplied to Yankee and others as "Kits". Sparkman & Stephens was collecting royalties on their Dolphin 24 design based upon boats built, and kits supplied, Royalties were sometimes a subject of some dispute between S&S and O’Day. In the S&S files was an exchange of letters regarding late payment of royalties and specifically mentioning the royalties due on the early boats Yankee built. To make this even more interesting, John Shumaker was finishing his boats using the Mermaid 24 plans he had purchased in 1962 from S&S directly - Yankee Yachts was not even a gleam in his eye - he was a an engineer working in the aircraft industry. Those plans were originally bought for a personal boat he was going to build for himself. When this project evolved into building wood boats on O’Day supplied fiberglass hulls this became a matter of royalties due on the use of the Mermaid 24 plans as well as the Dolphin 24 plans.

OK, we need to start bringing this effort to some kind of conclusion. Based on your webmaster's research to date, it seems that in 1960, at least 29 boats/hulls were built by O'Day at the Marscot Fall River, MA plant (see below regarding #28 and #29). Roy Berg, the former chief engineer at Lunn Laminates, and himself the first owner of 'The Black Dolphin", recalls that the O'Day plant had a fire in late 1960, that the tooling was shipped to Lunn who was contracted to build 25 boats in 1961. Lunn was a family owned, experienced, fiberglass laminate company who had made torpedo parts and periscope housings for the US Navy, Corvette car bodies, and who, incidently, built the tooling for and made the first 5 Allied Seawinds - the start of a business that eventually became the Allied Boat Co. After the 25 boats were built by Lunn we don't know where the Dolphin tooling went, presumably back to the O'Day plant.

Based on data collected to date there appears to be a gap in O'Day hull numbers between #29 and #56 (with the notable exception of Flipper, #41) which could accomodate a provision for Lunn's 25 boat production. Again, go to Nameplates and Builders Numbers. for more detail on this matter.

In the "Dolphin" article section of Blanchard S. Fressenden's "The Sailboat Classes of North America", Doubleday, 1963, p252-253, there is a quotation attributed to US Yachts, Inc, Village Square, Westport, CT- no individual's name given. US Yachts was owned by investors who were also some of the original investors in O'Day Corporation. US Yachts was reportedly formed for the specific purpose of selling the Dolphin and other early fiberglass sailboats. They were a sales agent for O'Day and their personnel actually sold the Dolphin 24.

"Fifty boats have been delivered and 10 are being built now to order for customers in the United States. Fifty per cent of the Dolphin owners use them solely as weekend cruisers, while the other fifty per cent are raced and cruised. We anticipate 40 new owners in 1962. Three boats have been built from kits and all are sailed from Southport, CT".

We know these particular 3 boats, Dick McCally's hull #11 Windsong, Phil Zerega's hull # 12 Teal - later Marionette - and Clark DuBois's hull #13 (14?) Peridot - a hull, deck and cabin shell. They were delivered in 1960

In the S&S files is a November 27, 1963 letter to Lyman Bullard, CEO of O'Day from Bob Larson at US Yachts discussing, among other matters, the sales possibilities of the Dolphin out on the West Coast. US Yachts was the sales agent representing O'Day Corporation's Dolphins. This arrangement reportedly started with sales of Dolphins contract manufactured by Lunn Laminates. In that memo Bob Larson states "the sales of the Dolphin to date, including boats already sold for 1964 delivery, as 70", of which 6 were in kit or unfinished form. Presumably, this included boats built/sold by all O'Day subcontractors?

These sources, taken literally, put sales at 60 boats sold or on order through 1961, and 70+ through sometime in 1963, and may include sales of kit boats to Canada or to other contract builders. It seems certain that the anticipated sales in 1962 of 40 boats to new owners did not materialize. There is an interesting letter in the S&S files from Olin Stephens to O'Day in 1964 expressing concern about potential customers who had contacted his office complaining they were unable to buy a Dolphin 24.

There is support for the existence of sales, or perhaps delivery, problems in 1962, 1963 and 1964 based on other documents your webmaster saw in the S&S files - and there was rising S&S concern over this issue. It is not clear if these problems were due to O'Day's difficulties in manufacturing, or to actual sales problems. Roy Berg of Lunn Laminates told your webmaster that people at O'Day told him that they were not making any money on the Dolphin ("put at least $500 in each boat they delivered"). Roy also said that was probably also true for Lunn and the boats they built! In a Jan 17, 1964 letter to Lyman Bullard, Rod Stephens states that only 5 Dolphins were sold in 1962 and only 6 in the first nine months of 1963.

Dyke Williams, who did some research on this subject for his Good Old Boat article, has an estimate of 60-100 built by O'Day and its sub contractors, including 9-10 boats built by J.J. Taylor & Sons. The unofficial O' Day site (http://www.iheartodays.com/model_dolphin.html)  has an estimate of 36 built by O'Day - probably does not include any Lunn built Dolphins? For now, I think Dyke's 60 to 100 has the Marscot/O'Day/Lunn/Tripp/JC Taylor Dolphin sales bracketed - with about 75 being my comfort number.

Yankee Yachts’ production appears to be better known. They built about 175 boats starting with (at least) 4 kit boats built on O’Day hulls in 1964/65. It seems they used O’Day’s hull numbering system with their first kit boat hull # 71. The last boat Yankee built, that we know of, was hull # 248 in 1971/72.

We have an S&S file letter indicating that John Shumaker considered buying the O'Day Dolphin 24 tooling but decided to build his own. We have no record of what happened to the O'Day tooling - one unsubstantiated rumor is that it was sold and used to start the Grampion 24 line of boats. In any event this 'lost tooling' remains a loose end...

According to the Roster by Hull Number, there is a lapse of 3-4 years from sometime in 1972  thru 1975 when no boats were built. This is a mystery period and we need to find out more about what happened then. John Shumaker told your webmaster that sales just dried up. When Yankee Yachts went out of business in 1975, one of their suppliers ended up with the tooling and in 1976/1978, produced about 50 boats under the name of Pacific Dolphin, and then, they too, went out of business.

It is very difficult to follow this bouncing ball on the differing numbers of boats built in the O'Day era. So with #301 identified at the top end, a lot of supporting information from the Roster Section, and assuming that O'Day kept a some kind of progressive hull number system no matter who built boats for them, a chart was developed that might be a reasonable recap of the number of boats built, by whom, and when. That chart will be updated as we get more information, or more rational theories.


October 31, 2009. As we know O'Day production was interrupted in the latter part of 1960 because of a fire. They contracted  Lunn Laminates to build 25 boats starting in early 1961. We have good supporting evidence of this from Ralph Heinzerling (Jack Rabbit) and from Roy Berg, former Chief Engineer at Lunn.

A basic question was/is - how many boats did O'Day build in 1960? Early, and erronious, governing theory up to this point, was that it was perhaps 13-14 boats. Bodes Well, # 29 is reported to be built in 1960. Stan Barnes (Shaman, # 25) bought his boat new in November, 1960 and still had his check stub to prove it! So, 29 boats built in 1960 looks pretty good.

Except for the apearance of Fred Croft's Flipper, O'Day Hull # 41 on October 30, 2009 there were no O'Day built boats listed between hull # 29 and # 56, a very interesting gap of 27 boats. Courtship was reported by last known owner Donna Johnson as a 1972 Yankee # 42. Since Yankee started its numbers with # 71, it seems pretty certain this hull # is incorrect - and we have repositioned this boat as a Yankee in the Roster.

Casandra Rose, # 56 is reported to have been built in 1962, possibly making her one of the first boats O'Day built after Lunn finished their production run.

Could this gap of 27 hull numbers from # 29 to # 56 be the 'space" that Lunn filled with their 25 boats? It had been over 2 years that we have been searching and no boats had surfaced in this space - that is until October 30, 2009 when Flipper, # 41, showed up. Webmaster Note: April 29, 2011. To add still more confusion, or perhaps an answer, Ed Colie's Sambo must (?) have been a Marscot/O'Day built boat as the boat they originally ordered from Lunn had been rejected for quality problems. At this time where else could one possibly get a Dolphin - except from Marscot/O'Day. Both #41 and Sambo have the characteristic teak topped fiberglass combing that date from when O"Day was restarting its production in 1962?

Updated February 19, 2012. One theory is that fits the various 'facts' follows: O'Day had several sets of fiberglass components on hand when the decision was made in late 1960 to contract Lunn for 25 boats to be built in 1961. They might have used these components to build a few Dolphin 24's during the Lunn contract period. Interestingly, the man who headed up the crew at Marscot Plastics that assembled and finished the Dolphin 24, Leo Talesmanick, was also the legendary builder of the wooden Beetle Cat. According to the 'official Beetle Cat history' the Concordia Yachts family, the Howlands, fell heir to the Beetle Cat business in 1946. At some point they received many more orders than they anticipated and turned to New Bedford boatbuilder Palmer Scott for help. Leo Telesmanick, who had previously worked many years for Carl Beetle, was then working for Scott and was put in charge of the Beetle Cat building operations. in November, 1960, perhaps as as a consequence of, or at least a major part of, significant changes at Marscot, the entire Beetle Cat operation, including Leo and his crew, were transferred to a Concordia manufacturing site. And, at the end of 1960, Palmer Scott retired.

Another sign that major moves were under way - the nameplates on Dolphin 24s built in 1960 indicated "built by Marcot Plastics". We have evidence that the nameplate designation for #28,Tiki, one of the last Dolphin 24s built in 1960, was "built by O'Day Manufacturing Corporation". At the same time, US Yachts was being formed - ownership of which was made up of many of the same shareholders as O'Day Corporation. Among their responsibilities was sales and marketing of the Dolphin 24. Corporate restructuring big time.....

The following table, updated February 19, 2012, was based on the theory that, in 1960, O'Day built as many as 29 boats. At least 4 'kits' counted in the O'Day sales reports from 1964 are counted here as Yankee boats - their first 4 boats were built on O'Day supplied hulls, with the first in completed in 1965. There may have been 2-3 more Yankee's built on O'Day hulls in 1967. J J Taylor sales are almost pure speculation and have been adjusted to only one boat, on a hull supplied by O'Day, based on Jim Taylor's statement that they produced only one Dolphin 24. There is the additional problem of when boats are reported built, and when they are actually sold

1960 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72-75 76 77 80s Total
28 0   5 5 5*     0?     0 0    43**
     Lunn 0 25 0 0 0 0 0 0   25
     F.L.Tripp 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0   5
     J.J.Taylor** 1    0   0 0                 1**
O'Day 29  25   5 5    1*    5     0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0   74
Yankee Yachts 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 8 24 27 59 53 0 0 0   175
Pacific Dolphin 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 35 16   51
Monika                               1 1
Total 29  29    5 5   1!?    7     2 8 24 27 59 53 0 35 16 1 301

* 4 hulls counted as Yankee built boats finished in 1965 and 1966 ** excluded from O'Day total

** J.J. Taylor revised to only one boat

Our working theory is that the 'gap' in O'Day nameplated boats, #30 - #55, was reserved for the Lunn built boats. The appearance of Flipper, #41 built by O'Day, and Ed Colie's Sambo are exceptions addressed by the possible additional fiberglass components O'Day/Marscot had 'in inventory' when Lunn started their production, and the theory submitted by Mark Steinhilber (Rascal) - see below.

The production by O'Day in 1962 - 1965 was pitifully small - a fact that S&S confirms in their internal memos - but hard to believe this small - - 16 boats - !!, plus the 4 supplied to Yankee? Total 20. This for a boat that was performing well on the MORC circuit? This certainly provided motivation for Olin Stephens to look for, and find, a new builder - Yankee Yachts.

A reading of this subject should include a reading of Roster Overview so that understanding and/or misunderstanding of the state of this undertaking is optimized... :-) So, for now, we will leave the table as is, and await more evidence before we construct a new theory.


October 27, 2010. Mark Steinhilber (Rascel) came up with a plausible explaination for the appearance of Flipper, O'Day # 41, and preserving our original theory that the 'gap' in O'Day hull numbers - #30 to #55. Here is his email (excerpted/edited) Maybe this is a bit of a stretch but I like it

Still looks like the 25 Lunn boats may fill in hulls 30 to 55. #41 that may have been a boat that O'Day re-tooled (in preperation for restarting production after the Lunn order was finished), adding the  bridge deck, wider hatch, modified mast step, rubber portlite  frames, (and wood capped fiberglass coamings).


August 14, 2011 - Text and table updated to reflect Rod Kulbach's Monika, hull #301


Update September 27, 2014. Somehow overlooked - Sham Hunt, O'Day's Sales Manager advised us on August 14, 2010 the following:

Hi Ron, I went back and looked through some old O'Day records and found a history of unit sales for O'Day and Cal dated 2/27/83 by Paulie Rebello--- she was my Assoc. for over 20 years-- that showed a total of 36 Dolphins were built from 1961 to 1967. No other goodies found.       Regards Sham

Does this include kit boats and parts for boats built by F.L. Tripp? Does this include the 25 Lunn built boats? Presumably kit boats were assigned hull numbers if kit boats 11, 12 and 14 are any indication. If this is correct, (and does not include 1960 built boats that may have been sold in 1961?, and does not include the Lunn built boats) then there were 16 more boats built than the hull # based chart above indicates.

Comments/corrections welcome








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