This is how it all started for Erik Evens and his Robin Lee
Tireless Dolphin Field Investigator Erik Evens finally has found his Dolphin!
August 11, 2008
"I did it"
I thought that you should know that I finally bought a Dolphin! I'm the new owner of Yankee #118, Sunchaser. I bought her from Mike Olson, who bought her from Dylan (Pfiefer). I'll be renaming the boat ROBIN (Lee).
She's a bit of a project but has really good bones. Mike did a lot of fine work on her while she was his, including refurbishing most of the wood on the boat and removing and resealing the original portlights. First job though will be to haul her out and do the bottom. Then I'll start a list of stuff to do. :-)
I'll send a batch of photos along when I can. I just discovered that my boat is the boat pictured on the cover of the 1969 Yankee brochure. So she's a celebrity of sorts! I couldn't be more pleased.
Thanks for the fine job on the site Ron!
Robin Lee has begun her new life with Erik but will always carry her remarkable past with her. She started as the boat on the cover of Yankee's 1969 sales brochure shown at the left. Previous owner Dylan Pfiefer tells us a remarkable story about what happened in 2005. Don't miss it - It is included below. Webmaster Note: This brochure photo was involved in a small mystery involving a Pacific Dolphin brochure years later. See below..
In Erik's search for his Dolphin over the past year he provided this website with a lot of field intelligence about where Dolphin's were hiding - including getting us our first picture of Sunchaser! While Robin Lee will be going forward under her new name she has a very interesting history, some of which is below. Good Luck Erik and Robin Lee!
On Sept 6, 2008 Erik sent in the following email (edited) and pictures.
Sept 6, 2008
Here's the latest pictures of "Robin Lee " (below) . A couple right before haul-out, and a few as she was in the slings ready to splash again after her bottom work. We had her power washed, and then we sanded and did two coats of blue ablative bottom paint, three at the waterline. Sealed an annoying leak at the sink-drain through-hull. Painted the boot stripe, removed the old name from the transom, and then buffed and waxed the hull from waterline to sheer. Damn if she doesn't look almost new, if you don't look too close. :-) Not bad for a 40 year old boat that spent some time at the bottom of the briny marina.
Now I'm on to the top of the to-do list. A few rigging chores, including a new boom topping lift, setting up the slab reefing, and re-rigging the main outhaul. Other tasks include straightening, repairing or replacing the bent bow and stern pulpits, replacing the ventilator ports at the engine compartment, replacing the valves for the above WL through-hulls. Next, I am going to need to re-imagine the battery compartment, since currently the battery is simply sitting loose in there. I also want to trace through all the wiring to tidy it up and make sure I understand what's going on. The list is long...
Down the road, we'll be adding a stove, recovering the interior cushions, and perhaps we'll try to find a spot for a holding tank for the head.
Lots of sailing in our immediate future, though, as none of this list prevents an afternoon sail after the work is done. I bought a nice used headsail for a great price, about 110% and perfect as a working headsail. It's a nice complement to the 155% genoa (quite tired) that came with the boat. This sail inventory should tide us over until we spring for a new suit.
Thanks again Ron for your fine website and your outstanding mentorship to our community! Hope you'll look me up if you get to SoCal.
sanded and painted
The before look was, well, unattractive and slow, and prompted Erik to post a plea on the Forum. Now he needs a wetsuit, goggles, fins, a scrub brush and willpower to keep it looking and feeling good - or a regular diver and $$$ will work too.
It really does look a lot better.
Doesn't look like a lot to do here? Here's an idea! Somebody's Dolphin here on the site has a local chart laminated on to the table top. How about engineering a neat looking removable chart system under a clear table top? Maybe limited chart storage under the table top. Means buying more expensive single charts, cutting them up, but that's only money...
November 9, 2008. Erik sent in a progress report (minor edits) and some new pictures.
Here's a few new photos of #118. We just had the name put on the transom. As you can see, we've extended the full name of the boat to "Robin Lee", including her namesake's first AND middle names. This was done because it has a romantic and somewhat nautical sound to it, we think.
And it solves the "how do you fit a name with five letters around that backstay strap?" problem.
Here is a shot of my brother Sean at the helm a few weeks ago as we played hooky on a Friday afternoon and sailed down to King Harbor.
Just ordered a new main and 135% genoa, and a roller furler. Other recent improvements include a new vang setup, led aft to the starboard stopper bank, a new "tiller tamer" tiller lock, which allows me to set the tiller in a fixed position while single-handing, a new boom topping lift, and some new battery-operated LED lights in the saloon.
My six month old daughter Lauren LOVES to sail, and we've found that her travel bassinette fits perfectly in in the aft seat of the settee, where it's braced from sliding off to port by the entry ladder. We can strap her in there and she is quite snug and safe if things are moving about.
We are having the best time fixing and sailing this boat! Thanks for all the frequent news on the Dolphin community, Ron.
Robin Lee's Past
Those of us who have saved Dolphins will love previous owner Dylan Pfiefer's story below. It was picked up from the Sailnet list serve posted in August 2006. We are waiting to hear from Dylan directly. In the meantime our LA field investigator Erik Evens sent our first picture of Sunchaser. Her neighbor is Doug Pease's Aspara, Yankee #153. Click here to see her
That's Doug Pease's Aspara next to Sunchaser
August 26, 2006
Hello Dolphin owners,
I am the very proud owner of Yankee Dolphin hull # 118. The story of how I got my boat is a great one. I am a sailboat rigger in Marina del Rey, Ca. I had a small racing boat on a dock there which I would sail often. Every time I would walk down the dock I would stop and gaze at a Dolphin sitting there being left to rot. A true crime!
In 2005 California saw record rain, and in one of my frequent trips down my dock I saw a terrible sight. I saw three feet of the Dolphin's mast sticking out of the water. Apparently the heavy rain had overtaken the neglected vessel and sunk her. I happen to know the people at the dock master's office and I immediately started to inquire as to what would happen to the doomed vessel. A few days later I was in touch with the owner who in turn hired me to float the boat. By this time the boat had spent nine days under water.
I got a few pool pumps and an old inflatable dingy and took action. After a long battle, which is another story, I had her floating, all the while wondering what the neglectful owner would do with my dream boat. After the owner came to see the boat my prayers were answered. The good man traded, my bill for floating the boat, for the title, and I, Dylan Pfeifer, was then the proud owner of a Yankee Dolphin 24. Consumed by joy a ran around the parking lot of my shop jumping and yelling, YES!!! YES!!!
I then jumped head first into flushing the boat with fresh water and assessing the damage. True to form the Yankee held up to the marinading and emerged with little structural damage. All electrical and interior gear was lost, but all that I need is the shell. The refit of rigging and wiring was easy since I am in the business. First she was re-rigged, making halyards internal and all the bells and whistles that a professional rigger would put, and then re-wired.
Six weeks later, with all the foolhardiness of a young salt, I dropped the lines from the dock for the first time in twelve years headed toward Catalina Island. How better to test a recently sunken boat than a 30 mile jaunt to emerald bay. Scared? No, I was on a Dolphin. The trip was a success and only confirmed the fact that I may be the luckiest man alive. Now, I spend a lot of time at the boat which still needs a lot of work. Proving my luck is not a fluke I happened to be docked next door to the finest dolphin I have ever seen, and it is a great example of what mine should look like.
I love my little boat.
Sunchaser was owned, from 1981-1984, by Mark Spector who is the current owner of Yankee, Yankee hull # 138, also in Marina del Rey. Click here to see her .
September 21, 2008 A mystery solved!
Your webmaster was talking with John Shumaker the founder of Yankee Yachts about the brochure at the top of this page showing #118. He told me that this boat was built for one of his employees at that time, Adrian Robinson. The man in the red checkered shirt is believed to be Adrian and he is at the center of a Dolphin mystery. To find out more about this mystery click here
December 29, 2008. Erik had a post on the Forum in the past few days regarding his boom. This prompted your webmaster to get the the mast and boom pages up on the Technical section of the website. Click to go there.
The post gave us a status report on his work on Robin Lee. It is repeated here.
I spent yesterday working on the Dolphin, and among other projects, I took the boom apart and examined, cleaned and lubricated the clew-end fitting and the gooseneck. I mounted a new cleat for the outhaul, replaced the internal outhaul line (the one that was there was old and worn and too large OD and difficult to make fast to the cleat). Then I reassembled all and fashioned a clew attachment that will work with my broken gooseneck fitting until I can replace it. So I guess I'll keep what I have until I replace the entire boom. I'll probably do that once I have all the rigging bits just where I want them...the existing boom thus serves as a full-size mock-up.
My boom flexes as well when the wind is up, and it has a bit of a permanent bend in it, the crown of which is the boom-vang attachment point. I think that I'd go with a slightly deeper section if I were to replace it.
Put on my new JSI sails yesterday. They look very good as far as I can tell, from dockside. All the dimensions seem perfect, and the detailing and workmanship are first-rate. No time for a sail yesterday, but I'm planning for an afternoon jaunt today. I'll report in after I've checked them out.
March 10, 2009. Erik has a new main and is happy with it. Here is his email and pictures
Finally got to go sailing on a sunny day and I got a nice photo of my new mainsail (attached).
This sail has the insignia traced from the original 1969 main, for which you have posted the pattern on the site. The sail is 6.5 oz Dacron, with one reef point. JSI was the sailmaker, and I dealt with Chuck Coyer, who gave mea very nice price on the main and a new 130% roller-furling genoa. This is the second suit of sails for a Dolphin that I know JSI has made, since Mark Spector (Yankee) recommended them to me. I believe that they made a main,jib and an asymmetrical kite for him. JSI is a companion loft to Doyle. Click here for a larger image and more pictures On their website, there is a sail estimator, and the Dolphin 24 is in the database. Here is the direct link to their on line estimator http://www.newjsi.com/sailquoter/index.aspx
The sails are beautifully done indeed, well made, nicely shaped and smartly detailed. They fit perfectly right out of the bag. A great bargain, I'm very pleased. I've included a few photos of a few details of the mainsail. These sails will last a long time, I'm sure. I can unreservedly offer JSI as a recommendation for our fleet.
Best- Erik Evens
July 7, 2009. Erik sent in a couple of photos of Robin Lee's new varnish, and the following email - excerpted.
....Just cleaned all the teak on Robin Lee, and did 6 coats of varnish. My goodness, what a difference. A couple of pics attached.
We sailed twice over the holiday weekend, including yesterday in a fresh 14-18 knots. Single reef in the main, 130 genoa, and we were flying! Gorgeous evening indeed.
Celebrating 40 years young this year....
August 23, 2009 - Erik exchanged some info on the Forum about Robin Lee's vang set up. This is incorporated into the Technical Section's Boom and related page. Click here to go there
October 7, 2009 Erik checked in with a Robin Lee 'fast passage' report - Catalina Island to Marina del Rey
My two sons and I sailed to Catalina last weekend. We had a great time! The sail back was particularly wonderful. Beautiful sunny day, 12-15 knots of breeze, beam reach most of the way. 30.1 NM passage, and we did it in 5 hours, 45 minutes, from dropping our mooring at Two Harbors, Catalina, to entering the Marina del Rey South entrance. That’s 5.2 knots average! Not bad at all
For a graphic log of this cruise go to Erik's post on the Forum Cruising Section, October 11 - click here
February 1, 2010 Erik made a post today on the Forum regarding Robin Lee's transom well, transom well plug, and her Tohatsu motor. You can click here to read it in full with pictures . Below are 2 of the pictures that appear on the Forum, and edited excerpts of Erik's comments relating to these pictures.
Terry Bullock (Yankee #109) has already noted that the holes in the side walls of the well align with the hole in the fin handle, and that the plug can be fixed in place by passing a line through the three holes and tying it off. I was thinking about that, how the holes align perfectly, and also thinking about the fact that the holes are all 1" OD. It occurred to me that maybe Yankee supplied the boat a rod that passed through the three holes and locked the plug in place. I bought a piece of 1" doweling, and tried it out:
Sure enough! A perfect fit, and the plug is locked firmly in place. It's so obvious to me now that this was Yankee's intent with these holes. Other Yankee owners may chime in and tell me this is old news, but my boat didn't come with the dowel, and I had to figure it out by myself.
I've had a chance to get my new Tohatsu 6 hp extra-long shaft engine up and running. Still breaking it in, but so far, so good.
I've installed a pulpit-mounted outboard bracket (West Marine), which allows me to lift the motor out of the well, and store it securely mounted to the stern pulpit. This means the moving the rather heavy motor (60 lbs.) around is reduced to a minimum.
So far the motor seems to be a very good one indeed. Came all the way from Tennessee to California, and I took it out of the box, put oil in it, filled the gas tank and hooked up the hose, and pulled the starting cord ONCE. Started right up.
February 2, 2010 - Erik adds
I’ve heard nothing but good things about Tohatsu. Apparently they are the largest manufacturer of outboards in the world, and make many of the small motors in the Mercury line, and all of the Nissan motors are relabeled Tohatsus, at slightly higher prices.
My motor is manual start, but has reverse gear. I tried the reverse out, and it’s an interesting experience in a Dolphin, because the prop washes directly over the rudder in reverse. So it wants to gain purchase on the rudder and pull the tiller right out of your hands. At slow speeds it’s really ok, but it takes some getting used to. My motor has an alternator, which I will be hooking up when I get the chance to do the wiring.
March 4, 2010 - Erik posted on the Forum a few photos of Robin Lee sailing on Santa Monica Bay. Click here to see them. And he sent in the following email
Got some nice photos of Robin Lee on a daysail last week. I posted them on the Forum in the General section. Also a link to a Youtube video that my friend Bill took the same day. A couple of the photos might be a nice addition to #118’s page. Hope all is well!
There is also a link to some video taken of Robin Lee. Click here to see it. Here's some of those photos for Robin Lee's page.
April 5, 2010 - Erik sent in a picture of his Tohatsu and how it rotates in the transom well. We put it in the Technical section/Outboard motors. Click here to go to it.
June 15, 2010. Erik's friend, Bill Hogan aboard his Flicka 20, Nomad, shot some video of Robin Lee beating to weather in 12-14 knots on Santa Monica Bay last week. Click here to see it.
December 7, 2010. Erik posted a documentary with photos on the Forum "Just Me and My Dolphin", an account of his solo cruise with Robin Lee to Catalina Island - click here to go to it. We put the link in the Stories Section as well.
December 6, 2013. Erik sent in an update, and senior DFI that he is, noted an interesting photo appearing on the bow of a Dolphin for sale in Ithaca, New York named Colossal. It reminded him of this photo of his Robin Lee at a mooring on Catalina Island
Click here to see that Colossal photo - click the return arrow on your browser to get back here
Here is Erik's email, edited to remove a bullet Erik just dodged...
Dec 6, 2013
We're still here - and have been sailing a lot lately. Interesting note: In the advertisement for "Colossal", the Dolphin for sale in Ithaca, NY, the photo used in the flyer taped to the bow of the boat is actually a photo of Robin Lee at mooring in Catalina Island. Ha!
Hope all is well.
Those that must check out the bullet Erik dodged, click here.
March 6, 2016. We got the following update from Erik
All is well here, Ron. Good to hear from you.
Robin Lee is safe and sound. Not much to report. We've been using her mostly for daysailing, as life is very busy right now, no time for any extended cruising. Still in the same slip in Marina del Rey, next to Aspara.
Hope all is well with you and your family!
September 7, 2016. We got the following update from Senior DFI Erik, and photos of Marina del Rey's growing Dolphin fleet
Hope all is well, and that you have enjoyed your summer!
We went for a lovely Labor Day afternoon sail yesterday, and I noticed that we have two new Dolphins on our dock, making four Dolphins in total. It's really looking like a proper Dolphin yacht club, don't you think?
New additions are "the Blue Dolphin", Dario's "Breeze", #83, which was moved to "Dolphin Row" from another slip elsewhere in the Marina, and "Avri Ellis", #140, which I gather just arrived from the south in Wilmington. See photo below I took yesterday. Also attached is a photo of Robin Lee and Aspara bookending the other end of "Dolphin Row". Now we need a few more to fill in the middle and we'll have a proper fleet!
Click the photos for a larger images