What's New?
  For Sale
  A History
  Email List
  Members Only
  Marine Weather
  Local Weather
  Contact Us

Max Sheppard's Sea Fox, a 1961 O'Day Dolphin, Hull 35, Neenah, Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin (updated June 17, 2021)


April 11, 2014. Max Shepard has checked in as the owner of Sea Fox, a 1961 O'Day. We have known about Sea Fox for over 4 years, and Max's email shows again the virture of patience. Check out the February 20, 2010 posting below. Now that we officially know where she is, Sea Fox becomes our 217th Found Dolphin.

Here is Max' email (minor edits) and photos


My name is Maxwell Sheppard. I am the owner of The “Sea Fox” A 1961 O’Day Dolphin. I absolutely LOVE this boat! I found the boat in 2005 in a farmer's field in Wisconsin. When I first got the boat it was totally filled with Ice on the inside! In the first year of ownership I completely gutted the boat and raced it with no interior. We took 3rd place over all in the NNCY. Neenah Nodaway Yatch Club, Wisconsin.

After that I moved on to bigger boats and worked for 7 years as a on large motor yachts. At 29 years old I have moved back to Wisconsin and have been spending all my free time restoring the boat. Last year I race the boat and was about to take First Place over all in the NNYC. With the 150th anniversary of the NNYC coming up this year I thought I would send you a few pictures of the boat - with many more to come if you are interested. I would love to contact other owners about different project I am working on. I also would love to answer any questions others may have about their boats as I have completely gone through every inch of this boat.

Below you will find two photos of the Sea Fox with her new Paint Job! I will also mention that I love the boat so much that I want as many others as I can to experience the boat. Starting this season the Sea Fox will be open for business as I will be using my captain's license to start a sun set couples charter company on Lake Winnebago.

Thanks for your time. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Kind Regards, Maxwell Sheppard

Stay Tuned

Back on February 20, 2010 we posted the following: Sea Fox has been in the Neenah area for over 20 years. Her sail number is #E 185, PHRF # 261, yellow hull, white deck, single cylinder gas inboard, last raced 2006 in Neenah. Whereabouts of this boat is currently unknown.

We have had this boat in our back up database for nearly 3 years. An internet search by your webmaster then surfaced the following post April 8, 2006 on Sailboat Owners Forum

Neenah, WI - 1961 Yankee Dolphin
04/08/06 at 19:48
Yankee 24'

need PERF ratings help

I'm trying to find the PERF rating of my 1961 Yankee Dolphin 24' keel-centerboard. I'm also wondering if the boat has a grandfathered PERF rating. I will be planning to race on Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin if it matters. Any informationg on my boat or where i could find out more is greatly appreciated.

1961 Yankee Dolphin photo:

Return to search results | Print Thread

The "Yankee Dolphin" and "1961" are problematic as Yankee did not go into production until 1965. The photo was missing.

This juicy tidbit disappeared into our electronic files to resurface yesterday in an effort to cleanup old files. Another internet search for PHRF racing in Lake Winnebago and Neenah surfaced the Neenah Nodeaway Yacht Club - the 2nd oldest yacht club in the US - founded 1863! Emails produced 2 quick responses from Vice Commodore John Ross and Webmaster Ben Brzozowski, and with the information they provided Sea Fox has her place in the sun. Webmaster Note: With service and response like theirs its no wonder that NNYC has been around so long.

Neenah Harbor

Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin


June 17, 2014. Max and your webmaster have been trading emails today about sails, pictures and hull numbers. He is looking for some decent used sails and we were looking for some pictures and a hull #. Here is a consolidation - edited.

Hi Ron,

I am looking for some sails for Sea Fox. I am working on a small budget and wondering if you might recommend some places a might find some used sails that might be in better shape than mine. I am still racing with sails that have the year 1963 printed on the tack! We are still very competitive even with our 40+ year old sails but it would be nice to upgrade. (Webmaster Note: If anyone has extra sails let me know and I'll pass info on to Max - also told him about searching "used sails" on line)

I have tons of start to finish pictures of almost every project I have ever done. I am just holding off another few weeks until I finish. I looked through your link to the builder and hull number plates. I actually have the O’Day Plate in sequential order to the one in the picture, I have #229!***

When I went to my local DNR to register the boat in my name they had on file that the boat was a 1961. Since I found the boat in a farm field and purchased it from a farmer, not the old owner, I had very little to work with - although there are also racing records from the early 1970’s and pictures of the boat long before there racing in the NNYC. Thanks for your help I will be putting up lots of pictures soon!


*** Max is referring to the Technical Section dealing with Builders Hull Numbers and Nameplates (click here to go there) Casandra Rose is number 228, hull #56. We are betting that Max is going to tell us that Sea Fox's nameplate says her hull number is 57. WRONG!!!

Stay Tuned

June 22, 2014 - Max sent in a much appreciated photo of Sea Fox's nameplate. She is O'Day Hull # 35!

Ron, here is the hull number plate as promised. I hope this helps, Max

For those readers who have not read the section on Builders Numbers and Nameplates - the "hull number" relates, we think, to some overall production control system that Marscot, later O'Day, had. The Class number appears to be the hull # of the particlur class of boat being built.


January 17, 2015. Dolphins may not be the fastest boat racing but they almost always win on corrected time - especially downwind. It took 6 months to get this but worth the wait. Max's report follows. He refers to an exchange your webmaster and Max had on Bloopers. We'll start this report with that exchange


Jun 24, 2014
Subject: PHRF Rating and Blooper

Hi Ron, I was wondering if you know the answer to this question. This Weekend I will be racing in the Trans-Winnebago 30 mile race. The Wind here in the summer is usually out of the south and the race is 30 miles straight north this year. Early Forecasts are predicting 20knts of breeze from the SSE. Anyway I was hoping to fly my blooper with my spinnaker to help with stability and try to stop the "Death Roll" - also maybe gain a bit of speed. The question I have is: Will flying a blooper affect my PHRF rating? We are racing a under Lake Michigan PHRF Thanks.

Max Sheppard


Hi Max
A Dolphin Blooper!!! Good question - years ago I raced with a guy on a Morgan 36 one tonner - and flew his blooper for him (let it way out!!!!!! both sheet and halyard - practically in the water ahead of the boat!!) He told me it was a 'free sail" meaning no additional handicap. However, I have not kept up with handicapping so I don't know. I'd check with your local handicapper - it would be a shame to win, then get protested out..... Let me know what happens.


Ok, that's the set up - here's the report

Hi Ron,

I am finally getting back to you on the Blooper and how we did in the Trans Winnebago race. I have good news! We took first place in the spinnaker division and first place over all! The 30nm race was down wind the whole way and we where able to use the blooper. I found that at points in the race when the wind picked up and the boat became less stable i.e. on the verge of death rolling we would deploy the blooper, which work great to stabilize the boat, then as the wind lightened we bring it in and use only the main and spinnaker. I have also attached some more pictures on the boat.

Note that PHRF Handicap Rating 261!

Click on the above pictures for a larger image

Click here for a larger image


February 24, 2015. Max exchanged comments on the Dolphin 24 Facebook Groups, and posted a picture, about that outboard hanging off his transom. Below is the picture - click here to see the comments


February 22, 2016. Sea Fox is working hard - we got the following update from Max

Hi Ron,

Sea Fox is safe and sound in its storage unit waiting for the lake to thaw. We had a great summer last year doing day charters. I also used the boat to teach some entry level ASA classes. We had a wonderful year racing as well winning a second Trans Winnebago this time we had almost unbeatable conditions with a 5-8 kt. breeze on the stern, it was a easy spinnaker run all the way to the finish out of the 26 boats in the race we won by over 20 min. after corrected time. Beating such boats as Tartan 34's, J24's, Olson 25's. We are hoping to make it 3 in a row this summer!

I hope all is well in the North East.

Max Sheppard


March 13, 2017 - We missed the 1 year Sea Fox update deadline by a couple of weeks, but better late than never. Here's Max's update (minor edits)

Hi Ron,

Sorry about the extremely late response to your email. Last season was great for us. A lot of good racing. We took second in our first series of the summer. And first in the second series of the summer. We fell short on the trans Winnebago race. We timed out on the race. The finish line closed at 5 o'clock and we finished at 5:12 p.m. We were beating into three-foot chop and winds as high as 30 kn the the whole 30 miles. Not a Dolphin's favorite weather… if we would've finished in the allotted time we probably would've done quite well.

I have been doing considerably less cruising. As I am the full-time captain during the summers on a river tour boat. But I still try to make every race that I can. I am also looking for any contacts you may have with the boats in Wilmette Harbor. I know they have a lot of Dolphins and I'm wondering if mine came from that harbor at one point in its life as some of the sail numbers from that area are very close to mine - starting with the "E". Webmaster Note: Max has been put in touch with Wilmette Fleet Captains Jim Griffith and Dan Hofstetter.

I'm also wondering if they host a one design Dolphin regatta I would love to trailer my boat down there and try some Dolphin one design. I think that would be great fun. I would also like to pick your brain about racing a Dolphin with a four man crew. And the specific role of each crew member. I'm really trying to fine-tune and streamline the crew positions. Such as very specific roles for the foredeck, the mast position, the sail trimmer, and the skipper.

I would like to upgrade my boat's running rigging. And, before I moved to many things around, I would like to discuss the best places to put things like spinnaker halyards. Considering most of my racing is windward/leeward courses rounding the Windward Mark to port.

Belated Happy Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Valentine's Day!


Webmaster Note: As soon as we get a chance, tomorrow? (1 ft of snow expected), and after a review with Technical staff, we will try and answer Max's questions.....


March 14, 2017 - Webmaster postscript. Snowing heavy here in SE Connecticut - so get prepared for a snow job regarding answers to Max's questions re racing a Dolphin. These comments have not yet been reviewed with counsel...They have been combined with Max's question and included in our Technical Section. Click here to go there

Re - the 4 man crew - Most of Marionette's spinnaker racing has been with a 3 man crew (forgive the chauvanistic but time honored term - usually we have 2 males, and a female). Positions

1) Nicole - Helmsman/traveller trimmer and back up main/jib trimmer (Nicole)

2) Mike - main/jib trimmer and tactician/advisor, spinnaker and topping lift halyards (these are led back to the cockpit)

3) Webmaster - foredeck person, and pole setter/jiber, spinnaker bag set up, spinnaker repack, main down haul, main outhaul, jib halyard, reefer, jib track block adjuster, moveable ballast, navigator, sandwich maker. The message here is that the two in the cockpit's primary job is to keep the boat moving fast! It must be noted here that #s 1 and 2 can do the jobs of #3 faster and better (except for the last 3 jobs - moveable ballast, navigator, sandwich maker)

The skill and experience of crew makes all the difference, and any race plan/crew assignment work plan has to consider this. Marionette's usual crew (son Mike and daughter Nicole) are 'all star' - both former I-420 dinghy champions as skippers, collegiate All Americans, and lots of experience in J-24's, Lightnings, and in Marionette. (And Nicole is current US Womens Match racing champion - 2015 and 2016). A crew of 4 spreads out the load and adds another pair of eyes, but also adds weight (good, if more moveable ballast is needed) and complicates the communications.

I like to think that Dolphin 24's rate really well in conditions that are 'light/moderate' - meaning hull speeds for the fleet racing don't reach theoretical max - less that 5.7 knots for a Dolphin. Another way to say this is that in light breezes Dolphins, well sailed, sail to a higher % of their max hull speed than most other displacement boats. One of our favorite inside comments on the boat in these conditions is 'its ours to lose'. Sail conservatively, no banging corners, concentrate on boat speed, keep clear air but not far away from the competitors.

Another important Dolphin factor is course. We like going to weather, and very broad/downwind sailing, don't like reaching. Crew experience/skill may be a factor here as reaching is easier, and 'fast', for everbody! Upwind and downwind work requires more attention to sail trim and steering. So we lose an edge.

Important item. Spinnaker jibing - coordination between the two people in the cockpit watching and timing the jibe as the foredeck guy trys to unclip the pole on the mast, grab the spinnaker sheet, clip the pole on the new guy, then clip the pole on the mast. done right is clean and fast, done wrong is messy and slow.

Tactical decisions - clear air starts are better than trying to win the pin or committee boat at all costs. Clear air is really important anywhere on the course. Tacking is slow - minimize. In light air watch for the breeze. Play the traveller - excess heeling is slow in a Dolphin (Note - this heeling thing can get to be a contention item among Marionette's crew. Dolphin's have a centerboard that can be lifted..... - a big advantage on some courses. Not just possibly offering a shorter course, but very importantly allowing a Dolphin to pick up stronger/lifting breezes near shores.

Knowing the boat and its layout is important. There's a lot of stuff in the Technical Section - http://dolphin24.org/technicalindex.html Hardware and rigging. Also there is a description of Marionette's spinnaker rigging set up http://dolphin24.org/marionette_running_spin_setup.html

I found an interesting J-24 series of comments that are really pretty basic - going back to basics is always a good idea


That's it for now - we'll get some shovelling done and stand by for other comments to this interchange on our Technical Section.


June 20, 2017. Max and the webmaster exchanged emails regarding Sea Fox's entry in the upcoming Trans Winnebago race and forecast strong downwind breeze. We have included these comments in the Technical Section/Sail Comments. Click here to go there..


October 4, 2017 We got the following email from Max

Hi, Ron

I know you mentioned that you had some interest in a dolphin with the blooper. Here is the Sea Fox flying its blooper in about 10 to 12 kn of wind (a little light for using the blooper in my opinion) still always fun.

This picture was taken in celebration of winning the Solar Eclipse Race that took place during the 2017 solar eclipse.


Postscript October 5, 2017 Max added the following

Hi Ron

The Solar Eclipse race wasn't your average race. It was open to all classes of boats and the course was set in an elliptical shape. Below I have attached the boats that competed and the corrected finish times. (Webmaster Note: We got the top 8 of 12 entered)

Final position/Boat name/finishing times - seconds Skipper/Make of boat /PHRF #
1st: Sea Fox - 6101.51 Maxwell Sheppard, Yankee Dolphin 24; 261 
2nd: ChrisDan - 6199.48 John Ross, Beneteau First Class 8; 153 
3rd: Fireball - 6221.19 Rod Fisk, Ranger 29; 189 
4th: Griffin - 6399.34 Dan Smithback,  Catalina 27;  207
5th: Laser (Wolf) - 6683.47 Greg Wolf, Laser;  210
6th: Tafia: 7673.80 Bill Staffeld,  O'Day 32-2;  168 
7th: Liberty: 7683.05 Randy and Lynn Kroll, Catalina 30; 180 
8th: Southern Belle - 7952.76 Richard Pask, Com-Pac 23; 249 

We have added the above blooper comments and more to our Technical Section/Sails/The Blooper. Click here to go there.


November 13, 2018. Sea Fox is up to her old tricks again winning the 2018 TransWinnebago Race from Menasha to Fond du Lac. She was showing Max her appreciation for the new (heavier) centerboard and improved centerboard wich system. Below is Max's report.

Hi Ron,

Sorry it took so long to get back to you. It was a great year for the Sea Fox! We won both summer racing series and the Trans Winnebago again! With a huge margin after corrected time. Third to finish and won by something like 29 minutes after corrected time.

Last off season we made some upgrades to the center board and winch system.We replaced our 38lb aluminium board wrapped in fiberglass (3/8” thickness) with a solid stainless steel board (1/2” thickness) . The board weight is 128 lbs!

With the added weight I decided to change the pulley system out to a 5:1 winch and kept the pulley system as well. Raising the new board is actually easier than raising the old 38lb board. I also upgraded the pin for the board to 1/2” 17-4 stainless rod. The original pin was also 1/2” dia. I really wanted to upgrade to something thicker but we were intimidated by trying to drill a perfectly alined hole in the lead keel so I just upgraded the pin hardness... I will be removing the pin this off season to look for any damage. But it seemed to work just fine.

Below I have attached some photos of the new board and winch.


Webmaster Note: Staff found this photo on the Fond du Lac website and thought Max wouldn't mind seeing it here

Before we get to the new centerboard and winch photos below are the race results.....

Click on the above photos for a larger image

We've got more photos and will include them in our Technical Section - soon (patience.....)


November 14, 2018 - Sea Fox's new centerboard and winch system plus additional comments by Max have been added in a new page in the Technical Section/Centerboards. Click here to go there.

And, a Postscript from Max (minor edit) in response to a Webmaster comment re Sea Fox's go fast habits

Last spring we took Sea Fox’s bottom back down to gel coat because she had blisters in the previous barrier coat. The old barrier coat was West Systems epoxy with West Systems barrier coat additive. The blisters were not into the gel coat, just in the epoxy barrier coat, so we sanded it back down to gel coat and put on four coat of Interlux Inter Protect 2000 and 4 coats of Interlux VC17 - not sure if VC17 is ever used in salt water... the bottom may also have helped her performance this season.

I also replaced my 7/8 of the fore triangle 100% jib (from 1963!!!) with a new North Sails 3DI Dacron 100% jib that is also 100% of the fore triangle. The new sail has a luff that is the full “I” length, and a foot the full “J” length, and the clew was brought down some as well. This has made a massive difference in our up wind performance in wind speeds from around 12 to 20 kts. The added weight keeping the boat flatter along with this new sail has really helped us point higher then we ever have. The main reason for the new sail and centerboard was to help increase our upwind performance in the 12 to 20kt wind range. As you mentioned Dolphins downwind and in light air are very competitive and hard to beat. But for us in very, very close period 2’ to 3’ chop we would struggle up wind and find ourselves playing catch-up when we turn down wind and got the spinnaker up.


September 3, 2020 Thanks to Sisu, Yankee #186 we have the following pic


June 17, 2021 - Posted on the Dolphin24 Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/groups/dolphin24sailboats

Here’s the Neenah dolphins rafted up. We are currently the top two boats in our division on the season, with Sea Fox winning all but one so far but Sisu not far behind.

Nice comparison of a 1961 O’Day to a 1970 Yankee.The black hull is O’Day #35, Sea Fox. The white is Yankee #186 Sisu


1 [Home] [A History] [Technical] [Restorations] [Stories] [Forum]
[Members Only] [Links] [Marine Weather] [Local Weather] [Contact Us]

© Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Website Design by EasyWebCreations.com & Powered by ASP Hosting