Chrysler Historical Information Page
Due to all the requests for information regarding the history of Chrysler sailboats,
I've created this page. The information here is growing and mutating with each passing day, as more pieces of
the puzzle come together. There are many people to thank for the information contained below, including David
Kain, Sue Hall, Don Abel, Harry Sindle, Ken Pole, Pete Rainville, and Jim Workman.
David Kain maintains the Chrysler Marine Website.
Sue Hall maintains the Starwinds Web Site.
Additional information about Chrysler Marine's history, including launch dates for (then) new classes, and
insight into Chrysler Marine's Sailing Division can be found in the "pubs" section, or by following this
Chrysler Marine History
- Lone Star Boats was founded in Grand Prairie, Texas in 1945 by two brothers;
Lamar and William Moody. In 1962, Lonestar moved its manufacturing plant to International
Parkway, in Plano, Texas.
- To find out more about Lone Star Boats, check out this link:
- In 1965, Chrysler Corporation purchased Lone Star
Boats and continued to use their production facilities in Plano. Chrysler
brochures from 1966 have both names -- Lone Star and Chrysler on them.
- Chrysler also bought out West Bend Outboards in January, 1965. This
first year, these engines were known as a Chrysler/West Bend outboards.
- After these acquisitions, Chrysler entered the both the boat and
outboard markets with their own 1966 model year.
- From 1966 through 1980, Chrysler built thousands of boats in both the
sailboat and powerboat divisions. In the sailboat division alone, they built
the following classes that I know of:
- In answer to the question, "did Chrysler really build a 30 footer?",
The answer is yes and no. The "yes" part is that Chrysler did design one and
it was shown at the Toronto Dockside Show in the early 1980s and boasted an
impressive amount of volume. It had an innovative interior which featured,
among other things, the engine centered over the keel under a swing-up module
below the galley sink. The "no" part arises from Chrysler having to get out
of the sailboat as part of its corporate restructuring in return for loan
guarantees from the U.S. Government. The molds and other tooling were
purchased by a Canadian company, Ticon Yachts, and the boat was built as the
Ticon 30. It lost a bit of its innovation, notably the engine location, in
the transition and wasn't in production for very long. It was too pricey for
the 30-foot market and even today asking prices for used ones are in the
C$50-60,000 range. A shoal keel version evidently sailed like a dog; it
needed the full fin keel to point adequately.
- For more information about the Chrysler/Ticon T-30, check out this page:
- One of the reasons for the astonishing success of their sailboat
division was the acquisition of Halsey Herreshoff as design engineer for
their cruising sailboat line. While many potential owners may have shied
away from purchasing a boat from a company better known for building cars,
they trusted the Herreshoff name, based on Halsey's deserved reputation in
building many other fine yachts.
- There is now a Herreshoff Museum dedicated to Halsey's astonishing
success as a yacht designer and builder. To find out more about the museum,
check out this link: http://www.herreshoff.org/.
- At the same time, Chrysler also hired talented design engineers Rod Macalpine-Downey and Dick Gibbs to
design some of their smaller boats. The original designs for the C-13 "Privateer", C-14 "Dagger",
C-15 "Mutineer", and C-18 "Buccaneer" came from their drafting tables.
- Chrysler took great care with the production of its sailboat line.
According to a Chrysler employee of that period, "Your history page has
brought back many wonderful memories of the 11 years I spent as Materials
Manager at the Plano plant. I might tell you a little about the plant. Most
boat companies install inboard engines, ship them to their dealers, and expect
them to correct mistakes. Chrysler dug a tank in the I-O department with
exhaust fans to carry the fumes outside. They put every I-O boat in the the
tank for a 10 minute run test and would correct all problems before sending to
- "When they started seriously into the sailboat area, they did the same
in the back of the plant. All C-22 and C-26 boats were placed in the tank to
check for swing and fixed keel leaks."
- "Some fiberglass companies will fix minor crazing by buying special waxes
in the color of the gelcoat and buff it into the crazes, but we had a repair
line which repaired the gelcoat before shipping."
- "The resin was pumped into a Chromilite Room above the Layup area and
formulated into three different curing times---45 minute, 30 minute, and 15
minute. The layup of the shell was done using 45 minute resin. Then, the
secondary and structure was accomplished with 30 minute, and finally the last
with 15 minute. That way, the entire layup would cure out at the same time,
causing one thick layer not three. Lastly, the entire floor area was sprayed
with chopped roving to seal it against water. All manufacturing was on a rail
with the molds moving to the next stations."
- "The final footprint of the plant was 488,000 square feet under roof.
It was quite a sight to walk in the warehouse and see row on row of boats
standing on end awaiting shipment. At one time I had the plant site, two
warehouses in Oak Cliff, a suburb of Dallas, two in McKinney, 20 miles north
of Dallas, one in Terrell, Texas with boats in them. Since the 20 feet and
above plus the large sailboats could not be stored on end, I also had a
warehouse in Garland and one in Plano for the larger boats."
- John Lafer, who was the sales manager for Chrysler Sail Boats now lives
in Leavenworth, Washington 98826, Phone Number (509) 548-6171. He is no longer
concerned with sailing but can probably help with background information.
Buccaneer Design & Production History
Thanks go to
Michael Connolly for collecting and sending this information. *
BUCCANEER DESIGN HISTORY: The Buccaneer was designed in 1966 and introduced by sailing in The Yachting
Magazine's "One of a Kind" Regatta in 1967 where it placed second behind a
BUCCANEER PRODUCTION HISTORY:
Chrysler Corporation - 1968 thru 1980, hull #1 thru approx. #4050. (Just
over 4000 boats built).
Texas Marine International (TMI) - 1981 thru 1982, hull approx. #4051 thru
approx. #4750. (Around 700 boats built).
Wellcraft Marine Corporation, Starwind Division - 1982 thru 1984, hull
approx. #4751 thru approx. #5000. (Approx. 250 boats built).
Gloucester Yachts - 1985 thru 1986, hull #5001 thru #5059. (59 boats built).
Cardinal Yachts - 1987 thru 2003, hull #5060 thru #5065, #5100 thru #5106
and #5200 thru #5214.
Nickels Boat Works - 2003 thru present, hull numbers to be determined.
* NOTE: Much of this information was gathered from Dick Gibbs and Harry Sindle and
confirmed to be as accurate a production record as exists. To view the entire excerpt
of Michael Connolly's message, click here.
DID BAYLINER ALSO PRODUCE THE BUCCANEER? *
The problem with Bayliner goes back to 1982 when Bayliner tried to produce a
Buccaneer without the approval of the Class Association or the owner of the molds -
Macalpine-Downie/Gibbs. They were trying to take advantage of situation when the
Buc was without a licensed builder and stated that they were a competitive
builder and should be recognized. They attempted to jump on and steal the
Buccaneer name without prior approval of the builder. The Buc they produced was
made from a mold produced by imprinting an already maunfactured Buc. The result
was a much smaller Buc dimension wise (6X mold shrinkage) and not up to class
The owners (Macalpine-Downie-Gibbs) sued and prevailed and Bayliner stopped
making the Buc imitation. Also during litigation, Bayliner attached the name to
some other boats they had trying to confuse the litigation process by saying that
their boats didn't look like the Buccaners.
* NOTE: This information was gathered from the Yahoo! Groups
Discussion Forum. To view the entire excerpt of Pete Kofira's message,
- Unfortunately, while the Chrysler Marine Division enjoyed great success,
it only lasted until 1980, and the outboard division lasted until 1984.
- According to a Chrysler employee of that period, "We were told that,
as part of the government bailout, Chrysler had to sell off all it's neonate
related businesses and concentrate on it's auto business. I believe we were
the last to go. We all knew it was up for sale....The rest is history."
- When Chrysler finally got out of the boat building business, they sold
the Sailboat Division to Texas Marine International (TMI). TMI made boats for
a few years, then sold off the small boat business (13' - 18') to Gloucester
Yachts and the cruising boat business (20' - 27') to a division of Wellcraft
Marine known as Starwind. Here is the contact information for Wellcraft:
2049 Whitfield Park Ave.
Sarasota, Florida 33580
- According to the Wellcraft Marine representative, Wellcraft/Starwind
discontinued making its boats in 1985, and sold all materials, documentation,
rights, etc. for their sailboat division to Gloucester Marine.
- During the time Wellcraft made sailboats, their chief designer was
Jim Taylor. Jim is still around and can be reached at 617-631-6235. Jim
is best known for his design of the Starwind 19 & 27.
- Wellcraft Marine provided the following source information for the
various parts comprising the Starwind boats. They could not confirm whether
any of the companies are still in business, or whether these phone numbers
are still good, since Wellcraft ceased maintaining information after 1985.
|Type of Part
|Aluminum Cast Parts
||Precision Boat Works
1511 18th Avenue Drive
Palmetto, FL 34221-0650
|Centerboards & Ruddders
100 Patterson Avenue
Bay City, MI 48706-0413
|Masts & Booms
2312 S Susan St
Santa Ana,CA 92702
P.O. Box W
Charlestown, NH 03603
||Atlantic Sail Traders
2062 Harvard Street
Sarasota, FL 34237
2050 34th Way
Largo, FL 33771-0396
||Beckson Marine Inc.
165 Holland Avenue
Bridgeport, CT. 06605
- As mentioned previously, Gloucester Yachts purchased rights to
some of the Chrysler sailboat business from TMI initially. Later,
when Wellcraft decided to pursue its main line of business, power boats,
Gloucester purchased the remainder of the sailboat business from them in
- Up until 1985, Gloucester was in direct competition with Wellcraft /
Starwind for many of the same 'classes'. Gloucester Yachts was manufacturing
boats in lengths of 11', 15', 19', 20', 22', 23', & 27'.
- It is important to note that, at the same time, Gloucester also
was manufacturing the 15' Mutineer and the 18' Buccaneer. These boats, though
manufactured by Gloucester, were of the original R.M. Downie design, and quite
different from the Gloucester boats made in the same lengths.
- In 1987, one of the forces behind Gloucester Yachts, Harry Sindle,
left Gloucester and formed his own company, Cardinal Yachts, where he
continued to make and sell the Mutineer and Buccaneer class
boats until 2003. Here is the contact information for Cardinal Yachts:
Cardinal Yachts Inc.
7519 Ware Neck Road
Phone number: 804-693-5928
- In 2003, Nickels Boat Works purchased
the molds for the Buccaneer and Mutineer. They have already begun fabricating the Buccaneer. To see a
Buccaneer being built, check out this link: www.nickelsboats.com/inproc1_bucc.html.
Here is a link to their main Buccaneer page: www.nickelsboats.com/buccaneer.html.
My understanding is that Nickels Boat Works will begin building the Mutineer in 2004. Here is the contact
information for Nickels Boat Works:
Nickels Boat Works
2426 South Long Lake Road
Fenton, MI 48430
Phone number: 810-750-1855
- One last item from the Chrysler fire sale: the Outboard Division
was sold to U.S. Marine in 1984, who manufactures and markets the outboards
under the FORCE name. Contact information for U.S. Marine is provided below:
U.S. Marine Corporation
105 Marine Drive
Hartford, Wisconsin 53027
Phone Number: 414-929-5000
- According to a Chrysler employee of that period, "we used Vector Sails
manufactured in Chicago on boats through the C-22. There were more expensive
sails on the market, and we did use a few, but Ron Blair who owned Blair
Fashions in Chicago was a sailing enthusiast and turned the top floor of his
building into a sail loft. He would appear at class events, talk someone into
using his sails and came out the winner many times. It was said that Ron Blair
inherited his money from his family and that Blair Fashions manufactured three
lines of clothing for women in three price ranges including lingerie. Also,
that they had a contract to manufacture the Bunny costumes for Hefner and the
uniforms for the formal Holiday Inn personal. We used to kid him as to
whether the spinnakers were "C" or "D" cup.
- Another story about Vector Sails is that Vector had an underwear factory
which had lost a major contract with J.C. Penny's to manufacture underwear, and
had to create new business lines to keep afloat (sorry for the pun). So
Chrysler Boat Corp.contracted them to make sails.
- The second story came from a representative from UK Sails,
who has stated that UK Sails has all the specs for the Chrysler sails.
UK Sails does have lofts located throughout the US and Canada, but your
best bet is to go to their website @
http://www.uksailmakers.com. Here's the UK Sails contact information
for my local loft:
108 Severn Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21403
Scott Allan, Alan Drew,
Drew Donald, Matt Beck, Paul Oler
If you have, or know of any other information about the Chrysler Sailboat
Division, please send it to me via e-mail by clicking on the "e-mail" button
in the left frame.
This page last updated on Saturday, April 10, 2004.