Friday, February15, 2019

Some L-36 History

After an article in YACHTING Magazine, L/36 #1 and #2 were ordered from Carl Chapman & Rolly Kalayjian in mid-1953. Both boats were built alongside each other, upside down, at the C&J boatshop in Costa Mesa. A coin was flipped, and the #1 designation went to George and Millie Griffith who named their boat CASSANDRA and finished off the interior themselves. #2 went to Bob and Harriet Allan and was christened HOLIDAY. HOLIDAY ("nothing goes faster") was finished and launched first, in the spring of 1954, at Rosan's Boatyard in Newport Beach. After launching, HOLIDAY's Gray Marine engine's forward gear did not engage, and she was motored down Newport Bay in reverse with a celebratory party aboard.

The predecessors to the L/36 were Lapworth's original design from 1949, the 28' LWL FLYING SCOTCHMAN, and the smaller design, the Lapworth 32. Along with FLYING SCOTCHMAN (Porter Sinclair), three of these 32 footers lived in S.CA:The red DANCER, the white DASHER (Warren Blinn), and the light blue VIXEN (Frank Rice.) Shortly after HOLIDAY's launching in'54, the 46 foot "pregnant whale" NALU II (Peter Grant) was launched. NALU was also a Lapworth design and suoccessful TransPac racer which had extreme reverse shear, so high, that a step ladder was needed on the dock to climb aboard.

A critical dimension of the L/36 design was the waterline length of 28 feet, so chosen by Lapworth, Griffth, and Allan, as it was, at the time, the minimum LWL eligible for the TransPac Rac.

CASSANDRA and HOLIDAY both had short, 3 window cabins that ended just behind the mast. This had the benefit of making the boat lighter than later built L/36's. The compromise was a tiny, dark, and kneeling only, head on the port side, forward of the mast, that smelled and the wives really did not like. L/36 #3, MISTRAL had a longer, 4 window cabin, and standing headroom in the head, lit and ventilated by the forward (opening) port. This comfort feature sold many L/36's.

CASSANDRA and HOLIDAY raced local S.CA races 1954-1960, the Whitney and Ahmanson Series, and alternately won almost all the races they entered. Their main competition came from Ash Bown's Owen's Cutter CAROUSEL from San Diego, and the newer K-40's.

When not racing, CASSANDRA and HOLIDAY were family cruising to Catalina. Both boats had alcohol stoves that regularly caught fire, and the flaming stoves were tossed overboard at Howlands and Moonstone coves, to be retrieved by diving the following morning by myself or brother Scott. Once rinsed with fresh water, these stoves were good for another go, and then usually another fire.

I have hanging on my wall half models of the L/36 and the Cal-40. Except for the keel hung rudder of the L/36 and the spade rudder and fuller bow of the Cal-40, it is interesting how similar these designs are. I like to think the L/36 was the logical predecessor of the Cal 40. George Griffth, besides being a friend of Lapworth, helped design and owned Cal-40 #1. In later years, it was argued between Griffith and Lapworth who was responsible for the spade rudder idea. Evidently, the idea was not Lapworth's alone. Both George Griffth and Jack Jensen pushed Lapworth for the spade rudder, and the first Lapworth design to feature this revolutionary idea was the Cal 28, built by Jensen Marine.

~skip allan

Dec. '08

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