SailNet Community

SailNet Community (
-   Boat Review and Purchase Forum (
-   -   thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24? (

RyanL 10-02-2012 08:37 AM

thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?
going to check out this boat that's at one of the local marinas.

never been aboard a yankee dolphin, was wondering if any folks out there have thoughts on their design, any short falls i should consider (i've heard that their engine compartment isn't the best design), or specific areas i should look at carefully on a dolphin.

i'm mostly looking for a day sailor (usually 2 of us, but able to single hand) on the upper and middle potomac, with the occasional longer trip out the the Chesapeake, maybe up to a week long? i like the idea of a shoal keel vs. a swing keel.

this is the first boat we're looking at on our search, also considering 25' odays, catalinas, and similar class boats.

thanks for your input- so much to think about!

mstern 10-02-2012 10:44 AM

Re: thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?
Ryan: If I remember that boat correctly (I can't access your link right now), the Dolphin is a very pretty boat, Sparkman and Stephens design. It is however, not a boat that is as comfortable or as good in Chesapeake light airs as some of the more modern designs. If you are not all that concerned about a comfortable, roomy (relatively speaking that is) cabin, then the Dolphin is a nice boat. Also, while the Dolphin was a moderate design for her time, I think she is still pretty heavy. Don't expect to be racing along.

And don't be swayed by that "solid" hull claim; just about every boat then and now has a "solid" fiberglass hull. Its only the upper end and racing boats that have cored hulls. And virtually all boats (including the Dolphin) have cored decks. You have to be careful about checking the condition of the deck on older boats; virtually all have had water intrusion issues, and it is necessary to know what you are getting into. Its pretty common now (although by no means standard) for the decks on higher quality boats to have solid decks around deck hardware fittings. This prevents the inevitable water intrusion from affecting the core. However, it was a virtually unknown construction technique back in the day. Subsequent repairs may have created the same protections on an older boat, but only the owner will know for sure.

It sounds to me that you have the right list of potential candidates to review. A couple of suggestions: the Odays have a keel/centerboard set up: ballast in a stub keel, with a mostly unweighted centerboard available to increase draft when necessary. The Catalinas have a true swing keel (ballast is all in the swinging keel). I think the Oday design is superior in every way. Having said that, the Catalina cabin on the 25 is better suited to cruising than the Oday (with one notable exception): the Catalina has a pop top to give you standing headroom, and was available with a neat dinette floor plan. Catalina is also still in business, and Catalina Direct still sells direct replacement parts for all of their boats. Oday is long gone. While Oday support is readily available over the internet and from D&R Marine in Mass., its not quite the same.

However, Oday clearly as an advantage over Catalina in the placement of the head; its behind a real door in the Oday. The best set up for the C25 has the head behind a folding accordian screen. Never underestimate the value of the head behind a door when sailing with the ladies.

Have fun looking, and be sure to post pictures!

RyanL 10-02-2012 12:35 PM

Re: thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?
mstern- thanks for the reminder about checking for deck fittings and water intrusion. that dern shifty water, always trying to sneak its way into boats!

what do you mean when you say 'not as comfortable in light airs"? harder to maneuver/steer because of slower speeds, or the actually comfort of sitting on the boat as it reacts slower to any wave action since you won't be zipping along?

for the most part, i do want a boat that performs well (aka not a macgreagor), but am not looking to race or expect to break any speed records (partner is new sailor). mostly something to get out in after work, or to take out for an overnight on some weekends.

Jeff_H 10-02-2012 01:18 PM

Re: thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?
I have not seen one of these boats in many years, but this is a design that I always admired. As noted in the ad, the Yankee Dolphin began life in the 1960's as a MORC (Midget Ocean Racing)rule race boat. They were designed by Sparkman and Stephens at a time when S&S was about as good a designer as you could find. The MORC rule of that era produced designs which were also about as good as they got, at least during that period.

Compared to other designs from that era, boats like Dolphin went upwind very well, performed well on a run with the board up, and were good sailing boats pretty much on any point of sail. By intent, these were also surprisingly seaworthy designs for their size. MStern is right that light air performance would not be great.

Boats of this era were designed for huge 170-180% genoas and large full sholdered spinnakers. Without these big sails, light air performance is not very good. While light air sailing ability is important on the Chesapeake, and I don't know how you sail, many, if not most daysailors and overnighters, chose not to sail in the lower wind ranges, so this may have minimal effect on you personally.

The shortcoming of the rig proportion is that it requires a proper choice of headsails for the conditions. The large headsails needed for the lighter end of the wind range are way over-powered at the high end of the wind range to the point that you can't simply rely on a furler to deal with shortening sail and expect to handle really strong winds.

A decent modern design would be expected to offer much better speed, (a PHRF of 265 is approaching the painfully slow category) and better light air performance, but certainly would not get into the shallow water that these boats can slip into.

My recollection of these boats is that they had a surprisingly complete interior for a boat of this size and era. While not luxurious as some of the later condo style designs, I seem to recall a very workable layout for the kinds of cruising one might do on the Chesapeake.

Over time these boats were built by several companies and build quality and details varied, but my recollection is that these boats were simply but nicely constructed. As noted, one of the big "if's" will the deck coring which depending on the particular company that built the boat (and my memory), was either masonite or plywood, neither of which are particularly good cores from a core rot standpoint.

Lunch over, I need to get back to work....

JimsCAL 10-03-2012 07:35 AM

Re: thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?
A friend had one of these a number of years back. I remember it as a solid boat, decent sailor, with not a lot of space below. The Pearson 26 I had at the time was a palace below compared to the Dolphin.

You haven't looked at any boats yet. Look at a few to get an idea of what you like and don't like.

RyanL 10-03-2012 12:13 PM

Re: thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?
that's the plan- shop around! it just happens that this is the first boat, and is not as common as other makes. figured i'd ask around to get some opinions/experiences about it since there's not a ton of info online (aside from happy dolphin owners!) that isn't a little biased...

olson34 10-03-2012 12:49 PM

Re: thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?

Originally Posted by RyanL (Post 929242)
that's the plan- shop around! it just happens that this is the first boat, and is not as common as other makes. figured i'd ask around to get some opinions/experiences about it since there's not a ton of info online (aside from happy dolphin owners!) that isn't a little biased...

Had a dockside look at the Dolphin one time -- loved the general look of the vessel. Dimly recall that the interior was small. (Being 6'2" might have influenced my viewpoint!)

As another poster pointed out, you might also consider the Pearson 26. Nice all around pocket cruiser with a good turn of speed. In that range, also look for an Ericson 25.
We cruised (and raced occasionally) a Niagara 26 for a happy decade.

If you were in the Pacific NW, I would advise finding a Ranger 24, also.

Happy hunting!

SkywalkerII 10-03-2012 06:48 PM

Re: thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?
Very pretty boat to my eye. Looks like a Tartan 27 little sister. Cramped down below, but well designed.

As has been said, it's all about the deck. Powered by outboard in a well - no problem to fix. Hull solid glass.

I think it's a vey nice little cruiser/day sailor that can handle some ugly weather.

T27 249

CalebD 10-03-2012 11:14 PM

Re: thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?
Look at the hull shape in the line drawings: DOLPHIN 24 (S&S) sailboat specifications and details on
Nearly identical to the Tartan 27', also designed by S&S: TARTAN 27 sailboat specifications and details on

Tartan 27's smaller sister ship it is and even Jeff_H (resident boat design critic) did not drag it over the coals. Not surprising since Jeff_H also had kind words for the T27 somewhere in the ether here.

The Dolphin 24' (if in good shape) or the T27 would both be good choices in my not so humble opinion. I am a bit biased though.

SkywalkerII 10-04-2012 06:19 AM

Re: thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?
Nice job, Caleb!


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:58 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) LLC 2000-2012

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome