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10-06-2012 06:59 PM
Re: thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?

thought this went through yesterday, but i'll try again...
got around to looling at the boat and it looked solid- for a 40 year old boat. i guess it's part of the learning process as i look around.

the more time i spent on it, the more i could see what is simple grime and what needs actual repair. rigging needs replacement, the running rigging was pretty crusty/sun baked.

the big question on my mind is the standing rigging: are those the original wires? could be, since it's spent most of its life on the light winds and fresh water of the potomac river. it was previously a local club boat (i've contacted them trying to get a better sense of maintenance over the years). i'll leave that question to a surveyor, if we come to that point, as that's not something to guess on...

the cabin is tiny, as folks have recalled. just the way boats used be be made, i suppose. i could live with it though, as 90% of time on the boat will be day sailing, and i'm used to backpack camping and roughing it. i learned to sail on a 25' drascombe gig in florida, camping under a tarp in the keys for 2 weeks at a time. amazing boat- too bad i couldn't get my hands on one!

solid bones, new motor, rigged for single handing.
10-04-2012 01:09 PM
Re: thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?

Well put mstern.
I can only add that we raced our full keeled T27 against a fleet of fin keeled boats (T30, C30, O'Day 27 and 25 ...) this season and took 1st place. Sure, our PHRF is higher then most of the other boats and certainly the fin keeled models point higher into the wind but I find all of this to just add to the challenge.
The full keeled boat does track like a dream and as such is very forgiving since she can't turn on a dime. This quality also makes the boat a bit more comfortable in choppy water as the hull tends to punch through waves rather then over them.
I have grounded our T27 with the center board down and it has never caused a problem as the CB just tucks back up into the slot. I refer to it as our depth sounder since our electronic one does not work so well.
10-04-2012 10:34 AM
Re: thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?

Originally Posted by RyanL View Post
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.
When I wrote "not as comfortable or as good in light airs", I meant to highlight two different points: the cabin is uncomfortable (relatively), and the boat is not a great sailer in light air. The very pretty hull shape and profile of the Dolphin is derived from the CCA and wooden workboat-inspired designs that were common at that time. Most builders were still taking wood boat designs, and modestly adapting them to be built in fiberglass. The low freeboard, swooping sheer, small cockpit, and low cabin top look gorgeous, but also have the effect of making the cabin interior small and dark. Because of these very common traits of sailboats of the era, I find their cabins to be relatively less comfortable and roomy below. Tankage and amenities tend to be spartan. No evil intent on the part of the designers or builders, but that was the standard wisdom and consumer expectation of the day. If you are just daysailing, then no worries. The cabin isn't your primary concern. And you may still find that "camping on the water" mindset to fit your goals and interests. However, if you have expectations of more creature comforts while staying on your boat, the more recent designs will fit your plans better.

As for sailing ability, the Dolphin is a full keel boat. It has more wetted surface (more drag), and I think weighs more than more modern designs. Generally speaking, full keel designs do not point as high into the wind, nor tack as easily as a fin keel boat. I have never sailed on a Dolphin, but my experience with full keel boats is that they aren't as fast or as manuverable, and they need more wind to get up and go. And because they are heavy and have so much of their body dragging through the water, they just aren't as fast. Oh, and backing up with a full keel boat under power is always an exercise in random movement. It takes a lot of practice to get that manuver to the point where it isn't terrifying. Full keel designs have their plusses: they track straight like they are on rails, they are generally less vulnerable to grounding damage (although the centerboard on Dolphin makes this less of an advantage for that design), and the rudder is better protected. For my money, they just don't sail as well as a fin keeled boat, and that's the bottom line. That all being said, full keel boats to me look so beautiful above the water line that its almost worth it. Almost.
10-04-2012 06:19 AM
Re: thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?

Nice job, Caleb!

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.
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
10-03-2012 12:49 PM
Re: thoughts on 1971 Yankee Dolphin 24?

Originally Posted by RyanL View Post
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!
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...
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.
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....
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