Clark Boat Company

19601984

Overview

Founded by Bob Clark and located in Kent, Washington, near Seattle. The first boat built under the name Clark Boat Company was a Lightning, which was one of the first fiberglass Lightnings on the market. They also built OK dinghies, 505s, Thistles, and Stars, the latter took first and second in the World’s of 1970. (It should be noted here that the ‘plug’ for these boats were built by long time Star boat devotee and olympic gold medalist, Bill Buchan. The molds and hulls built by Clark were shipped back to Buchan.) Clarks entire family was involved in the companies operations. His son Dennis started a Clark Sails Loft in 1971 and was champion in a number of One design classes. Son Dave took charge of the sales and marketing side. Don had a degree in engineering, with additional training in Naval Architecture and designed the Juan 21, introduced in 1969 which was hit when displayed at the Seattle Boat show of 1970. 2600 San Juan 21’s were built. In 1972 the company opened another plant at New Bern, NC. At this time the SAN JUAN 24 was introduced, a Bruce Kirby design, which achieved great success as a 1/4 ton racer and more than 1000 were built. Bruce Kirby again teamed up with the Clarks to develop the San Juan 30 (IOR 1/2 ton). The SAN JUAN 26, designed by Clark was a trailer sailor with a swing keel. It wasn’t as well received as the earlier models and, in 1979 was replaced by the racier SAN JUAN 7.7. The San Juan 23, introduced in 1977, was a scaled down SJ 26. It was offered with either a fixed or swing keel and 2 different sized rigs. Also in 1977 came the San Juan 28, (and the San Juan 29 which is almost identical.) These were among the most popular boats built by Clark. Clark sold their company in the spring of 1984 to San Juan Manufacturing. The bankruptcy of this group led the boat molds and rights to be split between two groups, one on the west coast and one on the east. The latter ones ended up at Tanzer Industries where a small number of boats were built until 1988.


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