Endeavour Yacht Corp.was founded by John Brooks and Rob Valdes in Largo, Florida. Brooks got started in the business first with Charlie Morgan, and later with Ted Irwin, Vince Lazzara (an early owner of Columbia Yachts), and sons Brad and Dick. Rob Valdes was the younger brother of Dick Valdes, cofounder of Columbia and then later Lancer Yachts. Rob began his career at Columbia, and persuaded by Vince Lazzara, then joined Gulfstar Yachts. It was at Gulfstar where Rob met John Brooks. To get their fledgling company off the ground Ted Irwin, who was then located in Tampa Bay, gave Brooks and Valdes the molds for his 1970 vintage Irwin 32. Endeavours’ in-house production and design person Dennis Robbins took the Irwin 32, modified it, and named it the Endeavour 32. They built about 600 in all. Encouraged by its success they looked around for a sister ship. Looking for boats along the Miami River, Brooks and Valdes found an old abandoned Ray Creekmore design which Dennis also modified. The 34ft design was cut in half, they added 3 feet to the midsection, and created the Endeavour 37 of which 476 were sold. The early Endeavours (E32, E37, and E43) were simple, straight forward boats with outboard chainplates, short rigs, and strong, moderate hulls using a combination of polyester resin and fiberglass woven roving and multi-directional chopped strand fiber (MCSF). These “Florida” boats sacrificed windward sailing performance for shoal draft, which is a requirement of the Florida Keys and Bahama Islands. Dennis Robbins went on to run Ted Irwins designs and later to the mega yacht company, Trident, in Tampa. At this point Bob Johnson (now of Island Packet fame) joined Endeavour as the principal in-house designer at Endeavour for about a 3-year period and had a hand in developing the E43 (1979), the modification of the E32 (1980), and possible modifications on the E37 (1977). The 1980s ushered in a new era in boat building and the pressure was on for more performance-oriented designs and updated construction methods. The charter market was growing and they wanted faster, more comfortable boats. Endeavour began to respond to this need by introducing the Endeavour 40 in 1981, but it wasn’t until America’s Cup designer Johan Valentijn was commissioned to do the Endeavour 38 (1984), and Bruce Kelly to do the Endeavour 33 and 35 (1984), that the company made a real effort to improve performance. Where earlier boats had been cored with 4–6” squares of plywood, the newer Endeavours used Klegecell closed-cell polyvinyl foam coring and incorporated “a multi-axial steel reinforced ‘force grid’ bonded to the hull for stiffness.” By 1985, Valentijn had designed the Endeavour 42 and 51 and Endeavour was now almost exclusively building center cockpit boats for the charter trade and cruising families. These boats were easily handled, moderate design boats suitable for offshore work, with taller rigs and inboard chainplates. At this point Endeavour stopped using the Klegecell core and returned to using end-grain balsa in the sheer-to-waterline areas, plywood where compression strength was needed for thru bolting hardware, and incorporated a structural grid system built up of triaxial fiberglass encapsulated urethane foam. In 1986 John Brooks closed the doors and sold the company to Coastal Financial Corp. of Denver and stayed on as product manager. By 1988 the company was building 100 boats a year with 50 employees, down from 200 boats a year and 300 employees in 1984. Despite their upgrading the line of boats they were hurt by declining sales and competition with its own products on the used boat market and Endeavour Yacht Corporation effectively went out of business in 1988. Coastal Finance Corporation sold it again in 1991, and after several more changes in ownership, it became the builder of multihulls called the Endeavour Catamaran Corporation. Although it’s a different company today primarily producing cruising catamarans, they also produce several custom sailboats in the 45 to 59ft range. During this period Bill Symons, a builder of fiberglass multi-hulls on Long Island, had a 28-foot cat-rigged catamaran designed by Rob Ladd, and he eventually licensed the molds to Endeavour. However with the changes in ownership Symons transferred the molds to America Cruising Yacht Corporation (a reorganized Irwin), but claims that Endeavour copied the molds before doing so. After making some design changes, the Endeavourcat 30 was introduced in 1992. America Cruising introduced it’s AmeriCat 3014 but soon went out of business. Symons then took the molds to Hutchins (Com-Pac) and sold the boat as the Symons 30. The most comprehensive information for anything related to Endeavour USA can be found at the Endeavour Owners web site listed here.
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