Islander / Tradewind Yachts

19611986

Overview

Islander Yachts was an early offshoot of Columbia Yachts. It began (in the mid 1950’s) with boat builder Joseph McGlasson, who designed, built and successfully marketed a 24 foot wooden sailboat, the Islander (Catalina Islander??), in Costa Mesa, California. By 1961, McGlasson had been building a fiberglass version that was so popular that he couldn’t build them fast enough and approached a company called Glas Laminates for help. (By some accounts, Glas Laminates built the first fiberglass version.) Previously, Glas Laminates had been a manufacturer of shower stalls and portable toilets. The ISLANDER 24, the first model from Glas Laminates, also sold faster that it could be manufactured. (It has been said that the mold carried the seams between the planks on the wooden boat that remained visible on the fiberglass hull that became a signature feature of Islanders during this period.) Glas Laminates changed its name to Columbia Sailboats and introduced the Sparkman & Stephens-designed COLUMBIA 29. McGlasson Boat Co. added the McGlasson designed Islander 32 to it’s line. It is thought that some of the earlier Columbias such as the 24, Challenger 24, CONTENDER 24 had origins very close to McGlasson’s own ISLANDER 24, and some later models have equally suspicious similarities. By 1963, the McGlasson Boat Co. became part of Wayfarer Yacht Corporation, with McGlasson still the principal owner and designer. But in the same year, Wayfarer went bankrupt and was purchased by Ralph Brown and Ben Kanter. By 1965 the company started to use the name Islander Yachts, with a new logo. Joe McGlasson went on to build his own boats elsewhere.(See designer record for Joseph McGlasson and builder record for Cape Foulweather Boat Co.) In 1968 Wayfarer sold Islander Yachts to Cosmodyne Inc., and Islander Yachts Inc. became a subsidiary. In 1971, Cosmodyne sold Islander Yachts to yet another conglomerate, Radlon Inc.. A new subsidiary was created called Yachtcraft which sold kit versions of what were often discontinued Islander models. A few years later, Tradewinds Marine, also of Costa Mesa, bought the molds for the ISLANDER 55 although only a small number were actually produced. Nordic Yachts and the Mariner Yacht Company are two more companies that fit into the picture either as producers of Islanders or of boats using Islander molds. (The ISLANDER 34 molds were used to build the NORDIC 34, while the ISLANDER 48 became the East Coast-built MARINER 47.) A company called Iona bought the molds for the ISLANDER 32 MkII, the ISLANDER 24, and the EXCALIBUR 26. The result of this shuffling of assets between companies, there are many different Islander versions of any particular model that could have come from any number of listed builders. In 1984 the production of boats was moved to Costa Rica, but the company went bankrupt in 1986. During the process of liquidation, Newport Offshore Yachts bought some of the original molds, including those for the ISLANDER 36, one of the most popular models. It is said the the files and drawings went to Fuqua Industries, Inc., which became Actava Group, Inc., which was merged into Metromedia International Group, Inc….etc. HID for Islander Yachts: XLYE or XLY


37 sailboats built by Islander / Tradewind Yachts

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