SUBMITTED BY THE EXHIBITORS
Robert & Jim Hennessy
Make: 1978 Philbrick
Model: Twin Cockpit Runabout
Engine: 351 CL-Pleasure Craft Marine
Hull #: PHK000030578
Concours Catagory: Post-War Runabouts
Don Philbrick built his first boat in 1934 while in high school. He started with racing hydroplanes and by 1947 he had rented a warehouse on the Estuary at the foot of Oakland’s 5th Avenue at the Embarcadero. His landlord was the Port of Oakland and this is where he went into business as Philbrick Boats. Don built numerous wood boats over the years and in the late 1960’s he decided to retired. It wasn’t very long before he wanted to get back in business, after being inspired by some marketing people and former boat owners.
Coming out of retirement, it was in 1977 that Don decided to build a limited number of 21 FT runabouts and during the period from 1977 through 1981 he built a total of Eleven (11). They are referred to as the “”Sisters””. Dreamcatcher is boat #3 built in May 1978. These 11 boats were the last of Don Philbrick’s production boats along with two 27 FT Triple cockpit boats, Miss Catalina (1981) which my son and I own and Hoaloha II (1984) owned by the Furth Family.
The 21 FT boats were marketed through a small dealer network in the Bay Area and Pacific Yacht Sales, Tahoe City, Lake Tahoe. The 21 Ft boats sold in the range of $25,000 depending on engine and other accessories. Most of the business was at Lake Tahoe where interest is such a craft was abundant.
THE FINAL 11
For the 11 boats in this final series, Don upgraded his construction methods to include fiberglass sheathing on the bottoms, epoxy glue on edges, end planks and a sprayed-on urethane finish made up to his own specifications. These particular boats were built on oak frames and planked with Honduras mahogany, weigh 2,600 lbs. and were considered light for their length and horsepower options. Don built fast and high-performance boats!
THE LEGENDS LIVES ON!
Don Philbrick passed away in January 24, 1994 and the business continued on with the new owner, Russ Donovan for a number of years. In 2015, Philbrick Boats was sold to a group from Washington State who are now building Philbrick Boats, so the legend lives on!