Hi to all...

I have been a “lurker” on this forum for a couple of years and decided it is time to join in.

I have been in love with the BCC and FC for about 25 years, having first seen one at the Costa Mesa boatyard. I met both Sam Morse and Lyle Hess at this time and fantasized about studying yacht design.

I remember thinking that sailing was something I wanted to do, but, never having done it, I didn’t know how to get started. In a (rare for me) stroke of genius, I decided to let the government help me, so I started a boat business. I took over the inventory of a failed Drascombe Boat dealership in San Jose and ordered another five boats from England, supplemented with British Seagull outboards and some other chandlery. I commenced going to boat shows and selling whatever I could to whomever I could, but the point was to write off all sailing related expenses. It was during this period that I met Lyle a couple of more times, as well as the likes of Bob(?) Perry, designer of the Valiant range of boats.

I was able in this way to afford a boat and the trappings and I taught myself to sail over a one year period in 1980-81. I sold off my Drascombe Boats at a loss (they were very expensive, $7950 for a 17’ open boat (Lugger), and there was just no market for them, but the business allowed me to accumulate some very nice hardware, including a Taylor’s of England stainless and brass kerosene cook top and oven, Plastimo compass and flexible tankage and other bits and piece too numerous to recount here, but my pride and joy was a Kubota 3 cylinder, 18 horsepower diesel engine, courtesy of my Father, who was the highest ranking English speaking officer of Kubota Tractor USA at that time. Dad sold a few Kubota diesels to John Schaefer (sp?) in Carpenteria, California for marinization. John called his company “Trident Marine” (the engines were 3 cylinders) I believe, and he did a beautiful job of adapting them to marine use. That engine was a jewel, but a little overkill for the boat I finally ended up with. John also owned the rights to the John Hannah “Tahiti Ketch” design if I remember correctly. I know he always had an unfinished one in his yard, a boat he offered to sell to me, but I had read that the Tahiti Ketch was very slow, so I passed.

Anyway, I started getting serious about a bigger boat in late 1980 and started looking in earnest. I visited a BCC in Tiburon, California around that time. I don’t remember the owner’s name, but he was very hospitable and spent the better part of an afternoon sitting in the cockpit and cabin chatting with me. I also went to many boat shows, even after I sold off my Drascombes. I met a fellow named Gary in Sausalito who owned one of the early FC’s; he sold boats through his own brokerage. I wish I remembered his last name. His plan was to sell off his brokerage and sail around the world. I hope he made it. He told me his boat was the best boat of it’s size in existence and I could believe it. His had a single cylinder BMW (!) diesel auxilary and a very salty and romantic interior. I never sailed in his boat, much to my regret, but we talked a lot. He loved his boat, but he did mention that there was an older gentleman who owned a PC Flicka in Sausalto, and Gary told me that the Flicka would run away from him, but he ascribed that to the old skipper’s superior seamanship rather than any inherent superiority of design. I didn’t care either way; having met Lyle Hess three times, I put the BCC and FC designer only about 1/2 step below God in my hierarchy.

I had been looking for a sailboat for a while. I wanted something seaworthy but trailerable and settled on the FC; although the BCC was the boat of my dreams, I was married and I just couldn’t see having a boat that expensive (the wife wouldn’t have it. We divorced a couple of years later. Interesting to note that my love for the BCC and FC outlasted the marriage!).

I took a demo sail on a Southern Cross 28, a very nice and lively boat with Airex hull. The owner was a good sailor and we crossed San Francisco Bay from the Oakland Estuary to Sausalito and back. The wind was up and it was great, but still, I couldn’t forget the beautiful BCC and FC.

One day I was at a show in Alameda when I went aboard a Flicka. Nice boat I thought and my wife loved it, primarily I think because she figured it was affordable enough that we could do things other than sail, so, with her pushing me and the broker making me an “offer I couldn’t refuse”, I ordered one from the factory. I comforted myself about NOT choosing the FC by contacting Pacific Seacraft and spec’ing the hull layup; and extra layer of mat and 24 oz. roving throughout with addtional in the chainplate and bows area. They told me that this made the boat the most heavily constructed Flicka ever produced by the Pacific Seacraft factory, maybe by anyone.

In any event, fast forward many years. The marriage had long since ended, necessitating the sale of my precious Flicka, “Corsair”. It broke my heart and I never figured to own another sailboat. Time went by and I re-married [that one ALSO ended ;-( ] and couldn’t even THINK about sailing while I raised three kids (by myself, thank you very much, and wouldn’t have it any other way). The first two are older now; growing up, they never expressed an interest in boating, something to do with the movie “Jaws” I was told, but my youngest, a 13 year old boy, is now very interested in boats, sailing and the sea (favorite movie: “Master and Commander”). I started looking again, only to find that Sam and Lyle are dead and Sam L. Morse Company is no more. I’m heartened to see that the molds and equipment have been purchased by Cape George Cutters in Washington, makers of very fine boats. This has allowed me to re-kindle my dreams and I plan on going up there in the next few months to visit the boatyard and see what’s up.

Sorry to “spill” all this bilge here, but I DO have a couple of questions:

  1. Does anyone know who would have owned a BCC in Tiburon in the 1980-81 time frame? I wonder if he ended up cruising the world (his stated intention).

  2. Does anyone remember a fellow named Gary who brokered sailboats in Sausalito and was (I think) a dealer for Sam L. Morse?

  3. Does anyone know anything of a Flicka named “Corsair” at one time? I think the fellow I sold “Corsair” to (one William Matfin) ended up selling it to buy a larger boat and sail the 7-Seas while “Corsair” was purchased by a fellow who ripped out the Taylors of England rangetop [ ;-( ] and oven and removed the Trident diesel and put an outboard bracket on the stern. I believe he MIGHT have sailed to Tahiti before returning to the U.S.

  4. Tell me MORE about the FC, PLEASE. Does it go to weather with a Flicka? I know it is MUCH more heavily built; even with my lay-up modification, everything about the FC is SO much more heavily built. I am hoping to move to the Port Angeles - Port Townsend area in the next few years, but may actually be able to buy a boat while I am still here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Trailering would be nice. But, back on track… any info about the FC and any comparisons with other boats would be VERY much appreciated.

Thanks for listening. I envy each and every one of you…

Best Regards,


Hi Mike,

Gary Ryan was the first editor of a newsletter for Falmouth Cutter owners. I do not know where he is now. He quit being editor after he and his wife had their first child. And eventually sold his FC. He was a yacht broker for awhile, selling Falmouth Cutters, among other boats.

The Falmouth Cutters were originally sold by Nor’Sea as Nor’Sea 22s. But they got into financial trouble and sold the molds, etc to Sam Morse who renamed the boats Falmouth Cutter 22. Now Cape George boats will build them.

San Francisco Bay Flicka owners have told me that they have tried to catch me and my FC, Mijita, sailing on the Bay but have had to watch me pull away from them. Further, a number of Flicka owners lust for BCCs. Apparently they want a boat they think will outrun a FC. But I don’t know if any BCC has ever had a 200 mile day; the Falmouth Cutter Popeye (FC#4) had a 217 mile day sailing down to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in 1984.

ron walton
editor: FC News

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the info. It sure does bring back memories…

Yeah, I don’t think Gary ever gave credit to the Flicka for being faster, he just said the skipper was a better sailor than he. As I said in my OP, I went with the Flicka because it cost a little less. If I had gone with a FC, I would probably still have the boat. There is a romance to Lyle Hess designs that is hard to find anywhere else.

A 24 hour 217 mile run is incredible. What makes the boat so fast? That must be close to a record for a boat that size.

Best Regards to you and all on this forum. I hope to join you all on the water someday. Are there every any FC (and/or BCC) events in the Bay Area?

Thanks again,


Hi again Mike,

The claim that FC Popeye did 217 miles in 24 hours has always surprised me. The owner and his wife were sailing downwind in 20+ kts of wind and probably carrying too much sail. But, beyond that, I don’t know how they averaged over 8 kts for 24 hrs.

I haven’t heard of any upcoming BCC/FC events in this area.

There are only two other FCs in the Bay area, one of which is for sale. See the For Sale forum on this site for information on the latter. It might be a cheaper (and more certain) way to get an FC than to purchase a new one. I do not know what condition it is in; I have never seen that FC.

ron walton
editor: FC News