Sam L Morse Co, Boatbuilders Name List

Ahoy All , Lately , I have been thinking of the boatbuilders that worked at the Sam L Morse yard , in Costa Mesa, CA .

Would anyone know who those boatbuilders were and the dates they worked there ?

I am not asking about the Mexican guys that laid-up our hulls at Crystaliner , but the Morse yard foremen and workers since Hull # 1 .

Most of us have heard of Tommy and Dick , but who was it before them ?

Maybe someone has a complete library of all the first Newsletters that they could share with us ?

Tom and Dick built my BCC, Tortuga, hull 87, in 1989. Had my shake down sail on Newport Bay and brought them along. They said it was the first time they had ever sailed a BCC.

Thanks Gusty , Roger Olsen and George Hylkema , partnered up , and purchased the Sam L Morse Co ., but I don’t know the year .

Roger tried to re-organise the Co , and did engineering drawings of the BCC and FC , that had not been done before .

Roger liked to use video , and he made that video or his South Pacific voyage from Brisbane Oz , to the Marshall Islands (?) .

Roger also made the BCC construction video , fecturing the BCC “There You Are” , and Tom and Dick were the boatbuilders, then, as shown in that video.

I don’t know of anything about Tom’s boating activities , but Dick owned a 20’ something open deck outboard powered run-about.

Back in 1994 when I started looking for a used BCC , I looked at one in San Diego, and that one was built by the , then , Morse Co yard foreman , Herb or Norm Renyolds (don’t know which) for his personal use and ownership.

The Renyolds BCC has some interesting modifications including that port side cockpit seat hatch .
I don’t know anything about the foreman Renyolds’ time with the Co .

Calliste and Tortuga crossed paths in May 1999 at the San Diego police dock , Tortuga under new ownership, was checking back into the U.S. and Calliste was checking out.

Does anyone know when BCC hull # 1 was constructed ?

BCC Calliste # 72 completed in 1985 , was ordered and purchased by Boyd Helm , if I remember correctly , and he was the first newsletter editor, as well .
I am wondering if anyone has a complete set of BCC newsletters , if so , maybe some early Co background could be researched.

Fred Bickum worked with Herb Reynolds building BCCs. You can read what Fred wrote about his work at Sam L Morse at: S/V FeNIX Captain

Roger and Doug Beu covered some of the history of Sam L Morse Co at:,2542,



Ahoy Bil , Gosh , that is exactly the background info on the SLM Co , I was Looking For , A Big T Y , for sharing that !

Now what is to be known about those missing first BCC laid-up hulls ?

Of course you know that I love my BCC , and as for Roger’s statement , that this is the last boat , you will ever have to buy , not his exact words , but similar , I agree , completely !

Now , who has a profile on Sam and Betty ?

I wish all the BCC owners and Former owners , would tell their ownership and voyaging stories , like Ben and Teresa have , on their websites .

Ok , so now our boats need to be out sailing , Where is our Next Rendeviou (sp-?) location , to be ???

I think that I have an old copy of Pacific Skipper Magazine from 1975 that noted that the first BCC had come out of the mold. I can dig that up if you need it.

Ahoy Wayne , Thank You for the suggestion about checking / reading the article in Pacific Skipper Magazine from 1975 , and that it may be in your library archives . I would definately like to read it , when available .

At this time , I was just trying to find some fill information on who were the boatbuilders that constructed my boat, in 1985 .

I didn’t know that Dick was working at S L Morse yard , way back in the early eighties , and may have taken over from Herb Reynolds, as yard manager.

I do know that there are BCC’s out there , still sailing , that the owners don’t read or contribute to the forum , like Doug Schmuck , of BCC Puffin , in NZ , but he had a very close friendship with Sam, as well as Roger did .

I met an elderly chap on a beautifully maintained factory finished BCC in Friday Harbour in the San Juan Islands back in May of 2009.
He was just coming in as we were ready to cast off.
His name was Tom, but I stupidly didn’t make a note of the name of the boat, and now can’t remember.

I was chartering Sentient out of Anacortes at the time, before buying Adventure.

Hi all,

While doing a Google on me, Fred Bickum, I showed up in one of your posts.
I can fill you in on some of the goings on in the early days of Sam and co.
This is a quick note and I will prepare a more detailed account and post it at a later time.

In a nutshell. I moved to SoCal in Nov 1976. My first stop, Cyrstaliner’s yard and a beeline to Sam’s office.(More about this later).

After getting settled in to my new enviroment in Costa Mesa I went to work for Pacifica Yachts. They built sportsfishers of 44’ and 36’. They were located in Costa Mesa and a short bicycle ride from my apartment.

Sometime in early 1978 I went to work for Sam. At that time Herb Reynolds was already working there and building his own boat up on Terminal Island with his girlfriend Jeanie. He shared a space in an old wharehouse with his brother and wife. They were building a 32’ boat something like a Fiji ketch.

At that time an older, to us, man was Sam’s foreman. His name was Ted, don’t remember his last name.

When I started working for Sam he was in the process of finishing the boat that went to that OZ doctor. I think I still have some pics of that boat in storage back in FLA.

I remember that the first boat to have a finished exterior was named “Misty” from Coos Bay. OR. The interior had only stuctural bulkheads. It was powered with a 25hp Volvo, MD11c if memeory serves. I possibly have some pics of that boat too.

Sometime later Ted quit and Sam hired a young fellow named Rudy as our new helper. Rudy had worked for SparCraft for a time, which later on was a benefit to me.

When I first started working for Sam I had already purchased hull #18.

Altogether I worked for Sam until early 1981. After that I went out on my own. I became involved with a company in Santa Ana that built a 55’ sailboat.

After a number of years I finally went off cruising for a short time on a 30’ boat that I built.

Much later on after moving back to FLA I took off on a 3 year circumnavigation on “FeNIX” a 28’ Cape Dory that I modified quite a bit in my driveway over a period of 14 months. (S/V FeNIX Main Page).

After returning to FLA in FeNIX in 2009 I sold her immediately and bought another boat, my current SunShine. She’s a 36’ center cockpit S2 built in Michigan in 1980. After a 7 month refit I set out for the Pacific again.

I am now in Pt Carmen,Cebu island in the central Philippines aboard SunShine. I have put in a mooring here. Been here almost 2 years with side trips up to Subic Bay and Hong Kong. Plan to go to Thailand and return later this year.

That’s it for now. Take care,

Hi all,

Early one Saturday afternoon my wife and I were going south on California state route 55, also known as Newport Beach Blvd. We had crossed the California state line earlier that day on our trip from FLA to CA. We were excited to finally be here in SoCal and to see first hand a BCC.

As the road dipped down toward Newport Bay and Pacific Coast Highway we were stopped by a traffic light. I glanced up to the right and saw the road went uphill again so decided to turn there and see where it went. That was 13th or 14th Street and went up to the entrance to Hoag Hospital.

Once at the top of the hill we saw the street sign for Placentia Ave, WOW! That was the street where Sam was. I turned right again and we watched for the street numbers knowing that Sam was at 16 hundred something, right on Placentia Ave.

After a couple of blocks we saw it. It was a BCC hull sitting in a cradle out next to the street in Crystaliner’s parking lot. I pulled in and parked. We were here but where was Sam? Me and my wife got out of the van and headed into Crystaliner’s store. Is Sam Morse here? Yes. Where? Right up those stairs. Thanks.

We climbed up the staircase. At the top was a closed door. I opened the door and announced “We’re here”. Sam looked up from his desk and said “Who are you?” I looked at Sam with a long face, only acting of course and said “Hi I’m Fred, from FLorida. You remeber you told me I should move out here to build my boat”. Sam looked concerned and a bit shocked then said “I was just kidding. I didn’t think you’d take me seriously”.

From that moment on I had Sam in my hip pocket, so to speak. Sam was genuinely concerned that I had uprooted my whole life and moved to SoCAl on his say so. Just to build one of his boats. I assured Sam that I had made up my mind on my own and my wife agreed with me to make the 3,000 mile move.

Earlier in the year Sam and I had talked numerous times by phone. I had asked him about having a hull and deck kit shipped out to FLA. $3,500 for shipping that far. That’s a lot when the parts at that time were only about $7,000. During our last conversation Sam light heartedly suggested that I
move to SoCal to save the cost of shipping.

At the time I had a good situation and I didn’t want to give it up, at first. But the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea. And being the adventureous type I made the plans and made the move two months later. Little did I realise that the decision would last for the next 29 years.

After leaving Sam, my wife and I made a quick trip down to Newport Beach, to dangle our toes in the Pacific. A first for my midwest born wife. I had been out this way earlier in my life during military service.

After getting settled in to an apartment later the next week we went back to Sam’s. There I met Ted and another man(don’t remember much about him). These were Sam’s first workers as far as I know. I talked to Ted about finding work in a boat shop somewhere as Sam didn’t need another person at the time. Ted recommended I try Pacifica. I did and had my a job as a boat electrician pretty quick.

I stayed with Pacifica for just over a year but really wanted to get on at a “Sailboat Yard” somewhere. Soon after arriving we purchased hull number 18 with a cradle. I rented a space just down the street at a boat storage yard. The rent? $56 per month, that’s $2 per foot. I had that space for the next 4~5 years at the same rate, even though I didn’t have my BCC that long.

Since I am a bit impatient I was frustrated at not be able to make fast progress on my boat. I had saved enough to buy a hull and deck but moving expenses and getting set up cost money. I had enough for the hull and cradle so started there. I got a small loan to be able to buy the ballast and then was busted.

After 6 months I decided to move into the boat yard and thereby be able to put apartment rent money toward boat building instead. What an adventure. We refurbished an 8’ X 12’ shack in the yard and moved in…for the next three years. But hey we were living with a Newport Beach address for $56 per month. Try that these days.

I heard of an oppotunity to get into a new boat company less than half a block from Sam. I jumped from Pacifica to my new job. Maybe a bad move. The company went bust soon thereafter and my last three pay checks bounced. Not good.

Prior to this I had started to build my own deck. Sam came by one day to see it. He was upset because I had altered the profile of the deck to a curved side one piece cabin top. I explained that I thought it more practical and besides I couldn’t afford the whole cost of a new molded deck.

Sam, bless his heart told me he would sell me a deck immediately and let me pay it off over 3~4 months. So I did. That’s when I got laid off with the three bad checks. I went to see Sam and explain that it would take and another month or so to pay for the deck due to my financial reversal. I told him I was looking for another job, possibly with WestSail.

That’s when things got better because Sam offered me a job. He said he didn’t need a full time electrician and that I would have to learn to do more. Be still my heart. That’s exactly what I wanted. So in the spring of 1978 I became an employee. The doc’s boat was underway and nearly finished. I remember Sam going to the launch of the just finished boat. I of course wanted to go too. He thought I would simply stay and work at the yard. I told him I would take the time off with no pay just to see the boat in the water. He relented and let me come along.

Some time after I started Ted went on to other things and Rudy became our new helper. I quickly learned to level the hull and install ballast. And then I learned the myriad things that go into making the whole boat. Scarfing and laminating the walestrakes the same for the bulwarks. I milled a ton of lumber and made 1,000’s of plugs in both teak and mahagony.

At first there were a backlog of hull and deck kits. Pretty simple to put together those few parts usually with the ballast installed. By this time I had sold my BCC. I realized that it was more than I could handle skill and financial wise. Plus of course my impatience. I sold the boat to a father and son who completed the boat in thier backyard.

A number of years later the boat was then resold to another couple. I only found out about this sometime later when they needed me to sign off on the boat so it could be documented.

My learning progressed rapidly and along came Roger Olsen. He wanted a sail away kit. Complete on the outside and with the interior roughed in not finished. To me fell this task. Sam was entertaining more offers for finished boats and the details were being worked out. We had only to finalize the details of the interior and Rodger’s boat became the first “official interior layout”.

But the doc’s boat was the first complete boat and nearly identical.

Sam ordered a load of luan plywood. I would use this to make patterns for the interior. Herb and I and Sam would often do lunch in Sam’s office as we worked out the interior layout. Lots of brain time on this. I also did much of the exterior woodwork on Roger’s boat.

Herb did the real tough stuff. Like cutting and fitting all the wood stantions and building the taffrail. Then there was the bowsprit and at that time the solid wood rudder, cheeks and tiller.

Upon reflection Rager’s interior was not the smoothest piece of work which he later informed me.

But it worked and he finished the boat off in his slip down in Dana Point Marina. And then he sailed away. Cool.

More to come.


I don’t think I have ever talked about this but I thought I would add my 2 cents which is all its worth. It was 1987 and I was working at Ron Pearson’s in San Diego. I went to Down Wind Marine every day looking for books about small boat sailors. Every time I went in the owner would hand me this book called Seraffyn, I had no interest in wood boats and would hand it back without even flipping the pages. After months of this the owner sick of my daily requests grabbed my by my collar shoved Seraffyn in my hand and threw my out the front door,“don’t come back till you’ve read it you can pay me if you like it or return it when you are done”

This was the day I fell in love with Lyle Hess’s designs but I had no Idea they were being made in fiberglass. About a year later I saw the most beautiful boat I had ever seen coming into the fuel dock, I went running down the ramp and jumped six feet across the water into the cockpit, “what is this?” I went on and on falling deeper in love by the second. I don’t know who the owner was but he had a huge smile and showed me every inch of the boat. It took another year for me to put the two boats together as Hess designs but from that day forward I knew I would have one, someday. Life came and went as did a dozen boats, I had purchased a small Flicka and was sailing it out of Seal Beach when I spotted a Falmouth in the harbor, I spent countless evenings with a glass of wine in hand admiring the beautiful lines of that little boat, always hoping to meet the owner but I never did. The last time I saw that little FC I decided I would find one.

I packed up my car and set off to drive to every marina in the country till I found one for sale, a year later I purchased an Allegra 24 and again 10 more years slipped away.

I received an email one night while signing my final divorce papers, " I have a little FC for sale, if you are curious I will tell you her history." Two days later I made a full price offer and drove 27 hours nonstop to see the boat. I did a one hour inspection and did a hand shake deal, she was soon to be my new home.

I didn’t have allot of money but I could swing her. I closed on the boat and hired a shipper, she was in pieces and very rough around the edges but perfect in my eyes. I waited to ship the boat until I had money coming in so I could afford to put her all together. I work in sales and had 8k in commissions lined up, I called the shipper and paid the fee. She was supposed to be delivered by Friday night and when Sunday came I was a bit concerned. I spent the whole day trying to find the driver and when I did I explained the boat was my home and I was desperate. He declared nobody would live in such a small boat, then he got pissed off said FU I will ship it back to California. Finally on April second 2011 my boat arrived. That same day I got a call that all three of my deals had fallen through. I was 43 owned my dream boat and my life savings was .14 cents, the rest is history.

PS my new FC is the same one I had spent so many evenings admiring in Southern California.

Pacific Skipper Magazine April 1976
“Shape of Things” article about the completion of the BCC mold.
2 page article attached. (Hopefully)

ooops accidental duplication of last post

Hi all,

During 1979 while we were building Roger’s boat in Sam’s yard I was also very busy in my spare time building “Freedom”. She was a Pacific Seacraft 25 hull and deck kit that I had purchased from the manufacturer in Santa Ana, CA.

By the time I started building I had pretty much learned how to do just about everything to make a f/g boat kit into a finished product. I spent some time with the owners of PSC, Henery and Mike and they helped me out a lot by selling
me many parts and materials for my boat at very low prices.

One weekend day they stopped by the boatyard where I was working on Freedom. They inspected the boat and pronounced that it was the best and most beautiful PSC 25 they had ever seen. Definitely pumped up my ego a bit.

Many years later(2006) I saw the boat again and met the latest owner, Jim. He was living aboard the boat for the last 8 years in American Samoa after sailing around the Pacific for a while. Jim was a bit eccentric and spent most of his time in the public library and writing “letters to the editor” of the two local newpapers.

When I returned to Samoa in 2010 Jim and Freedom, now called “Potti Iti” were still tied up to the seawall. He had been there for 12 years now and I think the boat was attached to the bottom with underwater growth.

1979 and 1980 were busy years at Sam’s place. The BCC design was coming together very nicely. Various things were redeveloped and changed or modified. Herb had a lot of input and influenced Sam many times. I know that Herb wanted to change or create things that would make his own boat better or easier to build. I had some input as well.

Some of the things I remember are as follows.
Change from solid wood to foam encapsulated with f/g skin, rudder.
Herb designed and built, as an option, wood cockpit coamings.
Herb also pushed to change the deck mold to incorporate the port side seat hatch.
Sam would not change the mold itself but did put the seatlocker hatch on the options list.
Change from glassed over built up plywood motor mounts to a molded one piece f/g motor mount.
The earlier BCC’s had as the final f/g laminate of the hull, a layer of 1.5oz mat and 24oz. wR.
The WR was replaced by a layer of 10oz f/g cloth. The reason was two fold. One to save some weight in the hull and two to provide a smoother finish for the interior in lockers and cabinettes.(This one was my idea).
Some of the earliest boats had a layer of 3/4" marine ply on top of the ballast. This was glassed into the hull. Herb and I convinced Sam to eliminate this piece of ply as it really served no purpose except to make a smooth surface for the tanks to sit on. A much thinner layer of resinous mish mash would do the same thing and save that 3/4" of depth. On a BCC every fraction counts.

The ballast was a two piece lead casting that came from KeelCo up in Long Beach. The KeelCo people made the plug for the ballast and left a somewhat over generous space around the ballast casting to insure that it would always fit. This left a gap of varying size between the lead and the hull, sometimes as much as 3/4". I suggested to Sam that we fill that space with resin and lead shot instead of liquified mish mash. So the change was instituted.
I also got Sam to approve the idea of using foam fillets on the main bulkeads throughout the boat. This provided a gentler transition from the bulhead to the hull bond and also insured that the bulkheads wouldn’t rest on the hull, thereby eliminating hard spots. We also drilled holes around the perimeter so f/g could go from one side to the other of the main bulkheads.

What many people do not know, possibly, is that Sam did not want to build a sailboat but a small classical styled powerboat. He kind of fell into the BCC project. It had been started by someone else, I do not know who. That person ran out of money for the project and someone told Sam about it. Then Sam changed his mind and adopted the project as his own.

In 79 or 80 someone brought into Crystaliner the exact type of boat that Sam was originally interest in. They were having the initial parts made by the Crystaliner laminating crew. One of the things that those owners had created was a tongue and groove f/g panel mold. Sam saw this and thought it would be a great idea to use on the BCC. And so that addition was made to the boat.

All the time Sam was always looking for and researching the best materials and parts to use for his boats. I had suggested to him that he consider using Yanmar engines which at the time were lighter and less expensive. After I was gone from the company Sam did change to Yanmars as the old MD7’s were really not ideally suited for the weight of the BCC.

The prop apeture was created as a removable plug in the hull mold. That way if you were a purist you could have a boat without a prop apeture.

About the time I was going to leave, Herb got Sam to modify the deck mold a bit. This change was to add molded in sockets for the forward mooring bits. Not sure if this was instituted.

For now that’s the things I remember. A number of years later I ran into Herb. He and Jeanie had just returned from the Sea of Cortez. I was very surprized when he told me that he sold his boat. He bought a Willard 30’(sort of a Tahiti ketch type boat). This boat was offered as a powercruiser without mast and sails and it is what Herb bought. “Tired of having a wet ass” he explained to me.

In 2006 while in Balboa, Panama before departing for the Galapagos aboard FeNIX. I think I saw Roger Olsen’s later BCC on a mooring there where the Balboa Yacht Club used to be.

Later during my cruise I ran into a young Brit in Talaga Harbor, Lankawi, Malaysia. Imagine my interest when I saw Xiphias on the transom. I talked to the owner and asked if he bought the boat from Roger. He said he bought it from the second owner.

It was great as the new owner registered the boat in of all places, Bristol, England. Quite fitting for that old boat, Xiphias out of Bristol. The young Brit had the money to refurbish the boat completely. When I met him he had replaced the engine, electrical panel and had some new sails made. I later saw the boat in a yard on Phucket, Thailand, where all the exterior wood was being
replace with teak. Friends later told me they saw the boat finished back down in Talaga. “It was beautiful” they told me.

That’s it for now.


Gee Gosh Fred , I never expected such great detail from my query about Sam’s boatbuilding crew .

I will be very interested in reading more about you and your travels on Sunshine .

Currently I am planning an early April departure from Singapore , bound for Japan , so busy as a bee , fits right now .

I purchased a used BCC, hull # 72 , that is a 1985 - 87 constructed , at the Morse yard .

Can not Thank You enough for your reply to this forum ,

You ought to stop by the Philippines for a visit.

I am in Port Carmen, Cebu Island.

Can be a tricky entrance. I can send you the waypoints for entrance into the harbor.

Take care,

Hi Fred,
Appreciate the invitation. My wife was surprised that we were already getting invitations from people we haven’t even met. That is the spirit of BCC…
So many places to visit and so much time! I love it…
I will contact you before we leave…