What is the history of the Sam L. Morse company?

I’m curious. How did the company get started? Who was Sam L. Morse?

BASIC HISTORY TO THE SAM L. MORSE CO.

I guess I am the one who should answer your question. I have known Lyle
Hess since 1973 and Sam Morse and his wife Betty since 1976. I bought my
first BCC in 1977 and left to go cruising in 1979. I was away for 13 years.
While I was away I kept in touch with Sam Morse and Lyle Hess. They both
kept me updated as to what was on the drawing board and being built at SLM
Co. When I returned to the States in 1991, the SLM Co. was in a slump
because of the recession. I started working for the SLM Co. without a
salary but I loved the boats so much that I was willing to wait until it
turned around to start drawing a salary. I ended up buying the company and
only recently sold it to go cruising again. Unfortunately, life has its
ways of turning plans around so I am temporarily land locked but I have not
swallowed the anchor

Sam Morse used to work for Peterbuilt, the company that builds big trucks.
When he retired in the late 60’s, he was looking for something so he could
work for himself. To cut a long story short; he felt there was a need for a
classic looking sailboat, built to high quality. During his search, he was
in Oxnard talking to the builder of the Dreadnought about a boat design. He
suggested that Sam talk to Lyle Hess. Lyle already had a reputation for
designing classic boats and other boats that were in production at the time,
one being the Balboa

When Sam called Lyle to ask if he had any boat designs that could be made in
fiberglass, Lyle suggested the Bristol Channel Cutter. Lyle had designed
the BCC at a request from Hale Field who wanted to have a small classic boat
built in wood. When Hale saw the plans he decided the boat was too big and
would be too costly to build. So Lyle designed Renegade, a smaller classic
design. It was built out of wood and surprised everyone with its
outstanding performance. This is the boat that influenced Lin and Larry to
approach Lyle to design their boat Seraffyn.

Anyway, Sam bought the plans from Lyle. He then went in search for a place
to build the boat. He found Crystaliner, where the Westsail used to be
built. Crystaliner were already building their own design power boats and
had an excellent reputation for building quality fiberglass boats. Today,
they still have the same reputation. They are building the Lifeguard boats
for Orange County. So this was perfect for Sam; he had his own office above
the store in the same yard where the boat would be built. All the boat
building scaffolding and sheds were already in place.

First, Lyle had to make some minor changes to the BCC plans to make it out
of fiberglass. Sam hired (can’t remember his name right now, a senior
moment) to build the plug. Soon, the plug was built but it had some
problems so had to be modified. Eventually the molds were taken from the
plugs and Sam began to sell hulls only. Soon as the deck mold was finished
it was sold with the deck as an option.

The business began in 1972. The first hull was laid in or about 1974, not
sure on this one. There were about 30 bare hulls sold before he completed
his first boat, Kikorangi for an Australian physician in about 1977 (Rufo,
if you are reading this, jump in). Sam was well read but not a sailor. He
researched every book he could find on boat building (still in the office).
In those days Herb Reynolds ran the yard. Sam would approach Herb with his
building ideas and Herb would make whatever it was Sam wanted. He also
advise Sam on the best way to accomplish a particular job.

Herb left in the late 70’s-early 80’s and Richard (Dick) McComb took over
the yard. Right behind him was his previous boss, Tommie Whisler. Since
Dick began working for Sam before Tommie, Dick became the yard manager.
Dick and Tommie worked as equals, they are the ones who are really
responsible for the quality of the boats that came out of the SLM Co. Sam
wanted the best and Dick and Tommie both had the knowledge and skills to
provide the best.

As a side note to this, I have the greatest respect for both Dick and
Tommie. I used to approach them with an idea I thought was great for the
boat, it was Dick and Tommie who would explain why it wouldn’t work and make
suggestions on how it could be done. If the idea would work, then they
designed a way to make it work the best. Dick has retired and Tommie now
runs the show. Geoff Jenks, who owned a BCC for as many years as I have,
has taken Tommie’s position and is highly qualified and skilled.

I got involved with Sam when I was living aboard a 40 footer that was just
too much for me. I searched for the perfect boat for my needs but it did
not exist. I went to see Lyle to see if he had any suggestions. He
suggested I take a look at the BCC at the SLM Co. As I drove into the
Crystaliner parking lot there, standing alone, was just a BCC hull sitting
in its cradle. I was in love! I am sure everyone who is reading this and
owns a BCC or a Falmouth Cutter know exactly how I felt. I was
obsessed…still am.

I became good friends with Sam and his wife Betty while they were building
my BCC. I left to go cruising in 1979. While I was cruising I was
constantly in touch with Sam and Betty. When I returned for a visit, they
would let me stay with them. Sam and I shared many ideas, some were good
and some not so good.

Lyle and Sam, God rest both their souls, will live in my heart until the day
I die. These were special people, with special skills. Lyle was a person
who had the eye of an artist with the ability to design something beautiful
that really worked as it was intended. It took someone like Sam, who was
totally committed to quality over profit, to build a boat that could stand
up to the designer’s dream.
.
Roger Olson

From: turpin <turpin@yahoo.com >
To: <bcc@yahoogroups.com >
Sent: Saturday, October 05, 2002 7:57 AM
Subject: [bcc] What is the history of the Sam L. Morse company?

I’m curious. How did the company get started? Who was Sam L. Morse?

BRISTOL CHANNEL CUTTER OWNERS ASSOCIATION
Mail List Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bcc
BCC Owners Home: http://www.geocities.com/bccowners
Post message: mailto:bcc@yahoogroups.com
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That was very interesting, Roger. Thanks for taking the time to write that up.

It would be interesting to know how Lyle Hess got interested in this design vein
and how the BCC and FC differ from the old working boats.

Does anyone know of a book or web page that deal with them and their evolution?

Tod Mills

Roger,
The first hull was laid in April 1976 according to the hull number.
SFJBC0010476 is the boat I have and was told when I bought it that it was
hull #1. Other than the hull it is a wooden boat and was finished in San
Diego, CA, completed June 21, 1978. You are so right when you say that once
you see the hull you fall in love with this boat.
Doug Beu
“Fritha”

----- Original Message -----
From: “Roger Olson” <roger.olson@att.net >
To: <bcc@yahoogroups.com >
Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 5:29 PM
Subject: Re: [bcc] What is the history of the Sam L. Morse company?

BASIC HISTORY TO THE SAM L. MORSE CO.

I guess I am the one who should answer your question. I have known Lyle
Hess since 1973 and Sam Morse and his wife Betty since 1976. I bought my
first BCC in 1977 and left to go cruising in 1979. I was away for 13
years.
While I was away I kept in touch with Sam Morse and Lyle Hess. They both
kept me updated as to what was on the drawing board and being built at SLM
Co. When I returned to the States in 1991, the SLM Co. was in a slump
because of the recession. I started working for the SLM Co. without a
salary but I loved the boats so much that I was willing to wait until it
turned around to start drawing a salary. I ended up buying the company
and
only recently sold it to go cruising again. Unfortunately, life has its
ways of turning plans around so I am temporarily land locked but I have
not
swallowed the anchor

Sam Morse used to work for Peterbuilt, the company that builds big trucks.
When he retired in the late 60’s, he was looking for something so he could
work for himself. To cut a long story short; he felt there was a need for
a
classic looking sailboat, built to high quality. During his search, he
was
in Oxnard talking to the builder of the Dreadnought about a boat design.
He
suggested that Sam talk to Lyle Hess. Lyle already had a reputation for
designing classic boats and other boats that were in production at the
time,
one being the Balboa

When Sam called Lyle to ask if he had any boat designs that could be made
in
fiberglass, Lyle suggested the Bristol Channel Cutter. Lyle had designed
the BCC at a request from Hale Field who wanted to have a small classic
boat
built in wood. When Hale saw the plans he decided the boat was too big
and
would be too costly to build. So Lyle designed Renegade, a smaller
classic
design. It was built out of wood and surprised everyone with its
outstanding performance. This is the boat that influenced Lin and Larry
to
approach Lyle to design their boat Seraffyn.

Anyway, Sam bought the plans from Lyle. He then went in search for a
place
to build the boat. He found Crystaliner, where the Westsail used to be
built. Crystaliner were already building their own design power boats and
had an excellent reputation for building quality fiberglass boats. Today,
they still have the same reputation. They are building the Lifeguard
boats
for Orange County. So this was perfect for Sam; he had his own office
above
the store in the same yard where the boat would be built. All the boat
building scaffolding and sheds were already in place.

First, Lyle had to make some minor changes to the BCC plans to make it out
of fiberglass. Sam hired (can’t remember his name right now, a senior
moment) to build the plug. Soon, the plug was built but it had some
problems so had to be modified. Eventually the molds were taken from the
plugs and Sam began to sell hulls only. Soon as the deck mold was finished
it was sold with the deck as an option.

The business began in 1972. The first hull was laid in or about 1974, not
sure on this one. There were about 30 bare hulls sold before he
completed
his first boat, Kikorangi for an Australian physician in about 1977 (Rufo,
if you are reading this, jump in). Sam was well read but not a sailor.
He
researched every book he could find on boat building (still in the
office).
In those days Herb Reynolds ran the yard. Sam would approach Herb with
his
building ideas and Herb would make whatever it was Sam wanted. He also
advise Sam on the best way to accomplish a particular job.

Herb left in the late 70’s-early 80’s and Richard (Dick) McComb took over
the yard. Right behind him was his previous boss, Tommie Whisler. Since
Dick began working for Sam before Tommie, Dick became the yard manager.
Dick and Tommie worked as equals, they are the ones who are really
responsible for the quality of the boats that came out of the SLM Co. Sam
wanted the best and Dick and Tommie both had the knowledge and skills to
provide the best.

As a side note to this, I have the greatest respect for both Dick and
Tommie. I used to approach them with an idea I thought was great for the
boat, it was Dick and Tommie who would explain why it wouldn’t work and
make
suggestions on how it could be done. If the idea would work, then they
designed a way to make it work the best. Dick has retired and Tommie now
runs the show. Geoff Jenks, who owned a BCC for as many years as I have,
has taken Tommie’s position and is highly qualified and skilled.

I got involved with Sam when I was living aboard a 40 footer that was just
too much for me. I searched for the perfect boat for my needs but it did
not exist. I went to see Lyle to see if he had any suggestions. He
suggested I take a look at the BCC at the SLM Co. As I drove into the
Crystaliner parking lot there, standing alone, was just a BCC hull
sitting
in its cradle. I was in love! I am sure everyone who is reading this and
owns a BCC or a Falmouth Cutter know exactly how I felt. I was
obsessed…still am.

I became good friends with Sam and his wife Betty while they were building
my BCC. I left to go cruising in 1979. While I was cruising I was
constantly in touch with Sam and Betty. When I returned for a visit, they
would let me stay with them. Sam and I shared many ideas, some were good
and some not so good.

Lyle and Sam, God rest both their souls, will live in my heart until the
day
I die. These were special people, with special skills. Lyle was a person
who had the eye of an artist with the ability to design something
beautiful
that really worked as it was intended. It took someone like Sam, who was
totally committed to quality over profit, to build a boat that could stand
up to the designer’s dream.
.
Roger Olson

From: turpin <turpin@yahoo.com >
To: <bcc@yahoogroups.com >
Sent: Saturday, October 05, 2002 7:57 AM
Subject: [bcc] What is the history of the Sam L. Morse company?

I’m curious. How did the company get started? Who was Sam L. Morse?

BRISTOL CHANNEL CUTTER OWNERS ASSOCIATION
Mail List Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bcc
BCC Owners Home: http://www.geocities.com/bccowners
Post message: mailto:bcc@yahoogroups.com
Subscribe: mailto:bcc-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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BRISTOL CHANNEL CUTTER OWNERS ASSOCIATION
Mail List Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bcc
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Roger,

Do you have a photo of Sam you could scan and share with the group?

I also loved the story you shared with me of how those two head strong guys
didn’t
always see eye to eye and made no bones about stating how it should be done!

Cheers

Donald Kircher
----- Original Message -----
From: “Roger Olson” <roger.olson@att.net >
To: <bcc@yahoogroups.com >
Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 6:29 PM
Subject: Re: [bcc] What is the history of the Sam L. Morse company?

BASIC HISTORY TO THE SAM L. MORSE CO.

I guess I am the one who should answer your question. I have known Lyle
Hess since 1973 and Sam Morse and his wife Betty since 1976. I bought my
first BCC in 1977 and left to go cruising in 1979. I was away for 13
years.
While I was away I kept in touch with Sam Morse and Lyle Hess. They both
kept me updated as to what was on the drawing board and being built at SLM
Co. When I returned to the States in 1991, the SLM Co. was in a slump
because of the recession. I started working for the SLM Co. without a
salary but I loved the boats so much that I was willing to wait until it
turned around to start drawing a salary. I ended up buying the company
and
only recently sold it to go cruising again. Unfortunately, life has its
ways of turning plans around so I am temporarily land locked but I have
not
swallowed the anchor

Sam Morse used to work for Peterbuilt, the company that builds big trucks.
When he retired in the late 60’s, he was looking for something so he could
work for himself. To cut a long story short; he felt there was a need for
a
classic looking sailboat, built to high quality. During his search, he
was
in Oxnard talking to the builder of the Dreadnought about a boat design.
He
suggested that Sam talk to Lyle Hess. Lyle already had a reputation for
designing classic boats and other boats that were in production at the
time,
one being the Balboa

When Sam called Lyle to ask if he had any boat designs that could be made
in
fiberglass, Lyle suggested the Bristol Channel Cutter. Lyle had designed
the BCC at a request from Hale Field who wanted to have a small classic
boat
built in wood. When Hale saw the plans he decided the boat was too big
and
would be too costly to build. So Lyle designed Renegade, a smaller
classic
design. It was built out of wood and surprised everyone with its
outstanding performance. This is the boat that influenced Lin and Larry
to
approach Lyle to design their boat Seraffyn.

Anyway, Sam bought the plans from Lyle. He then went in search for a
place
to build the boat. He found Crystaliner, where the Westsail used to be
built. Crystaliner were already building their own design power boats and
had an excellent reputation for building quality fiberglass boats. Today,
they still have the same reputation. They are building the Lifeguard
boats
for Orange County. So this was perfect for Sam; he had his own office
above
the store in the same yard where the boat would be built. All the boat
building scaffolding and sheds were already in place.

First, Lyle had to make some minor changes to the BCC plans to make it out
of fiberglass. Sam hired (can’t remember his name right now, a senior
moment) to build the plug. Soon, the plug was built but it had some
problems so had to be modified. Eventually the molds were taken from the
plugs and Sam began to sell hulls only. Soon as the deck mold was finished
it was sold with the deck as an option.

The business began in 1972. The first hull was laid in or about 1974, not
sure on this one. There were about 30 bare hulls sold before he
completed
his first boat, Kikorangi for an Australian physician in about 1977 (Rufo,
if you are reading this, jump in). Sam was well read but not a sailor.
He
researched every book he could find on boat building (still in the
office).
In those days Herb Reynolds ran the yard. Sam would approach Herb with
his
building ideas and Herb would make whatever it was Sam wanted. He also
advise Sam on the best way to accomplish a particular job.

Herb left in the late 70’s-early 80’s and Richard (Dick) McComb took over
the yard. Right behind him was his previous boss, Tommie Whisler. Since
Dick began working for Sam before Tommie, Dick became the yard manager.
Dick and Tommie worked as equals, they are the ones who are really
responsible for the quality of the boats that came out of the SLM Co. Sam
wanted the best and Dick and Tommie both had the knowledge and skills to
provide the best.

As a side note to this, I have the greatest respect for both Dick and
Tommie. I used to approach them with an idea I thought was great for the
boat, it was Dick and Tommie who would explain why it wouldn’t work and
make
suggestions on how it could be done. If the idea would work, then they
designed a way to make it work the best. Dick has retired and Tommie now
runs the show. Geoff Jenks, who owned a BCC for as many years as I have,
has taken Tommie’s position and is highly qualified and skilled.

I got involved with Sam when I was living aboard a 40 footer that was just
too much for me. I searched for the perfect boat for my needs but it did
not exist. I went to see Lyle to see if he had any suggestions. He
suggested I take a look at the BCC at the SLM Co. As I drove into the
Crystaliner parking lot there, standing alone, was just a BCC hull
sitting
in its cradle. I was in love! I am sure everyone who is reading this and
owns a BCC or a Falmouth Cutter know exactly how I felt. I was
obsessed…still am.

I became good friends with Sam and his wife Betty while they were building
my BCC. I left to go cruising in 1979. While I was cruising I was
constantly in touch with Sam and Betty. When I returned for a visit, they
would let me stay with them. Sam and I shared many ideas, some were good
and some not so good.

Lyle and Sam, God rest both their souls, will live in my heart until the
day
I die. These were special people, with special skills. Lyle was a person
who had the eye of an artist with the ability to design something
beautiful
that really worked as it was intended. It took someone like Sam, who was
totally committed to quality over profit, to build a boat that could stand
up to the designer’s dream.
.
Roger Olson

From: turpin <turpin@yahoo.com >
To: <bcc@yahoogroups.com >
Sent: Saturday, October 05, 2002 7:57 AM
Subject: [bcc] What is the history of the Sam L. Morse company?

I’m curious. How did the company get started? Who was Sam L. Morse?

BRISTOL CHANNEL CUTTER OWNERS ASSOCIATION
Mail List Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bcc
BCC Owners Home: http://www.geocities.com/bccowners
Post message: mailto:bcc@yahoogroups.com
Subscribe: mailto:bcc-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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List owner: mailto:bcc-owner@yahoogroups.com

Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
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Mail List Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bcc
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Hi Doug,

I must apologize that I was incorrect about the first hull, you are right it
was ‘76’. I bought my first BCC early 77, it was hull #34. Sam had
informed me that he had been building hulls for some time but non had been
in the water yet. So I was under the impression that the first hull was
actually laid up much earlier. I called Sumio at SLM and he informed me
that #1 was laid-up in April 1976 but so was hull #24. This means he had to
lay-up 24 hulls in one month. Impossible! The minimum time to lay-up a
hull and remove it from the mold is 10 days. The maximum number of hulls
that could be laid-up in one month is 3 hulls. I think there may have been
some bookkeeping errors when he first got started.

The guy who made the plug was Bruce Meyers (Thanks Bob!)

As for the request on how Lyle got involved with the designs of the the BCC
and the FC, I have this on Hi-8 video at work. George Hylkema, (owner of
SLM before me) and I interviewed Lyle one day and asked all these questions.
When I get back to Costa Mesa, I will review it and respond later.
Meantime, John Churchill suggested you read Wooden Boat article on Lyle.
It is an excellent article, Sumio has a copy at work and perhaps he can shed
some further information.

Roger Olson

----- Original Message -----
From: Doug Beu <ddbeu@houston.rr.com >
To: <bcc@yahoogroups.com >
Sent: Tuesday, October 08, 2002 6:19 AM
Subject: Re: [bcc] What is the history of the Sam L. Morse company?

Roger,
The first hull was laid in April 1976 according to the hull number.
SFJBC0010476 is the boat I have and was told when I bought it that it was
hull #1. Other than the hull it is a wooden boat and was finished in San
Diego, CA, completed June 21, 1978. You are so right when you say that
once
you see the hull you fall in love with this boat.
Doug Beu
“Fritha”

----- Original Message -----
From: “Roger Olson” <roger.olson@att.net >
To: <bcc@yahoogroups.com >
Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 5:29 PM
Subject: Re: [bcc] What is the history of the Sam L. Morse company?

BASIC HISTORY TO THE SAM L. MORSE CO.

I guess I am the one who should answer your question. I have known Lyle
Hess since 1973 and Sam Morse and his wife Betty since 1976. I bought
my
first BCC in 1977 and left to go cruising in 1979. I was away for 13
years.
While I was away I kept in touch with Sam Morse and Lyle Hess. They
both
kept me updated as to what was on the drawing board and being built at
SLM
Co. When I returned to the States in 1991, the SLM Co. was in a slump
because of the recession. I started working for the SLM Co. without a
salary but I loved the boats so much that I was willing to wait until it
turned around to start drawing a salary. I ended up buying the company
and
only recently sold it to go cruising again. Unfortunately, life has its
ways of turning plans around so I am temporarily land locked but I have
not
swallowed the anchor

Sam Morse used to work for Peterbuilt, the company that builds big
trucks.
When he retired in the late 60’s, he was looking for something so he
could
work for himself. To cut a long story short; he felt there was a need
for
a
classic looking sailboat, built to high quality. During his search, he
was
in Oxnard talking to the builder of the Dreadnought about a boat design.
He
suggested that Sam talk to Lyle Hess. Lyle already had a reputation for
designing classic boats and other boats that were in production at the
time,
one being the Balboa

When Sam called Lyle to ask if he had any boat designs that could be
made
in
fiberglass, Lyle suggested the Bristol Channel Cutter. Lyle had
designed
the BCC at a request from Hale Field who wanted to have a small classic
boat
built in wood. When Hale saw the plans he decided the boat was too big
and
would be too costly to build. So Lyle designed Renegade, a smaller
classic
design. It was built out of wood and surprised everyone with its
outstanding performance. This is the boat that influenced Lin and Larry
to
approach Lyle to design their boat Seraffyn.

Anyway, Sam bought the plans from Lyle. He then went in search for a
place
to build the boat. He found Crystaliner, where the Westsail used to be
built. Crystaliner were already building their own design power boats
and
had an excellent reputation for building quality fiberglass boats.
Today,
they still have the same reputation. They are building the Lifeguard
boats
for Orange County. So this was perfect for Sam; he had his own office
above
the store in the same yard where the boat would be built. All the boat
building scaffolding and sheds were already in place.

First, Lyle had to make some minor changes to the BCC plans to make it
out
of fiberglass. Sam hired (can’t remember his name right now, a senior
moment) to build the plug. Soon, the plug was built but it had some
problems so had to be modified. Eventually the molds were taken from
the
plugs and Sam began to sell hulls only. Soon as the deck mold was
finished
it was sold with the deck as an option.

The business began in 1972. The first hull was laid in or about 1974,
not
sure on this one. There were about 30 bare hulls sold before he
completed
his first boat, Kikorangi for an Australian physician in about 1977
(Rufo,
if you are reading this, jump in). Sam was well read but not a sailor.
He
researched every book he could find on boat building (still in the
office).
In those days Herb Reynolds ran the yard. Sam would approach Herb with
his
building ideas and Herb would make whatever it was Sam wanted. He also
advise Sam on the best way to accomplish a particular job.

Herb left in the late 70’s-early 80’s and Richard (Dick) McComb took
over
the yard. Right behind him was his previous boss, Tommie Whisler.
Since
Dick began working for Sam before Tommie, Dick became the yard manager.
Dick and Tommie worked as equals, they are the ones who are really
responsible for the quality of the boats that came out of the SLM Co.
Sam
wanted the best and Dick and Tommie both had the knowledge and skills to
provide the best.

As a side note to this, I have the greatest respect for both Dick and
Tommie. I used to approach them with an idea I thought was great for
the
boat, it was Dick and Tommie who would explain why it wouldn’t work and
make
suggestions on how it could be done. If the idea would work, then they
designed a way to make it work the best. Dick has retired and Tommie now
runs the show. Geoff Jenks, who owned a BCC for as many years as I
have,
has taken Tommie’s position and is highly qualified and skilled.

I got involved with Sam when I was living aboard a 40 footer that was
just
too much for me. I searched for the perfect boat for my needs but it
did
not exist. I went to see Lyle to see if he had any suggestions. He
suggested I take a look at the BCC at the SLM Co. As I drove into the
Crystaliner parking lot there, standing alone, was just a BCC hull
sitting
in its cradle. I was in love! I am sure everyone who is reading this
and
owns a BCC or a Falmouth Cutter know exactly how I felt. I was
obsessed…still am.

I became good friends with Sam and his wife Betty while they were
building
my BCC. I left to go cruising in 1979. While I was cruising I was
constantly in touch with Sam and Betty. When I returned for a visit,
they
would let me stay with them. Sam and I shared many ideas, some were
good
and some not so good.

Lyle and Sam, God rest both their souls, will live in my heart until the
day
I die. These were special people, with special skills. Lyle was a
person
who had the eye of an artist with the ability to design something
beautiful
that really worked as it was intended. It took someone like Sam, who
was
totally committed to quality over profit, to build a boat that could
stand
up to the designer’s dream.
.
Roger Olson

From: turpin <turpin@yahoo.com >
To: <bcc@yahoogroups.com >
Sent: Saturday, October 05, 2002 7:57 AM
Subject: [bcc] What is the history of the Sam L. Morse company?

I’m curious. How did the company get started? Who was Sam L. Morse?

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What a wonderful history.  Thanks for taking the time to write it up.
 
Nica
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 6:29 PM
Subject: Re: [bcc] What is the history of the Sam L. Morse company?

BASIC HISTORY TO THE SAM L. MORSE CO.

I guess I am the one who should answer your question.  I have known Lyle
Hess since 1973 and Sam Morse and his wife Betty since 1976.  I bought my
first BCC in 1977 and left to go cruising in 1979.  I was away for 13 years.
While I was away I kept in touch with Sam Morse and Lyle Hess.  They both
kept me updated as to what was on the drawing board and being built at SLM
Co. When I returned to the States in 1991, the SLM Co. was in a slump
because of the recession.  I started working for the SLM Co. without a
salary but I loved the boats so much that I was willing to wait until it
turned around to start drawing a salary.  I ended up buying the company and
only recently sold it to go cruising again.  Unfortunately, life has its
ways of turning plans around so I am temporarily land locked but I have not
swallowed the anchor

Sam Morse used to work for Peterbuilt, the company that builds big trucks.
When he retired in the late 60's, he was looking for something so he could
work for himself. To cut a long story short; he felt there was a need for a
classic looking sailboat, built to high quality.  During his search, he was
in Oxnard talking to the builder of the Dreadnought about a boat design.  He
suggested that Sam talk to Lyle Hess.  Lyle already had a reputation for
designing classic boats and other boats that were in production at the time,
one being the Balboa

When Sam called Lyle to ask if he had any boat designs that could be made in
fiberglass, Lyle suggested the Bristol Channel Cutter.  Lyle had designed
the BCC at a request from Hale Field who wanted to have a small classic boat
built in wood.  When Hale saw the plans he decided the boat was too big and
would be too costly to build.  So Lyle designed Renegade, a smaller classic
design.  It was built out of wood and surprised everyone with its
outstanding performance.  This is the boat that influenced Lin and Larry to
approach Lyle to design their boat Seraffyn.

Anyway, Sam bought the plans from Lyle.  He then went in search for a place
to build the boat.  He found Crystaliner, where the Westsail used to be
built.  Crystaliner were already building their own design power boats and
had an excellent reputation for building quality fiberglass boats.  Today,
they still have the same reputation.  They are building the Lifeguard boats
for Orange County. So this was perfect for Sam; he had his own office above
the store in the same yard where the boat would be built.  All the boat
building scaffolding and sheds were already in place.

First, Lyle had to make some minor changes to the BCC plans to make it out
of fiberglass.  Sam hired (can't remember his name right now, a senior
moment) to build the plug.  Soon, the plug was built but it had some
problems so had to be modified.  Eventually the molds were taken from the
plugs and Sam began to sell hulls only. Soon as the deck mold was finished
it was sold with the deck as an option.

The business began in 1972.  The first hull was laid in or about 1974, not
sure on this one.   There were about 30 bare hulls sold before he completed
his first boat, Kikorangi for an Australian physician in about 1977 (Rufo,
if you are reading this, jump in).  Sam was well read but not a sailor.  He
researched every book he could find on boat building (still in the office).
In those days Herb Reynolds ran the yard.  Sam would approach Herb with his
building ideas and Herb would make whatever it was Sam wanted.  He also
advise Sam on the best way to accomplish a particular job.

Herb left in the late 70's-early 80's and Richard (Dick) McComb took over
the yard.  Right behind him was his previous boss, Tommie Whisler.  Since
Dick began working for Sam before Tommie, Dick became the yard manager.
Dick and Tommie worked as equals, they are the ones who are really
responsible for the quality of the boats that came out of the SLM Co.  Sam
wanted the best and Dick and Tommie both had the knowledge and skills to
provide the best.

As a side note to this, I have the greatest respect for both Dick and
Tommie.  I used to approach them with an idea I thought was great for the
boat, it was Dick and Tommie who would explain why it wouldn't work and make
suggestions on how it could be done. If the idea would work, then they
designed a way to make it work the best. Dick has retired and Tommie now
runs the show.  Geoff Jenks, who owned a BCC for as many years as I have,
has taken Tommie's position and is highly qualified and skilled.

I got involved with Sam when I was living aboard a 40 footer that was just
too much for me.  I searched for the perfect boat for my needs but it did
not exist. I went to see Lyle to see if he had any suggestions.  He
suggested I take a look at the BCC at the SLM Co.  As I drove into the
Crystaliner parking lot there, standing alone,  was just a BCC hull sitting
in its cradle.  I was in love!  I am sure everyone who is reading this and
owns a BCC or a Falmouth Cutter know exactly how I felt.  I was
obsessed......still am.

I became good friends with Sam and his wife Betty while they were building
my BCC.  I left to go cruising in 1979.  While I was cruising I was
constantly in touch with Sam and Betty.  When I returned for a visit, they
would let me stay with them.  Sam and I  shared many ideas, some were good
and some not so good.

Lyle and Sam, God rest both their souls, will live in my heart until the day
I die.  These were special people, with special skills. Lyle was a person
who had the eye of an artist with the ability to design something beautiful
that really worked as it was intended.  It took someone like Sam, who was
totally committed to quality over profit, to build a boat that could stand
up to the designer's dream.
.
Roger Olson

From: turpin
To:
Sent: Saturday, October 05, 2002 7:57 AM
Subject: [bcc] What is the history of the Sam L. Morse company?


> I'm curious. How did the company get started? Who was Sam L. Morse?
>
>
>
> BRISTOL CHANNEL CUTTER OWNERS ASSOCIATION
> Mail List Home:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bcc
> BCC Owners Home: http://www.geocities.com/bccowners
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>
>
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
>
>





Roger,

That video of the interview would make a good addition to the other three even
if it isn’t professionally edited. If you decide to offer it for sale, put me down for
a copy.

And thanks, John, about the Woodenboat article.

Tod Mills

There is a good book on the Bristol Channel Pilot Boats entitled

“The Sailing Pilots of the Bristol Channel” by Peter J. Stuckey.

This book can be ordered from the Classic Boat Magazine web site:

www.classicboat.co.uk

The book is a research work that deals not only with the evolution of the
boats but the the men who sailed them and the the pilot service itself. The
book has many old photos and line drawings of some of the more well know
latter day boats such as the Marguerite built at Pill in 1893. The boats
evolved the way that they did in large part due to the competitive nature
the pilot service. The first boat out to meet the incoming ship got the
pilot job. Thus, a boat that could go to weather in any weather was
essential to making a living for the pilots who, in general, where the boats
owner.

Dennis Fitzgerald

SailingOn 7/25/18 12:00 AM, “htmills@bright.net ” <htmills@bright.net > wrote:

That was very interesting, Roger. Thanks for taking the time to write that
up.

It would be interesting to know how Lyle Hess got interested in this design
vein
and how the BCC and FC differ from the old working boats.

Does anyone know of a book or web page that deal with them and their
evolution?

Tod Mills

BRISTOL CHANNEL CUTTER OWNERS ASSOCIATION
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— In bcc@y…, “Roger Olson” <roger.olson@a…> wrote:

BASIC HISTORY TO THE SAM L. MORSE CO.

> > When Sam called Lyle to ask if he had any boat designs that could be made in fiberglass, Lyle suggested the Bristol Channel Cutter. Lyle had designed the BCC at a request from Hale Field who wanted to have a small classic boat built in wood. When Hale saw the plans he decided the boat was too big and would be too costly to build. So Lyle designed Renegade, a smaller classic design. It was built out of wood and surprised everyone with its outstanding performance. This is the boat that influenced Lin and Larry to approach Lyle to design their boat Seraffyn. > > Anyway, Sam bought the plans from Lyle. He then went in search for a place to build the boat.

Thanks v much, Roger.

So who came up with the name ‘Bristol Channel Cutter’ and when? Did
Lyle have that name in mind when he drew the plans for Hale Field?
Did Lyle devise the name when selling the plans to Lyle, knowing that
a production boat needed a catchy name? Or did Sam devise the name,
knowing that Lyle’s plans drew on English working boats?

Has anyone read the article about Sam L Morse Co, entitled ‘Down the
Ways’, in the Cruising World of February 1977? That’s the same issue
that had Chuck Malseed’s article on Lyle Hess. I’ve been looking,
unsuccessfully, for the article for a while (Malseed’s article is
available on the Nor’Sea website).

Cheers

Bil
BCC#116

Bil, I attempted to answer your question about the origin of the name
‘Bristol Channel Cutter’ below:

Lyle’s love for boat designs originated with his love for the classic Pilot
boats of the Bristol Channel and the Quay Punts of Britain. Not only did
these boats have lovely, classic lines but were fast and seaworthy.

When Lyle drew the lines for the Bristol Channel Cutter 28, he was
influenced by the original lines of these Pilot boats of the Bristol
Channel. He used the same basic lines but to a much smaller scale. His
major change was below the waterline to improve the boats windward
performance. His lines removed a considerable amount of wetted surface
forward and he carried the hollow of the garboard to the stem. This is not
to infer that he copies and changed the lines of the original Pilot boats.
These were his original lines.

It was Lyle who named the boat the Bristol Channel Cutter. The name is on
the line drawings. When Sam Morse bought the rights to build the BCC he
bought the lines and the name as one. That is why the name and lines are
copyrighted. This is also why no one can build a boat like a Bristol
Channel Cutter and call it a Bristol Channel Cutter.

Roger

----- Original Message -----
From: bilh2001 <bilh2001@yahoo.com.au >
To: <bcc@yahoogroups.com >
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 2:59 PM
Subject: [bcc] Re: What is the history of the Sam L. Morse company?

— In bcc@y…, “Roger Olson” <roger.olson@a…> wrote:

BASIC HISTORY TO THE SAM L. MORSE CO.

> > When Sam called Lyle to ask if he had any boat designs that could be made in fiberglass, Lyle suggested the Bristol Channel Cutter. Lyle had designed the BCC at a request from Hale Field who wanted to have a small classic boat built in wood. When Hale saw the plans he decided the boat was too big and would be too costly to build. So Lyle designed Renegade, a smaller classic design. It was built out of wood and surprised everyone with its outstanding performance. This is the boat that influenced Lin and Larry to approach Lyle to design their boat Seraffyn. > > Anyway, Sam bought the plans from Lyle. He then went in search for a place to build the boat.

Thanks v much, Roger.

So who came up with the name ‘Bristol Channel Cutter’ and when? Did
Lyle have that name in mind when he drew the plans for Hale Field?
Did Lyle devise the name when selling the plans to Lyle, knowing that
a production boat needed a catchy name? Or did Sam devise the name,
knowing that Lyle’s plans drew on English working boats?

Has anyone read the article about Sam L Morse Co, entitled ‘Down the
Ways’, in the Cruising World of February 1977? That’s the same issue
that had Chuck Malseed’s article on Lyle Hess. I’ve been looking,
unsuccessfully, for the article for a while (Malseed’s article is
available on the Nor’Sea website).

Cheers

Bil
BCC#116

BRISTOL CHANNEL CUTTER OWNERS ASSOCIATION
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