History of CROD


History of Aeolus

History of Terry, later Mamook

Astoria, OR

Astoria Marine Const. Co.

The ERRIA Fire, 1951

Columbia River Maritime Museum

The Dyer Legacy

Gallery 1 Aeolus

Gallery 2 Aeolus

Gallery 3 Old CRODs

Gallery 4 Phantom

Gallery 5 Merrimac

Gallery 6 Mine Sweepers

Crods Cruise to Bonneville

My Little Austin Seven


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of the Columbia River One Design 28' Racing and Cruising Sloop

We are interested in updating the owner list and locations of all surviving CRODs.  Please see the owner summary for our best information to date. If you have updated information on any of the CRODs, please send us an email.

The 1935 Astoria Regatta, with Hull #3 slightly in the lead!

(Ed. Note:  This history the early days of the CROD class is found in an article in Pacific Motor Boat magazine from 1936:)

"After the formation of the Columbia River Yachting Association, whose purpose is the stimulation of yachting on the Columbia River as well as the harmonizing of existing interests, the officers of the organization decided that a Columbia River One Design Class which could fill demands of popularity would be of great value in creating this interest. To fill these demands, it was decided that a yacht must have several features.

First, it must be kept to a reasonable price; second, it must be of sufficiently simple construction to permit building by good amateurs or semi-professional builders; third, it must have comfortable cruising accommodations for three or four, or a small family, for week-end cruising; fourth, it must have auxiliary power for Columbia River conditions; and fifth, it must have shoal draft for the same reason.  Speed was to be of secondary consideration.

CRODs competing in the Astoria Regatta in the 1930s

With these requirements in mind, Joseph M. Dyer was consulted and asked to design such a yacht.  He started with a twenty-two foot boat and gradually increased the size until twenty-eight feet overall length was found to be the smallest that would fulfill the demand for the comfort required.

He then worked for several weeks to get the most possible in cruising comfort and, secondarily, speed under sail, from this size boat while at the same time making sure of its seaworthy qualities.  The result was "CROD"..."

The CROD profile from an original Joseph Dyer construction drawing

CROD sections from a Joseph Dyer construction drawing

(Ed. Note: This additional insight into the history of the CROD class was excerpted from an article written in 1983 for the Center for Wooden Boats by Tom Dyer, son of CROD designer Joseph Dyer.)

"Columbia River One Designs, known affectionately as CRODs, were designed by my father, Joe Dyer in 1934 at the request of the Columbia River Yachting Association.  The CRYA wanted a simple, affordable design suitable for the sandbars of the lower Columbia.  The concept was the of "everyman's" boat, somewhat like the Thunderbirds 25 years later.

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CROD trophies from '30s regattas at Portland Yacht Club and Astoria Yacht Club.  (Click on thumbnails for larger view, then use browser back button to return to this page)

Legend has it the first CROD sailed up the coast from Astoria and swept her class in the PIYA Regatta.  Although slow by today's tupperware standards, in 1934 CRODs were modern, able boats.  Twelve were built in all, about 9 before, and about 3 after World War II. The May, 1935 edition of Pacific Motor Boat magazine featured a major article on the new CROD class. (scan courtesy of DeVere Lindh):

CRODs 2 and 4 in close competition in a late 1940's race.  Note classic sailing apparel.

They remain popular on the Columbia, now more as classics than as an active fleet.  They were raced as a class at the Portland Yacht Club until about 20 years ago [1963].  

"CROD Row" at the Portland Yacht Club in the 1940s. (Image courtesy of McCuddy's Marina)

CRODs are 28 feet long, with an 8'10" beam, and have a low freeboard designed for swimming.  Their draft is  2'4" with the centerboard up; with the board down they draw about 5 feet.  They have a 4-cylinder inboard engine and cruise on average about 6 1/2 knots under power.

Although planked, CRODs have a hard chine desirable for shallow draft and lying high and dry on sandbars.  CRODs are plank on frame construction, galvanized fastened, with 7/8" fir on sawn oak frames. Seam battens are used above the waterline and the chine is protected by a 1-1/4" x 2-1/2" iron bark knuckle.  A 950-pound iron keel fairs into a motorboat style skeg, providing ballast, the ability to jump gillnets, and a good point for grounding.  The centerboard is 1/2" steel.  The main deck is 5/8" plywood covered with canvas over Irish felt, trimmed with an ironbark toe rail and guard.  The house coaming is 1-1/4" mahogany, while the house top is 3/8" plywood, again covered with Irish felt and canvas.

This October, 1941 cover of Pacific Motor Boat magazine features CROD #4, Diane, competing in the Astoria Regatta, with then-owner Gordon MacDonald at the helm.

The arrangements are classic, with a drop-leaf table on the centerboard trunk and two transoms which slide out to make "double" berths.  The galley is aft in the main cabin, separated from the cockpit by a bridge deck.  The engine is under the cockpit flanked by two 45-gallon tanks.

The 4-cyl Universal engine of CROD Hull "3, Aeolus.

Forward are two berths, one covering the head.  The cockpit is purposefully large and comfortable for day sailing, and the rig includes a club-footed working jib for single-handing."

Owner Summary

Hull Number Original Name Owner History Status
1 Cluaran Frank Kerr, 1934; Margie, Jack Francis; Ahoy, Don Schafer; Dr. A. C. Bailey, St. Helens; Mistee, DeVere and Billie Lindh, 1976 Donated by DeVere and Billie Lindh to Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle in 1991. She is now in storage at the Columbia River Maritime Museum.
2 Jean II Dean B. Webster, 1934; Jeannie Sue, Eugene Davidson; Jeannie, Ed Casey; Delite, Tommy Luke,Ed Davidson,Capture, 1951; Sea Breeze, Don Peters. 1953; Dave Eaton; Sweet Lady, Dr. Gene Chernick Donated by Dr. Chernick and in storage at the Columbia River Maritime Museum
3 Aeolus Walter Elliott, 1934; Don Jaxtheimer; Walter Johannsen; Dirk Winters; Mason Heidtke, 1962; Ron Moran, 1973; John Tucker, 1986; David Fastabend, 1995; David Kanally, 2003; Brian Stock, 2013 Sold to owner in Georgia, retired.
4 Terry J.C. Ainsworth, 1935; Roscoe Hemenway, 1938, Diane;Gordon MacDonald 1941; H.B. Black, 1945; William Cole, 1947; Herb Johnson, 1954; Jack Wilfong, 1962; Mamook; Jack Austin, 1965-1990; William Davies, 2009 Was donated to the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle in 2008 and sold to Davies in January, 2009. Restoration underway
5 Dorla Harry M. Clow, 1935; Nina, Thomas J. White; Antiki, Don Savage; Jared and Jennifer Haas, 2007 ; Matthew Trent, 2010 (Dorla); Dwayne Fox Retired, overlooking a lake in Oregon
6 Susan Steve Wilcox, 1935; H.B. Black; Ed Devlin; Spanker II, J. Lyell Ginter, 1953; Jack Roberts ; Sam Devlin; Art Pier Moored in Olympia, WA
7 Ginny Coleman Wheeler, 1941; Starlight, Claude F. Butler Sold by Butler, whereabouts unknown
8 Betty O. Isley, 1941 Unknown
9 Evening Star Ed DeKoning, 1951; W. A. Jones; George McLynn; Lawrence Goeckritz (60s-70s) Curtis Sluyter (1983-1995) Unknown
10 Tom Tom Joseph M. Dyer, 1945; Tom Dyer, Seattle; Dennis and JoLee Henningsgaard Ford,Longview,WA , Tor Woo, Seattle, WA; Reed Spangler, 2016, Federal Way, WA., Gabriele Stevens, 2018, Puget Island, Cathlamet, WA As of 2018, Tom Tom was moved by James Ratliff to Puget Island, where she'll enjoy summer sailing and then major repairs the following winter.
11 Tomarack Built 1950; Col. Stan Kelly 1951; Deep Six, Dwight Didzun, about 1953;  Cirrus, Jim Roberts; Russell Sadler; Don Bauer Last known to be at Tomahawk Island Marina, 1986
12 Legend William McPhearson, builder, 1961; Flossie, Bruce Rothman and T. J. White, 1979; Andrew Barnard, 2016 Under restoration, Atomic 4 engine running like a top as of Feb. 24, 2017

Steve Wilcox, original owner of CROD #6, Susan.  Steve was Commodore of the Portland Yacht Club in 1938. Dean Webster, original owner of CROD #2, Jean II.  Dean was Commodore of the Portland Yacht Club in 1939.

Steve Wilcox racing Susan in 1938

Partial History of CROD #1

DeVere and Billie Lindh write: "We purchased hull #1 about 1976. it had original sails with #1 on the main. It was named "Mistee" at that time. We sailed on Puget Sound near Seattle and Tacoma. In 1991 we donated it to the Seattle Center for Wooden Boats. It is currently at the Astoria Museum."

Partial History of CROD #6

Jay Roberts, son of Jack Roberts who owned Spanker II (Originally Susan, CROD #6) in the 1950s has these memories of his time on the CROD:

"When my parents purchased the Spanker II was around 4 or 5 years old.  I have many fond memories sailing on the Columbia River.                                                                     

When I was growing up in Vancouver, WA, my parents had a restaurant. On several occasions during our brief summer, we would go sailing on the river after the restaurant had closed.  When we got to the boat and had her set for sailing it was usually dark.  We would try starting the cantankerous 6 - volt Gray Marine engine with mixed results.  Check to make sure we were pumping water out the stern and our adventure would begin!"  

The Jack Roberts Family aboard Spanker II, originally Susan (CROD #6), in 1957

"Sailing at night on the Columbia can have a lot of challenges.  There is a constant flow of barges, log rafts, ocean-going freighters, gillnetters, sand bars and buoy markers. There was a lot of knowledge we gained about all of the above mentioned when we took up night sailing. When we were finally underway sailing at night was one of the most memorable experiences I ever had on our boat. There were few recreational boaters out during the night. The wind would usually be good and the weather outstanding.  

During gillnetting season we would have to look for the 4 lights that would mark the gill nets so we would not get tangled in them. Sometimes these fishermen didnít have all their nets marked with lanterns. We would sail on the river for several hours. When it was time to come home we never knew if the motor would start because we had used our running lights and the battery might be dead.  On more than one occasion we had to sail back to the dock without the motor or my father would use a hand crank on the heavy 2000 lb. Gray Marine engine to get her started. Sailing at night has to be one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences I had with Spanker. "

C.S. Wetherell, friend of the Roberts, adds these memories. "We met the Roberts in Vancouver, Washington not long after WWII.   I had started working ashore, having gone to sea in the Merchant Marine in WWII, to be near my two sons as they grew up.  Work moved me on to Anacortes where a series of events moved me on to active duty in the U. S. Coast Guard.  My second tour of Duty was in the Portland Oregon Marine Inspection Office.  We of course found a place to live in Vancouver.  This was about 1958 to `61 if memory serves."

"Of course we renewed our old friendships including the Roberts;  Mary and Jack now had their CROD.  They asked me sailing from time to time.  I did not go very often since my wife, married to a mariner, is not comfortable on such small boats.  I will tell some interesting things that happened while Mary and Jack were CROD sailors."

"They moored at the Portland Yacht Club.  Mary had set up a Sunday picnic with her, I think, sorority. It was held just across the channel on the beach of Tomahawk Island, then not reachable by auto.  The plan was Jack would ferry folks over on the SPANKER II.  Then, because of a strike, Jack could not be there;  Mary asked me to operate the boat and if I did I could bring my family to the picnic.  The only one I took was my high school-age son Charles to help operate the boat.   It was a nice day, the boat was beached at the picnic site and folks picnicked it up."

"Daylight ran out and Charles and I started ferrying.  At the club their berth was inshore of a long row of slips.  With the cockpit full of folks my son was standing in the hatchway to the cabin with his weight on the floorboards and his head and shoulders above the cabin top.  Just as I started the turn into their slip the lights went out and I could smell smoke.  Then the lights came back on and I things seemed OK.  I made a quick inspection but could find no wiring fault.  We ferried the rest of the picnic and folks back to the club with no more trouble.  It was to dark to do much but I disconnected both of the battery wires from both batteries and told Mary to tell Jack not to move a thing till I was there."

"We inspected the boat not long after that and found the trouble.  The two wires to the mast head light ran in the bilges.  Just under the cabin hatch the hatch boards to the bilge rested on these wires slowly wearing away the insulation.  Little by little they had been worn to bare wire.  A shift of Charles weight had shorted the lights but when moved his weight again the pulled apart.  Further inspection revealed the wiring was totally poorly done.  I rewired the boat for him, closely following the proper codes but doing it with as little cost as I could because Jack was then on strike."

"Jack let me read the survey report which said, as I remember, "The wiring appears to be a little inconveniently arranged in the engine compartment."  The surveyor was a member of the yacht club and I wanted to report it to them.  However he was a draftsman at a shipyard where I was inspecting.  We were having enough problems there and I did not want any more, so I let it go."

"Another time I was sailing with them when, under sail, one of the kids fell in, wearing a life jacket of course.  I pulled  in the 6 foot long double ended skiff and jumped into it.  Even though an experienced oarsman in various types of boats, this skiff was so short that I could not get it to row straight;  It needed tender care to keep it from going around in a circle.  They picked up the kid, then picked me up.  I took a lot of razing over that."

"On time they took the kids in a Sea Scout Ship I was helping with on an overnight cruise.  We all slept on the beach while the Roberts slept on board."

"Once I helped Jack take the boat out of the water on a hoist.  It was centerboard trouble, but I can not remember the details."

"After three years in the Portland MIO, the Coast Guard moved me on.  When I was doing fisheries patrols in Alaska My wife lived in Vancouver for a year while my younger son finished  high school.  But when we came back to Vancouver after retiring the Roberts` CROD was no more." Thanks to C.S. Wetherell for these memories.

Update on CROD #5

Crod #5, Dorla, later Antiki, was purchased in 2010 fr9om Jared and Jennifer Hass by Matthew Trent of Tacoma, WA,.  Matthew re-christened her as Dorla. Last owner was Dwayne Fox. Dorla has subsequently been retired, and is living out her remaining years on land, overlooking a lake in Oregon.


Antiki as she appeared in 2007.

Partial History of CROD #9, Evening Star

Barry Foster, godson of Evening Star owner Ed DeKoning, sent us a couple newspaper photos and captions of his godfather sailing Crod #9 in 1953, along with these memories, "Ed DeKoning was an avid sailor. I imagine everyone in the Portland/Columbia River sailing community knew him during the 1950's through the 1970's. He competed in several TransPac, Vic-Maui and Swiftsure races over the years. He and his wife and children plus his wife's sister and her family spent a year on his boat traveling from Los Angeles to Hawaii to Tahiti and New Zealand." (Portland Oregonian Photos). Thank you, Barry, for these memories and photos!

We received a number of photos and memories from Renee Dutton about her family's ownership of CROD #9, Evening Star", in the '60s and '70s:

"My father, Lawrence Goeckritz, bought this sloop in the early 60's at the Portland Yacht Club where it was moored. He owned it, I believe until the early 70's. It was moored at that time, at Bart's Wharf on the Columbia River in Portland Oregon.  The Evening Star was the name of the boat, and it was # 9. My dad's friend, Heidtke, had the CROD hull #3, now owned by David Kanally. My dad has been gone since 2004, but mom is still living in Gresham.

I have attached a picture of my dad, Larry, that was taken in about 1980. My nephew took that picture as a photography class project, which by the way, took first place in the class.

My best guess is that these pictures of Evening Star were taken in the early 60's, not too long after dad bought the boat. I'm also quite sure that they were all taken on the Columbia River, as dad didn't stray too far away from the moorage. The picture of the boat moored is, I believe at McCuddy's Marina on about 33rd and Marine Drive here in Portland.

The picture of my dad holding the kite on the fishing pole was taken in about 1963, or, 1964. He loved the endless possibilities of the wind's power. He would take an old cotton blanket, and tack sticks to two sides of it, and we would get on our old metal "clamp on" roller skates, and away we would go. Life was good.

I also found a picture of mom and dad about 3 years before dad died. Mom and dad were together since the early 40's.

Many thanks to Renee for her memories and photos!

Curtis Sluyter adds this information about Evening Star: "I owned and restored CROD #9 Evening Star for 12 years (approx 1983-1995). I kept her at Harbor 1 Marina on Marine Drive for most of those years (they allowed me to do a lot of maintenance and repairs while in the slip).

Originally, I acquired her in Warrenton, OR (near Astoria) she was painted white all over. I restored the mahogany cabin trunk and gunwales and put new non-slip surfaces on the decks and in the cockpit.

The galvanized rigging was showing signs of rust and decay so I hired Craig Shaw (local rigger near Marine Dr and I5 Portland) in stainless with loop ends to match the original method. Also I had her pulled from the river on Hayden Island in Portland and performed a very extensive hull restoration which included paint removal and new caulking and what we considered a 10 year surface. I then sold to Sam Devlin family member in Olympia, Washington."

Photos of CROD #12 from owner Andrew Barnard, September, 2018

Thanks for the photos, Andrew!