Columbia Yachts

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Columbia 34

Columbia Yachts is a US manufacturer of sailboats, with offices and production facilities in Southern California.

History[edit]

Richard “Dick” Valdes and Maurice V. Threinen founded Glas Laminates, a fiberglass contract company, in 1958. Among the early products were camper shells and producing canoes for Sears. The company eventually focused its development expertise on sailboats and became Glass Marine Industries (GMI), marketing their boats under the Columbia nameplate. Early models included the Columbia 24 and Columbia 29 (Sparkman & Stephens design). By 1964 company sales passed $2.5 Million.

In 1965, GMI changed its name to Columbia, and introduced the Columbia 50, at the time the world's largest fiberglass production sailboat. The classic beauty, exceptional comfort, and race performance made this design a success. During the mid sixties Columbia produced a few motor yachts.

By the late 1960s,the company was the world's largest fiberglass sailboat manufacturer with manufacturing plants throughout the world. Valdes and Threinen sold the company to Whittaker (listed on the NYSE), but Valdes continued as president of the subsidiary Columbia Yacht Corporation, and helped to develop Whittaker Marine Group, which ultimately included Bertram Yachts, Trojan Yachts, Riva, Desco Marine, Kettenburg, Balboa Marine, and Coronado Yachts. Total sales of the Whittaker Marine Group reached between $250 and $350 Million in the early 70's during Valdes' tenure. A side note is that Frank Butler, the owner of Coronado Yachts came into Whittaker with the merger, but left about a year later to form Catalina Yachts.

Following Dick Valdes' departure from Columbia Yachts in 1972, the company offices and plant were relocated to Virginia, and eventually sold to Hughes Boat Works based in Huron Park, Ontario Canada in 1979, and later to Aura Yachts also based in Huron Park, Ontario in 1982. In the mid-80's Canadian boat designer Howard Hughes regained control of the company. Eventually, the Columbia Yachts brand faded into history.

Columbia Yachts Today[edit]

In September, 2001 the new Columbia Yacht Corporation was incorporated, with Dick's son Vincent Valdes as President and CEO, co-founder Justin Wallin as COO and with Dick Valdes among the founding directors. The new company’s first offering is the Columbia 30 sportsboat, designed by Tim Kernan, with a Southern California OWC PHRF rating of 51.

Classic Columbia Models[edit]

PHRF shown is for Northern California Base Rate full keel standard mast unless otherwise described

  • Columbia 10.7 - PHRF 156
  • Clumbia 21 - PHRF 252
  • Columbia 22 - PHRF 264
  • Columbia 23 - PHRF 264
  • Columbia 24 Challenger - PHRF 258
  • Columbia 24 Contender - PHRF 258
  • Columbia 26-1 IB - PHRF 258
  • Columbia 26-2 IB - PHRF 234
  • Columbia 26-2 OB - PHRF 228
  • Columbia 28-1 - PHRF 222
  • Columbia 29-2 - PHRF 228
  • Columbia 30 - PHRF 174
  • Columbia 31 - PHRF 222
  • Columbia 32 - PHRF 174
  • Columbia 34-1 - PHRF 210
  • Columbia 34-2 - PHRF 168
  • Columbia 36 - PHRF 156
  • Columbia 36 SCIM Keel - PHRF 156
  • Columbia 38 - PHRF 180
  • Columbia 40 - PHRF 168
  • Columbia 43-1 - PHRF 102
  • Columbia 43-2 & 3 - PHRF 96
  • Columbia 45 Sloop[1] - PHRF 138
  • Columbia 45 Ketch[2] - PHRF 120
  • Columbia 5.5 MNCPHRF - PHRF 171
  • Columbia 5.5 M ODR - PHRF 186
  • Columbia 50 - PHRF 96
  • Columbia 7.6 - PHRF 210
  • Columbia 8.3 - PHRF 198
  • Columbia 8.7 - PHRF 192
  • Columbia 9.6 - PHRF 189
  • Columbia Sabre - PHRF 198

New Columbia Models[edit]

  • Columbia 30 Sports Yacht - Southern California OWC PHRF rating of 51

References[edit]

See also[edit]