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Builder: N.J. Blanchard Boat Company




Blanchard Standardized Cruisers

In 1924, N.J. Blanchard collaborated with Leigh H. Coolidge, a prominent Northwest naval architect, to create a series of vessels that would represent the beginning of a new era of boat building and redefine the entire concept. It was nothing short of revolutionary.

The Blanchard Standardized Cruisers, along with other similar vessels built in the 1920's represent the dawning of the era of the so-called "production boat". The concept of a prospective boat buyer being able to go into a showroom and view a boat that was already built was a radical notion. Up until that time, pleasure boating had been available to only the very wealthy. 

Boatyards of the era were dazzled by the concept of being able to expand their market to "the average man" and with more efficient production conceptually derived from Henry Ford's Model-T production line, they were anxious to apply the lessons learned to their craft.  

A total of 25 Blanchard Standardized Cruisers were originally built, ranging in size from 32 to 38 feet, with the majority being 36 feet in length. The full name is quite a mouthful: Standardized Raised Deck Hunting Cruiser. 
It's our educated guess that shipwrights came up with the "catchy" name, not a marketing person!

Production of the Blanchard vessels began in 1924, with Elsinore, Cutterhead and Dorleon (working name, Titus), Hulls # 1, 2 and 3 respectively. These were the first of the series to come off the ways. Elsinore was named after two of Norman Blanchard's children, Elsie & Norman, and appears to have been used as a model boat for a short time. She was re-named Gilwin in 1926 and sold.

Research indicates that Faun was the ninth of the Blanchard 36 footers built. Nine of the Blanchard Cruisers are known definitely to survive to the present. There are still a few as yet undiscovered. 

Faun was one of the most luxurious of the Blanchard Standardized Cruisers when she was built. Her original purchase price was $6000, equivalent to two to three average homes of the era. She was the highest priced of all the 36 footers. She featured numerous extras not found on the other Blanchard Cruisers.

Faun’s 36’ sister ships include Cutterhead, Resolute (originally Rowena), Contessa (Hull #1, launched as Elsinore, and later named Gilwin, Lady Deanna, and Patheja), Opalo, Merrilee, Muralyn, Susie, Nanita, Elgwen, Blanche (launched as Dorothy M, and later known as Blue Boy and Cimarron), Colleen, and Mer-Na (the last of the Blanchard cruisers built), plus several others whose names we do not yet know.

Lake Union Drydock & Machine followed suit in 1926, with Winifred, (originally 42') the first of the series of about 30 built by Lake Union. These boats were dubbed Dreamboats by the fellow hired to market them for LUDDCO, formerly an automobile salesman. The Dreamboat moniker stuck, and the name generically came to define the entire class of raised deck vessels of similar design, despite Lake Union's trademark. 

Nearly every Northwest boatyard came up with their own version of the popular and affordable cruiser, with slight variations.

Although not truly "production boats" since each vessel was in fact unique and only 25 were built by Blanchard over the seven year period between 1924-1930, it was nevertheless the dawn of a new era of  marketing pleasure boats in the manner we are accustomed to today.