History Of The Islander Yacht Corp
by Skipper Wall (edited by Randall Marquis)
It was my original intent to learn about the Islander Yacht Corporation. I was looking for information such as all the sizes of boats manufactured, numbers of boats built in each size, dates of production, naval architect and anything else of interest to an Islander yacht owner.
I have talked to many people who were connected with the corporation through the years and learned smidgens of information. But in reality, not very much is available for the simple reason that it has been twelve years since the Islander Corporation closed its doors and everyone involved has gone on to other endeavors and interests and has long forgotten their involvement.
More Islander History
by Jim Gravelyn (edited by Randall Marquis)
Once upon a time (in the mid 1950's) there was a boat builder named Joseph McGlasson (he died in 1993) who designed, built and sucessfully marketed a 24 foot wooden sailboat, the Catalina Islander, in Costa Mesa, California. Joseph, perhaps inspired by his own last name, came to ponder the idea of building his boat out of fiberglass instead of wood and in 1961 approached a company named Glas Laminates to help him accomplish this. Glas Laminates was making its money from the sale of shower stalls and portable toilets, but they knew fiberglass, so they took Joseph's sweet little 24 foot sailboat and created a mold from which the first fiberglass Islander 24's were built. The mold carried the lines from the planks used in the wooden boat and those grooves in the fiberglass hull became a signature feature of the Islander 24, and other Islander models later.
Well, this turned out to be a damned fine boat, and they sold like hotcakes. In fact, they sold as many as they could make, and perhaps the two partners in this collaboration weren't prepared for their success, because in 1962 Glas Laminates and Mr. McGlasson began to go their seperate ways, with Glas Laminates changing its name to Columbia Sailboats and introducing the Sparkman & Stephens-designed Columbia 29, and Joseph with his McGlasson Boat Co. adding the Islander 32 to his line. The divorce wasn't amicable, and I don't pretend to know what happened, but if you ever have a chance to see an Islander 24 sitting next to a Columbia 24, Columbia Contender 24, or Columbia Challenger 24, you will see that the hulls are identical except that their versions have the planking lines removed. Perhaps the comparison will make you realize where McGlasson's bitterness came from - he felt that his design was stolen and used to build boats that competed for buyers with his own company.
Now you know some Columbia history, too.