The History of Hull "Sea Bird" One-Design

The Boat

News Articles

The Designer

The Builder

The Yacht Club

V. Hoy and Charles Brennen sail Hoy's Sea Bird #22.
They took fleet honours at the 1940 Marblehead Race Week as this newspaper clipping witnesses:

"Boy Hoy, the 15-year-old skipper of the Hull Yacht Club’s one-design Seabird, now must realize how the New York Yankees felt last year.  During the Marblehead Race Week he won seven consecutive races, annexing prizes from the Pleon Yacht Club, the Boston Yacht Club, the Eastern Yacht Club and the Corinthian Yacht Club.

Hoy’s jib man was Charlie Brennan of Brighton.  Bob and Charlie spent race week on the Kathleen II, the 65 foot schooner of Bob’s father.  Bob will spend one more year in prep school and then will matriculate at Holy Cross, where, if he makes the football team, his name will lend an added touch to the Crusaders’ famous hoya cheer.  But then, ship ahoy also has its merits."

1938 Hull Yacht Club “Sea Bird” Sailboat. Hull #23

  • Designed by naval architect, Fred W. Goeller, Jr. based on his Petrel style design.
  • Built at Lamb & O’Connell of Scituate, MA. Frank Lamb was a Hull Yacht Club member.
  • Replaced the fleet of one-design Hull 15s designed in 1908 by John F. Small.
  • #23 was Mr. Lamb’s personal yacht and is the only known example left in existence.


  • LOA                18' 2½”
  • Beam               6’9”
  • Cedar on white oak, bronze fastened, canvas decked
  • Centerboard
  • Plumb Bow
  • Mast partner inside the coaming
  • External rudder
  • 220 square feet of sail area
  • club footed jib


  • Peter Richardsson                 2004 – Pres.   Cohasset, MA
  • Captain Allan Waldman        1999 – 2004    Marblehead, MA
  • Fred Hyde (Deceased)          1965 – 1999    Marblehead, MA
  • Frank Lamb                             1938 - ?           Scituate, MA


In the mid 1930s the Hull Yacht Club was slowly getting back on its feet. Meetings still took place In the Father O'Brien Hall on Samoset Avenue, and Myriam Hoy still allowed her pier to serve as the club docks, but change was in the air. Local racing was becoming more vibrant as the economic depression slowly waned. Both Quincy and Marblehaed Race Weeks were attracting hundreds of racers and thousands of spectators annually, and most area yacht clubs were rebuilding thier one-design fleets in this renewed spirit of competitive enthusiasm. The Hingham Yacht Club had traded their fleet of one design, 22s for the venerable, 19 foot, Alden O boat. Likewise, the Hull Yacht Club was searching for a knockabout to replace its aging fleet of Hull 15s that were designed by John F. Small of Small Bros. in 1908 and had been in service for nearly 30 years.

Winner of the 1907 One Design Championship in a Hull 15
George W. Wightman, Owner

In 1936, all indications were that the Hull Yacht Club was going to follow Hingham's lead and adopt the Alden O Boat as its one-design racer. Mr.Ollie Olsen, the club's Fleet Captain, was quoted in a Hull Times article in 1936 saying, "The "O" boats have been decided upon as the class for the club and several of these boats are expected to be added to the club's fleet by the end of the season." However, the article also had a bit of information that would portend a change of course in the club's class boat choice. "Last Sunday many of the boats of the club's fleet went to the Quincy Yacht Club's annual regatta, two of the boats walked off with the fleet honours. George Palmer piloted his Petral to a win in the Sea Bird class and Paul Jamauh skippered Buddy Keenan's Ace to a win over the Hingham Pen Yans." Petral was built from Fred W. Goeller's new Petrel type design, dated 4/15/1934. She was constructed in 1935 as a "prototype" for the Sea Bird Class and commissioned by George "Noodie" Palmer, the Hull Yacht Club's Commodore,

The summer of 1937 was transitional. While some members followed the early recommendation to adapt the Alden O Boat as the class, a few members opted to follow in the Petral's footsteps. As the Quincy Patriot Ledger reported on 6/21/37;

News Article: Hingham Club Opens Season

"The Hingham Yacht Club launched its 1937 racing schedule Saturday afternoon, when three classes competed off Crow Point.  In addition to the O-boats and the Mighty Mites which have borne the brunt of Hingham racing for the past few years since the 22-meter boats were sold to distant waters, the new Sea Bird class made it’s debut.

Only two boats of the new class, Dorothy Bennett’s Kimberley and D. A. Brown’s Gull, got away in the season’s opener.  The former won by leaving the latter hull down, a period of almost 20 minutes separating them at the finish."

Those 2 boats, Kimberly and Gull, would be the only Sea Birds to make the line all season. Noodie Palmer did sail Petral successfully in many regional regattas. The success of Petral regionally coupled with the consistent performance of the other 2 trailblazers against Hingham's O Boats, was enough to turn the tide in favor of Goeller's design. The design chosen was The new fleet was commissioned, and boat builder and club member, Frank Lamb, of Lamb & O’Connell was chosen to construct a replacement for the club’s aging Hull 15s, designed by John F. Small of Small Bros. in 1908. Lamb also had access to a wealth of sailing history, knowledge, and passion at the Hull Yacht Club. The culmination was the Hull “Sea Bird.” An 18 foot, 3 inch cedar on white oak, bronze fastened, Marconi rigged, knockabout racing sloop with several refinements. The distinctive “plumb bow” gave the boat a slight waterline advantage, and the running backstays enhanced both trim and helm.

The design approved, a fleet was commissioned and constructed in Scituate, MA from 1937 to 1939.

The October 7, 1937 edition of the Hull Times heralded the decision;

News Article: Sixteen New Boats for Yacht Club

"The Hull Yacht Club is proud to announce that a fleet of sixteen one-design boats is now under construction.  These boats, which will be completed next May, are from the plans of Fred Goeller, naval architect, who has been very prominent in the designing of small boats.

These boats which are to be known as the Hull Sea Birds, are being built by Frank J. Lamb of Scituate. The finest materials only will be used in the building. The boats are to be cedar planked and all screw fastened.  The overall length of the boats is eighteen feet.

One boat built from these designs has raced nearly every small boat in these waters and has been a consistent winner.

When the racing season starts next summer the Hull Yacht Club will boast one of the largest and finest classes racing in Massachusetts Bay. This marks a great step forward in the revival of yachting at Hull, which for so many years has been missing. Hull once the racing center of new England will once again take its place as a dominating figure in yachting activities."

The Quincy Patriot Ledger also reported the story on 9/13/37;

News Article: To Build New Style Crafts

Hull Members to Build New Petrel Type Sea Birds - "Ten new Sea Birds of the Petrel type, designed by Fred Goeller of Quincy, will be built, this winter for members of the Hull Yacht Club, it was revealed yesterday.  Frank Lamb of Scituate will build them.

The Sea Bird was developed by Mr. Goeller several years ago, the first being the Petrel which he designed for George Palmer, now Commodore of the Hull Yacht Club.  The Petrel was such an able and fast craft that several other Hull yachtsmen ordered sisterships and formed a one-design class.  Several others were built for yachtsmen living at a distance, one of them being a New Zealander.

The Petrel, which incidentally, won the handicap class race at the Squantum Yacht Club inter-club regatta yesterday, is an 18-foot overall knockabout sloop.  Her waterline and her overall length are practically the same, and she has a beam of about six feet.  With a Marconi rig inboard, she is fast and handy.  She has a more powerful blow than the usual small one-design class, and her speed, coming largely from her long waterline, is surprising.

Mr. Goeller, a veteran of the drafting board, turned out the model from which Harry Pigeon’s famous 34-foot yawl, Islander, which he sailed around the world alone a few years ago, was constructed.  The Quincy architect also designed Alf Loomis’ famous yawl, Hippocampus."

It appears that 6 more boats were ordered between the middle of September and the first week of October. Demand continued through the winter as an article in the The Hull-Nantasket Times of Thursday, March 24, 1938 reported;

News Article: Hull Yacht Club New Boats Ready Soon For Delivery…Being Built at Scituate

Eighteen new sailing boats for members of the Hull Yacht Club will be ready for delivery soon, according to Commodore Robert O. Olsen of the local boating group, who are busily preparing for a big season.

The little yachts, of latest design, are being built at Scituate, and will be completed in ample time for the opening of the season along the South Shore, which is usually about May 1st, although actual competition in races and regattas is not usually held much before June 17th.

The Hull Yacht Club, which organized several years ago as successor to the Old Yacht Club at Pemberton, has set as its objective a revival of interest in boating to such an extent the Hull Bay and its adjacent waters will again become a center for pleasure craft from all parts of the Eastern sea-board, as it once was when the Old Hull Yacht Club was in its height of activity.

Composed largely of young members, including the Pelhams, McDonalds, O’Connells’ Walshs, Hoys, Jackmaughs, and many other prominent summer and year-round residents, the new club has progressed remarkable during the past three years, and the races sponsored on summer week-ends, particularly the Gala Day Regatta, have gradually attracted a widespread following.

One of the big events scheduled for the 1938 season is the establishing of a clubhouse, adjacent to the new pier at Windemere. Present plans call for the moving of the edifice formerly occupied by the Beacon Club on Allerton Hill for this purpose, and the town recently voted its purchase.  Such a clubhouse, members believe, will be a big attraction to new members, and to visitors from other boating centers along the coast, as will the dredging of the inner bay for an anchorage basin for all sizes of craft."

By the time the race season and summer arrived, 20 Sea Birds were scheduled for delivery. The The Hull-Nantasket Times reported in June:

News Article: Twenty New Boats for Hull Yachtsmen

"Twenty new sailboats, of the “Sea-Bird” type, have been built at Scituate and are now being delivered to various members of the Hull Yacht Club, including: Jack Long, Tom McDonald, John B. Wash, Jack Walsh, Frank Daley, David Pelham, Kevin O’Connell, Bud Brine, Fred Quinn, Tom Palmer, Bob Shields, Mel Dolan, Murray How, Frank Lord, William St. George, Eddie Brown and Bud Casey.

These trim new crafts, 18 feet in length, were designed and built by Frank Lamb of Scituate, and will be moored in the Bay at Allerton and Bayside.  Delivery is being supervised by Lloyd Miller, Hull harbor-master, and Yacht Club member."

Almost 30 Seabirds were built, but just two were in the water in June 1937 when the class debuted at the Hingham Yacht Club's season opener race. They were to serve for several years as the backbone of the club’s racing activities, but unfortunately a hurricane destroyed a portion of the fleet in October 1938, and WWII basically claimed the rest. Miraculously, Lamb’s personal Seabird survived. Hull #023 turned 70 years old this year. Bringing her back to Bristol condition is an apt reward for her perseverance.

The Sea Bird #23 - circa 2007

Frederick W. Goeller, Jr. was a talented designer and superb draftsman who was employed for a few years before World War I by The Rudder.  Among his designs are more than a dozen sail, power and row boats specifically created for The Rudder as how to build articles.  These range from a 9’ skiff named Pollywog to the 35’ power cruiser Flying Fish.  Also included in this group is the 12’ outboard (and sailing) dinghy that WoodenBoat has long offered plans for as the Goeller Dinghy.  Since, as far as we know, Goeller’s original drawings have not survived, his published plans are a viable alternative – although few in number, they are an inspiring body of work.  They appear in The Rudder beginning in October 1910 and conclude in January 1917.

Fortunately, Goeller's original design for the Hull Sea Bird is housed at the Daniel S. Gregory Ships Plans Collection Library at Mystic Seaport. These plans below will be used to research and facilitate the restoration.



The History of The Lamb and O’Connell Yacht Building Company has its roots in the George F. Lawley & Son, Corp. in Neponset, MA. George Lawley & Son, Corp., was founded by George F. (1848-1928) with his father, George (1823-1915) in 1866. Lawley and fellow worker William Maybury opened a shipyard in Scituate in 1866 for the construction of pleasure boats. The "Lawley built" boat stood then, as it did well into the 20th century, for perfection in every detail. George S. Lawley Sr. opened his first yachtbuilding yard in Scituate, Mass. In 1874, he moved to City Point, in South Boston, to a site next door to the Boston Yacht Club, but by 1910 he needed more space, so he moved again, to the former Putnam Nail Works, in Neponset. George Lawley & Son flourished under the guidance of three generations to become one of the premier yacht yards in America until 1945.

George F. Lawley circa 1894

In 1874 the yachting boom struck, and the firm transferred its yard to a more advantageous location near the city, a fairly large lot next to the Boston Yacht Club station at City Point in South Boston. Within a few years, the demand for new yachts became so great that the plant was moved to the north side of City Point, and in 1902 additional area was secured when the city abandoned the old House of Correction property. It was here that the firm built two of Boston's greatest yachts, the cup defenders Puritan and Mayflower. During this period the Lawleys built many well-known yachts, both sail and power.

Frederick D. Lawley (1878-1953) joined the firm as a manager and yacht designer and boatbuilder in 1902. studied naval architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He would eventually start his own yard, F. D. Lawley, Inc. in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1925.

The Lawley Company was crowded out of its City Point yard in 1910 by an overflow of work, and an inability to expand. The plant was moved across Dorchester Bay to the old Putnam Nail Works at Neponset. The Guinevere was built at the Neponset yard. It was the first yacht ever fitted with diesel oil engines motoring her electric Westinghouse equipment which propelled the boat, hoisted the sails, lighted, heated, and "cooked" the craft, and twirled the big gyroscope which keeps the boat on even keel. Vessels are known to have been built by the Lawley firm until 1932. After playing a pivotal role in the war effort, Lawley launched its last naval vessel, YM-98 in September of 1945. The company remained at Port Norfolk until January 1946, when it was officially dissolved.

Mr. Frank Lamb was born in Boston in 1892. His father, John P. Lamb, was listed as a "Boatbuilder" as early as 1913, about the time that Frank started his career as a carpenter with A.T. Stearns Lumber Yard at Port Norfolk, not far from the Lawley yard. In the early 1920s, Frank became carpenter at F. D. Lawley, Inc. in the “Palmer Street,” yard. His duties soon took him to Lawley’s Quincy Adams Yard. There he met Patrick O'Connell who had been working in the Lawley yards for sixteen or so years .

They first opened a yard in partnership at the old WWI Victory Plant Shipyard at Squantum in January, 1929 as Lamb & O'Connell. There they built the 50 foot power tender, MARGARET, designed by Howard and Munroe, for use by the Eastern Steamship Lines in New York to remove passengers from their sometimes fog bound commuter vessels plying the East River. It was a covered vessel with lighting and carried 50 passengers and crew. Later they built a 47 foot schooner PARAQUITA II, designed by Lawley alum, Walter McInnis, and a German one design 30 square meter yacht for Arthur Schuman.

As a result of a great fire at the Victory Plant late in 1929, the firm moved to Scituate, Mass where they stored, built, and repaired small vessels. The following newspaper clipping recounts their arrival:

News Article: Ship Building Yard in Scituate
Scituate Herald, Friday, October 10, 1930 , Volume 40-NO.25

Lamb and O'Connell To Operate Plant At Scituate Harbor "Scituate Harbor is to have a new ship building plant.  Lamb & O'Connell who operate a ship building yard at Atlantic have leased land from Fred Conroy on the meadows between the First and Second Cliffs and are to establish a yard there at once.  Work has already begun on a new building for the plant.

Lamb & O'Connor are yacht builders and have a fine reputation.  It is proposed to build a new marine railway at the plant and if this is done many of the yachts which are removed from Scituate Harbor during the winter and early spring season will remain in Scituate through the year.  This will mean much added taxation for the town for the greater number of the boats at Scituate harbor are taken away during the winter and are taxed in other towns.

The new yard will be established overlooking the Harbor and entrance will be gained to the yard by some dredging which will have to be done. The new business will give employment to a number of people and already a number have arrived in town and are securing homes."

This is the building that was constructed in late 1930 for Lamb & O'Connell
It was demolished in the summer of 2008

In 1932 they built a 36 foot Atkins double ender named "QUANDY". In 1956 she was owned by Bill Chapin of Barrington, RI and sailed successfully to Bermuda. In addition, in 1933 Lamb and O'Connell built a  61 foot cruiser designed by Eldridge-McInnis named SENGA ( ref The Rudder,  January 1933). She was owned  by Mrs. Charles F. Adams of Marblehead, Mass. YACHTING of Feb. 1934, p 77 reported, " Four new classes for New England new One-Design  racing classes being built for N.E. clubs, seven & 18 foot knockabouts designed by F. Spaulding Dunbar, who graduated from MIT as a naval architect, and became famous for designing small boats and yachts, building at Lamb's yard for Stage Harbor Yacht Club."

In 1934, Frank's son, John P. is listed as a "joiner" working at the Densmore yard, on the Neponset River, in the north "Atlantic" section of the City of Quincy. In 1937, John was listed as "Manager." During WWII he worked at the Fore River Bethlehem Shipyard at Quincy Point. Sometime thereafter Mr. O’Connell may have left the partnership. The depression may have dampened the partnership’s prospects. During WW II, it seems that Lamb joined forces at the old Fred Rolph yacht yard on River Street, Town River, Quincy where together they built wooden tugs for the U.S. Army. After the war they likely returned to Scituate. Frank Lamb died on September 8, 1952.

The original Hull Yacht Club was organized in the year 1880 and incorporated two years later on March 25, 1882. In 1881, the yacht club admitted George G. Garraway, believed to be the first black man ever admitted to such a club. On June 15, 1882, the new Club House at Hull Hill was dedicated to the membership. The four-floor "Hull House" (see picture below) of the Hull Yacht Club enticed new members with three bowling alleys, a billiard room, a dining room and two reception rooms, not to mention easy access to the waters of Boston Harbor. In March of 1883, 480 members elected by ballot Commodore William F. Weld, owner of the 109 foot schooner Gitana. By 1889, the membership had declined to 235 but the fleet had increased to 115 yachts, more than any other yacht club in New England. The annual dinner, held at the Parker House, was attended by 140 members, and Captain Joshua James of the Hull Life Saving Station was the guest of honor.

(the original clubhouse)

The Hull Yacht Club boasted a membership that included the most affluent and influential names in Boston: Melvin Ohio Adams, Lizzie Borden's defense attorney; Albert A. Pope, the father of American bicycling; Harry Converse, founder of the Boston Rubber Shoe Manufacturing Company; Charles Lauriat, the bookseller; Commodore William Weld, the shipping magnate; Dr. Francis Brown II, the founder of Boston's Children's Hospital; Dr. Myles Standish, the ophthalmologist and direct descendant of the military leader of Plymouth Colony; and Charles Francis Adams II.

The Boston Yacht Club merged with the Hull Yacht Club in 1903. The Hull had previously merged with the Massachusetts (formerly the Dorchester) in 1899. Thus, the Hull Yacht Club became the Hull station of the Boston Yacht Club and the Boston gained a station at Dorchester as well. Membership dwindled during the Depression. The great building, after being sold to private investors for speculation as a hotel, was deemed a fire hazard and dismantled in the mid-1930's.

The present Club was incorporated on February 23, 1932 and was founded by Commodore William T. Hall. Meetings were held in a local church (in the Father O'Brien Memorial Hall on Samoset Avenue) and access to the water was from privately owed docks along Cadish Avenue called Hoy's Pier. In 1937, a year after Fitzpatrick Way had been built on top of the old railroad bed, Clarence Nickerson, Chairman of the Board of Selectman, and Andrew St. George, proposed the building of a causeway along the present site of the Yacht Club, the Saltwater Club and Town Pier; the placing of rip-rap to protect it, and the filling of the area between the causeway and Fitzpatrick Way with the dredgings of Allerton Harbor. David M. Pelham, the club's Acting Commodore was quoted in a Hull Times article in July 1937 saying, "A new feeling of goodfellowship is awakening, and now that plans of dredging a basin between Hog Island and Windemere is a reality, it won't be long before we see a clubhouse and pier extending out into the water and a basin filled with yachts." His vision was not totally completed until 1949, but In 1939, a W.P.A. project was approved to move the former "Old Beacon Club" from Holbrook Avenue on Allerton Hill to its present location at Mariners Park.

(existing clubhouse at Windemere)

The Hull Yacht Club has a long history of sailing and racing (including an "almost" entry in the America's Cup). By the mid-Forties, there was movement at the Club away from handicap racing toward one-design racing. In 1945, there were fourteen Lawley 14's and six Lawley 110's. The first Turnabout appeared in the early Fifties and by the mid-sixties, the Hull Fleet had grown to include thirty six Turnabouts, ten 110's, six Ensigns and three 210's. Later on, the Club went through a transition back toward handicap racing and cruising memberships. Over the past few years though, a fleet of Rhodes19's has grown and brought more one-design racing back to the club. The 110's and N-10's are holding their own still and the junior sailing fleet has added lasers and 420's to it's roster.

(some pictures & text are excerpts from "Images of America: Hull and Nantasket Beach". By the Committee for the Preservation of Hull's History and published by Tempus Publishing, Inc)

"This program is supported in part by a grant from the Hull Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.