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History:  Shiels on the Tiger Cats


By Bob Shiels

One hot summer day in 1959 as I was walking from DCYC toward Balfour Patterson’s house, I met Balfour and his neighbor, Dr. Bob Gaylord, walking to the club. We stopped to talk. We sailed LIGHTNINGS and were having difficulty getting the 3rd person crews and our little wives were getting bloodied trying to handle too much sail. The 2 person TIGER CAT had won Yachting Magazine’s “ONE OF A KIND REGATTA” the previous spring boat for boat including the giant “A” SCOW. I said something like “Hey why don’t you two Rich Guys buy one of these fast two person Tiger Cats, bring it down and if it is any good, we will buy more and our wives can enjoy sailing again.”

They responded with “ that is a good idea but you have to join us.” --- After some argument I said “OK” and I was elected to make all of the arrangements and carry them out.

Sam Townsend, a DCYC Charter Member, had sailed dingies for Yale and had raced against Bill Cox, of Princeton who had commissioned the design, racing and production of the TIGER CAT. ---With that knowledge, I phoned Bill, was impressed by his answers to my concerns, consulted with Balfour and Bob and bought Hull # 13 from Pearson Boat Co. of Rhode Island.

The boat was delivered in September of “59 and was a great success. Nearly every one that went for a sail with us wanted one and by 1961 (2 yrs.) we had 17 active Tiger Cats in the club. We took them to The Fort Worth Boat Club’s and The Shreveport YC ‘s Regattas and they were always the fastest boats on the lake.

They were well made and tough. My boat was tied down on a special float next to Balfour’s and when we returned after one strong windy storm, we found his boat had broken loose and was hanging, only by it’s mast and rigging, from the jumpers at the top of my boat’s mast. Neither boat was damaged in the least.

We were having great sailing with our Tigers, but unfortunately it was a complex boat to build and our only builder, Pearson Bros. had also introduced the “Pearson 29”, the first and largest all fiberglass sailing inboard auxiliary at the time. Their new 29 foot sailing auxiliary was so popular and more profitable that by about 1965 they discontinued manufacturing the Tiger Cat and used the vacated space for the Pearson 29. We could not find another capable quality builder, so the Class died as a result. 

From a 2003 classified ad for a vintage Tiger Cat. 

Also from the 2003 Tiger Cat classifieds ad.

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