Marina Fire

An Overview of GloryBe's History

Many thanks to the previous owners of GloryBe who have collected and preserved historical photos and archives over the years!


GLORYBE was built in 1914 in a boatyard on Vashon Island, just west of Seattle. The boatyard was owned by Charlie Taylor and Lewis Lee Grandy, the latter having started as an apprentice to Taylor. The yard was primarily turning out sailboats at the time, but also turned out a new style of power boat which was a precursor to the Lake Union Dreamboat and the Blanchard raised deck cruisers. Two of Grandy’s sons (Earl and Bill) went on to establish “Grandy Boatworks” on Seattle’s Lake Union in 1927. There were four boats like GLORYBE built by the Taylor-Grandy yard.

Back row far left: Charles Taylor.
Front row 3rd from left: Lewis Grandy, with one of his sons (Earl, Bill, Lewis, Ken or Carl).

GLORYBE’s hull was clearly influenced by the sailboats the yard was building. She was designed as a double-ender, and her displacement hull cut very efficiently through the water, with hull speed at about 7 knots, leaving very little wake. Her design is well suited to the Northwest, since there is plenty of room inside the boat for rainy days. In fact, GLORYBE retains her original layout, and even 88 years after she was initially built, visitors to the boat are inspired by the simplicity and efficiency of the boat’s design. The cockpit in the stern of the boat opens to an enclosed pilot house, which was added in the 20s or 30s. The steering station opens to the galley, and the galley, main cabin and berth are all forward and below decks, lighted by small round ports and a skylight. For a boat of such unassuming dimensions from the outside, there is a surprising amount of room below deck.

The boat is carvel planked primarily with Western Red Cedar, although some yellow cedar and mahagony planks were also added over the years. The frames are bent oak. Shipwrights have commented on the overall good condition of the frames – even as she approaches the century mark. When one of Grandy’s sons visited GLORYBE in the late 80s, he was asked what the yard’s “secret” was to make the oak frames so hard. He laughed and said that the trough outside the shop where the oak was kept was also where the workers went to pee. Over the years GLORYBE was re-fastened with a wide range of fastener types, including galvanized wood screws and silicon bronze, however, she was originally fastened using square iron boat nails. She was corked with cotton and then the seams were covered with cement.

GLORYBE originally came equipped with an Eastern Standard 16-18 HP gasoline engine. That engine was eventually replaced with a Redwing Gasoline engine (which was a marinized Model A engine). In 1962, a Buda DA 25 hp diesel was installed. This was a very heavy engine – weighing in at 950 pounds to produce the 25 horsepower. The Buda idled at 650 rpm and cruised around 1450. In 1996, the boat was repowered with a 4 cylinder Isuzu Diesel engine. Hull speed is around 7 knots, and she consumes less than a gallon an hour to cruise

GLORYBE was originally built for L.A. Jacox of Tacoma, Washington. He was a well-known yachtsman of that era. Early in the boat’s life, her resilient nature already appeared. There was a severe storm in 1917 in Tacoma where the boat was moored. An article from a 1917 edition of “Pacific Motor Boat and Motor Ship” describes the situation: “In even better condition than she was before damaged in the storm last winter, GLORYBE, the beautiful cruiser launch owned by L.A. Jacox, is again in service, giving her owner and his friends new pleasure. Pounding on the beach several hours in the January storm in which several Tacoma boats were damaged or destroyed, GLORYBE suffered seriously. Six planks were pounded through, the skeg was torn off, the rudder and propeller twisted, and the companion door was carried away. Two tugs towed her five miles with only the funnel and flagpole showing. But now she doesn’t show a scratch, and the damage is only a memory.”

Later in 1917, RP Paterson of the Fraser-Paterson Co, a well-known dry goods merchant of Seattle and Spokane, purchased her from Mrs. Jacox. Mr. Paterson purchased GLORYBE to cruise the Inside Passage to Alaska and kept her moored near his summer home on Orcas Island. From that location, GLORYBE broke free of her moorings. Again, described in a “Pacific Motor Boat and Motorship” article. “The pleasure yacht GLORYBE, owned by R. A. Paterson, a Spokane capitalist, which broke from her moorings near the Orcas Island summer home of the owner, has been found and returned to her berth. When GLORYBE turned up missing, it was believed that she had been stolen, but the watchman of a fishtrap near Point Roberts spied her adrift and recovered the craft, immediately notifying her owner by telephone. She was found unharmed, and was returned to her moorings under her own power.”

There were two more owners, Voorhees and Graybill, before L. H. Conrad purchased GLORYBE in 1929. He traveled with her extensively on Puget Sound. He was a commodore of the Queen City Yacht Club, and a captain of the fireboat Duwamish. Conrad sold GLORYBE in 1944 after 15 years – the longest owner in the boat’s history.

Less is known of the boat’s history during the subsequent ownership by Sherman, Haley, Woods and Erickson. However, the boat was purchased by James Coughlin, of Mt. Vernon, in 1968. He kept the boat for 14 years, the second longest owner in the boat’s history.

In May of 1982, GLORYBE was purchased by Russ and Anne Hohman and taken to Schwartz Bay, B.C. Russ and Anne carefully and lovingly renovated her to use as a live aboard for themselves and their three children. Classic Wooden Yachts of the Northwest describes one aspect of their family’s time on the boat as related by a yacht broker who offered the boat for sale in the late 1980s. “One of the bulkheads had this unusual small opening cut into it,” he remembers, “and I couldn’t figure out what it was for. Hohman and his wife made puppets, and one of the ways she entertained their children was by putting on puppet shows. She’d sit behind the bulkhead, and the portal became the puppet stage.”

In December of 1986, Jay and Marci Norton’s exhaustive months of searching for a classic boat to live and cruise on became a reality when they found and purchased GLORYBE. They moored her at the Oak Harbor Marina. The Norton’s took the boat to the Port Townsend Shipwright’s Co-Op and undertook a major restoration effort on the boat, including wooding the hull, replanking as needed, redoing floor timbers, and refastening the hull with over 5000 new fasteners. They built a new bulkhead in the rear of the pilot house and built a new door to decrease the draftiness of the previous board and batten door. They also put a hardtop on the canopy over the cockpit. Jay and Marci’s oldest daughter Marinna spent her first 18 months living aboard GLORYBE. She was also awarded the prize for “youngest member of the Classic Yacht Association” at a Port Ludlow Rendezvous which she attended on GLORYBE with her parents when she was just 48 hours old!

The Nortons sold the boat to Gordon and Carol Slocum, who further restored the boat with beautiful enhancements to the interior, including a new maple floor for the pilothouse, a mahogany chart table and new counters for the galley, all with beautiful sea rails. A metal icebox was also added under a cockpit seat for refrigeration. Gordon also updated wiring and redid the steering system..

In 1995 the Parsons became GLORYBE’s next owners. They repowered the boat, removing the very heavy Buda diesel and replacing it with a new Isuzu diesel engine. Creature comfort was also enhanced with the addition of a small hot water tank.

Betsy Davis purchased the boat in 1997. GLORYBE is a fine teacher for Betsy, who is a student in Seattle Central Community College’s Marine Carpentry program. One part of the learning process included taking the lines off of GLORYBE, to preserve a record of this unique boat’s design that lasted so well through so many years. The combination of GLORYBE’s design, craftsmanship and spirit has brought joy to countless people. She won the hearts of her owners and brought smiles to the faces of visitors and the community. Her gentle spirit and plucky character are an inspiring legacy.

Sadly, GLORYBE was one of many boats involved in a tragic fire at the Seattle Yacht Club in January 2002. GLORYBE will live on in the memories of those she touched as her owner and friends determine the feasibility of rebuilding her from the devastating fire damage.