Since 1899, Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. has been manufacturing, maintaining and providing storage for fine quality, pleasure sailboats. As one of the original pioneers of fiberglass boat construction, we employ highly skilled craftsmen who implement our proven and uniquely developed manufacturing process. Our complete line of traditional designs are exquisitely finished and trimmed in brightwork that is simply stunning. With over a century’ worth of know-how, our family business will deliver not only the boat, but the experience of a lifetime. Cape Cod built boats become treasured heirlooms; sailed by families for generations. We look forward to welcoming you to our family.
Circa 1885 Myron & Charles Gurney manufactured wagons, carriages, and wagon wheels for Tremont Nail & other Wareham companies. With the invention of the rubber tire, the Gurney brothers knew they needed to shift gears & build something else to stay in business.
1899 While they occasionally built small skiffs for personal use they couldn’t part with one of their skiffs when an offer was made to buy it but they offered to build one just like it. With that, their new venture was decided. The Gurney brothers named their new business Cape Cod Power Dory Co. Charles did the drafting & designing. During this time, Cape Cod Shipbuilding Corp. built wooden pleasure and commercial boats (including coast guard boats).
1905 The Gurney brothers made a variety of boats in all sizes. Pictured here is the 80’ Saltaire a 60 Ton Ferry for Saltaire NY launched in November of 1919.
1919 Plans to build the Narrows Bridge were underway which would close Cape Cod Power Dory Co. off to Buzzards Bay. They moved to our present location at 7 Narrows Road with 1,500’ of water frontage and changed the company name to Cape Cod Shipbuilding Corp.
1925 The Cape Cod Baby Knockabout was designed and quickly became the most famous of the Gurney’s designs. The Knockabout evolved into a competitive one design fleet which is still active today.
Late 1930’s Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. purchased the Philip Rhodes designed Rhodes 18.
Circa 1935 Ownership of Cape Cod Shipbuilding Corp was passed to G.S. Williams after the death of Charles Gurney.
1938 Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. was organized and incorporated.
1939 E.L. Goodwin president of Undercliff Boatworks in New Jersey, dealer for Cape Cod boats came to speak with Cape Cod Shipbuilding regarding a recent decline in quality and ended up purchasing the company, moving to live in the office and run the new company.
1940 Purchased the Sparkman & Stephens designed Mercury and over 200 were built in wood between 1940 and 1952.
1941 Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. purchased the designs from George Lawley Co.
1942 During World War II Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. began production of war tugs & launches for the military. E.L. traveled to Washington to secure building contracts and required that the boats being built drew under 15’ in order to navigate the Wareham River. This in turn meant relatively smaller boats were being built at Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co.
Tugs & launches for the military.
1943 1 1/2 40’ tug boats were built a week. Under E.L.’s leadership Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. went from having 1 employee to over 100.
1946 After the war, Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. was able to easily switch gears from the tug boats & launches to small pleasure boats. Shipyards building larger boats were not able to make this transition and consequently many went out of business.
1947 All boats designed by Nathanael Herreshoff were purchased by Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. Wooden Herreshoff H-12 1/2’s continued to be built at Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co.
1947 After learning that the military was interested in fiberglass boats during one of his trips to the pentagon, E.L. worked with Mr. Bell of American Cyanamid in New York to built fiberglass products. The first fiberglass boat built by Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. was a model made under the office. Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. Continued to perfect the art of fiberglass boat building.
E.L. created airtanks within the boats to allow them to float even when filled with water. Shown here is E.L. testing the airtank chambers of a 9’ dinghy.
1948 First fiberglass MK Dinghy designed by the US Navy molded. Dave Bennett & E.L. are testing the strength of fiberglass in the photo.
1949 the first fiberglass Herreshoff Bull’s Eye molded
1950 CCSB was the first to install a lead keel on a fiberglass boat and successfully converted the Rhodes 18 and Mercury to fiberglass models.
1951 Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. created the first Fiberglass molding room with concrete floor and fireproof walls. The ceiling was low and there were no windows in order to keep a steady temperature for consistent curing of the resin.
1951 First fiberglass Raven built. Eight were delivered to the US Coast Guard Academy.
1952 First fiberglass Mercury designed by Sparkman & Stephens and Beverly Dinghy designed by Sidney Herreshoff built.
1952 Jack Daphney went to Alcoa which at the time was the only manufacturer of aluminum spars to purchase spar dies for our boats. He came home with the rights, extrusions and tools for all of the aluminum spar building line. Zephyr Spars became a division of Cape Cod Shipbuilding.
1956 First fiberglass Atlantic designed by W. Starling Burgess built by Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co.
1957 First fiberglass Marlin designed by Nathanael Herreshoff built.
1959 First fiberglass Knockabout molded.
1960 First fiberglass Goldeneye designed by Nathanael Herreshoff built.
1962 First fiberglass Gemini designed by Sidney Herreshoff molded.
1962 E.L. worked with Cornelius Shields to develop a boat for maritime cadets to understand how sailboats maneuver – the result is the Shields Class One-Design designed by Sparkman & Stephens. Cornelius Shields, a dedicated believer in one design racing, knew maritime cadets were learning to operate ships with no knowledge of the maneuverability of a sailboat. The class today remains a strict one-design with fleets throughout the country.
1965 First fiberglass Mercer 44 designed by William Tripp built by Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co.
1969 E.L. Goodwin’s son, Gordon L. Goodwin began working full time for the family company.
1972 First fiberglass H-12 1/2 built.
1972 First fiberglass Cape Cod Cat designed by Charles Wittholz built at Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co.
1974 The molds for the Shields Class One-Design returned to CCSB after being built by Chris Craft Corp and Hinkley Company for 9 years.
1979 Gordon L. Goodwin became President of CCSB.
Late 1980’s Many of our competitors began to go out of business as demand for new cruising boats dropped. To compensate for the decrease in cruising boat sales, we offered storage and repairs which was ideal with our water front property.
1990 Gordon worked closely with the Sidney & Halsey Herreshoff to enlarge the 18’ Goldeneye to a 26 footer – The H-26.
1993 Wendy J. Goodwin began working full time for the family company and three generations of Goodwin’s worked at the yard for about a year.
July 1994 E.L. Goodwin died at the age of 95.
1995 The DaySailer Class Association contracted Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. to began building the Uffa Fox designed DaySailer. The first sail number built was 14201.
1998 Wendy J. Goodwin was promoted to Vice President of the company.
1999 Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. celebrates its 100th Anniversary. Each boat built this year received a special ribbon shaped plaque commemorating the 100th year in boatbuilding in addition to the hull plaque.
Today Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. and the Goodwin family continue to offer quality, traditional, fiberglass sailboats.