The Blanchard boat company was formed by experienced boatwright Norman J. Blanchard Sr. in 1923 on the northeast side of Lake Union. It went on to become one of the most well-known and respected boat shops in the northwest. In 1932, N.J. Blanchard and Ben Seaborn designed the Blanchard Senior Knockabout, a small cabin sloop, in response to comments made by local boaters about how the International Star design had no cabin. The Senior was a cabin daysailer with the rig of a Star.
The Blanchard Junior Knockabout was a new design which came shortly after, a 20’ open sloop, the hull was scaled down from the 26’ boat. The 20’ boat had only a short fore deck and aft deck and the long cockpit would easily seat 3 adults on each side bench. The 26’ cabin cruiser was called the Blanchard Senior Knockabout (BJK) and the 20’ version was the Blanchard Junior Knockabout (BJK).
Length Overall x Beam x Draft
19’8″ x 6’2″ x 3′
Daysailer. Round bottom, raked transom, open cockpit, fin keel.
The hull of a Blanchard Junior Knockabout (BJK) is carvel planked western red cedar over steam bent white oak frames. There are galvanized steel air tanks installed under the fore and aft decks. The cast iron keel is approximately 500 lbs. The cost with the sails in the 1940’s was $1195. The BJK has a graceful overhanging curved stem and elliptical flat transom with a short overhang. There is an in board rudder. There is a long foredeck, small side decks, and long aft deck. The aft deck sometimes had a cut out just forward of the transom to accept an outboard motor. The deck is tongue and groove cedar with a canvas sheathing. The mast is stepped just forward of the cockpit opening and was typically spruce. There are stainless steel shrouds that go about ¾ of the way up the mast and a forestay. The cockpit coamings and trim are Honduras mahogany. Inside the cockpit slated eats run longitudinally on either side of the centerline of the boat.
Variations in hull shape from earlier Blanchard Jr Knockabouts include elongated bow sections up to 9” difference.
Cast iron bolt-up keel
Earlier BJKs have planked decks, later versions are Douglas fir plywood
Some have unique bronze bow fitting.
Beam:6’ 2” Draft: 3’
Shape: Bottom, Round/ Bow, Overhang/ Counter stern, Moderate/ Counter stern, Transom
Construction: Carvel/ Frame, Steam bent
Material: cedar, oak, canvas, Douglas fir plywood, iron
The 1930’s Depression affected the yacht industry in an interesting way. Even though our economy was down there was still a demand for recreational boats, but of an affordable price.
The boatyards that had achieved fame through building 100’ yachts needed to find another product that would keep their crews busy. And the naval architects and boat designers also switched their client focus from scions of America to the working class. The Depression years became a golden age for small day sailing boats and fast one design racing boats.
The Blanchard Boat Company whose founder, N.J. Blanchard had been commercially building yachts for the wealthy since he was 15, in 1900, saw the turn of tide at his shop in Seattle’s Lake Union. In 1932 N.J. designed a classic little 26’ cruising sloop with cabin accommodations for 2 and a well for outboard motor. This sloop sold for less than the popular 23’ Star Class because it was designed to be simple to build and rig.
The next N.J. Blanchard design was a 20’ open sloop, the hull was scaled down from the 26’ boat. The 20’ boat had only a short fore deck and aft deck and the long cockpit would easily seat 6 adults on each side bench. The 26’ cabin cruiser was called the Blanchard Senior Knockabout (BJK) and the 20’ version was the Blanchard Junior Knockabout (BJK).