Blanchard Junior Knockabout
LOA (Length Overall)
These 20’ fin-keeled day sailers were designed by Norman Blanchard Sr. About 25 were built by Blanchard Boatworks on Lake Union from the late 1930s until the early 1950s, most for livery operations on Lake Washington.
Because they are fast and responsive, but also stable enough to make good family boats, Junior Knockabouts are popular vessels for CWB's award-winning sail-training program SailNOW!.
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 (BSK) and the 20’ version was the Blanchard Junior Knockabout (BJK).
Both the Senior and Junior had full length red cedar carvel planking over steam bent oak frames. They both had handsome spoon bows, tucked up oval transoms and inboard rudders. They shared initial stability due to wide beam at waterline and heavy weather stability provided by cast iron keels. The Juniors became very popular to the houseboat dwellers in Lake Washington and about 25 BJK’s were for rent in the 1930’s-1960’s at Lake Washington Yacht Basin at the foot of Leschi Park. CWB has 5 1930’s built BJK’s as part of our livery and sailing instruction programs.