By Jerry H. Adams
A Canadian, Bill Garden was born about 1915. He is an architect as well as a marine engineer. While now retired in Toad's Landing near Sidney, British Columbia, Mr. Garden maintained his office in Seattle during his career as a naval architect.
He is the author of a least two books including Yacht Designs in 1977 and the significantly updated version of that book in the late 1990's.
A website devoted to him and his designs can be found at http://www.wholeboat.net./gboats/gboat.html
He has been credited with the design of the Gulf 32 built by Capital Yachts. However, in researching Mr. Garden I have yet to find definitive association of his efforts with the Capital Gulf 32. Here is what I have found.
In his 1977 book, Yacht Designs, he includes the drawings for his Gulf 32. The drawings are dated 1964, and he credits his work as having been done on behalf of Gulf Products. In searching the web, I have found several sail boats up for sale precisely matching those designs. All were built in the late 1960's and some associate themselves with Gulf Marine Corporation. Two went so far as to disavow themselves as being related to Capital Yachts.
In his book, Mr. Garden states:
- that the molds for his Gulf 32 were built by George Quinlan in his barn in Seattle, along with the prototype Gulf 32.
- That the ballast consisted of a controlled pour of cement, sand, rock, and boiler punchings to total 6,500 lbs.
Mr. Garden also stated that approximately 3 dozen boats had been built (as of 1977) to his Gulf 32 design. I have not had access to the late 1990's updated edition of the book to determine whether he later claims design responsibility for the Capital built Gulf 32.
In comparing the Capital built Gulf 32 with Mr. Garden's design, I found striking similarities in appearance, displacement, length, beam, etc. At the same time, there were differences in LWL, rudder design, and interior layout. In reading the narrative associated with his drawings, Mr. Garden notes that were he doing the design today he would make certain changes such as increasing the LWL, adding roller furling, and changing the sloop rig to a cutter. When I look at the Capital Gulf 32, I find some of those very changes from the Gulf Marine version.
Mr. Garden's Gulf 32 was 32' overall; 23'4” lwl; 10' beam; 5'2” draft; displaced 16,000 lbs; and had 6500 in ballast. Those are the very dimensions of the early Gulf Marine 32's for sale on the internet. Further, their interiors are consistent with Mr. Garden's design – and Capital's Gulf 32 interiors are not.
It was not uncommon for builders to deliberately alter a naval architect's design and claim it as an in house design in order to avoid the payment of royalties. On the other hand, Capital Yachts may well have formed its Gulf division from the purchase of Gulf Marine, made the recommended design improvements, and paid all royalties due. I have been unsuccessful in finding any claim by Capital that their G32 was designed by Bill Garden.
It is easy to see why our Gulf 32 is credited to Bill Garden, but I have yet to find a conclusive link between Bill Garden's Gulf 32 and the Capital Yacht Gulf 32. However, I will continue to search with the intent to update this review. If any concerned party has information on the designer of the Capital 32, not noted above, please contact me.