William “Bill” Lapworth – SATORI Designer
William “Bill” Lapworth was perhaps the foremost West Coast Naval Architect in the post World War II period. Born in Detroit, Michigan, he attended and graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in marine engineering and naval architecture. After serving in the navy during World War II, Lapworth settled on the west coast and became partners with Merle Davis who had a yacht design office in Los Angeles. Davis died less than a year later.
At first, Lapworth paid the bills by doing surveying work.
Soon he was designing a series of light displacement racing sailboats that began to win or place highly on the East and West Coasts, beginning with Flying Scotsman and Nalu II, 46′ — a four time Class C Transpac race winner and first overall in 1959. Next came the 50′ sloop Ichiban, second overall in the 1961 Transpac. By 1958, more than 70 of the wooden L-36′ sloops had been built; but, by then fiberglass was becoming the material of choice.
All this attracted the attention of boat builder Jack Jensen who, one day walked in to Lapworths office and, with a handshake, was to form one of the most successful relationships in yachting history.
The first boat boat for Jensen was a 24 footer which Jensen proposed to be called the Lapworth 24. But Lapworth felt that since he had previously designed a 24 footer for someone else, a new name was called for.
According to Lapworth, this is when they decided on the name ‘Cal’ boats.
Together, Lapworth and Jensen produced thousands of boats including the Cal 20 (the most successful with more than 1,900 boats produced from 1961 to 1972), 24, 28, 29, 30, 33, 34, 36, 39, 40, and 46. The Lapworth/Jensen association continued until the Jensen’s death in 1980.
In is later years Lapworth kept his own Cal 46 which he said was the favorite of all his designs.
Jensen Marine / Cal Boats
Founded by Jack Jensen (the orginal owner of SATORI) and originally located at Costa Mesa, CA. The company first sold the centerboard LAPWORTH 24 designed by Bill Lapworth. The Lapworth’s 24 sold well. The name was first changed to CALIFORNIA 24 and then CAL 24. The name Cal stuck with the company until it closed in 1986.
The 24 was a success and Jensen hired Lapworth to design several more yachts including a 27 foot pop-top racer/cruiser. (there would ultimately be 3 Cal 27’s)
The CAL 40 was introduced in 1963. These yachts became one of the most celebrated production racings yachts of all time.
Bangor Punta purchased Jensen Marine in 1965*.
Boats were still listed as being built by Jensen Marine for a number of years after this date. Jensen Marine also built RV/Motor homes for few years at the Costa Mesa plant.
The Cal Yacht factory was moved to Tampa, Florida in January of 1981. The factory remained in Tampa until March of 1985. It was then moved to Fall River, Massachusetts and was managed by Jim Hunt, son of yacht designer C. Raymond Hunt. Bangor Punta also owned O’Day Yachts and Prindle Catamarans.
Later there was Siegler Marine, Starcraft Sailboat Products, and then finally just Cal Boats. If all the later takeovers are included, Cal boats continued to be built until 1989.
SATORI under Tom and Bobbie Vandiver
1983: Satori Cal Cruising 46, Les-son Cal 2-46 & Reliance Cal 3-46 took a two month cruise down to La Paz. Amazing how 3 hulls from the same mold sailed or motored so differently.
1988, May 1: Long Beach, CA to Sea of Cortez, Puerta Vallerta in the winter and north to Bahia De Las A for the summer. The best two years of my life! Dec. 1989 Acapulco. 1990 south to Costa Rica, 3 months there. It was wonderful, almost stayed. Panama west coast was great.
1990, May 15: Through the Panama Canal. Roamed the east coast of Panama for a month. Non-stop sail from Panama to Mobile, AL, mean speed 6.7 knots-beautiful! Only used diesel fuel for the genset.
1990 – 1992: Up the Tenn-Tom Waterway 400 miles to Fulton, MS near old hometown. Left Satori in a marina and drove back to CA, 9 months helping a friend establish his vineyard in Sonoma County. Feb.
1992: back down to Pensacola, short trip to the Bahamas, return to Pensacola for new fuel tanks.
1993: Bahamas, (crossed the Grand Bahama Bank during the “Storm of the Century – Satori handled it okay), down to the Exumas, waited for WX window, then sailed to Puerto Rico, 3 months there, then hopped down the Windwards to Grenada, over to Puerta La Cruz, VZ, (wonderful before Chavez) stayed almost one year,
1994, August: Sailed to Trinidad, (loved it), we were paid to deliver 85′ Berger and 43′ Nordic back to Lauderdale then stayed for Carnival 1995 , participated in a Krewe, May headed north again, re-visited the friendly islands skipped the bad ones. Got back to Pensacola before hurricane season, hauled out for 6 months for hull blister job – UGHH! Found a dock with house for sale for a lot less than I had paid for Satori, bought it, rented the house to Naval flight students and continued cruising, FL Keys, more Bahamas,
1998: Cuba for one month
1999: New Orleans for Mardi Gras
2001: Bahamas in the winter, then up to the Chesapeake – loved the Chesapeake and the people are friendly! Back to the bayou December.
2002: FIL passed away & MIL came to live with us, built a new home for her and became full time care givers with a few overnighters over to the barrier islands.
2004: Rode out Hurricane Ivan, 140 knots of wind on board in Pensacola SATORI – big adventure!
2007: MIL passed. Tom had a botched hip replacement, damn near passed, revived but have total vestibular dysfunction – no balance. Very tiring when on the water. Have not had Satori away from my dock in several years. Keeping busy rebuilding Atomic Fours and Velvet Drives.