- Southern California
Blanche leaving Marina Pacifica.
The Blanchard 36 foot stock cruiser, Blanche, was originally Blue Boy, commissioned in 1928 in Seattle.
Twenty-five of these Leigh Coolidge designed Blanchard stock cruisers were built between 1924 and 1930 and, of those, only a few were configured with the enclosed aft cabin. As Blue Boy, she returned to the Blanchard yard shortly after she was launched to have her enclosed aft cabin modified slightly, creating a stepped cabin top which is unique among these boats. Norm Blanchard has a recollection of this modification being done, but cannot remember why the owner wanted it. CYA member Steve Wilen (Kensington) is a previous owner of the boat and he helped Norm Blanchard compile the written history of Blanchard Boat Company, Knee Deep in Shavings. Steve was helpful in giving some details of the boat’s history.
Blue Boy was later named Cimarron. She has had a succession of owners, one of whom added a Lehman engine and modified the companionway to accommodate this oversized propulsion system. A subsequent owner restored the companionway to its original configuration. She is now powered by a four cylinder Westerbeke diesel. An interesting remnant of all this modification is the starboard steering station. The standard factory configuration had the steering on the port side.
In summer of 2003, Linda LeMoncheck and Jed Shafer of Seal Beach, California acquired the boat from Mike Wollaston, owner of the Ewing Street moorings on the Ballard Ship Canal in Seattle, Washington. Mike oversaw extensive refastening of the hull and replacement of the transom, keel, and shaft log. The mast was restored using original hardware, including the bronze mast step hinge which is in use on the boat today. The original exterior configuration has been maintained with original deck hardware, painted canvas decking, teak bright work, and, of course, the unique stepped cabin top.
Linda and Jed arranged for the boat to be transported by truck from Seattle to Long Beach, California in July of 2003. After minor work to the hull, new paint was applied above and below the waterline and Blanche was launched from the Marina Shipyard in Alamitos Bay on July 24, 2003. She is currently moored at Marina Pacifica, Alamitos Bay, Long Beach, California and has been registered with a “CF” number in California, her new home.
As Cimarron, the boat has been a member of the Classic Yacht Association’s Pacific Northwest fleet in the past. She has been renamed Blanche by her new proud owners, in honor of the Blanchard name, as well as Blanche DuBois, a lady who relied upon the kindness of strangers.