Westsail/Windbag Personalities

Thanks to Steve Yoder for this idea.

Reading through the Westsail Corporations publication Windbag, there are faces and names that reappear as cruisers, columnists and employees.

The WOA would like to hear from the folks listed below to get caught up and to add their story to the Westsail history. 


Lynne and Snider Vick - Westsail Corporation owners - former owners of Clea W42 - life time members of the WOA.  Windblown 1998 Jan-Feb article by Lynn Vick concerning some of their post Westsail activities

Bud Taplin - Westsail Corporation production manager from ~ June 1971 to March 1974. Owner World Cruiser Yacht Company April 1974 to 1985 and from 1985 to present (2024) Westsail Parts Company .

Bud shares his memories here of the Westsail Corporation.  Bud also services the Westsail fleet with custom parts and his sage wisdom that has proven to be a key factor in keeping the Westsail Fleet thriving.

March 6, 2012 we celebrated Bud's 80th birthday with cards, boat pictures and emails. 

March 6, 2022 we celebrated Bud's 90th birthday with cards, boat pictures and emails. 

Happy BD Bud from all of us. 

Bud on the forum:

"Now that my birthday is past, I want to thank everyone who send cards, pictures of their boats, emails, and phone calls. About 25 cards, 10 emails, and five phone calls."

"In looking at the series of pictures Jay put up on the WOA website, who is that skinny hippy guy with all the hair, and that good looking young honey next to him, posed in front of a boat they just completed building and are ready to launch ? .Hard to believe that was about 35 years ago."

A list of Westsails that Bud Taplin of World Cruiser Inc partially or completely finished in the World Cruiser boat yard as of 1/21/2024. 


#403 for Danny Koontz and named BREAKAWAY.  Partial with pilothouse on the aft cabintop.  He never finished the boat, and sold it to Tom Bell.  The boat sat in a construction yard in LA Harbor, and was finally scrapped.

#746 for Jim Morgan and named TRISTAN.  Partial and he finished the rest.  Sailed to the South Pacific and then to the Orient by Michael Kriesa, and boat still named TRISTAN.

#755 for Dennis Martin and named FREESTYLE.  Partial completion and he finished the rest.  The boat is now in the Pacific Northwest, owned by Klet Gozdecki and boat still named FREESTYLE.


#40 for Michael Norman and named SNOWBIRD.  Finished boat with custom deck.  Boat was last owned by Jack Wehrs in San Diego and still named SNOWBIRD.

#51 for Ed Riff and named ASLAN.  Finished as schooner rigged.  The boat is now in Florida and owned by Noel Greilick and named SCHOONER OR LATER.

#62 for Ann Bronfman and named MEANDER.  Finished and sailed to the Caribbean.  The boat was last owned by Robert Baldesari and was named SEA HORSE.  The boat washed ashore in Caribbean during a hurricane and was a total loss.



#37 for Steve Payne finished and named NERISSA.  The boat is now in New Zealand and owned by Louise Bobbitt, and boat still named NERISSA.

Westsail damaged boats restored after I closed my boatyard.

W32 #514 named MORNING SUN, a factory finished boat and the third owner was Herb Jansen.  The boat was badly damaged by hurricane Alicia on Clear Lake, Texas and I was hired to do the repairs.  Took three guys that had worked for me and we spent a month in a Texas boat storage yard restoring the boat. 

W32 #733 named CRITERION, a kit boat and the owner is Kevin McGrath.  The boat was struck by a freighter off Point Conception and motored into Santa Barbara.  I was hired to do the repairs.  Had a fiberglass shop in Long Beach repair the hull, then moved the boat to a storage yard in Costa Mesa and two carpenters that had worked for me repaired the interior.

John Carson
(seen above in his 1980 Nestle ad) & Jim Grizzard - described as two young attorneys - Pegasus W32 #054 their vessel for a round the Pacific tour.  Seminar speaker - Writer of "Cruising Man" in the Windbag.

Britt McPherson
- Miss Milk model early 1970's - crew with John Carson on his cruise - writer - Cruising Woman in the Windbag - Seminar speaker - Cruising Woman 1976.

Len Thornback
- Writer Owner's Corner, Westsail customer service representative as of Summer 1974. started work at Westsail in 1972 as Designer and Commissioning of new vessels.

Jack Wilken - Writer Owner's Corner - From an email 7/5/2013 - Jack was also in the "Cruising Life part 1"  "Cruising Life Part 2" movie (1976)  as the W42 captain. 

Hello Dick and Jay,

I thought I would send you a note to correct an error on the website. I was at Westsail for nearly 3 years, starting in 1974. For the first 6 months I did special projects and then I became the Customer Service and Quality Control Manager. After about a year I also became the manager of the Engineering Department. Engineering had been under the Production Department but as such had never actually documented the boats. This meant no one really knew the cost of the boats and QC had a constant battle on their hands. Production used to say "show me where it says 'that' is wrong". 

When I left Westsail I was the manager for the Crealock 37. I knew and worked closely with Bill Crealock until I left to go cruising in 1980. I was also involved with Larry Kendall and built Kendall hull #11.

I now live in Seattle. I am partners in a boat company with my son, Seattle Boat Works. I hope this info is helpful to you.



Seattle Boat Works llc
Jack Wilken

Jim Kern - Sales manager - Summer 1976

Merry Romine  - Admin. Asst. to Jim Kern - Thank you for supplying Cruising News Letters, Windbag publications and other Westsail items to the WOA for our archives. See Google Docs . 7/18/2011  Merry was the Admiral on the W42 in the "Cruising Life" movie. 

Doug DiLaura - Controller - summer 1976

John Vyn - Westsail - resident sail maker

David White - Racer - Cruiser - Writer for Windbag.  David and his wife live in the Pacific North West and Florida.  He continues to be involved with sailing and would like to find out about his 2 Westsail boats. 

His Bio from the WOA membership informiation. 

Original Factory Racing Team Sailed to S. Pacific in 1974 on first boat. Sailed from Tahiti to S.F. singlehanded. Entered the Single-handed Trans Pac (to Japan) in fall of 75. Westsail ship my boat to England where I did the 76 OSTAR. Went to work for Westsail and sold first 32' and ordered a hull deck ballast rudder. Built on the hard in Carolina Bch with a lot of help from the Westsail crew from the Factory. Sailed around and did the Berrmuda 1-2 in 79. Stayed in Newport and got involved organizing the Around Alone Race, which was later sponsored by BOC. Sold boat 2 and built maxi for the First Around Alone. - added by Jay Bietz 1/21/2024.


Presently in Charleston, SC for a party for Brad Van Liew who will win this version of Around Alone if he doesnt have a major problem. Restart for the sprint to the finish in France on the 14th. Probably the last time the race will be run as there are only 4 boats. We started almost 20 in 1982.  ...




Just got back from Charleston, S.C. and a party for Brad Van Liew. Spent some time with 'Sir' Robin (Knox-Johnston) whom I had spent time with in 1976 when I was in Southampton, England preparing for the OSTAR. Westsail had an agreement with Robin then and he was a big help to me. That was a long time ago.


Robin said that the Vicks are in a small Washington border town (with Canada).


John Carson and I kept in touch for years but stopped a while back. Last known contact was in Seattle. I would love to know where Jim Kern is.


Also, my second Westsail is somewhere. Truely a one off. Custom spar with intermediate. Fuel tank under the engine with a day tank on port side. Quarter berth. Big oval ports and one on the cabins aft face. Teak decks.

I was in the first Single-handed trans-pac.


Sailed a Pacific Seacraft 37 ("Intention") yawl. Placed 2nd ( maybe 3rd) but beat Carson in an identical boat by a day. Go South.




Jay, I dont know the hull #. Thats been lost in the years. I sold the boat to Bob Nicholson in the Boston area so that I could build Gladiator for "Around Alone". That would have been in 1980. Boat was a hull deck ballast rudder I bought from the Westsail plant just before the bankruptcy. .... Boat was finished in Carolin Beach on the sand, with a lot of Factory help. They worked a 4 day week and would come help me on off days. This would have been summer of 1977.


Jo-Ann Howard - Writer / Cruiser

Jerry Dunton - Sales Manager Westsail Corp - in 1974.

Mike Bradshaw - Sales Manager Westsail Corp - Spring 1975

Jim Tompkins - Factory Sales Manager - Fall 1974

Ferenc Mate - author of From a Bare Hull -1975 and many more books. 
"currently resides on a wine estate in Tuscan with his wife, painter, and wine maker Candace Mate" Good Reads -
 The Tuscany, Italy estate - Wikipedia

Hope and Ted Riehle - Lake Champlain cruisers - Family cruiser - Sept 1973 -
Life of Riehle - Savage Island - 1924-2007

Hans Weerman - Westsail International - purchased Westsail

Ed Parker - P&M Worldwide

Don Jones - Jomarco

Ron Mercer - Quality Control, North Carolina Westsail plant.

Larry Huhn - I was a carpenter for Westsail from about 1972- 1974 doing primarily interior joinery. One of my last boats was the prototype 42'. I was wondering if any other Westsail employees are in this group. I would love to hear where people ended up. I am proud to have been one of the builders of these iconic boats and I always look for boats that I worked on when I am near a marina. (Posted on the Westsail Facebook group 12/22/2011)

One of my clear memories of my Westsail days was working with the Hispanic finishing crews. Those guys were amazing! They could put a varnish coat on that looked like glass. I tried and tried to learn their techniques for varnishing but ...never did master it, much to their delight, I might add. I continue to build wooden boats and to this day finishing is my weakness. They were also great fun to share lunch. I would have my pathetic sandwich or whatever, and they would share their delicious homemade mexican food. They would also try to teach me Spanish though most of the phrases could't be repeated in public. I still remember most of them though.  (Posted on the Westsail Facebook group 12/29/2011)

Chris Carley  - 1972-~1978 Carpenter, rigger, foreman of 42/43 Westsail line, delivery/trouble shooter ex-owner of W43 Music (former Teresa J, ex Kalokagathia)...For the couple of years that I ran the 42/43 line we built boats for the manager of ZZ Top, Walter Cronkite, and one of the Kennedy clan. Link to a letter to the editor Latitude 38 Nov 1990

Chris provides information on the following 5 names.

Jim Alexander - "Hans hired him away from Columbia to run the 42/43 production line. Very English, very dry sense of humor and a great guy to work for"

Casey Camarena - "ran the back bulding where all the hulls, decks and parts were laid up."

H.C. Coughenour - "ran the 32 line and always knew the "inside" story about anything around the plant." Bud Taplin " I knew him very well."

Dale Greer - "was in charge of tooling hulls, decks and custom fiberglass stuff. A wizard with anything plastic." Bud Taplin adds - " I hired him"

Dennis Audiss - "ran the wood parts molding shop and the pre-fab interior module construction. Since he was the guy that controlled the flow of materials, you needed to maintain a good relationship with him. He was always under pressure from Hans (the GM) and all the foreman to get their stuff done first." Bud Taplin adds - " I hired him"

Hans Weerman - replaced Bud Taplin as production manager.

Jeannette Sheridan - Marketing Director Circa 1976










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