|Grampian Marine one of the first manufacturers fiberglass sailboats in Canada.|
It was founded by Jim Bisiker, owner of a construction company in Oakville, Ontario. Bisiker, along with Dick Kneulman and John Burn began building small fiberglass boats under license from Dyer Yachts of Rhode Island. At the time, Dyer was at the forefront of plastic construction methods for boats, and all three men had spent time at the Dyer plant learning about the methods they would need to establish their own operation. The first Grampian plant was built on land owned by Bisikers company.
Next, entering the picture came a group from the US wanting Grampian to build boats for them. They included Charles Angel from Rochester, NY, who had designed the TRIANGLE 20 and TRIANGLE 32, and later the US 42 which later became the 46. Marketing was done by US Yachts, whose principals included Bob Larsen and Warren Dellenbaugh who were also associated with the formation of O’Day Yachts.
As a result, Grampian began building not only the US Yachts line, but also (for the Canadian market only) the O’Day line of day-sailers. Also at this time O’Day was introducing the new Ray Hunt designed offshore powerboats and Grampian helped with some of the initial production and tooling, but chose not to continue into the full production phase.
During the late-sixties, O’Day approached Grampian Marine with an offer to buy them but Bisiker turned them down. However O’Day did purchase US Yachts and Triangle Marine and four months later went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Grampian Marine continued to build boats for O’Day though never became part of the public company.
Grampian acquired a license to build Albacores dinghies for Fairy Marine. Also built under license were Snipes and 420’s(The Canadian government placed an order for fifty) the CLASSIC 22 and the G 17 cuddy-cabin dinghy and the FLYING TERN.
In response to substantial orders from other dealers in the US especially George Walton Yachts of Annapolis, Md., Grampian began building it's own line which included the CLASSIC 31 designed by Peter van Dyne, and the Sparkman and Stephens designed CLASSIC 37. Subsequently Grampian took on its own in-house designer Alex McGruer. He began with the GRAMPIAN 26 followed by the GRAMPIAN 30 and later the trailerable GRAMPIAN 23.
NUMBERS OF EACH MODEL BUILT:
GRAMPIAN 26 designed in 1969 about 980 built plus # 999 a special production order.
GRAMPIAN 23 designed in 1972 - about 300 built.
GRAMPIAN 28 designed in 1975 - 107 built – designed in house by Rolf van der Sleen with a view to competing in the half-ton racing class.
GRAMPIAN 30 designed in 1969 about 350 built.
GRAMPIAN 30 Cutter rig designed in 1975 about 50 built.
GRAMPIAN 34 designed in 1973 about 50 built – based on the Triangle 32 and the design reworked in house by Axel Schmidt.
GRAMPIAN 2-34 designed in 1974 about 50 built.
GRAMPIAN 46 designed in mid 60’s about 300 built – this began life as a 41 footer.
DISCOVERY 7.9, a raised deck verson of the GRAMPIAN 26, was displayed at the 1975 Toronto Boat show, though few were sold.
Much of the Grampian production was destined for the US and a plant had been opened in North Carolina. The Woody Road, Oakville and the North Carolina plants both built the 26, 30 and the 34-foot designs. Only a couple of 46-foot boats were built in Oakville - the rest were built in N. Carolina.
The company closed in 1977, when the exchange rate made it impossible to make a profit on boats sold in the US. Grampian had only recently purchased the mold for the HERITAGE 35.
When the Grampian plants were closed, the assets were sold to a number of different buyers. The North Carolina plant was taken over by Tanzer Industries.