Richard D. Carlson
1924 - 2014
After serving in the Navy during World War II, and then spending a few years as a trainer of race horses, Carlson began his design career when he moved to New York City, and took a job with Philip Rhodes. He opened his own firm in 1955 based in Shelter Island, NY.
The first design to attract attention was the 24' CUTLASS, a yacht that was way ahead of it's time. It was originally aimed at the membership of the recently formed Midget Ocean Racing Club (MORC), which had created it's own handicapping rule for boats under 30' LOA.
With it's separate fin keel and rudder, light displacement, and reverse sheer, giving it an appearance, completely at odds with the standard of the day, it proved to be nearly unbeatable in nearly all conditions on the race course. It was also easy to handle, and had better accommodations than most boats of it's size.
Carlson designed a number of larger boats based on the same concepts established with the CUTLASS, including the CUTLASS MAJOR, STILETTO, and the NORTH COAST 3O. A majority of these were built in Spain or other yards outside of the US.
Carlson was also responsible for the design for a series of larger, center cockpit cruisers and motor sailors with a more traditional appearance.
Thanks to Robin Tooker, Joan Carlson, and Dick Carlson himself for providing information.