Birth of the Deceptions
Submitted by Gerry Porter
In late 1982/83 several of us saw the Illusion Class Mini 12's displayed at the Vancouver Boat Show. The price was $5500. Over a few beer back at the club, we decided we could build our own a lot cheaper. Andrew McBride and Guy Drake were heavy into 6 metre boats at the time. Guy had just completed the Westlawn School of Yacht design. Lyle Hayden, Peter Kleyn and I had some boat building experience. Peter had built his own 31 footer from scratch and had worked for a couple of years with John Booth. Lyle, of course, was a carpenter/house builder/boat builder and I was just a boat nut who had rebuilt or built several Thunderbirds, a Catalina 27 kit boat and a Sun 28 kit boat. Andrew had completed a Thunderbird hull/deck kit.
We rounded up several other enthusiasts including Rick and Rod McBride, John Graham, and George Cesarec. Guy drew up the plans based on the latest thinking for the 6 metre class, Andrew lofted the plans out full size at Ricks’ Leitch & McBride sail loft and we were off.
We started construction of the male plugs in the garage of my house in Sept/Oct of 1983. Janice and I had just brought home our youngest son from the hospital in the summer, she got a whiff of fibreglas resin and ordered us to get that stuff out of here. We moved the boat building operation to Tini and Lyle Hayden’s work shop and proceeded. Like many groups, the enthusiasm of the bigger group soon waned and most of the mold construction was completed by Peter, Lyle, Andrew, Guy and myself. We eventually completed the molds and 5 or 6 or 7 hull/deck kits were produced.
At this time we were all busy making a life, working, getting education raising kids etc. Andrew took a job on Salt Spring Island.
The first Deception to be completed was an all black beauty which I launched in October 1984. Shortly after launch I got involved with building my Hotfoot 31 Lickety Split, so I sold the boat to David Cook who wanted to set up a boat rental business out of Oak Bay Marina. I actually contracted with him to build two others. Unfortunately, he did not get the blessing of Bob Wright so he gave up the idea. He subsequently sold that black boat to someone on San Juan Island and it hasn’t been heard of or seen since. Probably a flower planter now.
Andrew eventually came back to Victoria and finished and launched PRETTY BABY and claimed sail number #1. I hadn’t thought of a sail number, the first of many miscalculations while trying to be in front of Andrew. (Andrew and I had much competition when we each owned Thunderbirds.) Lyle finished his DECEPTION and claimed sail #2, Andrew stepped in and finished #3 for Guy, and Peter finished #4 (subsequently sold to Fred Schemitsch and then to me in about 2000, now POPEYE). Harry launched #5 PICOLO in 1988, ? finished #8 (now CANARY owned and competively sailed by David Scott and Roger Palmer), Jim Williams completed #9 (subsequently sold out of the club), Fred Schemitsch had FREEEDOM #40 built, and Don Brady had #50 built (now VERACITY, Gordon Wilkinson). Peter built #92, now MOGGY (Dick Payne, recently partnering with Dave Gair). I think Geoff Buck's VALIANT #11 may have originally been hull 6 or 7. The newest boat in the fleet is John Vincent's #22 WINDDRIVEN. There have been recent ownership changes with Robert McCrone, and Jack Miller moving from Illusions. Andrew McBride has purchased a half share of his former PRETTY BABY, now renamed CANADA 1. Bob Dahlgleish purchased Lyle and Tini Hayden's #2 DECEPTION and is showing some of us how to sail. We currently have 10 boats sailing and Guys’ old boat is awaiting refurbishment by new owner Richard Jacques.
In the late 90's Seattle Yacht Club members fell in love with our Deceptions and they now have 21 John Booth-built boats in active use. There were 3 other boats taken from the molds but whereabouts are unknown. John Booth recently supplied a kit to a Seattle enthusiast.