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Jolly Bangka - 1939 Dyer Jolly 12' Sailing Dinghy

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  • Jolly Bangka - 1939 Dyer Jolly 12' Sailing Dinghy

    IMG_0360 (1).jpgIMG_0557 (1).jpgIMG_0662 (1).jpgScreenshot 2023-03-21 at 11.32.30 AM.jpgIMG_0730.jpg

    New member, longtime reader. Some may have seen a recent FB post about my 1939 12’ Dyer Jolly and her history. I’ve reproduced that post below. Some additional notes about the boat’s condition follow. More photos of JOLLY BANGKA and materials related to her history can be found here:

    1939 12′ Dyer Jolly no. “R33” designed by Philip Rhodes and built by The Anchorage, Inc. in Warren, Rhode Island, USA. Recently rescued from a Pennsylvania barn and undergoing restoration.The original owner was Joaquin M. Elizalde, Resident Commissioner of the Philippines and later the first Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Elizalde purchased the Jollyboat in 1939 to serve as a tender for his 1935 70’ Alden motor yacht LIMBAS. In 1942, Philippine President Quezon, in exile in Washington, donated LIMBAS to the U.S. Coast Guard for patrol service.

    Jolly Bangka. 9 likes. 1939 Dyer Jolly Boat LOA: 12' Designer: Philip L. Rhodes Builder: The Anchorage, Inc.


    JOLLY BANGKA is a 1939 Dyer Jolly no. R33, a handsome 12’ round-bottom, copper-riveted mahogany lapstrake sailing dinghy designed by Philip L. Rhodes and built by The Anchorage, Inc. in Rhode Island, US. Recently found in a Pennsylvania barn, where it rested for half a century, the boat is in very good structural condition and complete, including the original Ratsey & Lapthorn sail (torn). What is known of R33’s history reveals a fascinating story.

    From the 1930s to the 1950s, The Anchorage made 86 of these 12’ dinghies: 56 rowing versions and 30 sailing versions. Marketed as the Dyer “Jolly,” the boat was a larger version of the now famous 10' Dyer Dink, which Rhodes designed for Bill Dyer in 1933, but far fewer Jollys were made. The first in The Anchorage's records is R31.

    R33’s original owner was Joaquin Miguel Elizalde, then Resident Commissioner of the Philippines in US Congress, and later the first Philippines Ambassador to the US. In 1939, Elizalde purchased R33 and a rowing version R35 from The Anchorage to serve as tenders for his 70’ 1935 John Alden motor yacht LIMBAS (Tagalog for “Seahawk”). R33 cost $395, plus $5 for an optional brass motor bracket. At the time, LIMBAS was associated with the Corinthian Yacht Club of Washington and the Annapolis Yacht Club and would have been well known in the Chesapeake Bay area.

    In 1942, “Commissioner Mike” and Philippines President Manuel Quezon, in exile in Washington, persuaded President Roosevelt and Congress to change US law to make Filipinos eligible for military commissions. The Philippines government purchased LIMBAS, outfitted the yacht for patrol service, and donated it to the US Coast Guard. It was renamed BATAAN, CG-68009 and manned by an all-Filipino crew. Elizalde briefly took command himself, but he was soon relieved by Ltjg. Juan B. Lacson, who had skippered LIMBAS for Elizalde before the war in Manila and the Chesapeake and was among the first Filipinos to receive a USCG commission.

    BATAAN and its crew served with distinction through the end of the war. On patrol near Puerto Rico, they discovered a U-boat using a sail to disguise itself as a fishing vessel, reported the ruse, and dropped depth charges. Later operating from San Francisco, BATAAN went on a “secret suicide mission” of some kind, which earned Lacson a Medal of Honor. In 1948, Lacson founded the Iloilo Maritime Academy, now known as the John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University in the Philippines.

    Questions remain. Was Jolly R33 with BATAAN during the war? What was BATAAN’s secret suicide mission? How did R33 end up in a PA barn? What happened to BATAAN after the war? More to come.


    I’ve made some progress answering some of these questions and have a few more leads to run down, including a search for BATAAN’s deck logs and commissioning/decommissioning records, which appear to be available at a National Archives storage facility. That may take some time.

    JOLLY BANGKA’s frames and planks are in good condition without any checks or rot. The fasteners are tight. The boat does not creak or twist when lifted or moved, which takes 4 people. The CB trunk, plank ends, and plank-to-transom/stem joints all appear solid. The timber shows signs of wear (scratches and dents) from normal use, and a small mammal caused some cosmetic damage to the bottom of the keel skeg and transom. One floorboard is chipped at the forward end. The CB has a few dings but looks good. Most or all of the components appear to be original, including the copper rivets and brass screws, deck hardware, spars, standing and running rigging, and oars and oarlocks. There is a single coat of green/brown paint on most of the interior, apparently added by the previous, long-time owner. The topsides have been varnished; the bottom is not painted. Most of the paint/varnish is very flaky; some of the original interior varnish remains underneath.

    The original Ratsey & Lapthorn sail (Egyptian cotton, blue) has several large tears. Ratsey can replicate the sail, including the external handroping, at some cost. I’m told it would be “prohibitively expensive” for their French supplier to dye the cotton blue. They might also be able to patch up the original sail, though it wouldn’t be pretty or as strong. The Anchorage no longer has a sailplan/drawings for the boat, but Mystic’s collection of Rhodes designs has two entries for a 12’ sailing dinghy (design nos. 530 and 794). That's another lead I need to follow up on.

    I’m thinking through how best to proceed with JOLLY BANGKA. I plan to use and show the boat. I would like to repair and refinish her to something close to original 1939 condition, without compromising important elements of her history. Given the boat’s current condition, these ought to be largely compatible goals.

  • #2
    Re: Jolly Bangka - 1939 Dyer Jolly 12' Sailing Dinghy

    Welcome aboard!
    Cool boat, I saw it on FB.


    • #3
      Re: Jolly Bangka - 1939 Dyer Jolly 12' Sailing Dinghy

      Yes - welcome! Definitely a cool boat. I have a 60's vintage fiberglass Dyer Dhow (9'6") as a tender & there are striking similarities with your boat: same centerboard trunk shape, boom design, similar bronze, etc.
      "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green


      • #4
        Re: Jolly Bangka - 1939 Dyer Jolly 12' Sailing Dinghy

        Good to see you made it here, and it was nice talking with you this morning. I’m looking forward to meeting you and seeing the boat next week.
        Last edited by nedL; 03-27-2023, 02:41 PM.


        • #5
          Re: Jolly Bangka - 1939 Dyer Jolly 12' Sailing Dinghy

          Thanks for the warm welcome and comments. She's a little boat with a big story. Ned, good speaking with you as well and looking forward to meeting.

          I would be keen to know if there are any other Jollys out there. I'm aware of one example of a modified post-war 12' Dyer lapstrake, and some pre-war 10-footers. I know Mystic has a few early Dyers too but I'm not sure which years/models.