Heine Dole

Heine Dole

Wilfred Heinrich Dole, IIHeine Dole - Builder of Katie Ford

Written by J. Scott Rohrer for The Encyclopedia of Yacht Designers, W. W. Norton & Co.

b. July 21, 1910, Hoquiam, Gray’s Harbor County, Washington
d. April 9, 2003, Gig Harbor, Washington

Although a Washington State native, “Heine” Dole is descended from the Doles of Hawaii, early missionaries and planters in those islands. As a boy he planned and built a small open boat to sail the waters of Lake Quinalt on the Olympic Peninsula. He worked as a machinist’s apprentice while in high school and already had a solid understanding of mechanics when he entered Stanford University. When he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, engineering jobs were scarce but he found work as a fireman aboard the seagoing dredge CULEBRA. This early sea time pointed Dole in the direction of the marine trades. He spent much of his early career working in logging camps in the Northwest, which took him to Olympia, WA where he designed the handsome 31’ cutter CHANTEY for his own use.

CHANTEY’s long waterline (29’) and large sail plan made her one of the fastest boats on Astoria Bay when Dole moved there to take a job at Astoria Marine Construction Co. in the late ‘thirties. Sharing design and engineering duties with Astoria Marine president Joseph Dyer, he stayed with the company for two decades. Aside from his commercial and military work at Astoria, Dole was able to draw a number of notable pleasure boats, power and sail. He gladly acknowledges the influences of existing designs on his work, but the boats he produced were uniquely his own creations.

During World War II, Dole drew up a handsome new 44’ cutter to build at the end of hostilities. This boat, KATIE FORD, was a departure from the more compact CHANTEY. Her longer ends, large wheelhouse and sweeping sheer line caught the attention of yachtsmen up and down the coast when the design appeared in Pacific Motor Boat in 1944. When asked about the longer overhangs of this design, Dole replied, “ …having been to sea in both long and short ended boats, I can’t see any difference in the discomfort of the two types.”

Launched in 1946, KATIE FORD, proved to be one of the most successful and well–known auxiliary yachts in the Northwest. The next year, Dole produced JANIE, a smart 40’ “half-sister” of KATIE FORD for a Portland owner. Given the relative shallow waters of the Columbia River, however, she was a centerboarder reminiscent of Phil Rhodes’ work in the same type.

The ketch EBB TIDE launched in 1957 and resembled no previous Dole design. Heavy and short-ended, her lines and rig were based on the Thursday Island pearling luggers of the South Pacific. Dole frequently let successful commercial types influence his work on yachts. That his power cruiser designs show familiar features of Pacific Northwest trollers and seiners is no accident.

Possibly his finest centerboarder was the 47’ PATRONILLA, built in the late fifties for another Portland yachtsman. Despite being tailored for cruising on the Columbia, PATRONILLA finished in the money three times on the L.A – Honolulu (Transpac) Race. In the 1959 Transpac, PATRONILLA, EBB TIDE and JANIE all competed although the latter two did not contend.

Today, Heine Dole lives in Gig Harbor, WA and still has a pretty good eye for a boat. His designs were all good looking, efficient and well-planned. That they are still around, active and admired after fifty years is no surprise.

Note: Heine Dole died in Gig Harbor, WA on April 9, 2003.

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