Saturday, May 28, 2011

Brushfire - Design 1952

This has to be one of the prettiest boats of all time. She is one of the darlings of Southern California, built by Driscoll Custom Boats of San Diego. She was launched in 1969.

From the "designers comments" from '69: The hull form and sail plan of this design is characteristic of Sparkman & Stephens most recent work, and we expect her to prove fast and able. It is also believed that the arrangement of keel, skeg with trim tab and rudder offers not only better speed but better "manners' and more complete control than the earlier conventional profile. Accommodations are worked out according to the needs of Southern California. Construction is of wood, to the highest standards.

What is meant by "according to the needs of Southern California"? There is a fantastic article about Brushfire in the August 2005 issue of Sailing magazine. (If anyone wishes to have a copy please email me at and I will be happy to email you a copy) where Olin, 97 years old at the time and sailing on the boat states: "I always felt this cockpit was a bit large for seagoing work. I called it the California layout. It's much larger than what you'll see on East Coast or European designs."

Here are the plans.

Check out this pedestal. Very sharp. The wheel just inside of the outer wheel is for control of the trim tab and the small wheel inside of it is for locking the trim tab once set.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 51'-0"
LWL 36'-0"
Beam 12'-6"
Draft 7'-4"
Displacement 31,877 lbs
Ballast 15,000 lbs
Sail Area 1,169 sq ft


  1. I sailed with Olin and Craig Mueller on Brushfire that day in 2005, what a day to remember.

  2. My brother Capt. Craig A. Mueller owned Brushfire from 2001 until his death in 2007. He was delighted to have Olin sail with him several times during those years. Craig earned many "Bristol" awards and racing awards with Brushfire. He arranged with Dennis Conner to purchase the boat upon his death.

    1. Hello. I'm a San Diego writer working with Peter La Dow on a book showing the history of Brushfire. Of course your brother's piece of the story is important & I'm hoping you might remember enough to help us. Can you contact me? Beth (619) 820-9742,