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John Cahill's Yankee #86, Ki’kaha (ex Dorado) - Maui, Hawaii - updated September 13, 2023  

Back on December 14, 2016 John Cahill checked in as the new owner of Brent Lievsay's Yankee #86, Dorado, homeported in San Diego, California.(click here to go there). It took a little over a year but motivated by John's plan to rename her we decided to set up a new page for her. Here is John's check in email.

Hi Ron,

I have recently purchase Dorado from Brent Lievsay and am going to ship it to Hawaii just after the first of the year. I want to thank you for all the information that I have gleaned from the website and hope to reciprocate in the future by contributing as I restore Dorado.

I was on the big island of Hawaii looking at another boat and came across Calmanti and instantly fell in love. To make a long story short, I found Dorado for sale on the Internet and closed the deal with just a series of photographs. I am hoping the restoration isn't too major but I built boats for a living back in the 1970's and 80's and am up to the task, I hope. More later.

Aloha, John Cahill

Welcome Aboard John!

Pending receipt of a photo of #86, newly launched by John, we'll post here a file photo of Dorado


February 9/10, 2018 We got the following update from John. Patience here - he had a lot of catching up to do - and he is 6000 miles away......We'll put some of John's comments in the related parts of the Technical Section as soon as he sends in the promised photos. Readers are to be reminded that John is a former boat builder - many of us are still trying to distinguish between a chisel and a screwdriver.....

Hi Ron,

I have been taking some photos and soon I will put together a bit of a posting.

I lifted her up with my forklift and dropped the old centerboard out. It was strange I thought but there was some kind of reinforcing that ran from the bottom of the centerboard to a point just below where it entered the centerboard trunk. This resulted is stress fractures at this bearing point. I decided to replace it with a solid piece of 5/8” aluminum plate which I ground on for about eight hours to ease the leading edge and create some release on the trailing edge. The original board weighed 45 pounds and the new one weighed in at fifty three which I think will be beneficial if anything.

I rebuilt the mast top fitting to make it stronger and allow for the recommended split between the head stay and the halyard sheave for the new Schaefer roller furling 115% genoa that I had made. Additionally I now have a heavier duty main with two reef rows. My sails were made by Carol Hasse of Port Townsend Sails who made my first set of sails for a ketch I built with friends back in 1974. She is still building sails with a fair amount of hand work and I am confident they will stand up to our extreme channel winds here in the islands.

I have been working on the bright work as I wait for parts and have also build a new companionway hatch. The old hatch was built with teak planking over just one layer of ¼” marine plywood. The hatch was having trouble holding its shape and since I have a wood shop, and the skills, I decided to basically build it exactly the same way but with two layers of ¼” plywood epoxied together to create a much stiffer base for the teak. This is the only wood working that I feel was not up to standard on the boat and the rest of the work has been cosmetic other than a couple of Dutchman repairs on the toe rails.

I bought a new Selden Industries boom (http://www.seldenmast.com/en/products/Booms.html) with single line reefing along with a rod kicker vang as I will be channel sailing here between islands and at times single handed. I now have all my rigging parts and will soon stand the mast and work on fair leads, winch positions, etc..

Eventually I plan to build a carefully designed doghouse so I can sail while standing in the cabin with the companionway hatch slid open and still be protected. I am leading halyard and reef lines, etc., back to two self-tailing Lewmar #14 winches through cam cleats on either side of the companionway hatch. I continue my love affair with this design and really plan to do justice to the aesthetics when I build the doghouse. I have seen several renditions that look quite practical but have not seen one to date that I feel really matches the integrity of the vessel itself, so I think it may take a while with several cardboard mockups.

There are two functional aspects in my rebuilding/restoring plans that are still unresolved in my mind. The first is the chain plate application (or lack thereof). I am a little concerned about the tabs that are just bolted through the shear clamp to hold the mast up. It seems that oak was used in the area where the tabs bolt through but even the washer size is not large and I have considered drilling out some larger pieces of stainless steel to spread the load a bit. I am not sure that this will really improve upon the oak backing since it wouldn’t increase the bond to the hull other than by perhaps spreading the uplift out to a slightly larger area.

My two previous ocean going sailboats were 47 feet and 44 feet so I am used to much more extreme anchoring for the rig. However, this rig is much smaller and the design is meant to be sailed with a lighter touch due to the righting nature of the hull section that combines with the shallow ballast to require less driving force. That being said, it does blow in excess of 25 knots on a regular basis here, and this remains a concern for me.

The second issue is the auxiliary power. I bought a little used Tohatsu 6hp four stroke which I used to motor from the slip where I bought the boat to the haulout yard. It seems quite adequate but I have not yet figured out how, or if I will, stow the engine if I want to put the tight fitting insert into the engine well opening for longer passages. I think I will try to temper my desire to do everything at once and wait for further advances in the Torqueedo electric units. They now have a 35 pound drive unit but they are expensive and I am not sure they are deep enough. Just like with electric cars they will benefit from advances in battery technology but may eventually be the perfect solution for a craft such as the Dolphin 24. A small backup generator could perhaps be a backup that would basically turn the system into a hybrid.

This is perhaps a longer answer than you expected but I am releasing some guilt for benefitting so much from the website without reciprocating. (Thanks John!!)

I will update later with photos of the launch and first sail hopefully before the end of March. I continue to appreciate the website as a resource and thank you for your energy.

Aloha from Maui,


Webmaster Note: In our continuing effort to familiarize our readers with where our Dolphins sail, here is Maui - Hawaii (the red marker). Where, on Maui, #86 calls home, is coming ...



We advised John of our plan to set up a new page for #86 and asked a few followup/clarification questions - this was his response (edited/consolidated).

I fell in love with Calmante(hull #210) when I flew from Maui to the Big Island to look at a different boat in the marina there. Harbor space is hard to come by here so the combination of trailer ability, beautiful lines and the inherent seaworthiness of the design led me to looking up the design. I found Dorado for sale on Craig’s list in San Diego and bought her sight unseen for under $4,000. I sent a plan to a trailer maker in San Diego, and talked my wife into spending the Christmas of 2016 in San Diego.

We actually had a great time and the move from the marina to haulout went relatively smoothly. The trailer was ready on time and I rented a truck to pick up the trailer, load the boat on it and off to Pasha, the transport company. (https://www.pashahawaii.com/ ). I loaded her in San Diego and I believe that voyage went directly to Honolulu and then to Maui. Since I delivered the boat at the last minute they had to move it off the ship in Honolulu to unload other freight and forgot to put it back so she sat there for two weeks before being loaded on the next boat to Maui. They drove the boat inside below decks with a small but sturdy tow vehicle.The cost of the trailer and freight combined was just over $10,000 so that kicked my initial investment up a bit, but I am into this for the long run, and I think the design and integrity of the core is well worth a comparable restoration.

This will be my retirement project and I am very happy with where I am with it now. The hull has no blisters at all and when I dropped the centerboard and looked up inside with a light it looked like brand new. Just a little fiberglass touch up around the centerboard exit area from trailer abrasion is about all the hull itself needed. I like the finish on the Yankee production series that includes my hull number 86. The seat backs (combings) and winch pads are teak which saves space compared to the molded fiberglass in the newer models, as are the hatches and lazarette covers. After owning two much larger boats I am happy to deal with that little bit of wood - and the look is vintage. This speaks to my roots in wooden boat repair and dinghy construction.

I have attached photos of Dorado in the sling (below left) , at the dock in San Deigo (below right), and inside her Costco car tent in my yard. I believe the Costco tent was $240.00. They come with side and end flaps and are quite sturdy. I am a housing contractor and use them as job site work stations, and when properly anchored can handle pretty heavy winds.


The Dinghy - That is something that I agonized over a bit but I decided on an eight foot inflatable with board inserts. I need something I can stow below decks when channel crossing. (That's a pretty dinghy shown on this site! (http://dolphin24.org/tsca.html). It reminds me of the first lapstrake dinghy I built for my first boat back in 1974. I used plywood strakes so she could handle surf landings without coming apart on the rivet lines but I failed to predict how much stiffer she would be and when I took her off the jig I found the bow turned up more steeply than designed. Turned out to be a good looking and serviceable tender that I eventually built a mold over.

By the way, when Dorado is re- launched she will be christened Nai’a which is porpoise or dolphin in Hawaiian (see below).... More later,

Aloha, John

Webmaster Note: Website staff reminded John of the protocols to be considered in renaming (http://www.dolphin24.org/boat_naming.html)

Stay tuned

October 29, 2018. Responding to a rainy day webmaster plea we got the following update from John, and a name change, for Yankee #86

Hi Ron,

I will send an update and some more photos soon. I launched last Father’s Day and had her in the water for a few weeks and sailed every other day out of a temporary slip in Lahaina Harbor.

Other than repainting the hull and decks I have her pretty restored on the topsides. I painted the cabin top so I wouldn’t have to remove all my fair leads back to the cockpit and made a new sliding main companionway hatch. All the exterior wood has been repaired and restored and I built a teak cockpit grating.

I decided on a different name before launching. We christened her properly, thank you for your guidance, and she is now Ki’kaha which means to “soar like a frigate bird” in Hawaiian.

We had some pretty intense sea trials in gusts sometimes up to 25 to 30 knots and I was thankful for the roller furling jib and the single line reefing system for the main. That was definitely the best place to concentrate my investment up front during restoration.

I will send some sailing pics and more. Below is one picture at anchor in Lahaina Harbor. I had removed the boom for adjustments. I sill send a number of rigging pictures and some actions shots later.

Thanks for checking in.


John Cahill


March 30, 2023 - In over the transom we got the following email and photo from Jim Clyne, former owner of #86. Thanks Jim for checking back in, and your comments re the website

Greetings Ron

This is Jim Clyne, a voice from the very distant past reaching out to thank you for all of the wonderful work you do uniting our Dolphin community.

I was cleaning out files last week when I ran across the Yankee 24 brochure which brought back many fond memories of our time with Dorado. We had great sailing when we had wind on Puget Sound — photo.below

As Liz Davies recounts in her story http://dolphin24.org/dorado.html of how I came to love the design and the solid workmanship of the vessel, I am ashamed to admit that by the time our 4th child came along, funds needed for proper maintenance and repair were diverted to diapers, baby food, and all those other items required by growing kids. We did manage to keep up good external appearances as cleaning and waxing Fiberglas and oiling teak did not require a lot of funds. She always looked good on Opening Day at Seattle Yacht Club. As Liz notes Dorado was in stage 4 neglect.

Through her contacts with my partner Doyl we were so happy to transfer the vessel to her .She and her kids did a remarkable job of restoring her in Long Beach and I did get a chance to see her in Marina del Rey before they relocated her to San Diego. I lost track after that and only picked up the thread when I was back in Marina del Rey to visit our son, in February and I checked back in on your site to catch up.

You can’t imagine how delighted I was to find that Dorado had found a wonderful home with a boatbuilder named John Cahill who had shipped her to Maui and did yet another incredible work of restoration. I so appreciated his detailed description of his restorative work, new centerboard, updated backing plates, roller working jib for Maui winds, and even a new teak grating for the cockpit.

His photos were phenomenal and made me so happy to see that Dorado ( now Ki’Kaha- Soars like a frigate bird) is so well cared for . Thank you John for all of your posts!

I have Dorado’s log book from the times she was under charter in the San Juan Islands. If John would like to have that I would be happy to send it to him. I would like to contact John Cahill directly as we get to Maui on a regular basis. If your web protocol allows I would be very grateful for his contact information. WEBMASTER Note: Website rules prohibit passing out contact info without permission - I have forwarded Jim's email to John - John may contact if he wishes

Thank you again Ron for all that you do for our Dolphin family.

Jim Clyne
Former Owner
Dorado (Ki’Kaha) #86


July 10, 2023 - Another over the transom email - this from Liz Davies

Aloha, Ki' Kaha/ formerly Dorado!

Aloha to you Ron, and to Jim Clyne and to Doyl and families,

Liz Davies returning to say hello. I am writing you with much appreciation for the continuing story of a sweet little boat. I miss the joy she brought to all of us. Scott Jay and Merritt sailed her to and from Catalina and around Marina Del Rey and San Diego and Mission Bay until, like Jim Clyne's story, their families came along. When she was sold they felt a great loss. This little Frigate Bird has a new home now in Lahaina, Maui ~ where warm winds and following seas will bring her perfect sailing days.

Thank you John Cahill for bringing us to her continuing amazing story. I'm back in La Quinta now with two sons in North Carolina and daughter in Portland. For Jim Clyne and Doyl, I send sincere Aloha and would love to hear from you. For John Cahill and Ki Kaha, Aloha and permission to visit the Lahaina dock and see her when I am in Maui.

Aloha Nut Loa,

Liz Davies

Liz Davies
www.Lizdavies.com *realtor


September 13, 2023 - A couple of days ago your webmaster received an email from Jim Clyne (former owner of #86) inquiring about her fate in the Lahaina Maui tragedy. John Cahill responded to the webmaster's followup. We thank them both for sharing the good news about Ki'Kaha.

Here's those emails

Hi Ron,

We were greatly saddened by the terrible tragedy that befell Lahaina in August. We mourn all those who perished and lament the loss of such a historic town. I reached out to John Cahill shortly afterward to see how he is doing. I have heard nothing. I hope he is OK and that Ki’Kaha survived if indeed she was moored in Lahaina harbor.

Would appreciate any news you might be able to post.

Thank you.

Jim Clyne

John replies

Hi Ron and John,

Thanks for your concern and checking in. My family and I are all fine. The fires came close to our home in Kula but they backed off before we had to evacuate.

Fortunately, Kikaha was securely nestled in under my garage overhang where I have had her stored for the last couple of years.

Unfortunately I lost my Islander 36 that I purchased two years ago since I acquired a slip in Lahaina. I had just completed a pretty total refit and she was fully ocean worthy. I upsized in order to increase my range and better handle the extreme channel conditions that I love to sail in here in Hawaii.

Kikaha is very nearly completely restored as well however and I am returning to that project and it is nice to be able to immerse myself again into a project.

I look forward to launching again by the end of the year. Kikaha is totally rerigged with a Tides Marine sail slide system, a Selden single line reefing boom system, all new standing rigging and roller furling jib and new Port Townsend sails main and jib built by my long time good friend Carol Hasse. I have painted the hull, cabin and decks and mast with interlux perfection epoxy paint and built a new main sliding hatch and repaired all exterior wood working and applied six coats of captains varnish.

I have some thin teak rips in my shop left over from a cabinet job and I am going to laminate a cabin sole veneer onto the plywood base and also apply ribs and a thin layer of teak slats as a hull liner in the focsle.

A new layer of formica in the galley and some other interior touch up and then some new upholstery which will have to wait until I do some sailing time.

I just need to shift gears in my seamanship.

I discovered when I sailed Kikaha in the channels before that I basically need to sail her like a catamaran in extreme conditions. Because of her light weight it is difficult to tack in strong winds and rough seas as she tends to loose momentum quickly as I turn into the eye of the wind. Being fully reefed for given conditions and jibing works but definitely a rush when you find yourself surfing in the process. I have run all my running rigging leads back to the cockpit so at least I can manage all my reefing without going out on deck. I got spoiled by the deep lead exterior ballast of the islander which I would have gladly sailed to Tahiti and back.

This is more information than I am sure you were looking for but this is helping me get excited again about getting out on the water and for a moment there I forgot about what I lost and focused on what I have to look forward to.







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