Prairie History

“Prairie Boat Works was founded by George S. Hawn, JR. in 1976 with the idea of building a high quality, economical yacht that was affordable to the working man.”

“Construction was started in Clearwater, Fla. On the Prairie/32 cutter-rigged sailboat which is still offered today. There seemed to be a definite void in the boating industry for a livable trawler that would be fuel miserly, be a safe vehicle for extended cruising and yet be under 30 feet. In 1977 Prairie commissioned J. B. Hargrave, N.A., to design a semi-displacement hull to fit these needs. The finished product was the Prairie 29 Coastal Cruiser. Boating magazine did a major feature on it and sales started to exceed production. Response was overwhelming and with increase in dis-satisfaction of imported boats and uncertainties of foreign imports, it lead us to make our mark in the growing diesel cruiser market.  Prairie changed locations to larger accommodations. This would make room for the bigger sister ship, the Prairie 36 Coastal Cruiser. This beamy, double-cabin semi-displacement hull is another Hargrave design.”

Here is an excerpt from Yachting/October 1979. This article is about the Coastal Cruiser 36:

”The Prairie plant is a new and efficient one not far removed from the St. Petersburg location at which it was started in 1976 by George S. Hawn Jr., who had come from Texas to launch production of the Prairie 32 Offshore Cruiser. At the beginning of 1978, production was expanded to include a Coastal Cruiser 29 powerboat designed by Jack Hargrave. The 36 followed the next year, along with workboats built on the two hulls. Expansion is still continuing rapidly; a 42’ power-boat is now in the works.

The Coastal Cruiser 36 hull is a displacement type with a rounded bottom that becomes a soft-chine form aft to keep her from settling underway. A full keel lends directional stability and grounding protection.

The layup in the hull varies from nine alternate layers of mat and woven roving at the sheer to 12 at the keel, and the cabin top is a 1-1/2” sandwich of fiberglass and ”

Plywood, with a 1/8” gelcoated liner added to finish off the interior. Four full-length stringers capped with steel plate in the engine-mount area are fully encased in fiberglass in the hull bottom, and all bulkheads and other structural members are bonded in with fiberglass. In the superstructure, the door, window and hatch openings are molded in, making for neat and accurate finishing. In each head, the entire lower half of the enclosure (including toilet pad, tub aft and shower pan forward, and lavatory base and counter with splashboard) is molded in one piece, while the bulkheads above are plywood surfaced with white plastic laminate and trimmed with teak. …..the white laminate accented with teak provides for considerable brightness throughout.”


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