The Lyman Boat Works, founded in 1875 by legendary boat builders Bernard and Herman Lyman, originated in the heart of Cleveland, Ohio. Their first vessels were crafted lapstrake rowboats for boaters in the Cleveland area. In 1929, Lyman Boat Works packed up shop and relocated to Sandusky, Ohio, always keeping the lapstrake tradition, but eventually adding motors to capture a new market.
In the mid-1930s, Lyman appealed to the sailboat market by introducing the Lyman Cat boat. All Cat boats were fifteen feet long, with a six-foot beam and a single twenty-six-foot tall mast placed forward with the boom matching the vessel’s length. It was an ideal boat for a single or small two-person crew. Cat boats became a fad sweeping across the Great Lakes.
With these new boats rising in popularity, the Inter-Lake Yachting Association developed a new race designated for Cat sailboats to participate in their annual regatta between 1930 and 1940. These two flags are the first and second-place finishers of 1939 and 1940. These are the final years in which Lyman Cat sailboats would remain in production. Between 1875 and 1973, Lyman produced approximately 60,000 pleasure crafts.