Tartan Says Goodbye to Ray McLeod Jr.

One of the founding fathers of Tartan has passed away.  When Charlie Britton returned to the Cleveland area after his service in the Navy and his discharge in Japan and subsequent voyage aboard the Rhodes designed “Tenba” from Japan to New York, he set his sights on producing a new breed of sailboat.  At the time, Douglass and McLeod were long established builders in northeast Ohio.  Beginning in the late 30s and early 40s D&M had been building the International 14, International 21, and the Sandy Douglass-designed, Thistle, Highlander, and Flying Scot.  While the earliest D&M boats were traditionally built wood construction, the later boats were built from laminated plywood shells.  With the development of the Flying Scot in 1958, D&M was on the leading edge of boatbuilding, shifting to molded fiberglass.  In 1959, Charlie joined D&M and the leading designers of the day, Sparkman & Stephens, to launch the Tartan 27 project.  At the time, Douglass & McLeod was headed by Ray McLeod Sr. and Ray Jr., who brought the boatbuilding expertise to the 27 project and of course the budding knowledge of how to use this new-fangled building material, fiberglass.  Ray Jr. went on to run Douglass & McLeod and the production of the Tartan 27, Blackwatch 37, and the Tartan 34.  D&M/Tartan experienced a devastating fire in 1971 and in the rebuild; Charlie formed Tartan Marine Company as the builder and took over all operations.  Ray McLeod Jr. went on to produce the D&M 22 and up until a few years ago, continued D&M as a local marina and service yard.  Ray Jr. passed away February 11. He remained a friend and supporter of Tartan in his own curmudgeonly way and his contributions to the formative years of Tartan were great.   

 –Tim Jackett 


This is a Tartan ad, circa 1968, that ran while Ray McLeod Jr. and Charlie Britton worked together to build what would become Tartans. At the time, Tartan was the model designation for the 27 and Blackwatch was the model designation for the new 37.

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