Defoe Shipbuilding Links

Superyacht History

The history of the Defoe Cruisemaster series

Posted on February 9, 2021 by Malcolm J. Wood

As part of our history series from the revered in-house yacht historian Malcolm Wood, SuperYacht Times takes a closer look at yacht builders and their yachts that are no longer in existence for one reason or another. Here, he takes a closer look at the Cruisemaster series from Defoe Shipbuilding Company of Bay City, Michigan, USA ....

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Military History of the Upper Great Lakes

Defoe Shipbuilding Company

Published 21 October 2017 by Ryan Bancroft

Started in 1905 as a small wooden boat building business co-founded by brothers H. J. Defoe and F. W. Defoe and G. H. Whitehouse, the Defoe Shipbuilding Company came to produce several warships and support craft for the US and Australian Navies during The Second World War, the Korean, and the Vietnam Wars. The construction and contracts for these large vessels transformed the small yacht building business into a sprawling naval powerhouse that dominated the Saginaw river. This allowed the shipyards to manufacture new patrol craft and destroyers every few weeks. Notable craft include the USS Escanaba, USS Rich, HMAS Brisbane, and the HMAS Pirth. In 1976 Defoe Shipbuilding Company closed its yard and sold to H.H Hirshfield & Sons scrap yard.....

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Henry B. Wilson

USS HENRY B. WILSON is the first ship of the Navy to bear this name. She is the first ship to be launched of the U.S. Navy's first class of destroyers built from the keel up to fire guided missiles. USS HENRY B. WILSON was built by the Defoe Shipbuilding Company at Bay City, Michigan. At the time of her commissioning, the ship was the largest warship ever constructed on the Great Lakes. She was christened by the sponsor, Mrs. Patrick J. Hurley, daughter of Admiral Wilson. USS HENRY B. WILSON was launched on 22 April 1959 in a spectacular side launching. Because of the unique circumstances under which she was built, the traditional champagne bottle was filled with water from the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River and the Atlantic Ocean....

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Shipbuilding History


Most recent update: September 3, 2014

Defoe Boat & Motor Works was started in 1905 by the unlikely team of Harry J. Defoe, who was a public school principal, his brother Frederick W. Defoe, who was a New York lawyer, and his brother-in-law, George H. Whitehouse, who was in the wholesale fish business. The name was changed to Defoe Shipbuilding Company at the beginning of WWII. The shipyard closed in 1976 and the site is now a scrapyard.

Includes an extensive list of the vessels with year and delivery date.