Based in part on the recollections of Colin MacDougall
At the start of the 20th century catboat builders Crosby, Bigelow, and Phinney were immersed in a fierce rivalry for their unique, yet popular catboat designs. In 1911, in an attempt to separate himself from his rivals, Captain W.W. Phinney moved his boatbuilding operations from Cataumet to Falmouth Harbor, which had recently been created by the dredging of a tidal estuary, formerly known as Deacon’s Pond, by the U.S. Army Corps. By 1938, an aging Captain Phinney, beset with bad knees, sold the boatyard to William MacDougall and his two partners for a sum of $18,000 and the assumption of a $25,000 mortgage.
On September 21st, 1938 a hurricane struck Cape Cod, providing Cape Cod Marina with an opportunity to expand its business. Another growth spurt occurred at the onset of World War II when the boatyard was enlisted to convert some 25 sailing yachts, leased by the US government for the duration of the war for $1.00, into coast watchers for the defense of local waters.
In the mid 1960’s, William MacDougall managed to buy out his original partners and bring his children into the business. In 1972, after a decade of family ownership, the MacDougalls’ of Falmouth sold Cape Cod Marina to ORE (Ocean Research Equipment). In 1986, when ORE was contemplating closing the Cape Cod Marina and replacing it with a condominium development, the McNeil, Mooney and Berwind families joined together to purchase the yard and save it from an untimely demise. In 2001 the Berwinds became sole owner of MacDougalls’ Cape Cod Marina.