This commentary is courtesy of Fred Schroth:
Rod MacAlpine Downie designed the Copperhead, Sidewinder, Whip, Bandit 15, Cobra, Bandit 17, Dingo, Phoenix, and Shark. He made his name designing lots of cruising catamarans such as the Iroquois which SailMFG did not build. MacAlpine Downey also designed the Crossbow and the Crossbow Two. These two were specially built, just for speed catamarans that held the world speed sailing record for many, many years. Crossbow set a record and held it a long time and Crossbow Two broke it.
Dick Gibbs began working with MFG when the Sidewinder and Copperhead were introduced. Gibbs designed the sails and rigging for the Sidewinder, Copperhead and all the boats that were introduced after 1970. The Dingo, Phoenix and Shark were first built by Gibbs Boat Company in Ohio near Sandusky.
MFG bought the Gibbs Boat company around 1972 and Dick Gibbs came to MFG and acted as the head of the SailMFG division of MFG until SailMFG was closed and sold in about 1979 or 1980 to Playcraft Charger boat company in Richland Missouri.
Fred Ford designed the Whistler, Redhead, Ford 20 and the Pintail. These boats were all introduced before Dick Gibbs worked at MFG. Gibbs Sail Loft did supply sails for some of these late 1960s boats.
The Whistler in the 1970 catalog has a different deck and rig from the whistler shown in this website. A new deck was designed sometime around 1975 or 1976. The new deck made it possible to right the boat after tipping over and sail away with a dry cockpit.
This commentary is courtesy of Kelly Rein (daughter of Dick Gibbs):
In 1961 or 1962, Gibbs Boat Company (in Toledo, Ohio) burned to the ground. I think for a short time he was operating out of Morin Grove, but eventually opened the new plant in Lasalle Michigan. He had no insurance and had taken about $80K in boat orders. That was a lot back then. The first boat that he and Rod designed after he rebuilt the company was the Phoenix (you know, the legendary bird....).
My grandmother, my mother and my sister all sewed sails, mostly at Gibbs boats, but also a bit at MFG. I was too young to sew. I did cut numbers and insignia, though. My mother and grandmother taught all the sewers in the MFG sail loft.