An Australian America’s Cup designer, Alan Payne, designed the Columbia 8.7. It was one of a series of yachts in the new cruiser line of boats, deemed the "wide body super cruisers", built by Columbia. The Columbia 8.7 has a turbulent production history. The first 8.7s rolled off the line in 1976, but in 1978 Columbia closed down because of labor problems. In 1979 Howard Hughes, from Hughes Boat Works, picked up all the molds and brought them to Centralia near London, ON. Hughes went into receivership in 1982. Aura Yachts then took over until 1986, at which point Hughes took the line back again. After this, Hughes built a few more 8.7s, until a fire destroyed his factory in Orangeville.