Dec 12, 2017

ShellbacksThe Shellbacks Club has met since 1934 as a means for area sailors to celebrate sailing, sailing lore and shanties. Every Wednesday, the fun and camaraderie overflows, but rarely has there been a showing like a couple of weeks ago.

On November 29 the Royal Canadian Yacht Club was packed as Toronto’s Shellbacks Club paid tribute to club member and founder of C&C Yachts, George Cuthbertson who passed earlier this year.

Shellbacks 2

 

 

 

 

The record breaking attendance gathered for a stirring set of heartfelt recollections of “Big George” and his accomplishments launching so many groundbreaking designs and company that became a world leader in the design and manufacture of custom and production yachts. C&Cs are a central part of clubs and waterfronts throughout North America but nowhere as important as on the Great Lakes where the company began and the boats are everywhere.

Shellbacks 3C&C designer Rob Mazza helped draw the speakers and slides for the tribute









Commodore David HowardShellbacks 4

On hand for the event were a crowd of sailors who had raced and owned Cuthbertson/C&C boats, a large number of prominent C&C alumni and many who belonged to both groups including Rob Mazza, who led the organization of the event, and fellow C&C designers Rob Ball and Steve Killing. Alongside their presentation of Cuthbertson’s long list of accomplishments, the speakers shared a series of accolades from industry leaders including Butch Ulmer, Bruce Kirby, Ted Brewer, John Burn, founder of Grampian and many others. Many historic owners and fans of C&C dating back to the Red Jacket and Manitou era, including Commodore David Howard, Paul Henderson and Don Green (whose C&C designed Evergreen won the Canada’s Cup in 1978), were on hand for the special tribute. Derek Fisher, son of Doug Fisher (an owner of Manitou, an early C&C design that won the Canada’s Cub in 1969 and who commissioned the first Nonsuch) showed an amazing home movie of the 1961 launching of an early Cuthbertson design La Mouette in Bronte Harbour. It’s available via YouTube:





Canadians owe a lot to the C&C brand and to George Cuthbertson in particular. The sea shanty Sally Brown was sung heartily in the Shellbacks tradition, a glass was raised to Big George’s honour. All present, including the Cuthbertson family, agreed that not only was this a pioneer and hero of the Canadian boatbuilding industry but that George Cuthbertson was a “truly great guy.”

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