Oct 12, 2017

George CuthbertsonGeorge H. Cuthbertson, aged 88, passed away on October 3rd at his home in Toronto, Canada. Cuthbertson was one of the original four founders of C&C Yachts, a Canadian yacht builder that dominated North American sailing in the 1970s and early ‘80s.

His was the first “C” in C&C, with his design associate George Cassian, being the second. Cuthbertson would go on to be president of that company for many years, establishing plants in Rhode Island and Kiel, Germany, boat production in England and Italy, in addition to their existing Production Plant in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, and Custom Shop in Oakville, ON.

Cuthbertson designs would also be built by Dirk Kneulman of Ontario Yachts in Oakville even after the creation of C&C Yachts, and prior to that by Whitby Boatworks, Capital Yachts, Paceship Yachts, and Mirage Yachts.

He came to the presidency after an exceptionally successful design career starting immediately after graduation from the University of Toronto in 1950. George was instrumental in selecting and optimizing the 8-Metre Venture II to challenge for and win the Canada’s Cup in 1954.

Red Jacket

George then went on to design the 54’ CCA racing yawl Inishfree for Norm Walsh in 1955, a commission which established Cuthbertson’s Canadian Northern company as primary a yacht design company that also imported CN-35 steel yawls from Germany.
Early owners of CN-35s included Ian Morch who would go on to establish Belleville Marine in the 1960s to build the Cuthbertson designed fiberglass keel centerboarders Corvette and Frigate. Belleville Marine would become a founding member of C&C Yachts. Another early CN-35 owner was Perry Connolly who would go on to commission the design and building of Red Jacket.

In 1961 he took George Cassian into the company, and established the design firm of Cuthbertson & Cassian, which designed a number of successful steel, and strip planked wooden boats for Great Lakes and East Coast customers.

These boats included Galatia for Tony Ronza, Sr., Vanadis for Payson Mathew, Laura for Doug Hood, Courtesan for John Young of Shelter Island, NY, Inferno I for Jim McHugh, La Mouette and Thermopylae for Gordon Fisher, and the little motorsailorPipe Dream for Sonny Slemin.

However, their breakthrough project was the 40’ “mean and hungry” composite offshore racer Red Jacket, designed for Perry Connolly in 1966. Red Jacket, built by Erich Bruckmann, was the first fully cored hull in North America. She would win her division in the 1967 SORC and return to win SORC overall in 1968, the first non-American boat to do so.

red-jacket-400.jpg caption: Red Jacket was a pioneer and helped establish C&C’s reputation

That victory was quickly followed by a successful defence of the Canada’s Cup with Manitou in 1969. This racing success resulted in the formation of C&C Yachts in the same year with the amalgamation of the design firm and the three builders producing Cuthbertson & Cassian designs.

The C&C designs that came off George’s drawing board in the early 70s for production building at the Niagara-on-the-Lake plant of George Hinterhoeller are legendary and include the C&C 25, 27, 30, 35, and 39. The Custom Shop under Erich Bruckmann built such Cuthbertson & Cassian designed classics as the Redline 41, C&C 43, C&C 50, and the remarkable C&C 61. The Redline 41 Condor would follow Red Jacket’s lead and win SORC overall in 1971.

The custom yachts that came off George’s board in this time period further consolidated Cuthbertson’s and C&C’s reputation on the race course under the CCA rule, and included the 53’ Inferno II for Jim McHugh, the 54’ Bonaventure for Bernie Herman, True North for the 1969 Canada’s Cup, and Mirage and Merrythought for the unsuccessful 1971 defence of Canada’s Cup, both of which would go on to achieve great offshore racing success under Gerry Moog and Jack King.

The high water mark of Cuthbertson’s design career was the 1971 SORC where Cuthbertson & Cassian designed boats not only won overall, but also won three of the five divisions. A truly remarkable feat, which has never been achieved by another designer.
After the introduction of the IOR Rule in the early 1970s, the sailing world changed dramatically with the rise of a whole new cohort of young designers. This, combined with the increased demands of running what was becoming a large multi-national public company answerable to a Board of Directors, led Cuthbertson to hand the design responsibilities to Rob Ball, and in 1973 George took on the position of President, a position he held until an outside acquisition of the company in late 1981.

In 1982, Cuthbertson left the company he created to relaunch his design career with a new company, Motion Designs, producing drawings for Ontario Yachts and other local Ontario builders. By the mid-80s, though, the boating market, especially the sailboat market, was in steep decline and the heady days of the late 1960s were long gone.

George became the official historian of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, and for many years sat on the Board of Directors of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston, to which he donated the majority of his papers and drawings.

It is difficult to say that without George Cuthbertson there would not have been a fiberglass sailboat industry in Canada, but with George it a truly was a Canadian industry with Canadian builders producing Canadian designed boats which would dominate the Racer/Cruiser dual purpose boat market for many years.

George was the last surviving member of the original founders of C&C, being predeceased by George Cassian, Ian Morch, George Hinterhoeller, and Erich Bruckmann. Remarkably, Perry Connolly of Red Jacket fame, died just five days before Cuthbertson.
George’s passing truly marks the end of an era in yacht design. He is survived by Helen, his wife and life partner of 58 years, children Michael, Jill, and JohnKelly, and five grandchildren. In all respects, a remarkable legacy. George H. Cuthbertson was inducted into the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame in 2014.

– Rob Mazza
Rob Mazza, naval architect and structural engineer, developed his experience as a long time key designer at C&C

Related Articles

Wednesday, 13 February 2019 02:25

We received this note from a young person that led to a particularly interesting conversation.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 07:56

We will be celebrating the life of George Cuthbertson at the Shellbacks Luncheon at RCYC City Clubhouse on November 29th. 

Tuesday, 24 October 2017 07:20

George inspired me in 1966 at a conference on Lake Couchiching with his seminar on displacement hull design; in particular the new "Red Jacket" that he was designing to go faster than the CCA Rule...

Tuesday, 12 March 2019 23:00

Our friend Bob Lush was a sailing dilettante but also an adventurer who will be remembered as an interesting and witty guy. He passed away last Wednesday at 80 in Montreal after a decade battling...

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 03:49

The Shellbacks Club has met since 1934 as a means for area sailors to celebrate sailing, sailing lore and shanties. 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017 02:26

John Alexander Roy passed away quietly at home on August 12 after a short battle with cancer. He was 61.

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
Once again, Cruisers Yachts is leading the market for day boats with their new 42 GLS model that ...
Optimized sailing performance and comfortable living – a sweet ride. The expression that came to ...
This is such an exciting time in boating! While we feel very sorry for people whose health and ...
For many, the 2020 sailing year will be one to go down into the books as “different”. With delayed ...
What perfect timing! Beneteau is has just announced their new Antares 11 model for North America ...
Commodore’s Boats is a full-service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...
The Oceanis Yacht 54, younger sister of the Oceanis 62, embodies the innovation that has always ...
Beneteau announces the launch of the latest addition to the Antares range! With a length overall of ...
I had been looking forward to a sea trial aboard the Greenline 33 because I was hoping it would ...
New at the end of 2019, the 58 Salon Express design features large windows to flood the living ...

CY Virtual Video Boat Tours

Virtual Boat ToursWe all love boats and nothing can break us up! So, what better way to spend our time than looking at interesting boats and going aboard in a virtual ride or tour. We have asked our friends at various dealers and manufacturers to help us assemble a one-stop online resource to experience some of the most interesting boats on the market today. Where the CY Team has done a review, we connect you to that expert viewpoint. If you can’t go boating, you can almost experience the thrill via your screen. Not quite the same, but we hope you enjoy our fine tour collection.

 

Read more about the CY Virtual Boat Tours....................

 

Cruisers Yachts 42 GLSBy Andy Adams

Once again, Cruisers Yachts is leading the market for day boats with their new 42 GLS model that premiered at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show at the end of October. The concept of a large day boat is now a very well-established trend made possible by the amazing new power and efficiency of the latest four stroke outboards.

Buyers are looking for a different boating experience and we think that the 42 GLS nails it. Fast, handsome and versatile, the 42 GLS is designed for fun and adventure.

Read More

Destinations

  • Prev
In Part I, Sheryl Shard ended the story at June and the start of Hurricane Season when they were ...
You likely aren’t quite ready to travel yet, but we have our fingers crossed that we can all fly ...
Ontario’s best-kept secret, the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic site holds the key to ...
Located on the sunny south shore of the harbour, the Marina is on pilings over the water, offering ...
The approach to the Chemainus Municipal Dock from Stuart Channel is straightforward and is ...
I leaned my head back into the water and floated easily. Having spent my childhood playing in ...
History: right after gym and just before chemistry class. Fifty minutes of naming the prime ...
On May 19, the New York State Canal Corporation today announced an updated opening schedule for the ...
If you have four hours to enjoy a fine tour of one of Canada’s most interesting waterways (let’s ...
Boom & Batten Restaurant is suspended over the water adjacent to the Songhees Walkway and ...

 

Bahamas - There and Back Again IIIn Part I, Sheryl Shard ended the story at June and the start of Hurricane Season when they were once again joined by friends.

This time it was Noel and Tracey Dinan, whose new shallow-draft Allures 49.5 was in build at the time, we headed north from the Exumas across the expanse of the Great Bahama Bank, dodging coral patches as we sailed to Eleuthera then Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco. Another commercial centre in the islands, we cleared out of the Bahamas here after provisioning for our offshore passage up to the Chesapeake Bay on the US mainland and out of the Hurricane Zone until mid-November...

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
OK, stop the presses. This photo just came in from Beacon Bay. Clearly those folks know how to get ...
Back in the day, the publisher of a magazine would receive a bound copy of the year’s monthly ...
Boaters on BC’s West Coast have heard the story of the garbage pickers of the Marine debris removal ...
Skipper John “Drew” Plominski is hoping that lightning doesn’t strike twice. Plominski, whose boat ...
The Association provides a forum for exchanging information, tips and access an advocate on behalf ...
Kristin Cummings, Operations Manager at Beacon Bay Marina took this shot after the skies broke ...
Our Photo of the Week (two, in fact) comes from New Zealand where the second America’s Cup AC 75 ...
The Marine Debris Recovery Initiative (MDRI), a collaboration with the Clean Coast, Clean Waters ...
The International Joint Commission (IJC) is reviewing Plan 2014 and could use your help. The plan ...
The Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR), thanks to funding from Environment and Climate Change ...

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Styles, shapes, pitch and diameter of props are widely discussed on online boating forums, YouTube ...
There’s nothing worse than wondering how much fuel you have on board. You’re left wondering how ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
“They don’t make ‘em like they used to”, is a phrase that many of us are familiar with. Most of the ...
I’m on many different types of boats, with many configurations. Some have a single ...
I often get asked if regular care and maintenance is necessary for inflatable PFDs. Here is a ...
Labour Day weekend tends to be the ‘last hurrah’ on many fronts: the last long weekend of the ...
One of the Great Lakes’ best known tall ships, sail training vessel TS Playfair, will soon be ...
My Dad is not a mechanical guy. He is educated and well-read, and handy around the house – but not ...
I was cleaning up my workbench the other day. My eyes then scanned across my workbench and fell on ...

WinterizationBy Andrew McDonald, Lakeside Marine Services

“They don’t make ‘em like they used to”, is a phrase that many of us are familiar with. Most of the time it is in reference to a bygone era of better, and it’s used to lament the sorry state of what we have today. It is a phrase that can be applied to many areas of our lives: architecture, art, furniture, tools. Boats? I would argue that they don’t make them like they used to. But, is that lamentable, or is it progress?

Progress, I think. With this concept in mind, as we enter another season of putting boats to bed for the winter, why do we winterize as we always have?

Read More

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
On Monday, Volvo Penta announced the availability of their fully integrated assisted docking system ...
Perhaps the ultimate audio solution for boat owners, the JBL by Harman BassPro Go from Prospec ...
It only takes one foggy, disorienting day on the water to make a boat owner understand the value of ...
It’s a voyage everyone wants to undertake, but few get to make. The Whales of Lake Erie is the ...
Over the years I have had a real soft spot for the Jeep Wrangler line of models. Recently I had the ...
Wait no longer, the 2021 Rideau Canal & Lower Ottawa River PORTS Guide has returned! Purchase ...
The Tundra 65 is Yeti's most versatile cooler, just as adept at keeping catches cold as it is ...
Fireball self Extinguisher. It's a revolutionary self-detonating device designed to extinguish a ...
The problem with driving any full-size Pickup Truck or Sport Utility Vehicle is that when you are ...
Wait no longer - the 2021 Rideau Canal & Lower Ottawa River PORTS Guide will be available for ...