This summer, plan a trip to Kingston to visit The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston. The 2014 Sailing Exhibit is taking shape at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston. The chosen title, “The New Age of Sail” acknowledges the phenomenal growth of sailing as a recreational sport in the 1960s and 1970s. If the era of Clipper Ships and Britain’s wooden walls was the original “Age of Sail”, then this rapid growth in sailing over approximately 20 years in the mid to late 20th century was definitely the New Age of Sail.

The reason for this great increase in sailing has to do as much with demand as supply. This is the period of the postwar boom in the economy with a greater amount of leisure time and the leading edge of the baby boom looking for recreational activities. The supply side of this equation was satisfied with the introduction of new materials and technologies in boat building brought on by the introduction of fiberglass construction, extruded aluminium masts, and Dacron sails, which allowed high volume production of sailboats at very reasonable prices.

Also contributing to this rapid growth was the total absence of a used boat market due to the limited production of wooden boats in the recent past. The rapid growth in small boat sailing initiated by plywood and cold molded construction, transitioned quickly, with the introduction of fiberglass construction, into the growth of a market for larger sailboats, allowing the creation of Canadian companies like C&C Yachts, which established a global market for their products.
Marine Museum
In recognition of both the growth in small and large boat design and construction at that time, the Marine Museum is proud to have two of the most influential designers from this period agree to be Honourary Curators of this exhibit. George Cuthbertson is undoubtedly the most successful “big” boat designer from this period, with the success of boats like Inishfree, Red Jacket and Manitou forming the basis of the creation of C&C Yachts and the production of thousands of fiberglass sailboats from 24’ to 67’.

Without George Cuthbertson’s design and organizational genius, there would not have been a C&C Yachts, or possibly a Canadian boatbuilding industry.  Bruce Kirby is just as famous in the realm of smaller production sailboats, starting with his dominant International 14’ dinghy designs, the world famous Laser, and his many successful one-designs like the Sonar and Ideal 18, not to mention production keel boats like the San Juan 24 and 30, and America’s Cup 12 Metres.

The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston is delighted that these two distinguished designers have accepted the joint position of Honourary Curators of this exhibit.

Photo CAPS.
Top Pic:
Bruce Kirby’s initial success in fiberglass International Fourteen Foot Dinghies led directly to the development of the Laser and production one-designs like the Sonar and Ideal 18. This is Kirby sailing his first 14 design, Torch. There would ultimately be seven Kirby 14 designs each of which would dominate this very competitive development class.

Lower Pic:
George Hinterhoeller sailing the then new Cuthbertson and Cassian designed C&C 27, one of the many fiberglass sail boats which established C&C Yachts, under George Cuthbertson’ leadership,  as a major player duringthe New Age of Sail in the 1960s and ‘70s. 


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