On October 15, 2022 at the Kingston Yacht Club in Kingston, Ontario, in front of a sold-out audience, 12 prominent past and present members of the Canadian sailing community were inducted into the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame. Four of them, Perry Connolly, George Cassian, Gordon Fisher, and Erich Bruckmann were honored for their direct involvement in the creation and sailing of the famous 40-foot racing yacht Red Jacket, the first Canadian and non-American yacht to win the prestigious Southern Ocean Racing Conference (SORC) in 1968. (For more about Red Jacket, see Rob Mazza’s article Anatomy of Legend in the Sept/Oct 2021 issue of Good Old Boat.)
Two others, George Hinterhoeller and Ian Morch, were directly involved in the creation of C&C Yachts in 1969 with Cuthbertson & Cassian and Erich Bruckmann, which grew directly out of Red Jacket’s victory. Two of the twelve, (Karen and Gail Johnson) were winners of the 1985 Women’s 470 World Championships, two others (Judy Lugar and Morag McLean) won the same title in 1986, and two (Frank McLaughlin and John Millan) were Bronze Medal winners in the 1988 Olympics. The wording on the plaques for the six individuals of most interest to Good Old Boat readers is of those connected with the creation of Red Jacket and C&C Yachts as follows:
Perry Connolly – 1927 to 2017
After successfully campaigning his CN-35 Carousel, Connolly commissioned Cuthbertson & Cassian in 1965 to design and Erich Bruckmann to build the custom 40-foot Red Jacket. Under Perry’s command, Red Jacket won the 1968 SORC, the first non-American boat to do so. Red Jacket’s success led directly to the creation of C&C Yachts. Connolly was co-skipper of Manitou with Gordon Fisher to win the 1969 Canada’s Cup. Connolly held management positions with C&C Yachts, Boston Whaler, and Hinterhoeller Yachts, and was director of operations for the 1987 America’s Cup challenger Canada II.
Gordon Fisher – 1928 to 1985
Gordon Fisher was an early champion of Canadian designed and built sailing craft, commissioning Cuthbertson & Cassian to design and Metro Marine to build La Mouette (1960) and Thermopylae (1964). He later commissioned the building of the custom C&C One-Tonner Terrier. Gordon was a watch captain on Red Jacket when she won the 1968 SORC and co-skipper of Manitou in the successful 1969 Canada’s Cup defense, as well as skipper of Mirage in the unsuccessful 1972 defense. Gordon was Commodore of RCYC in 1971-72, and in 1977 commissioned Mark Ellis to design and Hinterhoeller Yachts to build the Nonsuch 30. Several other Nonsuch models would follow.
George Cassian – 1932 to 1979
George Cassian joined George Cuthbertson full time in 1961 with the creation of the yacht design firm of Cuthbertson & Cassian. George was heavily involved in all the early Cuthbertson & Cassian designs including Vanadis, La Mouette, Thermopylae, Xanadu, Inferno I and II, the Redline 41, Manitou and True North. But the design that established the international success of Cuthbertson & Cassian was Red Jacket when she won the 1968 SORC. After the creation of C&C Yachts in 1969 George would be heavily involved in the design of Bonaventure, Mirage and Merrythought, and the C&C 27, 35, 39, 43, 50, and 61, and many others.
Erich Bruckmann – 1930 to 2011
Erich immigrated to Canada in 1956, becoming shop superintendent at Metro Marine, where he built early George Cuthbertson designs such as La Mouette, Pipe Dream, Pintails, and Thermopylae. After establishing his own shop, Erich built the Cuthbertson & Cassian designed Red Jacket in 1966 for Perry Connolly. Red Jacket was Erich’s first fiberglass project and the first boat in North America with a fully cored hull. Erich was a founding member of C&C Yachts in 1969, building some of the world’s best and most successful custom and semi-custom racing and cruising sailboats including Manitou, Bonaventure, Archangel, Evergreen, C&C 41s, 43s, 50s, 61s, and many more.
George Hinterhoeller – 1928 to 1999
Apprenticed in Austria as a boat builder, George immigrated to Canada in 1952, accepting a position with Sheppard Boats in NOTL. After building several successful Y-Flyers he established Hinterhoeller Yachts with the production of his own fiberglass designs starting with the immensely successful 24-foot Shark, followed by the HR 25 and 28, and the Niagara 30. He commissioned Cuthbertson & Cassian to design the Invader 36, Red Wing 30 and 35, before joining with them, Belleville Marine and Bruckmann Manufacturing in the creation of C&C Yachts in 1969. George left C&C in 1975 to re-establish Hinterhoeller Yachts, building the Nonsuch and Niagara line of cruising sailboats, and the Limestone line of powerboats.
Ian Morch – 1923 to 2014
Royal Canadian Navy veteran Ian Morch’s early sailing career included the 1950s purchase of CN35 #1 Ca Va from George Cuthbertson and the commissioning of Cuthbertson to design the 40-foot North Star built by Morch in Belleville. In 1965, with the establishment of Belleville Marine, Morch commissioned Cuthbertson & Cassian to design the 31-foot Corvette. The Frigate and Crusader would soon follow, all in fiberglass. In 1969 Belleville Marine would join with Cuthbertson & Cassian, Hinterhoeller Yachts, and Bruckmann Manufacturing in the creation of C&C Yachts, with Morch serving as the first president to 1972.
The Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame
The Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame is a collaboration between Sail Canada and the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston. This is the fifth series of inductions, bringing the current number of Hall of Fame members to 43. The Marine Museum holds the George Cuthbertson and C&C Yachts drawing collections.
Red Jacket was recently bequeathed to the Marine Museum by her late owner Peter Milligan, so it is fitting that the Marine Museum should honor those involved with Red Jacket’s success and the subsequent creation of C&C Yachts. Of interest to Good Old Boat readers, previous inductees have included George Cuthbertson and Bruce Kirby in 2014, and Don Green, David Howard, Ian Bruce, and Derek Hatfield in 2018. The full series of past inductions can be seen on the Marine Museum’s website at (https://www.marmuseum.ca/cshof/about), as well as a YouTube video of the inductions themselves.