New Age of Sail Gala Dinner and Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame Inductions
On Saturday, May 10th, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston and Sail Canada honoured two illustrious designers who put Canada at the forefront of yacht and dinghy design in the period when traditional wood and steel boatbuilding gave way to fibreglass.
The opening of the Marine Museum?s New Age of Sail exhibit recognised George Cuthbertson and Bruce Kirby as Honorary Curators, while at the sold-out Gala dinner in the Kingston Yacht Club that evening both men were inducted into the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame.
Cuthbertson, the first 'C' in C&C Yachts, had already established an enviable design record with Inishfree and Red Jacket, and many other custom race boats in the 1950s and 60s. But it was the earlier adoption of fibreglass construction and the formation of C&C Yachts in 1969 that led to the great growth in sailing in Canada, and saw sales of the company increase from less than $4M to close to $40M over a 10-year period. Cuthbertson was inducted into the Hall of Fame by long-time friend and past shipmate David Howard, a Canada's Cup winner, and at 96 years of age, the Senior Statesman of sailing in Canada.
Bruce Kirby started his design career in the late 1950s with race winning fiberglass International Fourteen Foot Dinghies, but it was the design of the Laser in 1969 which propelled him onto the world stage, and allowed him the financial security to become a full time yacht designer. Many other boats soon followed, including IOR racers, one-design sailboats, Canadian America's Cup 12 Metre challenges, and cruising boats and homemade Sharpie designs. Kirby was inducted by Harry Jemmett, Kirby's crew in the 1958 Int'l 14 Team racing in England, a top Fourteen sailor himself, and a member of the Canadian International Fourteen Foot Dinghy Hall of Fame and the Kingston Sports Hall of Fame.
At the official opening of the exhibit Chris West, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Marine Museum, and Doug Cowie, Museum Manager, welcomed all attendees and thanked the many donors, sponsors, and contributors, without whom the exhibit would not have happened. In addition, Marine Museum Curator Lena Beliveau, and Co-Curator of the exhibit, Rob Mazza, were singled out for praise for their hard work on the exhibit design committee.
Mazza pointed out that the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston is in a unique position to document the history of sailing in Canada and to mount the New Age of Sail exhibit due to it already holding such significant sailing material as the TBF Benson Collection, the George Cuthbertson Collection, the C&C Yachts Collection, and the recently acquired George Hinterhoeller Collection. It was fitting that the exhibit and the induction of Cuthbertson and Kirby take place in Kingston, the home of the annual CORK Regatta, the location of the sailing events of the 1976 Olympics, and the jumping off point for cruisers visiting both the Bay of Quinte and the Thousand Islands.
The New Age of Sail exhibit will run at the Marine Museum until November 30th, whereupon a portion of it will be installed in the permanent galleries. In addition, there will be a New Age of Sail Outdoor Exhibition during the July 26th weekend, featuring some of the boats and displays related to this exciting period in Canadian Sailing History. The Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame will be web based and jointly managed by Sail Canada and the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston.