C&C Corvettes Celebrate 50 Year Anniversary at RHYC in 2015
The C&C Corvette, designed in 1965, is one of the oldest Cuthbertson & Cassian designs still sailing in significant numbers. Only the 1963 Hinterhoeller built Invader 36 precedes it as a Cuthbertson & Cassian fiberglass production sailboat. Therefore, it is more than fitting that we celebrate this milestone in Canadian sailing by gathering as many Corvettes as possible at Royal Hamilton Yacht Club on the 2015 August 1st Long Weekend to throw a gala 50th birthday party. In addition to the Corvette, RHYC is also inviting all boats built by Belleville Marine to take part in this celebration, including the aforementioned Invader, Frigate, and Crusader.
The Corvette was designed by the rising design firm of Cuthbertson & Cassian for Ian Morch as the first production product of his newly established Belleville Marine. It had been previously decided that all Cuthbertson & Cassian product built by Hinterhoeller Yachts, including the first ever Cuthbertson & Cassian fiberglass design, the Invader, were to be keel boats, while the Belleville product would be centerboarders. Morch and Cuthbertson already had a long history together, having known each other while studying Engineering at the University of Toronto. Morch later purchased Ca Va, the first steel CN-35 imported by Cuthbertson’s Canadian Northern Company from Kurt Beister in Germany, and had then built a custom wooden Cuthbertson design named North Star in Belleville. So it was no surprise that Morch would turn to the design firm of Cuthbertson & Cassian for the design of his first fiberglass production sail boat. And remember, this was before Red Jacket had brought Cuthbertson & Cassian to international notice.
The Corvette preceded the design of Red Jacket by several months, and made her International racing debut at the 1968 SORC. This is the SORC which Red Jacket won over all, after winning her division the previous year. The Corvette Elektra, owned by Gord Stonehouse and helmed by Bruce Kirby, with George Cuthbertson, George Hinterhoeller and Ian Morch in the crew raced in Class D, finishing second in class in Miami-Nassau race. The following year, Cuthbertson & Cassian, George Hinterhoeller, and Ian Morch would invite Erich Bruckmann, builder of Red Jacket, to join them in the creation of C&C Yachts. The whole C&C Concept may well have evolved in off watch discussion among the crew of the Corvette Elektra during the 1968 SORC! Ian Morch would become the first President of the new company. Both Cuthbertson and Kirby were inducted into the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame in May of 2014 at a gala dinner at the Kingston Yacht club to celebrate the opening of the New Age of Sail exhibit at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston. It is with sadness that we heard of Ian Morch’s death in October of 2014.
One hundred and sixty seven Corvettes were built between 1965 and 1971, at which point Belleville Marine was closed and Morch parted company with C&C. The last few Corvettes were actually built by the Hinterhoeller production facility of C&C Yachts in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and can be differentiated from the Belleville built boats by their black anodized perforated C&C toe rails.
Following the introduction of the Corvette, the Invader tooling was shipped from Hinterhoeller to Belleville to be converted to a keel/centerboard configuration and renamed the Frigate. However, prior to that conversion, a number of Invaders were actually built by Belleville Marine. The Frigate was then followed by the 40′ Crusader, all designed by Cuthbertson & Cassian.
The Royal Hamilton Yacht Club already counts five Corvettes among its membership, with a number of others in close proximity. RHYC was also host to the highly successful 2006 Corvette Rendezvous. Subsequent successful Corvette Rendezvous have been held in Picton, Cobourg, and on the Chesapeake. So it is only fitting that the Corvette Rendezvous returns to RHYC for the 50th Anniversary celebration.
RHYC is planning for 20 to 25 Corvettes and other Belleville built boats from all over Lake Ontario to take part, with more owners from further afield attending by car. The emphasis will be on enjoyment, comradery, and sharing of information between the many owners, with a series of speakers and seminars focussing on topics related to the Corvette and other Belleville built product. There will be a Gala Dinner at RHYC with a guest speaker, as well as second dinner at another site in Hamilton. On the Sunday there will be a group cruise around the Bay culminating in a raft up and party at Carrol’s Point.
So, if you own or used to own a Corvette, Frigate, Invader, or Crusader, or have access to one, plan to be in Hamilton on the August 1st Long Weekend for this 50th Birthday Party! It is not to be missed.