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George Cuthbertson and Bruce Kirby honoured at exhibit opening

by Sail Canada on 17 May 2014
George Cuthbertson and Bruce Kirby honoured at Marine Museum exhibit opening. Sail Canada / Voile Canada
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 during the days when traditional wood and steel gave way to fiberglass.

The opening of the Marine Museum’s New Age of Sail exhibit recognised George Cuthbertson and Bruce Kirby as Honorary Curators, while, at the Gala dinner in the Kingston Yacht Club, both men were inducted in to 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, but it was the formation of C&C Yachts in 1969, wherein sales grew from under $4m to over $31 M over a ten year period, that benefited from the great growth in 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.

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 been achieved. In particular the Marine Museum Curator, Lena Beliveau was singled out for praise.

Robert Mazza, co-curator of the exhibit, pointed out that the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston is in a unique position to document this history 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. There will be a New Age of Sail Exhibition during the July 26th weekend, featuring events related to this 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.
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