Two Canadian sailors; George Cuthbertson, a Mechanical Engineer, and George Cassian, an Aircraft Designer; formed the design group Cuthbertson and Cassian in 1961. This partnership evolved out of Cuthbertson's previous yacht design and brokerager firm. As such Cuthbertson initially held 75% interest in the company and later increased Cassian's share to a third. They started by designing a small number of steel and wood boats, Cuthbertson drew the preliminary lines, and Cassian designed the interiors.
After successful design of the Hinterholler Invader 35; Canadian yachtsman Perry Connolly (who had purchased an Invader 35 previously) commissioned Cuthbertson and Cassian in 1965, to design a custom 40-foot (12m) racing sloop. Connolly requested "the meanest, hungriest 40-footer afloat". The boat, named Red Jacket, was built by Bruckmann Manufacturing in fiberglass with a balsa core; the resulting structure was (and is) strong, stiff and significantly lighter than the wood or solid fiberglass yachts then sailing. Red Jacket is considered to be the first sailboat engineered with a cored hull (the practice is common in yacht-building and aerospace, even the manufacture of wind-turbine blades today). She was launched in May 1966 and took 11 of 13 starts that summer. That winter, Red Jacket headed south and won the famed SORC (Southern Ocean Racing Circuit), competing against over 85 of the best racers of the day. Red Jacket was the first Canadian boat to win the SORC. The sailing community at large paid attention; demand for C&C designs in production skyrocketed.
They joined forces with their builders and suppliers: Belleville Marine yacht builder Ian Morch, George Hinterhoeller of Hinterhoeller Yachts, and custom builder Erik Bruckmann. Together they formed a holding company C&C Yachts Limited; and entered into mass production of fiberglass sailboats (a relatively new industry). C&C Yachts Limited officially formed on September 26, 1969.
C&C's reputation grew on the famous racecourses of the day. The year of the merger brought a challenge for the Canada's Cup, a match-race between Canada and the U.S. C&C's custom shop, Bruckmann Manufacturing, built the three Canadian defenders, one of which, Manitou, beat the Sparkman and Stephens-designed Niagara. In 1971 hull #1 of the 43’ “Limited Edition” series, Arieto, won first in Class B of the SORC, and the Montego Bay Race. Also in 1971, Endurance, also 43-footer, won the Chicago-Mackinac Race. In 1972, Condor, the prototype Redline 41 won SORC overall and the 43’ Arieto won the Nassau and Governor’s cups. During the formative years of C&C Yachts the company sold their early racing hull molds to build capital for development of a comprehensive line of C&C branded racer/cruisers. The venerable Redline 41 design was sold to Lindsay Plastics for production and became the Newport 41 which was later produced by Capital Yachts. In 1978, Evergreen, a radical custom 42-footer, with a gybing daggerboard, won the Canada's Cup.
High oil prices and a strong Canadian dollar provided a great environment for rapid growth for C&C and the entire sailing industry. C&C experienced double-digit growth throughout the decade. Plant expansion and the development of a dealer network provided the keys for a strong business model. Dealers found it easy to sell a product with a strong reputation for reliability and high performance. C&C was also the breeding ground for the next generation of boat designers
By the early 1980s, C&C found itself at the forefront of the sailing industry, from both sailing performance and business success. However,the large fast boats C&C was producing were not what the market sought in a softening economy. Although C&C produced some great boats in this period —the C&C 30, 34+, and 37+, financial success did not follow design success.
Rising costs and a shrinking market caused the closure of many boat manufacturers, including Quebec-based Tanzer and Mirage Yachts in the late 1980s. By the mid '90s, C&C was no longer viable. It changed hands several times and finally experienced a fire that destroyed molds and facilities.
In 1997, Fairport Yachts, builders of Tartan Yachts, assumed control of C&C. Tim Jackett, Tartan's in-house designer, set to work designing a new line of boats that would preserve the design characteristics and performance of the C&C brand. Since 1997, C&C Yachts has introduced four new models- the C&C 99, 110, 115, and 121, producing over 150 boats under the new leadership. In 2002, C&C built its entire line with post-cured, foam-cored epoxy hulls with uni-directional “E”-glass and carbon local reinforcements. Beginning in 2004, C&C started equipping all models with carbon-fiber masts as standard equipment.
C&C racing today
Original C&C sailboats are still racing actively to this day. There are a number of one-design associations across the country that are very active. To name a few there are C&C 35's, 27's, 30's, 34's, as well as Viking 28's.
The C&C 35 Association of Detroit has been racing on Lake St. Clair since 1973, and they maintain the largest one-design fleet of boats over 25 feet in length in the area, as well as the largest class for the annual Port Huron to Mackinac Race.
There is an annual C&C Owner's regatta held on Lake Ontario as well which attracts C&C's of every design from Redwings to Megas to Vikings.
The C&C 99 class has also made in-roads in the racing world with one-designs in many areas around the country, including Key West Race week.
Current C&C models
PHRF rating shown is the Northern California Base Rate full keel standard mast unless otherwise described
- C&C 99 - PHRF 102
- C&C 110
- C&C 115 - PHRF 63
- C&C 121
Past C&C models
- C&C 24
- C&C 25 Redline
- C&C 25 Mark I (1970's), Mark II (1980's)
- C&C 26
- C&C 26 Wave
- C&C 27 Mark I (1972), Mark II (1972–1974), Mark III (1974–1981), Mark IV (1981–1982), Mark V (1984–?)
- C&C 29 Mark I, Mark II
- C&C 30 Mk I, Mk II
- C&C Mega 30
- C&C Redwing 30
- C&C Corvette 31
- C&C 32
- C&C 33 Mark I
- C&C 33 Mark II
- C&C 34, 34 R, 34+
- C&C 35 Mk I (1969–1973), Mk II (1973–1975), Mk III
- C&C 36, 36 XL
- C&C 37 (1981–1989)
- C&C 37R (1988–1994) later known as 37/40R and 40R
- C&C 37+ (1989–1994) later known as 37/40+ and 40+ and a variation, the 37XL (1989–1994) later known as 37/40XL and 40XL
- C&C 38
- C&C 39
- C&C 40 (1977–1983)
- C&C Redline 41
- C&C 41
- C&C 43 Limited Edition series(1971 to 197X), 15 boats sold: LOA 43’4”/Beam 12’10”/ Draft 7’/ 21,314 lb. Displ./9,980 Ballast
- C&C 44
- C&C 45 C
- C&C 51
- C&C 54
- C&C 57
- C&C Landfall Series (35, 38, 39, 42, 43, 48)
C&C designed sailboats (various manufacturers)
- Harpoon 4.6
- Harpoon 5.2
- Harpoon 6.2
- Gazelle 22
- Viking 22
- PaceShip 23
- PaceShip Bluejacket
- Evelyn 24
- Mirage 24
- Northern 1/4 Ton
- Newport 27-S
- Newport 28 Mk I, Mk II
- Ontario 28
- Viking 28
- PaceShip Northwind 29
- Niagra 30
- Tanzer 31
- Ontario 32
- Viking 33-34
- Baltic 33
- Baltic 39
- Baltic 46
- Baltic 51
- Newport 41 (Production Redline 41)
- C&C 30E (European)
- Whitby 45
- Star Catamaran
Notable C&C racing sailboats
- 35' CYGNUS - Owned by Roy Hawkinson, has won more Port Huron to Mackinac Races than any other boat in history, both Overall (4 times) and in the C&C 35-1 Class (8 times).
- 39' WINDQUEST - Won many races including the Port Huron to Mackinaw and the SORC.
- 40' RED JACKET - first balsa cored fiberglass hull (light), won 11 of its 13 race series in 1967, SORC Champion 1968, still winning races
- 40' MANITOU - defended 1969 Canada's Cup over S&S Designed NIAGARA, won 4-0
- 41' CONDOR - SORC Champion 1972; first of Redline 41 production Racer/Cruiser, also built as Newport 41
- 53' BONAVENTURE V - Mac races combined trophy 1970, SORC Champ Class A 1971, many, many years of many wins thereafter
- 61' SORCERY - extensively raced, SORC Champion, rolled by a rogue wave in the North Pacific and survived
- 61' ROBON - first to finish of 180 starters in a heavy upwind Bermuda Race 1972
- 41' EVERGREEN - custom IOR Two-Tonner built 1978 for Don Green of Royal Hamilton Yacht Club, won Canada's Cup back from U.S. in 1978.
- The History of C&C Yachts, By Dan Spurr; Good Old Boat Magazine - Sept/Oct 2002
- All About Cores
- Sorcery - Miracle at Sea