[ Return to Home Page ]
Are Sharks the forefather of all production fiberglass keelboats built in Canada?
A good case can be made that the Shark has to be considered the forefather of all fiberglass keelboats in Canada. Here are several reasons for this.
( 1 ) The Shark was designed in 1959. The first few were built out of plywood, but George Hinterhoeller started making them out of fiberglass in 1960. As such, it is that it is very likely that the Shark was the very first production fiberglass keelboat built in Canada.
( 2 ) In addition to being the first Canadian production fiberglass keelboat, the Shark can also claim to be one of the most successful production keelboats built in Canada both in terms of the numbers built and on-going interest in the Shark as a one-design class.
And if all this isn't enough, there are two more reasons why the Shark figures prominently in the history of modern sailboats in Canada.
( 3 ) The Shark was George Hinterhoeller's first production keelboat. And we know that George Hinterhoeller went on to become one of the founders of C&C. Ergo, it can be argued that there's a little Shark in all those C&C sailboats that are so pervasive in Canadian waters.
( 4 ) Moreover, the history of Mirage Yachts also crosses paths with the Shark. Dick Steffen, who later founded Mirage Yachts, crewed with George Hinterhoeller when he was developing the Shark's impressive racing record during its early days. In fact, Dick Steffen helped George design and make the Shark emblem.
Having said all this, it seems safe to conclude that the Shark is the forefather of all production fiberglass keelboats built in this country and that it holds a special place in the history of Canada's modern boat building industry. As a result, I say Sharks are entitled to a little respect from all those other sailboats! *
* With the above facts firmly established, do I dare suggest that owners of other sailboats demonstrate the appropriate level of respect by not intentionally passing a Shark on the water, especially in light winds. ( Just asking. )
© Michael McGoldrick, 2001