C&C 40 Custom
Owner or others associated with
Phelan, Paul J.
Hague, David ( Rabbit )
McHugh, James ( Jim ) P.
Schmidt (Schmitt), E. R. ( Dutch )
Draper, Dr. Dennis ( Denny )
Rothwell, L. John
Bruckmann Manufacturing Ltd.,
E. B. Woodworking & Manufacturing,
Royal Canadian Yacht Club ( RCYC )
The fog clears somewhat. Neither Rob Ball or Brion Jorgenson could remember much from back then, but Mike Dale was a goldmine of information. Here are his thoughts on the subject: Wow! You are really putting me on the spot now..I had left Cuthbertson and Cassian by that time and was living in Peterborough . I remember that George had a third round of changes for the third trip south to defend the SORC title....because he phoned me in Peterborough asking about light air speed on the Redline 41 fixed prop vs Bedlam with the folding one. He wanted to put a fixed one on Red Jacket.I told him the fixed prop was a dog when it went light and wasn't worth the rating bump but he went ahead and did it anyway..the rest is history.
It was light air that year and they did poorly. As for the swept back keel I think that was done for the third trip as the mods for the second trip emphasized bustle and all the talk was about adding volume aft. ...but I could be wrong! Just another thought...I was up to George's house in motion designs era and he was showing me the new keel and rig for Paul Phelan...he was saying that the configuration for the third SORC trip was focused on rating with less ballast and less sail area as well as the fixed prop.....He said for the lighter winds here he would power up more sail and more ballast and the folding prop.. this all fits with the swept back being installed for the third trip!..
It is interesting that we do not have an exact model of the winning boat! So, Mike agrees that the swept keel was probably added for the 3rd (1969) SORC, but he also thinks a bustle was added for her second, winning SORC. That sort of makes sense, because Red Jacket's swept keel would have coincided with Manitou's and Bagatelle's swept keels in 1969. However, the addition of a bustle for 1968 is news to me!
Won SORC in 1969
1966 Perry Connolly's concise instruction to Cuthbertson and Cassian in November 1965 was to create the meanest, hungriest 40-footer afloat. With no original intention of campaigning beyond the Great Lakes, Red Jacket was designed to excel in light to moderate wind velocities. Hers was the first sailing-yacht hull ever built of sandwich construction using end grain balsa as the low density core between two fibreglass skins. For the time, she was considered extreme in her elimination of weight in the ends to reduce pitching moments. She had a large and tall sail plan which drove her fast in typical lake conditions and she could win both upwind and down. For all these reasons her CCA rating was fairly high and she won her races not on time allowance but by virtue of her superior speed. In her first season on Lake Ontario, Red Jacket was overall winner in eleven of thirteen races sailed, including the Freeman Cup Race and the Lake Ontario International.
Her capabilities were recognized and she headed south, a dark horse Canadian entry in the prestigious Southern Ocean Racing Circuit (SORC). In her very first salt water race, from St. Petersburg to Venice, Florida, Red Jacket startled the cream of U.S. ocean racers by defeating a fleet of almost 100 crack yachts. Next she was second overall in the long race from St. Petersburg to Ft. Lauderdale. Then she whipped the fleet again in the Lipton Cup Race off Miami only to slip to twenty-third in the Miami–Nassau Race on a tactical error and lose the points lead. Although finally Red Jacket lost first place to a yacht with a consistent string of seconds and thirds, hers was the outstanding record in the 1967 series.
But Red Jacket was far from through. Perry Connolly brought her back the next year and made no mistake as Red Jacket fulfilled her promise to become the overall SORC champion in 1968. Subsequently she was briefly owned in Florida, then brought back to the RCYC, where today she is as active as ever, although no longer the awesome competitor of her youth.
L.O.A. 39 ft. 9 in.
L.W.L. 30 ft.
Beam 11 ft. 3 in.
Draught 6 ft.
Cuthbertson and Cassian had been designing together for approximately 6 years when in 1965 Perry Connolly invited George H. Cuthbertson out to a Maple Leafs hockey game in Toronto. During the break between the second and third period, Perry had decided that 4 years with his CN35 Carousel was enough and he asked GHC to design “the meanest, hungriest 40-footer afloat.”
Project #65-13 Red Jacket was designed to the Cruising Club of America ( CCA ) rules of the day with an eye to her racing on the Great Lakes. GHC after years of being the Royal Canadian Yacht Club measurer new what had gone fast in the past but he was looking forward. Reducing weight fore and aft helped reduce her pitching in seas, part of this was eliminating the stateroom forward of the mast, a radical idea, and the area becoming the head and sail locker. He added a bowsprit to increase the fore triangle and from tank testing they went with a cantilevered spade rudder which was unusual for the time.
Oh yes, not only was she fiberglass, she also had a balsa core hull. The first sailing yacht to be built with this technique. , one layer of end grain balsa squares sandwiched between two layers of fiberglass. Common now a day but state of the art in 1965. Diagonal bands of solid fiberglass were also introduced to relieve some stresses expected on the boat, builder stresses on using the new material and designer stresses for an unproven technique. ½” balsa was used below the waterline and ¾ above but with a hull thickness of a uniform 1”
Launched in May 1966, her first year of racing she won 11 of 13 races. Defeating Inferno from the Chicago Yacht Club in the Prince of Wales race, Jim McHugh who was defending his title suggested to Perry that he should take Red Jacket to the Southern Ocean Racing Conference ( SORC ). 1967 SORC, Red Jacket skippered by Connolly, proved a great success until a fatal tactical mistake in the Miami to Nassau Race led to her losing the top position. In 1968 she returned and finished first overall, the first non-American boat to do that and that a Canadian yacht has never repeated. Red Jacket returned a third time in 1969 and finished 12th, her new fixed prop ( for the IOR rating bump ) and light winds did her no favour.
George H. Cuthbertson never was finished with Red Jacket. She received a bustle in 1968, new keel in 1969, what he considers an unsuccessful update in 1979 and in 1984 her keel, rudder and rig were reworked again. The 1984 rework was due to Paul Phelan adding a teak deck, thus making her top heavy and slow. This teak deck has since been removed.
One story from the time is as Erich Bruchmann was changing her keel in his shop, the keel fell when they undid the last bolt, crashing in to the cradle. This started Red Jacket capsizing on to the concrete floor which would have ended her but she was quickly stabilized and everyone took a breath.
Perry Connolly, by 1971 was in financial trouble and had to let Red Jacket go. She was sold to Florida for a few years before Norm Walsh returned RJ back to Canada. Peter Bowman had her then Paul Phelan owned her for many years, next his son before she passed to Peter Milligan. Peter realizing the history he had acquired vowed to take care of her and he did. He restored her and raced her competitively for many years and committed to donate her to the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in Kingston Ontario after his death. Due to Covid restrictions she still sits in Port Credit but it is hoped she will sailed to Kingston this summer of 2022 and will stay in the water there available for charters from the MMOTGL.
Southern Ocean Racing Conference 1967,
Southern Ocean Racing Conference 1968,
Freeman Cup 1966,
Lake Ontario International 1966,
Prince of Wales Trophy 1966,
Southern Ocean Racing Conference 1972,
Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame 2022
GHC 1/2 Models
Red Jacket Half Model
2001.0066.0449 ( 1 - 26 )
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