The two started out by designing a few steel and wood boats, Cuthbertson drafting the preliminary lines, and Cassian working on the interior plans and details. When they joined forces with yacht builder George Hinterhoeller and Ian Morch of Belleville Marine, however, they moved up to the big leagues of sailboat production.
In 1965, Canadian yachtsman Peter Connolly commissioned Cuthbertson and Cassian to design a custom 40-foot racing sloop that would be “the meanest, hungriest 40-footer afloat.” Bruckmann Manufacturing was commissioned to build the boat, and the result was just what Connolly had in mind. Utilizing ultralight balsa core in her hull and deck—considered to be the first sailboat built this way—Red Jacket was launched in May 1966 and took 11 of 13 starts that summer. The following winter, Red Jacket headed south and won the famed SORC, competing against over 85 of the best racers of the day. Red Jacket was the first Canadian boat to win the SORC, and her success prompted Cuthbertson to remark, “She came out of the north completely unknown, but when she was done, the Americans sat up and paid attention.” The sailing community at large did pay attention, and demand for this type of boat skyrocketed. In the wake of this success, Cuthbertson & Cassian, Hinterholler Yachts, Belleville Marine, and Bruckmann Manufacturing joined forces, in 1969, to form the publicly held C&C Yachts.
C&C's success was built on the famous racecourses of the day. The year of the merger saw the arrival of the Canada's Cup, a match-race between Canada and the U.S. C&C's custom shop, Bruckmann Manufacturing, built three Canadian defenders, with the 42-foot Manitou winning the cup 4-0 over the Sparkman and Stephens-designed Niagara. In 1971, Endurance, a 43-footer, won the Chicago-Mackinac Race; in 1972, Condor, a Redline 41, won SORC overall; and in 1978, Evergreen, a radical custom 42-footer, with a gybing daggerboard, won the Canada's Cup.
The entire sailing industry saw tremendous growth through the '70s, much of it in response to the high oil prices of the day. With a strong Canadian dollar behind them, C&C was in the right position to benefit, and they did, with double-digit growth throughout the decade. Plant expansion and the development of a dealer network helped to maintain the strong business. Dealers would say that C&C was the easiest line of boats to sell; its reputation for reliability and high performance resulted in boats that would essentially sell themselves.
During this time, C&C was also producing exceptional talent for the rest of the industry. Rob Mazza, who went on to design for Hunter Marine, was a C&C alum, as were Barry Carroll, and Steve Killing, who remains one of Canada's best designers. Rob Ball, however, was the biggest success story as the lead designer for C&C from 1975 into the early 1990s. He is personally responsible for some of the best racer/cruisers ever built.
By the early '80s, C&C had established itself at the forefront of the sailing industry, from both sailing results and business standpoints. Its success on the racecourse continued:
Canadian Admiral's Cup team comprised entirely of C&C boats—the 45-foot Amazing Grace, the 41-foot Silver Shadow III, and the 39-foot Magistri—finished sixth, a best for Canada. But off the water, the large, fast boats C&C was producing were not what the market wanted in a declining economy. Although this period saw some great boats coming out of the factory—the C&C 30, 34+, and 37+, to list a few—the business side was not as strong as it could have been. By the mid '90s, C&C needed a fresh perspective and new leadership to drive the company's business and sailing success into the next century.
In 1997, Tartan Yachts, assumed control of C&C's powerful legacy. Tim Jackett, Tartan's chief designer, set to work designing a new line of boats that would preserve the design characteristics and performance lineage of the C&C brand. Jackett took cues from the great designers at C&C before him, but his original ideas were also informed by his own experiences designing, building, sailing, and winning in custom racers. Since 1997, C&C Yachts has introduced four new models- the C&C 99, 110, and 121—and produced over 350 boats. In 2002, C&C became the first production sailboat builder to build its entire line with synthetic foam-cored BPA epoxy hulls, featuring a vacuum-bagged, infused laminate with uni-directional “E”-glass and carbon local reinforcements. In 2004, C&C jumped up another notch by equipping all models with carbon-fiber masts—standard.
With innovations in high tech, infused hulls and decks and carbon-fiber masts and components, C&C Yachts today continues to define the industry-leading design and construction styles that Cuthbertson and Cassian inspired over 40 years ago in order to create what remains the industry's performance sailing leader.