USWatercraft kick starts the C&C Yachts brand
Published on October 8th, 2014
It has been a busy year for USWatercraft. Already well known as a licensed builder of Jboats, and owner and builder of Alerion Yachts and True North Yachts, their acquisition of the C&C Yachts brand has born two new models in 2014. Scuttlebutt caught up with USWatercraft President Randy Borges for an update…
How did the C&C brand become part of the USWatercraft family?
C&C Yachts has always been near and dear to me. I grew up sailing on and against many C&Cs in Youngstown, NY, right across the river from Niagara on the Lake where they were being built. The principles and staff of C&C were revered and well respected back then. C&C always had the most modern, fastest and best looking boats.
I got the opportunity to work on and commission new C&Cs for RCR Yachts during my summers off from high school and made many visits to the plant. I can still recall daydreaming and doodling C&C pencil drawings on my school note books back then. You know, the racked bow and reverse transoms! Don’t forget the distinctive cast aluminum toerail.
After finishing school, I moved to Newport, RI and continued to work on and build boats, and after a few America’s Cup campaigns later, we opened Waterline Systems, and several years later began building some well-known sailboats including the J/24 and J/22. The Mumm 30s and Farr 40s followed.
Present day, my business partner Gunther Buerman and I acquired the assets of Pearson Marine which included the Alerion and True North lines. This afforded us the opportunity to have our own brands as opposed to being a “contract builder” for others. Both Alerion and True North are very well respected and lovely boats in their own right. However, they do not fill the longing for a lifelong competitive sailor to build fast, good looking, performance boats.
Coincidently, Gunther spent much of his very successful sailing career on Lake Ontario sailing against many of the most feared C&Cs of the day. I think much of his appreciation for C&C was derived from his time looking at the back end of the C&Cs he was competing against! So we both spent years admiring the quality and success of C&C in its heyday.
Somewhere along the way, we had discussions with Steve Malbasa who owns Tartan Yachts and the C&C Yachts brand, and I think I expressed our passion and desire to him about building race boats. Over time, we came to a mutual agreement that allowed USWatercraft the rights to build, market, and distribute C&C Yachts, and this year launched our first two models: the C&C 30 One Design and the C&C Redline 41, which we are thrilled about.
Launching two models at near the same time… what’s the rush? What do you see?
We felt that in order to really kick start the brand and support our dealers we needed new products. We wanted to launch in time for 2014 season so we could build momentum going into the fall boat shows. We have a great designer in Mark Mills, and we were fortunate to persuade Barry Carroll to help us develop these two new models in short order. As you may know, Barry spent his formidable years working for C&C Yachts here in Rhode Island so there was also a connection for him with the storied past.
Our goal was to launch the C&C 30 One Design this past spring and spend time putting it through the paces before going into full production. The Redline 41 was also launched this spring in time for the Newport to Bermuda Race. No question it was hard work for the engineering team and all the builders and staff. The marketing team may have worked the hardest to launch both the new brand as well as introduce the new models. So far it has been a great success. C&C is back!
What do we see? Something that catches your eye at the boat show. Not the typical lineup of white plastic boats that don’t sail well. More specifically, a competitive modern 30 ft. One Design Class that is high performance, affordable, offshore capable, and simple to sail. With the Redline 41, something fast and good looking, and designed for the rigors of offshore racing and cruising. The 41 has plenty of racing and cruising options to fit the owners’ specific requirements.
Are there specific goals for each boat? Who are the buyers?
We are anticipating that the C&C 30 becomes the next great international one-design class. The capabilities of this boat are unequaled by other similar size boats. There is nothing not to like about it. Jump on and take it for a sail in any condition and you will understand. As for the Redline 41, I see them appealing to the sailor who appreciates quality, good looks and performance. Buoy racing, offshore racing or cruising, there is no reason you can’t do it on the best looking boat at the yacht club.
I can only speculate on who the buyers for the 30 and 41 will be. I expect both will have a broad spectrum of appeal. Anyone who wants something modern, affordable, and fun should look no further. If you want to move into the next century of yacht design and performance … jump in. Hopefully we can attract some new people to sailboat racing or performance cruising.
The Redline 41 will be great for everything. This boat is highly customizable and you can strip the boat down and outfit her to be a racing machine or dress her up “Alerion Style” to be a comfortable performance cruiser. This is a high performance boat that is capable of winning races around buoys and goes comfortably and safely offshore, but has all the proper amenities for cruising. Easy enough for a couple, but roomy enough for a race crew of 9 or 10.
How many buyers do you need for these projects to have been a good move?
Building new boats is always a risk but we honestly feel that we have already succeeded. Both boats have been very well received and have done a great job of helping to reinvigorate the C&C brand. We are in this for the long haul and our success will not be judged on how many we build. Establishing a strong brand with two new great products under our belt is a great start and I am confident they will be in high demand. We take great pride in building under the C&C name and carrying on the tradition, there will be many more new C&Cs hitting the water for years to come.
Is the handicap rule environment influencing what you do?
We set out with handicap goals for both of the boats. That being said, we did design the 30 most specifically with a one design class in mind. We also spent a great deal of time working with the developers of the HPR rule to insure we would be competitive within their parameters. As for the 41, she is designed to perform well under many rules including ORC, ORR, IRC and PHRF.
Besides launching these two boats, is there ‘less glamorous’ work occurring with the brand?
C&C Yachts has a storied history with literally thousands of boats having been built over decades. It has been amazing to see how much brand loyalty there still is. We love hearing from C&C owners from all over the world, and it is a testament to the past in how passionate the owners are about their C&C Yachts. Unfortunately most of the records and files from years ago were lost, so we are doing our best to help source replacement parts or figure out alternatives. The numerous owner’s groups are also a great resource and we do what we can to support them. I wish we could do more but all in all they benefit from having an active builder and we benefit from have a loyal owners group.