The History of the Cabot 36 and its Rebirth
This beautiful classic established its reputation for design, sea-kindliness, cruising comfort, and extra-solid construction in the 1970's under the ownership of Cabotcraft Industries.
Cabotcraft Industries was the product of a financial partnership between the Cape Breton Development Corporation (Devco), and two Toronto entrepreneurs and boaters, Fred Karp, V.P. at Speedy Muffler, and advertising executive, Jerry Goodes. CCI began operations at Pt. Edward Industrial Park, Sydney, N.S. in late 1972 or early 1973, in WWI naval buildings that had been converted by the Coast Guard for bringing small craft out of the water.
Working conditions were tough: coal dust used for tire grip in the snow, resin dust sparkling in the sunlight coming through worn windows, and the first crew often dressed inside for winter temperatures.
Jim Marsh, John Perring and Bob Wallstrom did the lofting from Wallstrom's own plans, and line drawings from Ted Brewer, who had begun in his designs to take a "bite" out of the aft section of the traditional full keel, giving greater steerage in reverse. Intended for cruising in comfort in North Atlantic conditions, the Cabot included an ample galley and storage below, and her construction was rugged, with a core of Airex foam. Ted Brewer invited visitors to take a swing with an axe at a piece of the stuff! She was no racer, but the Cabot pleased a lot of buyers looking for safety, steady tracking, and comfort below.
Getting the first boat to show in 1974 was a scramble. The crew, traveling in a Winnebago, worked at every stop to build and finish the interior as the convoy headed to
Annapolis, towing the Cabot behind an old '50's Mac Truck.
About 1975, after a dozen or so boats had been produced, Fred Karp and Jerry Goodes left, and Devco took the company over. John Perring replaced Jim Marsh at the helm for an interim period before Devco hired Roy Mac Keen, who had been working in their Tourism division, in part on Cruising Cape Breton, a successful navigational guide to the Bras d'Or Lakes. Mac Keen (as President) and Perring presided over the bulk of production to the company's end in July of 1978.
Economic conditions were bad for all boat builders in the late '70's. Competition was fierce and the energy crisis had begun to drive up the price for resins. CCI's relative isolation from its main suppliers meant it always struggled to keep costs down. It was also not until sometime in 1975 that the facility had been improved enough to handle a line of ten boats under construction.
In an attempt to diversify, the company had plans to do a 30-foot version of the boat, and molds had been done (and a few lay-ups) for the 41-foot Cape Islander fishing vessel. But these and other ventures into commercial applications of fibreglass could not save the company. Devco closed the operation in July of 1978 after 49 boats, some as kits, had been completed.
The molds then languished for years in Nova Scotia fields, occasionally being visited by sailors who yearned to have their own Cabot 36. Rumors sometimes spread that a new company had been formed to bring her back, but nothing materialized.
Brian Smyth, Yachtsmith's engineer and chief technical wizzard, first heard of their survival in the late 1990's, but it wasn't until in 2002 that he fell in love with a Cabot 36, moored next to him in the Bahamas. On his return home, he and a partner went in search of the molds and plans were laid for a new line of production.
Yachtsmith is delighted to offer its clients a chance to re-discover a great cruising vessel. Owners of the original boats are scattered across the globe, many having realized that, after safe and comfortable Carribean cruises, they also have the perfect boat for longer passages and bigger dreams.
Home Again...at YachtSmiths International's shop in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia Canada
The First Cabot 36 of 2005 on display at the Halifax International Boat Show from February 17 to February 20, 2005.
2 Maitland Street
Phone (902) 463-0741
Toll Free: 1 866 856-7848
Fax: (902) 463-3664
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