C&C Custom 44 – Exotic or blackwall




By Steve Killing
Boats are getting more like cars- you can buy custom or deluxe editions. C&C Yachts is offering their new 44 as a Grand Prix, all high-tech and assorted exotics; or the same shape with blackwall tires. We will concentrate on the first package, an absolute state-of-the-art racer. In the future the boat will also be available as a custom yacht, built to C&C’s normal standards, or as a production model.
Like most limited production boats, the C&C 44 started with a request from a particular customer. In this case the customer, Jim Plaxton, has a substantial interest in the company. If ever C&C has gone all-out to win on the racecourse, this is it. The engineering side of the design office has been working overtime on Plaxton’s Grand Prix version. Every exotic material and technique you have ever heard of is probably being used to produce a light, strong boat.

Vacuumbagging of the hull is the first, a process that, by removing the air from beneath a plastic wrap, applies pressure to the core material and laminate to ensure excellent bonding. The fore-and-aft structure is much like Don Green’s original Evergreen, with full-height longitudinal stiffeners running the length of the boat. Oh yes, those are honeycomb panels with carbon fiber skins. Some of the laminates are pre-preg fiberglass, essentially glass fabric with the resin already in it. The final curing, once the laminate is laid up in the mold, is by heat.
The core material for the deck is Nomex, a light, stiff paper honeycomb that at times has trouble bonding to the skins, but with the use of prepreg and vacuum-bagging has a much better chance of success. With all this high-tech construction it would seem as natural as home childbirthto have this creation brought into the world at the C&C’s custom shop in Oakville. But that is not to be-doctor’s orders.

With the recent move of the design office to Niagara-on-the-Lake, the brain power is there. The facilities are in place at the development shop in Niagara and since much of the technology was new to workers anyway, why not teach the Niagara shop instead of the custom shop? For the construction of the molds and the first Grand Prix hull, the work will be done in Niagara.
For the finishing work that has made the Oakville shop so famous, the boat will be shipped around to the north side of the lake. The pre-preg fiberglass laminates, which comprise a small fraction of the hull, will be fabricated for C&C by another firm. The spar will be a four-spreader rig, engineered and built by Hall Spars. C&C has moved away from building their own spars recently, both in production and custom shops.

By volume production, the companies that specialize in spars can produce them cheaper while developing their engineering expertise. It also takes a welcome load off the designers at C&C. Rob Ball, head of C&C’s design office, describes the hull as a “little narrower and lighter than Magistri,” Peter Farlinger’s successful 1983 Admiral’s Cup boat from the same designer. C&C’s previous boats have been doing well in “big seas and a leftover lump,” says Ball, “and that seems to indicate that we can use smaller keels without any problem.“The keel has changed from that in preliminary drawings to one with less area and much less taper. Silver Shadow, the first Grand Prix boat, and Momentum, the first Custom model, will be ready to show their stuff at the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit in February.

For more information, contact C&C Yachts, PO Box 970, 526 Regent St., Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. LOS 110.

Steve Killing is an independent yacht designer based in Midland Ontario. He is the head of the design program for the True North America’s Cup Challenge.

Originally published in Canadian Yachting’s December 1984.

Length………………..43ft 7in
Beam………………….12ft 11 1/2in
Draft…………………..8ft 4in
Sail Area……………..849ft2
IOR Rating……………34.1ft2


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