Sadly the boating industry recently lost a talented boat designer and builder. Born in Mondsee, Austria, 71-year old George Anton Hinterhoeller died of a heart attack on March 18, 1999.
George launched a boating revolution with his goal of a 'boat that would go like hell'. In 1959 the Austrian, who worked at a Niagara-on- the-Lake yacht builder, decided he wanted a boat of his own, a personal project he could work on. He envisioned a boat that was big enough to sail on Lake Ontario, but faster than the full-keel wooden boats that were used in those days.
Teeter-Totter was her name. She was twenty-two feet long, light and easy to sail. A flat bottom design ensured that she would be fast. It wasn't long before Teeter-Totter gained attention, and people were asking for one of their own.
And so began the legacy, as George began to manufacture the boat he called a Shark. Originally made of plywood, the Shark was soon made of fibreglass, a risky material in those times. Fibreglass was cheaper and easier to maintain which meant sailing was no longer just for the rich.
It wasn't long before there were Sharks racing all around the Great Lakes, the Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers and off both Canadian seaboards. Today there are approximately 2500 Sharks still being sailed in North America and Europe.
After the Shark, George concentrated mainly on building, and in 1969 along with George Cuthbertson and George Cassian he became one of the founding partners in C&C Yachts. He stayed with C&C until 1976, when he said he spent "more time in the boardroom than building boats".
George then set up Hinterhoeller Yachts in the late 1970's where he built an unusual cruising catboat for Gordon Fisher of Southam Press. The design soon became the familiar Nonsuch and his yard turned out close to 1000 yachts.
In the late 1980's George sold his stake in Hinterhoeller Yachts, partly because he felt it was time to retire and he feared that the market was getting saturated with used boats.
Although the Shark is no longer in production here in Canada, it will
always remain as a remembrance of the creative mind of