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Nonsuch Beginnings

The Nonsuch is the inspiration of Gordon Fisher, a respected Canadian sailor and business leader who once stood at the helm of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club and Southam Inc. Following a distinguished racing career - Fisher was the co-skipper of the custom C&C "Red Jacket", when it won the SORC - this chief executive and past-commodore decided it was time to go cruising. So, Fisher took his idea for a cat-boat with a unique free-standing rig to yacht designer Mark Ellis. Ellis Explains "Gordon admired the Ljungstrom-rig from the early '30s. With a free-standing mast and no boom, this rig was perfect for single-handling. We eventually decided on a Ljungstrom-type rig that was modified by a windsurfer-style wishbone boom for better sail control."

With line drawings in hand, this pair went to visit George Hinterhoeller in St. Catharines, Ontario. "At first, George was lukewarm. For one, he was not crazy about the wishbone, or the loose-footed main on lazy jacks. He also disliked the New England cat-boat aesthetics. Still, we managed to prove to Hinterhoeller that, with a fin-keel, spade rudder, and a balanced hull shape, our cat would not develop a lot of windward helm as it heeled over - one of those unfortunate characteristics of Cape Cod cat-boats." With a symmetrical hull that resembles a Finn or an early International 14, the Nonsuch design balances the helm remarkably well in a whisper or a blow.

The Nonsuch class was named after the Nonsuch of Hudson's Bay Company. That vessel was named after the Baroness Nonsuch of Nonsuch Park, Surrey, England, who was the mother of King Charles the 2nd's two natural sons.  The Baroness also bore the illegitimate daughter of John Churchill, who was the First Duke of Marlborough, and became governor of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1685. The first 30 rolled out of the Hinterhoeller shop in the summer of 1978.
The Nonsuch is a favourite of ex-racers and cruisers who are looking for comfort, and the ability to sail short-handed. A plumb-bow, wide beam and a cambered house-top create a roomy interior with accommodation equal to a standard yacht several feet longer. Regional chapters of the International Nonsuch association (INA) are organized in Canada, the U.S. , the U.K. , and Europe, with the largest fleets on Lake Ontario, and the U.S. east seacoast. INA past president Norm Sandham boasts that they are one of the largest class associations in North America, with 700 members out of the 975 boats built.

In July of 1995, 54 boats participated in the 9th "World's Rendezvous and Regatta". Hosted by the INA on Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. These biennial get-togethers, which alternate between fresh and salt water, began as the initiative of enthusiastic skippers who were eager to congregate, compete and congratulate each other on their wise choice of yacht. The INA publishes The Nonsuch Update, a substantial quarterly newsletter, as well as a detailed handbook and annual roster of all Nonsuch owners.

There are 975 boats in the Nonsuch Flotilla, including:  
•        58 - 22's
•        258 - 26's
•        522 - 30's
•        67 - 33's
•        70 - 36's

Bud Turner - 1995

 
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