Heart of Glass : Fiberglass Boats and the Men Who Built Them

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9780071435468: Heart of Glass : Fiberglass Boats and the Men Who Built Them

Nine out of ten sailors today own sturdy, often beautiful, fiberglass craft. Fiberglass brought boating to the non-rich, but the history of that revolution has never been told. Daniel Spurr rectifies this omission with his affectionate account of the fiberglass boat, from its earliest incarnation in World War II to the present. Spurr profiles landmark designs that set the standards in the used-boat market and introduces the vivid personalities who invented the world of boating we know today.

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From the Inside Flap:

The worlds oceans, lakes, and waterways abound with plastic-hulled craft of every description, and most of us take for granted that nearly anyone who can afford to buy a car can also own a boat. But just fifty years ago, affordable boating was an oxymoron. In those days, virtually all pleasure craft were painstakingly fashioned from wood, and yachting was the exclusive domain of the rich. Then, in 1942, maverick inventor Ray Greene rolled out his first crude fiberglass-reinforced polyester (FRP) dinghy, thus firing the opening shot in a revolution that, over the next two decades, would transform boating from an elitist pastime into a democratic institution enjoyed by hundreds of thousands.

The story of the fiberglass boat, from the first ugly ducklings of the 1940s to the elegant sloops and sportfishermen of today, is a rich one, peopled with a colorful array of pioneers, visionaries, and entrepreneurs. It is a tale of triumph and ruin, scientific serendipity and engineering genius, a love of the art and a relentless quest for the next hot boat. And few authors are as qualified to tell the story as boating journalist and author Daniel Spurr. Spurr introduces us to the great fiberglass boat designers and builders, many of whose first-hand accounts appear throughout the book. We learn how men such as Charlie Morgan, Everett Pearson, Dick Bertram, Hobie Alter, and Rod Johnson, working on a shoestring, often out of their garages, gave birth to the vessels that revolutionized boating. Most got by, but some went bankrupt. Few found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

And of course, there are the boats themselves, the landmark designs. We get the complete inside stories of the Pearson Triton, the Boston Whaler, the Bermuda 40, the Cal's, the Hobie Cat, the Morgan Out Island 41, the Bertram 31, the Magnum 27, the Grand Banks trawlers, the J/24, and the other enduring classics that built an industry and remain the most popular used boats to this day.

Illustrated with 220 rare photographs, many never before published, Heart of Glass is a must-read -- a fascinating story of fiberglass boats and the mavericks who dreamed them.

From the Back Cover:

A groundbreaking history of the revolution that gave boating to the middle class.

When Ray Greene built the first crude fiberglass dinghy in 1942, no one--not even Greene himself--knew that he had fired the opening shot in a boating revolution. Here, for the first time, is the rich and colorful history of how such men as Charley Morgan, Everett Pearson, Dick Bertram, Hobie Alter, and Rod Johnstone, working on a shoestring and often out of their garages, transformed boating. Here too are the legendary boats that built an industry--classics like the Pearson Triton, Boston Whaler, Bermuda 40, Cal 40, Hobie Cat, Morgan Out Island 41, Bertram 31, Magnum 27, Grand Banks trawlers, J/24, and others.

"Heart of Glass is a true masterpiece, a wonderful and exciting journey through the world of fiberglass from World War II to the present."--Michael Aronow, author of Don Aronow: King of Thunderboat Row

"A masterly book."--Bernadette Bernon, Cruising World

"This excellent history is the most comprehensive I have seen."--Everett Pearson, chairman of the board, Tillotson-Pearson International

"For anyone who loves boats, this is a must-read!"--Charles Morgan, yacht designer, founder of Morgan Yachts

"I read it cover to cover in one sitting. This is the most important boatbuilding book published in the last 20 years."--Robert H. Perry, yacht designer

"Reads like a novel, and like Dorothy's Tin Man, has given fiberglass a heart."--Boating

"An amazing tale."--SAIL

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