Heart of Glass Fiberglass boats and the men who made them

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9780071579834: Heart of Glass Fiberglass boats and the men who made them

Developed during World War Two, fibreglass transformed yachting, an exclusive pastime of the rich, into boating, a favoured leisure pursuit of America's growing middle class. This volume examines the history and development of fibreglass vessels.

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Review:

Spurr's new volume serves as a narrative and a unique scrapbook of the growth of boating in the second half of the 20th century. But the most exciting aspect of his book is the collection of rare photographs and brief narratives of some of the most successful boats built during recent decades. Heart of Glass is a good book to have on your library shelf.

From the Back Cover:

The world's 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.

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