The story behind how these CSY boats were conceived, designed, manufactured and sold is information of particular interest to CSY owners and prospective owners. There are many CSY owners that have contributed to the knowledge we now have. John R. (Jack) Van Ost himself has provided invaluable information about his experience running CSY as the president and CEO. This section will hopefully relate this story, from a historical perspective, to gain a better understanding of what was going on in the days these fine boats were being built, 1977 - 1981.
The CSY boats were sold directly from the factory, without any dealerships or middle-men. A very important marketing tool used to promote these high-quality boats was a fairly hefty soft-cover book, rich with color pictures of the boats, in all stages of construction, with detailed information in over 100 pages describing the CSY design philosophy, the choice of materials and systems. The book is named the CSY Guide to Buying and Yacht, by John R. Van Ost. This was an elaborate and very informative publication, far more than the typical yacht brochure. It was a key marketing expense for CSY, part of a marketing strategy to reach the buyer directly without the expense of a dealership network. The aim of this book was to effectively reach prospects and spread the word about the design and quality of these boats. The book invited prospects to visit the factory in Tampa, FL to see for themselves the quality of the operation.
Below is a picture of John R. (Jack) Van Ost, circa 1980.
Caribbean Sailing Yachts Corporation (CSY) was initially just a charter company, operating primarily in the Caribbean. CSY, headed by John R. Van Ost, needed stronger boats which would more easily and economically withstand the rigors of nearly 365 day a year operation, under bare-boat charter, with less than experienced captain and crew. So, CSY went into the boat manufacturing business, working initially with Ted Irwin, a well-known and successful designer of very affordable cruising and racing sailboats in the Tampa area at the time. We do not know much about the extent of his collaboration. It is evident, however, in the CSY 44 hull design. When you see an Irwin center-cockpit of a size between 38 ft and 50 ft, of the 1975-1990 vintage, you will see a striking similarity in their appearance: hull shape and raised aft deck allowing for a large aft stateroom.
But the similarity ends there. CSY boats were built to unusually high standards of strength, durability and quality, due to the demands of their use in the charter business. The CSY Guide describes how the boats met the Lloyds of London stringent design and boat building requirements.
Although many of these new boats were purchased outright by their new owners, many of them, particularly the 44 walk-over model, were sold under an agreement that the boat would be in charter, run by the CSY Charter Company, for a number of years, after which the boat would be paid off and revert to the "original purchaser". This is a typical arrangement with many boats under charter even today.
These boats were built with deep or shallow draft, or their draft could be modified and cut so that they could be used in the Caribbean under charter, and then returned to their owner, usually to be cruised on the East Coast, the shallow Florida Keys, or the Bahamas. The link DEEP OR SHALLOW above will show you how CSY marketed this feature, and the design and construction details that allowed this modification.
CSY developed a full line of sailboats: the 33, the 37, and the 44, initially in two flavors: what we now call the "walk-over", and the pilothouse. Most of the 44's built were walk-overs, with a very spacious cockpit and separate, unconnected staterooms forward and aft. Only much later, did CSY build the 44 "walk-through" model, and only about 40 of these were built, before CSY went out of business.
Antigua Yachts, under the ownership of John Coats, started building the CSY 44 again, under the new name of Antigua 44. We are not sure, but we think that about 20-30 of these highly customized versions of the CSY 44 walk-through were built in the 80's.