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Hughes Boat Works 1963-1991

Hughes Boat Works was founded by brothers, Howard and Peter Hughes. The original location was Willowdale, Ontario, Canada, (near Toronto) where they built small dinghies.

In 1965 the company moved to Scarborough, Ontario, and from 1965 to 1967 they built the HUGHES 24 (using tooling purchased from Tanzer Industries Ltd.), the HUGHES 27 (designed by Howard Hughes), and the HUGHES 38 (Sparkman & Stevens design #1903). In 1968 the company moved to Centralia, Ontario. The HUGHES 22, H25, and H29 (designed by Howard Hughes) went into production in 1968, as did the H38 and H48 (designed by Sparkman & Stevens in conjunction with Hughes).

In 1969 the company was sold to US Steel. Both Hughes brothers stayed with the company until 1971.

The name of the company was changed to Northstar Yachts Ltd.

The Northstar line of sailboats were built to plans commissioned by Hughes Boat Works, most drawn by Sparkman and Stevens. From 1971 to 1974 the company built the NORTHSTAR 22 - 22 ft, NORTHSTAR 500 - 25 ft (Sparkman & Stevens design #2135 ), NORTHSTAR 1000 - 30 ft (S&S design #2098-C6), NORTHSTAR 1500 - 35 ft (S&S design #2166), NORTHSTAR 38, and NORTHSTAR 80/20 (S&S design #2134). The 24 ft NS727 and the 30 ft N900 (both designed by Bruce Farr) were introduced in 1973.

In 1977 Howard Hughes purchased Northstar Yachts and changed the name to Hughes Boatworks Inc (the first Hughes Boatworks name ended with "Ltd.". The NORTHSTAR 600 was modified and named the H26. A new model called the H27 was introduced. The NORTHSTAR 1000 was stretched (by extending the stern) and fattened and renamed the H31. The NORTHSTAR 1500 was renamed the H35, the NORTHSTAR 38 was fitted with a new interior design and called the HUGHES 38-2, and the NORTHSTAR 80/20 was renamed the H40.

A variant of the HORTHSTAR 35 was built by Coronado Yachts and called the CORONADO 36.

In 1979 Hughes purchased Columbia Yachts and began building Columbia boats in Canada at the Huron Park factory under the name Hughes-Columbia. New models called the HUGHES-COLUMBIA 36, 8.3, 8.7 (motor sailer), 10.7, 11.8, 42, 48 (formerly SEAFARER 48) were introduced, while at the same time production of the HUGHES H26, H31, H35, H38, and H40 (ketch) continued. All models were available fully finished or in kit form. In 1980 Hughes went into receivership and the factory was closed. Hughes sold Columbia Yachts to Aura Yachts, which was also based in Huron Park, and Aura built a version of the HUGHES 35, which they called the Aura H35, the HUGHES 40, which they called the AURA H40, the COLUMBIA 7.6. which they called the AURA 7.6, the COLUMBIA 8.7, which they called the AURA 8.7, and the COLUMBIA 10.7, which they called the AURA 10.7. A version of the HUGHES 35 / AURA H35 was also built by South Hants Engineering in Great Britain (called the S.H.E. 36). South Hants Engineering may also have built some North Star 1500 variants, and the last S.H.E. 1500 variant hull number might have been 102. In 1986 Howard Hughes purchased the assets of Hughes Boatworks (for the second time!) and began building boats in Orangeville, Ontario. A model called the H41 was built (or at least advertised) during this period.

A fire destroyed the factory in 1991, and no Hughes boats (or Columbia's) have been built since that time. Hughes Boat Works Ltd. was the largest sailboat manufacturer in Canada for several years, builing more than 3,500 boats.