Hughes was a Canadian company that built reasonably high quality boats most or which were designed in house. In the 1960's they built a reasonably nice 35 footer of their own design. Hughes was also prone to buying
the tooling for obsolete designs from other boat builders such as a 45 footer that was a recycled Seafarer model. They were also prone to joint venturing with other companies to develop new designs. Such was the case with the second of the three Hughes 38's, which was designed by S&S working in conjunction with Hinckley. Hughes did all of the fiberglass work
and supplied bare hulls to Hinckley who finshed the Hinckley boats off and sold
them as "Hinckley Competition 38's". Hughes sold
them as Hughes 38's. Nice boats from that era.
In the early 1970's Hughes was purchased by US Steel
and tooled up a new line of IOR rule
based designs. This line of boats were designed by Sparkman and Stevens and were called Hughes Northstars. I owned a Hughes Northstar 500 QT which was a IOR quarter tonner (25 feet).
Within the Hughes Northstar line was a 35 footer that was called a Northstar 1500 (I believe). While these boats went to weather
pretty well, on all other points of sail these were miserable boats from the era that made IOR so notorious. These were beamy boats with pinched ends and the centerof buoyancy quite far forward giving them a miserable motion and slow speed off of the wind
. Downwind they were miserable rollers and their big genoa
sail plan was a pain in the butt to sail without a couple gorillas on the winches. If someone sailed one of these transatlantic several times they must be one hell of a good sailor or very lucky.
pulled out of Hughes at some point in the late 1970's and the company seemed to take a plunge. In the late 70's or early 1980's some investors called something like the Aura group bought Hughes and also purchased the remains of Columbia/Coronado and began producing Columbias as well. Columbia had been producing a 35 footer that was part if its "Wide body" series. These were also essentially IOR era racer
cruisers and were also not very good boats. I helped a fellow sort through a bad survey
report on one of these and the build quality on these had really fallen from the earlier Northstar days.
When Hughes folded its tent, the rites to the name Columbia was bought a number of times and showed up on a variety of different proposed models. There is little or no connection between the original Columbia from the 1960's and the Hughes/Columbia, and the current