Robert Wilson Ball

1943 - 2022

Robert Wilson Ball, age 79 (August 24, 1943 – September 9, 2022) loved life and lived it to the fullest. He was an engaged husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend who cared deeply for the people in his life. 

Rob caught the sailing bug early and devoted much of his life to the sport - both as an active sailor and all-around sailing booster himself, and professionally as the Chief Designer for C&C Yachts, Naval Architect for Concordia Custom Yachts and Chief Engineer for Edson International. He was an avid hockey player in his school and university years, and then took up running late in life, completing several competitive runs and a half marathon. He loved his Irish setter dogs and was the world’s biggest ABBA fan. He was passionate about the color green, and he treated every Thursday as ‘Green day’. He wore green with pride whenever possible, and encouraged using it in any and all décor. Always adventurous and thirsty for knowledge, Rob lived in both Canada and the US, but never lost his Canadian roots or citizenship. He ventured all over the world for both work and family adventures, considered his socks and Birkenstocks a fashion statement, and loved to share stories about the things he had seen. He loved good food – homecooked or in restaurants, and always welcomed a great view of the water or the sunset with a glass of fine cabernet in hand. 

Rob is survived by his wife Pat, his sisters Mary Dodd (John) and Barb Watson, his three children Bria Knowles (Michael), Dayton Ball (Lauren) and Kira L’Heureux (Dalton), and four grandchildren Emmett, Oliver, Keenan and Arlo. He would also likely mention his dog Cabi (short for Cabernet) and begrudgingly his wife’s two cats Tia and Tetley.

Rob’s family will be welcoming guests for a celebration of his life at the New Bedford Yacht Club on Tuesday, September 13, drop in reception at 10:10am, service at 11:11am. Rob would of course encourage everyone to wear green! There will be an Ontario, Canada celebration at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to New Bedford Community Boating in his honor.

We were saddened to hear of the recent death of noted C&C Yachts designer Rob Ball. Rob succumbed to injuries suffered in a recent fall on September 9th at the age of 79 at his home in New Bedford, Mass.

It can be safely said that no yacht designer in the long history of the sport had more designs to his credit than Rob Ball. Rob took over design responsibility at C&C in 1973 when George Cuthbertson assumed the responsibilities of the Presidency of a rapidly growing C&C Yachts that had been founded a mere four years previously. Rob stayed with the company through several iterations right up to 1996 when the assets of C&C were purchased by Tartan Marine in the US and the company ceased to be a Canadian entity.

Rob was responsible for creating the lines plans of the hulls of every C&C produced over those 23 years, which included some of the most iconic sailboat designs of the last century, ranging from windsurfers to 67’ world girdling schooners. The list is too long to recount in detail, but included the C&C 33 and 34, the new C&C 27s, 29s, 30s, 35s and the immensely successful C&C 40s and 41s, as well as the Landfall line of cruising sailboats and designs for outside builders such a Baltic Yachts. His custom designs included Dynamo, Amazing Grace, Silver Shadow, Charisma, Marauder, Evergreen, Archangel, and many more. The entire 1983 Canadian Admirals Cup team consisted of C&C designs, and the C&C 40 dominated racing on Long Island Sound in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. After leaving C&C, or more accurately C&C leaving Rob, he moved to the US to design for Concordia, and then started a long career as chief engineer for Edson International in New Bedford. 

Rob is survived by his wife of many years Pat, his sisters Mary Dodd (John) and Barb Watson, his three children Bria Knowles (Michael), Dayton Ball (Lauren), and Kira L’Heureux (Dalton), and four grandchildren Emmett, Oliver, Keenan, and Arlo. 

Anyone who owns a C&C designed after 1973 owes a dept of gratitude to Rob Ball. There will be many glasses raised in tribute to that unsurpassed design legacy that will outlive Rob for years to come.

- Rob Mazza

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