Powerboat-World.com
 
 
News Home Video Gallery Newsletters FishingBoating Features Photo Gallery Sail-World Australia Australian Cruising
Sail-World Australia Australian Cruising MarineBusiness-World

 

Sail-World.com : The man called ‘Connie’

The man called ‘Connie’

'C.N. Connie Ray in 1959'   
With American boat manufacturers currently unveiling their ’09 model year range, the thought occurred that for Sea Ray it represents 50-years of recreational boating.

What better excuse than to contact the man called ‘Connie’, Cornelius Nathaniel Ray.

Perhaps the name does not ring a bell?

How about C.N.Ray? Ok, ‘Connie’ Ray? Well, what about C.Ray = Sea Ray?

That’s him, the man who in 1959 established Sea Ray Boats, quite understandably recognised nowadays as an American icon.

Today, of course, Sea Ray is a vital component of the giant Brunswick Corporation, parent company of such illustrious marine industry names as Mercury, MerCruiser, Mariner, Bayliner and Maxum, to name a few.

‘Connie’ Ray sold the company he had developed in 1986, for a figure somewhere around USD$350,000,000

He stayed aboard for a further four-years, finally ‘swallowing the anchor’ and retiring in 1990.

Last week, I was able to contact ’Connie’, now happily retired, aged 83, and living quietly on his ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, just a few kilometres north of Los Angeles.

As he recalled for me, it was 1959 when he purchased what he termed ‘business assets’ from one Ray Carr.

1961 SeaRay -  .Searay ,   Click Here to view large photo



Carr’s business comprised a small fibreglass manufacturing plant producing golf cart bodies, coffins and a small boat range in a suburban building on the outskirts of Detroit, Michigan.

'I was not the best of golfers so I had no interest in continuing with golf carts, or, needless to say, coffins,' ‘Connie’ joked.

'For a few months we stayed in that facility working on some boat designs.

'Shortly after we moved to a deserted potato warehouse in Lake Orion, Michigan, but we outgrew that facility fairly quickly and moved again to a larger building in the same area.

'I guess you could say that Sea Ray was among the first boat manufacturers in the US to be building boats from fibreglass.

'Business was going well and in 1962 we built our own plant in Oxford, Michigan, which over time became Sea Ray’s largest plant.'

‘Connie’ Ray and his team obviously picked the market, for Sea Ray went from success to success, its boats being widely recognised as an ‘upmarket’ or ‘prestige’ brand.

1980 SeaRay -  .Searay ,   Click Here to view large photo



When 1986 rolled around and the Brunswick Corporation became the new owner of Sea Ray Boats, the company boasted about 4800 employees producing 28,000 boats annually from manufacturing plants in Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, Arizona and, for the European dealer network, Ireland.

Sale of the company allowed ‘Connie’ Ray to focus on other interests in his life.

Trained as an aviator, he served with the US Air Force at the close of World War II and had a long aviation involvement from propeller-driven aircraft to the jet age.

‘Connie’ was no mean hand at the controls of a jet and flew regularly in the largest aircraft he owned, a French-built Falcon 50.

A talented man in many directions, ‘Connie’ also had an extreme fondness for thoroughbred horses and in 1983 acquired ‘Evergreen Farms’, in Kentucky, a noted thoroughbred breeding facility.

‘Connie’ was to enjoy as much success with his horses as he did with his boats.

His horses won a number of renowned Breeder Cups, one of them, ‘Lit de Justice’ also triumphing in the Eclipse Award, a prestigious honour sponsored by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the National Turf Writers Association.

‘Connie’ raced 14 other stakes winners, among his victories such well-known events as Arlington Million, San Juan Capistrano Handicap, the Eddie Read Handicap and the Shoemaker Breeder’s Cup.

Despite his skill as a pilot and his touch as a thoroughbred breeder and racer, ‘Connie’ Ray has stamped his name indelibly on the recreational boating industry.

He can truly be termed ‘a living legend.’

I did ask ‘Connie’ how he came to be known as, well, ‘Connie.’

'I was named after my grandfather, who was known as ‘Connie’ and even ‘Corny’, although for most of my business life I was known as C.N.Ray.' he explained.

Prominent American author, Jeffrey Rodengen, a who specialises in producing superb books on United States companies, is shortly due to release another tome, ‘Commanding the Waterways; The Legend of Sea Ray.’

He has previously written such interesting books as ‘Iron Fist’, the story of Carl Kiekhaefer, the Legend of Chris-Craft and the Legend of Evinrude.

I’d say his latest is going to be a good read, Sea Ray owner or not.







by Bob Wonders

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.powerboat-world.com/index.cfm?nid=49750

5:01 AM Tue 14 Oct 2008 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


Power Boat News





















Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show - 13 things to See and do by Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show,






























Yamaha inspires students to succeed by Yamaha Motor Australia,








Swan celebrates sales success *Feature by Jeni Bone,




Polar research: Six priorities for Antarctic science by Mahlon C. Kennicutt II and colleagues,


Stealth i14 out of China by Neil Patchett,


Bivalves' ability to clean chemicals from waterways
Brisbane Boat Show 2014 - New boat engines set to rev up interest
Two rescued in tow from 13km offshore
Enhancing boating safety in the Mallacoota region
National 4x4 Outdoors Show and Fishing and Boating Expo - 4WD heaven
Yanmar selected for big torque at low revs
Sydney Boat Show display winners recognised *Feature
China Yachting Conference lines up the speakers
2014 National 4x4 Outdoors Show: Popularity of caravanning and camping
2015 Sydney Inte'l Boat Show - Boating Industry commences planning
Last chance to join 2014 Multihull Solutions Whitsunday Rendezvous
Dangerous conditions for boaters from this evening
Pacific Boating membership offers hassle-free boating *Feature
Marine15 expands trade, networking and B2B opportunities *Feature
2014 Auckland on the Water Boatshow - Huge prize packs up for grabs
4X4 Outdoors Show and Fishing and Boating Expo wows water lovers
John Wilson has sights set on second P1 SuperStock title
Torquay Grand Prix - Pertemps tops table on penultimate day
Plain sailing for yachts with river cargo ship ban in Shanghai
Dangerous conditions for boaters from this afternoon
Sydney Int'l Boat Show - Stellar results for Multihull Solutions   
NSW Environment Minister awards 'Fish Friendly' Marina Accreditations   
Refurbished Protector project 'better than buying new'   
Gold Coast International Marine Expo - High-Diver Steve Black is back   
4x4 Outdoors Show, Fishing and Boating Expo - Campfire cooking corner   
See the heat with FLIR ONE *Feature   
John Temple to retire, Will Sangster appointed General Manager   
Multihull Central launches Aquila range at SIBS *Feature   
If all else fails read the instructions!!   
If all else fails read the instructions!!   
Sun shines on recreational boating at Sydney International Boat Show   
Phuket Yacht Show: new kid on the block taking on PIMEX? *Feature   
2014 Offshore Superboat Championships - The boats are back!   
Sydney International Boat Show - Days 3 & 4 *Feature   
Kirby Marine launch 13metre Naiad Tender   
Shellfish reefs in Port Phillip Bay to be rejuvenated   
2014 Brisbane Boat Show - What's your trailer boat worth?   
Custom exhaust system solves buoyancy problem   
Sydney International Boat Show - Day 2 *Feature   
Marine Rescue volunteers celebrate new unit and $120,000 vessel   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png   http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS PBW
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT