Forbes Cooper sold his concrete business in Edmonton and moved to Vancouver in 1964. After a few years in the automotive distribution industry he realized his dream of owning a boat yard. It began with building the Columbia 22 and 26 under license in a small shop in North Vancouver. Forbes was already an avid boater spending weekends and summer holidays aboard his Monk designed McQueen built 36 footer.
Although building sailboats was his business it was always power boats he loved. The sailboat business began to grow rapidly and Cooper Yachts was born in Port Coquitlam BC. In addition to the Columbia Boats Forbes now began building the highly successful Catalina 22 and 27 under license. Over the next few years well over a 1000 were built for the BC market. It's hard to look at any photo of a marina in BC that doesn't have at least one Catalina 27 in the picture.
In addition to building the Catalina 22 and 27, Cooper Yachts was building the Martin 29 and the Doug Peterson designed Ganbare 35 as well as the Maple Leaf 48 and 54. From this the line of Cooper Sailboats was born. These included the Cooper 316, 353, 416 and 508 as well as the Banner 32 and 37. Later the Maple Leaf 45 was added to the family.
In the early 80s Forbes began to build powerboats under the Prowler banner. Beginning with the Prowler 10 metre Sundeck and later the 9 metre and 12 metre Sundeck as well. These boats were sold in almost every corner of North America as well as in Japan. Later the line of Prowler sport boats was added, they ranged from the 5.1 metre runabout to the 8 metre Sportboat.
At the same time Forbes began building custom Motor yachts at a nearby facility. There were well over a dozen boats built over 80 feet all the way up to a 110 foot mega yacht.
At this point Cooper Yachts was one of the biggest boat builders in Canada, the company was sold. Although Forbes stayed on for a while, he realized he needed a break and spent a few years away from the business cruising in his own boat the No Big Deal.
Here is an article from boattrader.com that describes the Prowler years pretty well.
History of Forbes Cooper Yacht Designs
Forbes Cooper was one of Canada’s most prolific boat builders. His Cooper Prowler power yachts were produced by the hundreds in many shapes and sizes. Cooper started in boat building in the early 1970′s building sailboats. He was a prolific sailboat producer building thousands of sailboats into the 1980′s. In the early 80′s he branched out into power boat construction. The Cooper Prowler series of yachts reached a production level of 800 per year and in total over 8,000 were produced.
In the late 80′s Cooper sold his business and it became Cooper/Queenship, and then eventually just Queenship. The early Queenship yachts were also built and sold as Cooper Prowlers. After leaving Queenship, Forbes Cooper continued several other yacht building ventures.
After a bit of a hiatus Forbes began FC yachts. During these years FC started with a 57 footer and expanded into building yachts up to 90 feet. /after a few successful years the company was purchased and the name was changed to Rayburn Motoryachts.
At the turn of the century Westcoast Custom Yachts was begun and Forbes and a crew started building the popular cruising boat the Westcoast 46. Designed for the Northwest, it was a traditional boat with an excellent turn of speed. It has found a home in the charter business as well as with lovers of traditional cruising boats. From the 46 the larger 57, 62 and 64 Pilothouse yachts were born. These boats combine large interiors, roomy flybridges and cal decks with impressive performance, dependability and economy. Even today Forbes at the age of 80 continues to develop new product with a Euro styled 64 Express cruiser set to be released in mid May.
Crow's Nest Yachts
Crow's Nest Yachts is in the midst of celebrating 38 years of service to
West Coast boaters. As the largest independent brokerage yacht dealer
on the West Coast, we maintain a tradition and reputation as offering
the finest yachts in all classes. This reputation has continued in
recent years, through many strategic changes which have benefited
customers and staff alike.