From a Christchurch boat to a boating empire!
The famous Christchurch boat that started out as a washtub.
Looking back on the Fi-Glass success, it’s hard to believe our first Christchurch boat had its origins in a washtub! Formed in 1958, the innovative Fi-Glass Products Ltd took advantage of a new fibreglass technology for the manufacture of washtubs and shower trays. With the expertise gained from these humble beginnings, we developed the first Fi-Glass Christchurch boat, the FISHERMAN, designed by Brian Wall.
It created a great deal of interest from the start, and over 50 years later Fi-Glass boats can be found all over New Zealand’s waterways – from jet boats on the braided Canterbury Rivers to Finn Class Yachts on the Waitemata Harbour.
Early Fi-Glass models such as the REGENT, and FIRECREST (also known as the SABRE-JET and the HAMILTON JET 42) were sold with wooden decks, or as hulls only for the purchaser to finish.
By 1964 these hulls had developed into a complete Christchurch boat with fibreglass deck. After exhibition at the Auckland Boat Show, orders quickly came and production was stepped up to 6 boats per week. When production ceased in 1968, 364 FIRECRESTS had been built!
Next in the Fi-Glass story came the FIREBALL (1968), the ingenious Christchurch boat that was so successful that the company rapidly expanded its manufacturing facilities to try and meet the demand. Over 2,000 were built in various forms, including a jet boat version.
With better design and production facilities in place, a string of additional Fi-Glass models was produced. The FIRESTAR, a good ski boat used for national competitions (30 per year – over 7 years), the LIGHTNING – for racing and water skiing, a Mark II version of the ever-popular REGENT - and the SIDEWINDER , another popular ski and race boat.
All early Fi-Glass cabin boats were basically a runabout with the hard top unit, and windows, bolted on. This was an extremely labour-intensive and slow method of construction.
In 1972 the VISCOUNT was introduced as the first fully moulded cabin boat in New Zealand. This was to set the hull shape and style of pleasure craft used today. Well over 1,000 VISCOUNTS have been produced and are still giving their owners immense pleasure today.
The SCAMP (over 1,000 produced) and BARON (350 produced) appeared in 1975 along with the next successful production model, the DOMINATOR. It was accepted slowly at first. However, by the end of its second year of production it had gained a following that remains today – over 1,500 DOMINATORS have been sold in New Zealand.
In 1977 the fishing boat WARRIOR was released and this has proved to be one of the most successful cabin boats on the New Zealand market. It’s a robust, dry and safe boat that gives sparkling performance to the family boatie. Well over 1,200 units have been sold. Its design and re-sale value sets the standard expected today.
Our new 3-model SENATOR range gives you versatility in layout and design to purchase a boat suited to your needs. It comes to you with the pedigree of almost 45 years of Frank Simpson's design expertise, and is constructed from the finest fibreglass and resins which enables us to confidently give it a 6-year structural hull warranty.
You can purchase a Fi-Glass boat knowing you are making the same choice as thousands of other New Zealanders. Fi-Glass boats offer you excellence in performance, safety and design.