Hardin International Co., Ltd. History 07/01/2001
I am somewhat familiar with the Hardin 45’s, having been an importer for the boats from 1977 until the factory was closed in the mid 1980’s. My wife and I owned a Hardin 45 for about 1 1/2 years in 1980/81 and another for 10 years from 1990 to 2000.
Be cautioned not to believe some of the rumors that fly around about the Taiwan boats and roving Chinese families that built parts of different boats as they wandered from yard to yard. Most of the rumors are circulated by people who have never been to Taiwan or built a boat anywhere. I have had boats built in six different yards in Taiwan and China over the past 29 years and have visited dozens more yards in Taiwan and China. I have never seen that phenomenon. Every yard that I have worked in has had its own full time employees ranging from 75 to 200 workers depending on the size of the yard and the volume demand at the time. Work forces did go up and down with business, much like they do here in the USA in any industry.
I personally knew Bill Hardin and my wife and I had dinner with him at the Hong Kong Yacht Club in 1981, and then visited Hardin 45, Hull #100 which he kept for himself at the club in Hong Kong harbor. He was born in 1926 and studied naval architecture and engineering at Long Beach City College under Prof. Aldenberg (rated in the top 3 in the US at the time). Bill Hardin worked with fiberglass as early as 1948 and in fiberglass boat building in Japan in 1959. He died in the Vancouver, BC area in the 1990’s.
Bill Hardin, Bill Crealock, Ernie Chamberlain and William Garden were the pioneers of Taiwan boat building for the American market. They were the ones who really got the industry rolling in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Bill Hardin started the CT (Ta Chaio) yard with two Chinese partners in the Taipei area (northern Taiwan) with the original Wm. Garden designed Sea Wolf 40, the Sea Sprite, and the original Garden designed Force 50. He left CT soon after, taking his Sea Wolf molds with him. But his Sea Wolf 40 was copied by many yards and sold as CT41, Island Trader 41, Yankee Clipper 41, Sea Tiger 41, Transworld 41, etc., a very popular traditional ketch. The Force 50 molds were taken to Hudson Boat Company in the Taipei area, but the Force 50 was also copied as an Island Trader 51, Formosa 51, etc. This copying problem is why it was nearly impossible to get a set of drawings from a Taiwan builder.
Bill Hardin moved to Kaohsiung, Taiwan (southern end) and built a new factory where labor and overhead costs were lower – around 1970. The company was called Hardin International Co. Ltd. That is where he designed and built the Hardin 45. They built an all fiberglass construction and they were the only builder of the Hardin 45. The boats were imported at first as a Bounty 44. Around 1980, Hardin re-designed the hull from a 6’0″ draft to 5’6″ draft, trimmed down the transom and moved the two aft ports from the hull to the aft cabin trunk, and also extended the boat to 45’2″. Most people do not even notice these changes. To avoid confusion, the Bounty 44’s and Hardin 45’s are all referred to by brokers as Hardin 45’s.
As receved in an E mail from another enthusiast.
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