Wallace C. Ross purchased Hard Sails, Inc. in 1954 from a friend, William Hard. Ross had been an account executive at a local Long Island radio station and Hard Sails was one of his accounts. Ross’s success at sailmaking came during the exploding yachting boom during the early 1960s when, coincidentally, synthetic materials were first available for the crafting of sails. Ross’s work in Dacron gave his staff a medium that held its shape, allowing for the application of aerodynamic theory to sailing. A material holding shape also allowed for relative mass production, especially when compared to the older, individual sailmaking techniques using Egyptian cotton. By the mid-1960s, Hard Sails was using a new device – the computer – to accelerate the design process.
At Hard Sails, Ross made sails for over one hundred national and international small-boat champions. These included many in the 12-Meter class, including champion yachts Phantome, Windigo, Tempest, and Ondine. Among Ross’ innovations were the radial spinnaker, the spherical spinnaker, and the ball-bearing traveler.
Hard sails was also widely known for their Hard Sails T-Shirts. They were not only popular with sailboaters but also presented provocative messaging for young males to wear in clubs and taverns, beaches and wherever their normal social activities would stand out to start conversation with females. There were two basic shirts:
The Hard Sails Triangle logo was on the left front chest and with one of the following sayings on the back
“Sail with a Hard On”..as seen above, or
“A Hard Man is Good to Find”
As previously explained in the “Clothing with a Message” blog section was the following:
Also important was how you dressed, very important! It always amazed Blue Balls Gear that a T-shirt with a good solid message could be an attractant or maybe just an “ice-breaker” for male/female conversation. For example, there was a sail company in S. Florida that was called Hard Sails. Their T-shirt had the Hard Sails triangular logo and the motto “Sail with a Hard On!” across the back. Blue Balls Gear met more girls wearing that shirt than any Gant shirt and Bass Weejuns shoes could ever do. Hell, a pair of Levi cut-offs and a Hard Sails shirt should have been outlawed! It was like hunting in a “baited – field!” Blue Balls Gear wore that T-shirt until it virtually fell off the body from the rips, tears and holes in it……and that was years and years later.
The Hard Sail Company formed the basis of Blue Balls Gear and is the driving force integrated in it’s business model……..”Clothing with a Message!”