|Mirage Yachts Ltd. was formed in February of 1972 by Dick and Irene Steffen, for the purpose of building the Mirage 24 designed by C&C. Up until this point they had owned a large volume C&C dealership in Point Claire, Quebec. At the time C&C did not build any model smaller than the 27. Dick was a very keen racing sailor and wanted a smaller MORC boat to both sail and sell from his retail dealership. At his request the C&C had designed a 24 footer, but C&C decided not to built it. Steffen then bought the design and set up his own shop on the second floor of a rented building in Point Claire, Que to build it.|
Sales of the 24 were gratifying and eventually 15 workers were busily turning out new Mirage 24's. A lot of the reason for its success was based on its racing record in MORC class racing. Fifteen years after its introduction, a Mirage 24 placed #1 in the production-built division at the MORC national championships.
The Mirage 24 proved so successful that an envious C&C shortly thereafter introduced the C&C 25, quite similar in design to the Mirage 24. Nevertheless, the Mirage 24 continued to sell very well and dominated the C&C 25 on the race course. When Dick then approached the C&C design team for a larger model and was turned down, he turned to designer Robert Perry for the new boat.
In 1975, the plant was moved to a 12,000 sq. ft facility in nearby Vaudreuil, Que. The Perry designed Mirage 26 (later stretched to a 27) was introduced shortly thereafter. By 1979 the plant had grown to 30,000 sq.ft. with an additional 5,000 sq. ft. spar manufacturing facility in Dorion. Que. In 1983 the plant was again increased to 35,000 sq.ft. to accommodate the new Perry designed Mirage 33/35.
The Bob Perry models were highly successful and the core of steady growth at Mirage for over a decade. Eventually the Mirage 26/27 was followed by the Mirage 33/35, the Mirage 30/32 series and the remarkable Mirage 25. Each of these models while remaining at the upper end of the performance scale, established the Mirage as a wholesome family cruiser.
In the late 70's the J/24 became the scourge of the race course. Seeing an opportunity opened by the interest in the J/24, Dick asked his old friend and Laser/International 14 designer, Bruce Kirby to design a new boat in this size range. The Kirby 25 was the result. Soon Kirby 25's were pounding the PHRF and MORC fleets even worse than the J/24 did. When J/Boats introduced the J/30, Mirage unveiled the Kirby 30. which on the water rocketed right by the J. Ironically, J/Boats then introduced the J/29-- a boat a whole lot like the Kirby 30. The modified Kirby 30, the Mirage 30SX remains today, a highly competitive PHRF or MORC rocket.
In the mid-eighties the "French Invasion," fueled by an advantageous exchange rate, amd minimal import duties was in full swing in North America, lead by Beneteau, Jeanneau , Elite, and others. The French boats sported avant garde styling and reasonable two stateroom accommodations, even in smaller boats under 35'. Sales of the Perry designed Mirage 30, (generally thought of as a superb sailing boat) were dissapointing.
In 1985, Steffen looking to build a replacement model to the aging 27, asked several designers to do preliminaries for a 28 footer with a double aft cabin. The design submitted by Phillippe Harle's was Steffens choice which became the MIRAGE 29 and was introduced in the spring of 1986. This model was an instant success. About 50 boats were sold before hull #1 hit the water and nearly three hundred were eventually built. The MIRAGE 275 and MIRAGE 39 followed, both also Harle designs.
Not long after the introduction of the MIRAGE 39, Mirage Yachts Ltd. was sold to a Montreal investor who very shortly went out of business.