Laid-back speed wizard

Ralph Evinrude with the legendary Chanticleer

Outboard boating magnate Ralph Evinrude with the legendary Chanticleer docked at the Outrigger Marina. ELLIOTT MUSEUM COLLECTION

Boating innovator enjoyed the slow lifestyle on the Treasure Coast


Mention the name Evinrude, the famous outboard motor, and you imagine the thrill of speeding in a Boston Whaler, intoxicated by the wind blowing through your hair, the cooling mist of the sea spray, as you skim across sparkling, turquoise waters.

To locals along the Treasure Coast, the name Evinrude conjures up memories of the yacht Chanticleer, the Outboard Marine testing center and singer/entertainer Frances Langford. While much attention has been given to his wife, Frances, we know little about her husband, Ralph Evinrude, the boating titan, who preferred to live away from the public eye. He lived quietly in his laid-back way, relocating his business, boating in local waters and ruling a boating empire on the shores of the Indian River.

With Ralph as the driving force, Outboard Marine Corp. (OMC) opened the door to a new age of boating, became a Fortune 500 company and made its motor a household name. In his 55-year career, Ralph revolutionized boat engine design and built a business that employed more than 9,000 people worldwide.

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