Ted rented a small Quonset hut on St. Petersburg Beach for $75 a month. There he built his first commercial sailboat. It took an arduous six months to build his first 31 footer, but it was an effort well spent. That boat, named Voodoo, was to launch Ted’s career by logging an astounding racing record.
Voodoo raced for two years in the Florida Ocean Racing Association, 1964 to 1966, and swept all honors. Ted, sailing Voodoo, won twenty-four out of twenty-eight races during that period. Voodoo and her crew did so well that a sailing editor said, “All the other boats were racing only for second place”. Other successes followed. Some of his famous racing yachts with names known the world over include: Voodoo, Black Magic, La Pantera, Razzle Dazzle and R2D2.
Ted successfully used the knowledge he gained in building high tech racing boat to build high performance cruising yachts. At any time, Ted, a prolific designer, has had as many as 15 models in production.
Ted incorporated as Irwin Yacht & Marine Corporation and in 1966 moved to the new site of the Irwin factory. The original factory had only 12,500 square feet. It grew to over 75,000 square feet and over two hundred employees.