design experience began in 1961, at 24 years old when I built my first
boat. From a general engineering background and with 7 years of competitive
motorcycle racing (motocross) behind me, sailing seemed a mystical
world, especially when one looked at the catamarans and trimarans
of this period. Something about them fascinated me.
Their performances were so varied, and when "in the groove" sailing
them was thrilling, but outside it, especially when windward sailing
there was obviously much room for improvement - there was the challenge
- and this inspired me to allocate all my spare time and money into
research and development of the catamaran, as I felt strongly that
this form was going to be the boat of the future.
It also became obvious that to prove one’s design and development
theories one had to become very efficient at sailing competitively,
so again I threw myself into this.
Library studies of numerous yacht designers books was of value and
much was learnt from the works of Francis L Herreshoff and similar
designers of that era. Their methods of basic yacht design was both
simple and accurate.
The first 20 years of my design life also included competing nationally
and internationally, mostly in the international A and B catamaran
classes, 14ft paper tiger class and international landyacht classes
3, 4, and 5.
In all cases I designed and built my own yachts. There was and always
is, great overall personal satisfaction in designing, building, then
successfully sailing your own creations.
the World Multihull Symposium in Toronto, Canada in 1976 had a profound
effect on my progress in multihill design, as it was possible at
this gathering to have personal contact with msot of the world's
top multihull designers of that time such as:
The "Tiger" years were an era of intense competition for
me. Beginning with the 4.27m Paper Tiger which, after winning Takapuna's
One-Of-A-Kind series in 1967 enjoyed a numeric explosion. Continuing
on through the 3.05m Tiger Cub, 5.5m Tiger Shark, 8.50m Gulf Tiger,
on to the 11.0m Tigress, winner of the 1983 Coastal Classic Yacht
Race. This era finished with the Sand Tiger fun landyacht.
The late 70’s and early 80’s saw me gradually become involved in
coastal then finally offshore catamarans, creating yet another controversial
area - safety - it was rather easy to design fast boats at this
time, but to offer the clients safe catamarans that were reasonably
fast took more years of research and development.
To the present day, I still log approximately 3000 offshore miles
per year on catamarans of my design, usually being involved in the
delivery voyages of offshore client’s catamarans. I see all voyages
as research and development, and am convinced that a safe, fast
offshore cruising catamaran is different to a catamaran designed
and built for charter or close coastal work.
I feel you must design for the worst situation when creating for
offshore, catamarans are cheap compared to human life, hence my
recommendation of a custom design to suit each ocean adventurers
personal dreams and aspirations of exploring the last frontier.