Buy Boats, Sell Boats, Review Boats

Posted by on Sep 14, 2013 in Multihull, Sailing, UK, US |

Dick Newick: Legacy of a Multihull Genius

Multihull designers and sailors all over the world are tipping their caps to this wizard of speed and simplicity.

I’m taking a long moment to appreciate Dick Newick, who died recently at age 87 after a long career as the best multihull designer of his generation. That’s my opinion, anyway. There are other fine multihull designers, but the best took at least some of their cues from Newick, who believed in speed, simplicity, and seakindliness. When you consider that holy troika of design goals, you see how each relies on the other two, kind of like mind, body, and spirit.

The 40-foot Ocean Surfer, designed by Dick Newick for Mark Rudiger and the 1988 CSTAR. Note the battens and internal wishbone in the jib, and the graceful arc of the akas. Credit: Newick website.

The 40-foot Ocean Surfer, designed by Dick Newick for Mark Rudiger and the 1988 CSTAR. Note the battens and internal wishbone in the jib, and the graceful arc of the akas. Credit: Newick website.

Towards the beginning of his career, Newick produced some blisteringly fast marine plywood trimarans in St. Croix for the day-charter trade, and these boats — Trine, Trice, Tryst, and others, usually sailed by the Westerman brothers — tore up the inter-island racing competition beginning in the 1960s. Newick stepped onto the ocean-racing stage in 1968 when he designed Cheers, a proa, for Tom Follett in the Observer Single-Handed Transatlantic Race (OSTAR). He went on to design Mike Birch’s Third Turtle,  Phil Weld’s Moxie, and dozens of other better- and lesser-known ocean-racing multis.

Like the Polynesians who inspired him, Newick followed the far horizon. But from the Caribbean to Martha’s Vineyard and New England, to France and the Atlantic, to California and the Pacific, he rarely strayed from his game plan, designing boats that were graceful in vaka, ama, and aka, and that flew across the water with buoyant grace and little complaint. We should all move so well.

For a great article detailing Newick and his career, read Steve Callahan’s Intuitive Dynamics (PDF file) originally published in Professional Boatbuilder.

Thanks, Dick Newick, for making the water a better place.