Old Salts

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Old Salts

A meeting between the designer of a boat and the previous owner took place a few days ago in Dargaville. Life Member Ken Searle (previous owner of Gumdigger) invited the designer Hal Wagstaff to his home.  Hal also a renowned NZ boat designer of R Class, International Moth, Cherub and Javelin and was a member of RAYC from 1968 to 2012.

It was the RAYC design competition in 1968 that attracted Hal to enter – and he won.  This started his path to design recognition internationally as well as nationally.  He became President of Yachting New Zealand in 1986 then Vice Chairman and later Vice President of WSC.  From 1970-1993 he was involved in the NZ Olympic Association, checking on which boat classes should be included, crew numbers,etc.  He was involved with the America’s Cup for more than 24 years during many of the contests.

Hal was a good friend of Don St Clair Brown, sailing with him on a Dragon and then on Anticipation.

Asked if he were still designing today what would be his essential tool he replied “The pencil.  I see computers as aids to the design process.  They are useful for working out how heavy a boat would be floating in water and for multiplying geometric forms.”

For an 88 year old his memory is still sharp.  So is Ken Searle, now 92 whose memory is amazing.

The attached photo shows Ken Searle with Hal Wagstaff and a wooden miniature of “Snow White” (the yacht Ken sank when she hit a whale in the Lautoka race of 1979)

The Archives are hoping members who have the time and interest in our history to please make contact as we have a lot of research to be done. Contact Marian Harkness on 09-431-6332 or marian@calimex.co.nz  

May 15th, 2018|Categories: Archives|

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