NZ loses a giant of boat designing and building


NZ loses a giant of boat designing and building

He had an “obsession with boats and everything that makes them tick” and it led to one of the biggest influences on the New Zealand yachting and boating community.

Well known designer and boatbuilder Jim Young passed away yesterday, aged 94.

He is best known for designing the first canting keel in New Zealand, probably anywhere in the world, and his NZ 37, Young 88 and Young 11 designs have been highly successful worldwide, providing joy to cruisers and racers alike. He also had a major influence on powerboating, and the Vindex and formula powerboats were decades ahead of their time.

Young was recognised for his contribution to yachting and boating in 2012 when he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit and had been looking forward to watching next year’s America’s Cup from his lounge in Takapuna.

“My condolences and those of the yachting community go out to Jim’s family,” Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said. “His contribution was more than just significant, and his legacy will probably out live us all.”

Young was fascinated by boats, even before his first sailing experience as a 15-year-old on Tamaki Estuary. 

“My father made me a model yacht and I used to tow it along puddles in the ruts made by tyres at the bus stop,” he told the North Shore Times in 2012. 

Young began a boatbuilding apprenticeship in 1940 at the age of 15 and said a lot of what he learned was self-taught. The first boat he built was a Z-Class in the loft of a Devonport bakery.

“In those days to build a kauri boat you had to travel up north, buy a standing kauri tree and then have it air dried for nine months before it was ready to use,” he said. “Everybody had to build their own boats, right down to the cleats and the pulley blocks and that’s what made New Zealanders such great sailors.”

Young was certainly a handy sailor as well, winning the Sanders Cup in 1949 with a self-built X-Class boat at a time when it was considered the country’s premier sailing regatta.

“[That win] really got me going,” Young said in a recent interview posted on the Northcote Birkenhead Yacht Club website. “It was the very boost that I needed. I really got started on designing and building after this.”

What followed was a succession of breakthrough craft.

He was involved in building the first naval vessel in New Zealand, the HMS Hinau, as well as the Fiery Cross (1953), a swing-keel speedster that was the first laminated keeler built upside down in New Zealand, and Tango (1953), the first cruising yacht with a fin keel and spade rudder.

Young soon pioneered racing and cruising catamarans here, including Kitty, which won the Australasian unrestricted 12-foot championship in 1958. After that multi-hulls were banned.

In 1961 he created the Vindex, a fast planing launch, at a time when importation of big motors was restricted, and in 1967 NZ37 Namu hit the water to shock the local racing fraternity. The highly-popular Young 88 and Young 11 soon followed.

Jim and his designs have had a major impact on the cruising and racing adventures of thousands of sailors and their families,” Young 88 president Mike Leyland said. “We are proud to continue Jim’s legacy on one of his most successful designs, with more than 160 Young 88s actively racing and cruising 40 years after it was designed.

“His presence at Young 88 regattas and events, occasionally lengthy speeches and always good humour will be sadly missed.”

Young 88
The Young 88 is one of the most popular keelboats in the country. Photo: Live Sail Die. 

In 1993, two of his designs won division one and division two of Cowes Week, a remarkable feat.

Young always had an altruistic view of yacht design and boat building, with the consumer always at the forefront of his thinking.

“Although I have always been a yacht designer, I am interested in boats of all types – fishing boats, powerboats, tugs, dinghies, flat-bottom punts, catamarans, trimarans,” he said. “They all have their place.

“Remember this: If a boat is designed for a particular purpose and achieves that purpose, then it is a good design. That is the challenge we face.”

Young is survived by his wife Anne and a large family of children, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. 

Of the grandchildren, a few will try to carry on his name in one way or another. Stephen Young is at Southern Spars / Rigpro in Palma, James Hilt served his apprenticeship at Yachting Developments and went on to win a major contest with a design he helped create in Sydney, Kelsey Muir is vice-commodore at the Ponsonby Cruising Club and Aaron Young is vice-commodore at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

His grandfather had a significant influence on Aaron Young, who wrote a note to Squadron members yesterday that would have saddened many but also left others with a smile.

“Thanks to the club for allowing the cobweb group to continue meeting as they do where they can share their old stories and relive their youth’,” Aaron Young wrote. “This meant a lot to Jim to be invited back into this group a few years ago. Just short of his 95th birthday, he had been unwell for a while and said only a few weeks ago he may have to give up his membership at the RNZYS because he cant get up the stairs. We advised him there was a lift that he promptly said, ‘well, no one bloody told me!  

“He was genuinely looking forward to seeing the America’s Cup from his lounge but, sadly, will miss this now. I am sure he will still be yelling from wherever he is as to what they should have done, just as he did at me during dinghy sailing many years ago. The family are planning a celebration of his life at some stage but in the meantime raise a glass to him and for what he has done for New Zealand boating.”

Sailing by yachtingnz.org.nz

 

Popular Listings

  • Practical Trade Unit
    Highly functional office/warehouse unit available for lease. The space is currently configured with shop front, bi-folding doors set inside the roller door at the entrance of the Warehouse. If the bi-folds suit your business that's great! But if not, they can easily be removed, thus reverting the space back to its original intended use as a Warehouse. Key Features: - 72m² warehouse - Mezzanine office (30m²) - Roller door / bi fold doors - Two allocated car parks Call the sole agents at NAI Harcourts today.
  • Takapuna Retail Showroom and Warehouse
    Situated in the heart of sought after Barrys Point Road in Takapuna, these large retail showroom, warehouse and office premises totalling approx. 1,462m² are available on a new lease from 1st August 2020. Offering wide street frontage with excellent exposure and large front yard for display purposes or customer parking this building has been occupied for the last 10 years as a successful Motorcycle Dealership providing sales, accessories and service facilities. Comprising retail showroom of approx 524m², mezzanine office 186m² and warehousing and storage of 752m² the premises include 6 car parks on the front yard, further 9 at the rear and option for additional basement car parks. Only 3 minutes north of the Harbour Bridge, Barrys Point Road is home to many outdoor sports, trade retail, automotive, furniture and service retail type uses. Call now to arrange an inspection of this exceptional opportunity.
  • High Profile Wairau Warehouse / Showroom 916.72m²
    Now available! This 916.72m² (approx) high-stud warehouse / showroom is one not to be missed. Located in the heart of the Wairau Valley, the site makes for an ideal trade or bulk retail location. Featuring a highly flexible open plan layout, the high stud warehouse can be configured to provide as much showroom and warehouse as your business requires. Retail access is at the front and full height roller door at the rear. Adjacent to the roller door is a designated container drop off area. Access is a dream and is complemented well by the use of 14 dedicated carparks plus half share of an additional 22! Be where the action is! Direct neighbours include Mitre 10 Mega, Pak'n Save and Bunnings Warehouse. The site has fantastic exposure to Wairau Road and great signage opportunity. Motorway access is only 800m down the road at the Tristram Avenue interchange. Approximate Area Breakdown: Breakdown: - Warehouse / showroom - 710.69 - Office and amenities - 206.03 - Car parks (dedicated) - 14 car parks - Car parks (half-share) - 22 car parks Call the joint sole agents at NAI Harcourts today.
  • Vibrant Wairau Business Hub Development
    Stage 1 resource consent obtained - Sept 2019 Huge potential for Childcare, Pharmacy, Entertainment, Medical GP's & Specialists (e.g. Chiropractors, Physios), Dentists, Gym, Pilates, Yoga, Restaurant/Cafes, Offices etc*, to be strategically located within this exciting development. Flexible tenancy sizes range from 100m² to over 1000m². The site offers elevated, road front profile, within the Wairau Valley's growth corridor. Large format food retail premises are scheduled for development next door and the Southern Cross Hospital is just around the corner. Ample parking - 90 car parks. Accessible location - 1 minute from SH1 on-ramps at Tristram Avenue. Completion due early 2021. The developer is now inviting expressions of interest. Call NAI Harcourts today to discuss your requirements and secure premises in this exciting development. (* Subject to resource consent)
  • A-grade Industrial Investment – New 10 Year Lease
    Finally, a stunning standalone Industrial investment worthy of your attention. Taking pride of place on the ever-popular Apollo Drive on Auckland's North Shore, this prize asset offers a new 10-year lease to its anchor tenant and will sit proudly in your portfolio. Currently occupied by RPM International Tool & Die Limited as well as Mitre 10 New Zealand Limited, the contract rentals combine to $492,080 pa plus GST plus outgoings. Situated on a high profile freehold site with wide street frontage, the building was purpose built to allow for future growth of RPM, but also allows for a split tenancy arrangement which is currently in place. With an A-grade seismic rating of 92% and a warehouse stud height of 7.8 - 9 metres, the quality of the asset is on par with new builds, but in a sought after location. Warehouse construction is full height pre-cast concrete tilt-slab panels and the main offices at the front of the building are fully air conditioned. Opportunities of this calibre rarely come to the open market. Please call one of the preferred joint sole agents today for further information or to arrange an inspection. Key Features: - Freehold site of 5,160m² (more or less) - Total building area of 3,368m² (approx.) - A-grade seismic rating of 92% - New 10 year lease to anchor tenant from 1st June 2020 - Dual tenancy providing for future expansion - Zoned General Business - 53 car parks onsite - Combined contract rental of $492,080 pa plus GST plus outgoings. For sale by Deadline Private Treaty (unless sold prior) Closing 4.00pm, Thursday 2nd July 2020 To download further information please copy and paste this link into your browser: http://www.propertyfiles.co.nz/property/NSC34249 NOTE: all outlines in images are indicative only
  • Affordable Devonport Office
    Positioned in the heart of Devonport are a variety of professional office options. Access via a stairway in the central lane way courtyard leading to the first floor office suites. Each office features a kitchenette, pitched ceilings and air-conditioning. The offices are within close proximity to a number of eateries and retailers along with just a short walk to recently redeveloped Devonport Wharf. Features: - Car parking available - Character brick arcade - Close proximity to Devonport wharf - Through access to Wynyard Street - Air-conditioned - Short term lease available to the right tenant - Available now Available Options: - Office 4: 52 m² Call the sole agents at NAI Harcourts for further information and an appointment today.