I guess my all time favorites are Malcolm Tennant and Ron Given but who stands out in the last couple of decades from the new designers. There are plenty to choose from.
There is certainly a huge variety from designers during this time ranging from small to large, cruising to out and out racing machines. So what criterion should be used. There is one feature of New Zealand yacht design in general, there are a lot of one or two off designs over the years so I guess one criterion of success has to be the number of the design/s launched.
Purely on the numbers launched you have to say the Weta Trimaran from Weta Marine with nine hundred launched and counting has got to be the most successful multihull design ever out of New Zealand. What an amasing all round success story from the team at Weta Marine. So Roger and Chris Kitchen are the top multihull design team? Well no they are not. Roger came up with a great idea but he is no boat designer so he commissioned TC Designs Tim Clissold to design the Weta for him back in 2004. Unfortunately there was a falling out between Clissold and Kitchen and Weta Marine have never acknowledge Clissold as the designer although legally they are required to.
If you know Clissolds other work you can see Clissold design smarts very clearly in the Weta.
Looking at Clissolds design portfolio from the Weta to A class cats, open deck and bridge deck cruising cats to the out right racing machine X-Factor you have to say Clissold is a top contender for the title.
So who do you think deserve the title?
Adding to the great Weta Marine story and the hugely successful Weta Trimiran the fact is the Weta Tri very nearly didn't get designed and built. Originally Roger Kitchen approached TC Design to design a small catamaran for young sailors to learn to sail and have fun on. Tim Clissold had a hard job talking him out of this and getting him to go for a trimaran sail trainer instead. Obviously Roger hadn't done much small cat sailing because in the hands of inexperienced sailors you spend an awful amount of time in irons trying to get the blasted thing to go about. Enough to put a lot of kid and adults for that matter off learning to sailing. A small well designed trimaran on the other hand handles like a dream when tacking.
mysailing.com.au - boat test
01 Mar 2011
The Weta too easy
By Jordan Spencer
“Designed by Roger and Chris Kitchen, the father and son team at Weta Marine in New Zealand, the Weta was three years in development”