The iconic multihull designer Dick Newick died on Aug. 28, at the age of 87.
Newick was born in Hackensack, N.J., in 1926. By the age of 10 he had already built two kayaks and by 14 was selling plans. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and ran a boat shop in California. Later in life he lived in Martha’s Vineyard and Kittery Point, Maine, before settling on the West Coast.
In the 1960s Newick was at the forefront of multihull design and responsible for their development during the second half of the 20th century. The concept had been introduced as early as 1876 when Capt. Nathanael Herreshoff entered a catamaran in the Centennial Regatta in New York, but was quickly rejected by the New York Yacht Club on the grounds of safety.
Today, more than a century later, modern AC72 catamarans with 130-foot wing sail are competing for the America’s Cup in San Francisco. According to one count, at least 140 of his unique multihull designs have been built.
Like Capt. Herreshoff, Newick was ahead of his time. He began giving serious attention to multihull design in the 1950s and built Trice, a 36-foot trimaran out of plywood and fiberglass. In 1964 Newick entered Trice in the Newport-Bermuda Race. The multihull did so well it beat all but two of the monohulls.
In 1968 Newick entered a new design, Cheers, in the Observer Singlehanded Trans-Atlantic Race (OSTAR) from England to Newport, R.I. Sailed by American Tom Follett the boat finished third overall with Follett the first American to finish.
In 1980, American sailor Phil Weld skippered his Newick-designed trimaran, Moxie, to victory in the OSTAR.