Dick Newick – Revolutionary Multihull Designer

Dick Newick, the brilliant multihull designer, has died at 87.  His designs, particularly his trimarans,  revolutionized the world of multihull sailing.  His designs are remarkably graceful, simple, light and astonishingly fast.  In a very real sense, the history of multihull design can be divided into Before-Newick and After-Newick. Before-Newick, trimarans were ugly and boxy. Newick’s designs, when they first arrived in the 70s and 80s, seemed almost other-worldly, with sweeping lines and amas that rested lightly on the water.

The first Newick design to catch the world’s attention was not a trimaran but a proa.  Newick designed Cheers, for  Tom Follett who placed third in the Observers Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race (OSTAR) of 1968, the first multihull to place in the race. Soon Newick designed trimarans were winning ocean races around the world.   In 1980 Phil Weld sailed, Moxie, a Newick designed trimaran to win OSTAR, the first American ever to do so. Weld set a new race record of 17 days 23 hours and 12 minutes.

Over his long career, Newick designed more that 130 sailboats, ranging from the 60′ Rogue Wave to the 23′ Tremilino.  Dick was quoted as saying, “People sail for fun and no one has yet convinced me that it’s more fun to go slow than it is to go fast.

Moxie

Somewhere in a closet or dresser drawer, I have a bright orange Moxie t-shirt which I bought from Phil Weld at a boat show the year after he won the OSTAR.  At the show, Moxie was on display alongside the dock. She was sleek and beautiful, a work of art, as well as a very fast sailboat.  Sadly, Weld died of a heart attack, only three years later, in 1984 and now Dick Newick, the creative master who designed the boat, has also passed away.   Last I read, Moxie is still sailing in the South of France.

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5 Responses to Dick Newick – Revolutionary Multihull Designer

  1. Jim says:

    I too still have my bright orange Moxie T-shirt-now only to be worn on special occasions.

  2. Bob Oram says:

    We all come and we all go
    Some leave indelible marks
    Dick did
    I am only one of the many that were simply astounded by the beauty of Dicks boats.
    my regards Dick
    and condolences to his family
    Bob Oram

  3. Rick Spilman says:

    Jim, I’ll watch out for you in bright orange. Bob, I still have vivid memories of seeing a Newick tri appearing out of the haze on a summer’s day in Vineyard Sound, the sweeping curves of her amas and sheer gliding gracefully along in very light air, moving as if by magic. Amazing designs and a wonderful designer.

  4. John Reade says:

    I was not a boating person but answered an a classified ad in fall of 1978 to assist Dick in building a trimaran on Martha’s Vineyard. Dick just needed manpower help and was kind and patient in showing me what to do. Soon it became clear to me that I was working with someone special. He received letters and phone calls daily from people around the world. For some years later I enjoyed correspondence with him. I understand he was somewhat of a maverick in boat designs but I knew him as a true gentleman and cherished my short time with him.

  5. John Langwig says:

    I worked with Dick Newick and Dave Dana on Martha’s Vineyard in 1972-3. They were building a 1 ton class mono hull called Jackiron. We were building it in the white shed right at five corners in front of the Black Dog. Dick was a great visionary, great person to work with, and a fun guy to have breakfast with. I never worked so hard for so little, yet it is with great fondness that I recall those times. Thanks Dick for one of the seminal experiences of my young life. It must have pleased him to see the America’s Cup finally go to multi-hull.

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