It is sad to note the passing of Dick Newick. One of the greatest yacht designers, Dick designed many revolutionary winners. Trimarans like ‘Third Turtle’, ‘Moxie’, and ‘Three Cheers’, and the proa Cheers. Always very fast, they weren’t designed to any rule other than seaworthiness, speed and good handling! And in the hands of good skippers they went on to win races like the Singlehanded Transatlantic race, the Route de Rhum, and others.
Dick always said there are three design parameters, but most clients would have to choose two of the three…speed, comfort, low price. And he was right, you simply can’t have all three, so he normally chose to put comfort aside. But in fact, when a person faced up to the realities of ‘comfort at sea’ in a small yacht, he would come to realize that Newick designs were surprisingly comfortable! And besides, what could be more comforting than to get to your destination so much faster!
I had the pleasure of owning both a Tremolino and a T-gull, and my days aboard the 23′ Tremolino in particular, provided great joy in the pure pleasure of sailing fast in a small boat with little effort and quite a lot of control. Touching 20 knots more than once, I came to appreciate the more comfortably fast speeds in the 10-14 knot range, and how often those could be enjoyed in surprisingly comfortable wind and sea conditions! The photo above is from 1987, when I enjoyed a great solo sail on Puget Sound, especially when I rigged the pole-less spinnaker, lashed the tiller amidships, and let the boat sail dead downwind without any fuss!
And Dick’s tremolino design gets most of the credit for my survival of the 1982 Double-handed Farallons race, a race which took four lives and a number of boats. Due to my bad judgement we (crew Bob Baker and I) pressed on towards the Farallons aboard ‘Rush’ as the weather from the southeast worsened. Going too fast as we sailed head-on into the growing Pacific swells, we tore the mainsail, and broke both dolphin-striker wires supporting the forward crossbeam. Fortunately it didn’t buckle! Light boats are easy to break and need to be slowed down early!
With a spinnaker sheet rigged from from side to side underneath the main hull to support the crossbeam, and only a roller furling jib available, we decided our best bet was to head off the wind and go north, and beach the boat on the coast. Now going fast into the Pacific swells had tested the boat’s buoyancy and even when the bow dug into green water back to the mast, the hull always bobbed to the surface! But as we headed north and put the wind on the quarter, the boat took off and began to surf down the waves, making quite some speed! As the boat surfed, we felt the rudder cavitate a number of times, rendering it useless. But the tremolino continued to behave well beyond the capabilities of her inexperienced crew. Finally, as dusk was upon us, we came into a slight lee at the west end of Drake’s Bay, beached the boat and left it there safely for two days when it was ultimately trailered home. It was a ride I’ll never forget!
Perhaps the best tribute to Dick Newick is to watch the video at the following link. Then you will have some idea of the grace and thrill of being aboard a Dick Newick trimaran!
Thank you Dick, and I wish you fair winds and following seas always!
note: The tremolo ‘Rush’ skippered by the previous owner Paul Mazza, was one of the first boats to ever finish the single-handed Farallons Race in daylight!