Bill Lapworth - Eight Bells
William "Bill" Lapworth -- perhaps the foremost West Coast Naval Architect in the post World War II period -- has passed away. Born December 12, 1919 in Detroit, Michigan, he attended and graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in marine engineering and naval architecture. At the end of World War II, after serving as a United States naval officer, he decided to make his home on the West Coast and began a design business. Work flowed to him readily and he was responsible for the design of some major changes to well known West Coast yachts that required new rigs to keep them competitive-the 82' sloop Patolita, later Sirius II, the conversion of the 98' schooner Morningstar to a modern Ketch rig; and the 77-foot Herreshoff Schooner Queen Mab with a new staysail schooner rig.
Soon he was designing a series of light displacement racing sailboats that began to win or place highly on the East and West Coasts, beginning with Flying Scotsman and Nalu II, 46' -- a four time Class C Transpac race winner and first overall in 1959. Next came the 50' sloop Ichiban, second overall in the 1961 Transpac. By 1958, more than 70 of the wooden L-36' sloops had been built; but, by then fiberglass was becoming the material of choice.
With Bill recognizing fiberglass properties as an ideal and readily available material for sailboats embodying both strong and light construction properties he began designing fiberglass hulls. He had phenomenal success in the major races on the West Coast. He designed Cal boats in all sizes from 20-48 feet and of course the famous Cal 40. That design proved itself over and over, winning many races including the Bermuda Race in 1966 and the TransPac in 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1985. The Cal 40 was so successful that it was inducted into the American Sailboat Hall of Fame, and led Bill Schanen, the editor of Sailing magazine to hail Lapworth as one of the sport's greatest designers. In cruising designs his Cal 46 was also produced in great numbers and continues to be enjoyed by the cruising set.
As a shipmate Bill was absolutely tops to sail with; a consummate helmsman and extremely valuably tactician; always sought as a crew on major races. He also sailed on boats not of his own design, providing these most useful characteristics to their owners. His designs gave him a primacy never before achieved by a naval architect as yet on the West Coast. His calm demeanor was a most recognized characteristic and his evenhanded nature fostered only the best in his fellow sailors.
Bill is survived by his wife of 40 years Peggy Lapworth. His children Barbara Burman Rolph, Charles William Lapworth III, Robert Lapworth, Jr., Susan Cohl and Kim Sorenson. A private burial at sea will be held on Friday, April 7, 2006. A reception will follow at 3:00 P.M. at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Balboa, CA. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Newport Harbor Sailing Foundation would be appreciated. -- Excerpts from the LA Times and Latitude 38
Ad by Google
The information on this web site has not been checked for accuracy. It is for entertainment purposes only and should be independently verified before using for any other reason. There are five sources. 1) Documents and manuals from a variety of sources. These have not been checked for accuracy and in many cases have not even been read by anyone associated with L-36.com. I have no idea of they are useful or accurate, I leave that to the reader. 2) Articles others have written and submitted. If you have questions on these, please contact the author. 3) Articles that represent my personal opinions. These are intended to promote thought and for entertainment. These are not intended to be fact, they are my opinions. 4) Small programs that generate result presented on a web page. Like any computer program, these may and in some cases do have errors. Almost all of these also make simplifying assumptions so they are not totally accurate even if there are no errors. Please verify all results. 5) Weather information is from numerious of sources and is presented automatically. It is not checked for accuracy either by anyone at L-36.com or by the source which is typically the US Government. See the NOAA web site for their disclaimer. Finally, tide and current data on this site is from 2007 and 2008 data bases, which may contain even older data. Changes in harbors due to building or dredging change tides and currents and for that reason many of the locations presented are no longer supported by newer data bases. For example, there is very little tidal current data in newer data bases so current data is likely wrong to some extent. This data is NOT FOR NAVIGATION. See the XTide disclaimer for details. In addition, tide and current are influenced by storms, river flow, and other factors beyond the ability of any predictive program.