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Dick Carter: Yacht Designer

by Carter, Dick

Book: £40.00 BUY BOOK
Published:13th April 2021


Not many ‘amateur’ yacht designers would dare to enter the first boat they had ever designed into the epic offshore Fastnet Race, let alone with the intention of winning it. But that is what Dick Carter did in 1964, beating all 151 other yachts, some sailed by the most notable sailors of the day. 

He repeated the feat 4 years later with another of his own designs (which also won the Admiral’s Cup that year as top boat and top team), but by then he could certainly not be described as an ‘amateur’ yacht designer. His radical innovations created fast and comfortable boats which were much in demand in this, the golden age of offshore racing. They were commissioned by the top sailors and succeeded in winning the Admiral’s Cup, Southern Cross Series, One Ton Cup, Two Ton Cup and many of the biggest races. 

He even went on to design the massive 128-foot Vendredi Treize for Jean-Yves Terlain to sail single-handed in the 1972 OSTAR (trans-Atlantic) race – the longest boat ever to have been raced single-handed.  

But after just a decade at the top of his game, he quit the world of sailing and moved on to other challenges. He hadn’t been heard of for so long that sailors assumed he was dead. His surprise appearance at the funeral of Ted Hood gave rise to the suggestion that he wrote this book. It is beautifully produced with many fabulous photographs and boat plans and was first published in the US by Seapoint Books and is now published in the UK by Fernhurst Books. 

While his career as a yacht designer may have been brief, the impact of his innovations has lasted the test of time. Who today would think of an offshore yacht without internal halyards in the mast or that the rudder always had to be fixed to the keel? These concepts, and many more, were first introduced by Dick Carter. 


“Both interesting and entertaining… handsome, beautifully illustrated hardback. In my opinion it is a purchase that will not be regretted, as it is a jewel of a book for anybody who loves boats and sailing… If I was going to buy just one sailing book this year, it would be this one.” Flying Fish

“A fascinating account of his work by one man with a real ‘eye for a boat’.” Julian Stockwin

“An excellent book” Seahorse

“An exceptionally attractive sailing book… an educative and admirable book.” Yachting Monthly

“This story of Dick Carter, the underdog sailor taking on the sailing world (and conquering it), is often surprising and roundly entertaining.” John Rousmaniere

“This has to be one of the very best books on yachts and yacht design I have ever read. It is beautifully illustrated with photos and technical drawings, and a fun book to read, as it takes you, step by step, through the world of designing racing yachts at the highest level.” Bob Perry

“An eminently readable account of what it was like at the sharp end of the spear in terms of innovation at the start of yachting’s modern era. Because he was a sailor who competed aboard those same boats he designed, we also get a first-hand glimpse at what grand prix sailing was like back when fibreglass was still cutting-edge and GPS not yet even a glimmer in the design world’s eye. A crucial addition to any nautical library.” SAIL Magazine

“A first-hand account of the quantum leap in yacht design that happened in the mid 60s… A valuable record and a good read.” Little Ship Club

Dimensions:254 x 212 mm

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