NZ yacht designer dies peacefully at 83

Bob Salthouse, one of New Zealand’s most respected yacht designers, passed away peacefully recently, aged 83.

With a boatbuilding career that started in the 1950s, Bob started designing his own boats in the late 1960s and came up with some of NZ’s top-selling designs that are still in demand today. The Cavalier 32 sailing yacht is one example. With around 180 units built, this offshore, half-tonne sloop was responsible for many offshore sailors’ blue-water adventures.

The Corsair launch is another iconic design of boat which is still in production today in Taiwan and is much sought after second-hand. With around 170 units built, it is arguably one of the most successful production fibreglass boats in NZ.

In the early 1980s Bob started his own company, wanting to get back into fibreglass production boatbuilding. Salthouse Corsairs was launched with a new Corsair model using a one-piece superstructure cleverly incorporating an aft cabin to save weight and cost.

Salthouse Corsairs grew into Salthouse Marine Group, which included Bob’s design company, a high-end upholstery company (SMG Upholstery and Covers), and the boatbuilding company.

Notable successes included the Salthouse Sovereign range, of which over 50 were built from 50ft-63ft; the Coastal 32 (around 55 built); and the Salthouse 65, of which around 30 were built. Bob also designed fishing boats, Police and Customs patrol boats, and roll-on/roll-off ferries.