News Features Cruising Photos Videos Events Newsletters Submit


Sail-World.com : Emailbag- Tributes to Malcolm Tennant

Emailbag- Tributes to Malcolm Tennant

'Great Barrier Express, Malcolm Tennant’’s most popular design'    George Layton
One of New Zealand's leading powerboat and multihull designers, Malcolm Tennant, died last Saturday after an accident at his home in Titirangi, west of Auckland. If you knew Malcolm, and have a story or tribute you wish to share please forward to nzeditor@sail-world.com. The following comes from Marie Dufour from her website

Jean-Pierre & Marie Dufour are building the DOMINO 20 power catamaran in Asuncion, Paraguay. Norman Hellmers (DPY) is the builder for this Malcolm Tennant-designed 20 meter power trawler-catamaran, foam core/epoxy sandwich construction.

Friday, May 16, 2008

We're not sailors, just cruisers, but loved Malcolm...

We learned earlier today the sudden passing of MALCOLM TENNANT near his home in Auckland, New Zealand.

Few people in the world of catamaran design are as recognized as Malcolm Tennant. His knowledge and his wit, his wry comments and his common sense were legendary. Catamaran design was his passion, his lifelong work, and his hundreds of designs contributed to the growth of the industry worldwide.

Rolling back to Long Beach Trawlerfest, September 2000. JP and I had signed up for the weekend just to see a catamaran that was coming from New Zealand and to hear a 50-minute talk by Malcolm Tennant. As it turned out, the boat had burnt during a fire at the NZ boatyard where it was under construction. So, JP and I loafed around, talking to a few people, including a little old guy with glasses who was also wandering alone. The talk rapidly turned to catamarans, and the little old guy with glasses started to reach into a huge burlap bag hanging from his shoulder. One after the other, he pulled out designs of catamarans: The Erebus, The Ice Bear, The New Yorker, The Globetrotter... everything we had dreamed of and more!

- 'Who are you?' asked JP.
- 'I'm Malcolm.'

That's how our friendship started. Later that day, we went to listen to Malcolm's talk on 'Why a Cat?' and were shocked to see that only 4 people were in attendance: JP and I, Malcolm's friend and catamaran-owner from California, and one boat builder. Nobody seemed interested in catamarans then, and Malcolm had come all that way to talk to 3 neophytes (his friend excluded.)

Later that weekend, we talked to more people about catamarans and got various kinds of responses: 'You're building a WHAT?' or, 'Those things? They capsize all the time!' or, 'That's not a boat!' Yet, Malcolm was always ready to take the naysayers head-on if he had to and pull his graphs and data out of his burlap bag.

A year later, we were planning on meeting Malcolm again at Trawlerfest on the 15th of September 2001. Of course, the event had been cancelled after 9/11 and Malcolm wheezed through California without seeing anyone but his old California friend. Another trip for naught, but Malcolm was not deterred. Like a preacher with his bible, he went around the world with his burlap bag and talked breathlessly about CATs.

Malcolm certainly made hard-core catamaran fans out of us. Whether at his home in Titirangi, or between two planes at LAX, or on the floor of the Fort Lauderdale boat show, he guided us through the design of DOMINO.

So, Malcolm, as I write this, I can still hear your chuckle: 'Form follows function... If you won't use it, don't put in in the boat... for Chrissake, Marie, forget wood and marble: paint everything!'

So long, Malcolm CATMAN, we'll miss you but you will always remain a part of us and of DOMINO.



If you knew Malcolm, and have a story or tribute you wish to share please forward to nzeditor@sail-world.com.

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.Com


Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall


8:41 AM Sat 17 May 2008 GMT

Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.