One of New Zealand’s most prolific boat designers and builders – Bob Salthouse – died in June aged 83. He had been in poor health for some time.

Though the exact number is unclear, it’s estimated that in a career spanning more than half a century Bob designed over 750 boats – and impressively – most are still afloat. They covered the entire spectrum of vessels – yachts, launches, wooden boats, workboats charter boats and luxury pleasure boats.

They include the 32m alloy superyacht Pacific Mermaid and some of the most successful production designs New Zealand has seen – the Cavalier 32 and 39, both launched in the 1970s. Around 170 of the 32s were built and 84 of the 39s.


Equally successful was the Corsair range of 10.9m launches, with more than 150 produced in three models from 1973. One-off commissions included the famous game-fisher Te Ariki Nui in 1983 and the 27.4m Pacific Challenge for the America’s Cup in Fremantle in 1985.

Bob – together with brother John – began building boats in the early 1950s before Bob left to start up his own company, Salthouse Marine, in 1983.

Dean Salthouse is the youngest of Bob’s three sons and is the only one to follow in his dad’s footsteps, completing a boatbuilding apprenticeship. Dean founded Salthouse Next Generation Boats after he and his father successfully revamped the original Corsair design into a wider-bodied Cabriolet-styled motor yacht.

Bob’s brother John died earlier this year.

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