Bill Lapworth, one of the best-known Southern California sailboat designers, has died. A private ceremony to scatter his ashes at sea was held yesterday, according to an item I read in Sailing Scuttlebutt this morning: Eight Bells.
William “Bill” Lapworth — perhaps the foremost West Coast Naval Architect in the post World War II period — has passed away.
…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
Another interesting item on Lapworth that I googled up ran in Latitude 38 back in
December April, 2002: An afternoon with Bill Lapworth.