May / June 2021

Renaissance Man

The many facets of Andrew Wolstenholme
Andrew Wolstenholme

Andrew Wolstenholme originally designed the 21’ KITE for himself and his family. “I started drawing a sharpie with a cat-ketch rig,” he says. “Then it went through a loop and morphed into a single-chined hull with a sensible gaff rig.” After a 12-year gestation, the prototype was finally launched in 2010 and has “exceeded expectations.”

Who is Andrew Wolstenholme? It’s a valid question because, despite having 150 designs to his name, the designer of the OGA dinghy (see page 66) maintains such a low profile that it would be quite understandable if you’ve never heard of him. What’s more, his portfolio is so varied—ranging from exquisite dinghies to production yachts, modern power­boats, barge yachts, and even landing craft—that you do begin to wonder: Who is Andrew Wolstenholme?

Wolstenholme was brought up in Morecambe on the northwest coast of England. Neither of his parents were sailors (his father was a photographer and his mother a photographer’s assistant), but he caught the sailing bug while watching a Dick Wyche–designed 12' 6" Graduate dinghy being built and launched at his school. After school, he got a job at a boatyard in Glasson Dock in Lancashire, which confirmed to him that he “wasn’t cut out to be a boatbuilder.” His breakthrough came when he spotted the newly created yacht and boat design course at Southampton College of Technology and enrolled, joining the same class as fellow yacht designers Paul Gartside, now designing on Long Island, New York, and Ed Dubois, who had a stellar design career in Jersey.

Wolstenholme’s first job after college was helping to design the 80' trimaran GREAT BRITAIN III for the Scottish yachtsman and oarsman Chay Blyth before taking off for the obligatory road trip across North America. It was the mid-1970s, and Wolstenholme had the full North American experience, traveling from coast to coast on Greyhound buses and visiting boating luminaries, among them multihull designers Dick Newick, who then worked on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and Robert Harris, who settled in Vancouver, British Columbia. While visiting the East Coast, he researched the idea for his first design: of all things, that quintessential American craft from New England, the catboat.

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