The Gary Underwood story – Under the radar

The Boating New Zealand magazine published an article back in September 2019[0] about Gary Underwood, the designer of Shoestring (and a whole lot of other designs). I found the article today, aptly named “The Gary Underwood story – Under the radar”, and was delighted to be able to get some insight into Gary’s life story. I highly admire his design philosophies, they resonate very strongly with me. I still hope to be able to build a Shoestring of my own one day.

Underwood hates liferafts and inflatables – “deflatables” he calls them – better to invest in a proper dinghy that can be used every day. In the event of an emergency this can double as a lifeboat and be sailed to a shipping lane, rather than waiting around hoping to be found.

Skin fittings are another Underwood no-no, each one costs a 1% speed loss as well as being another maintenance item. Wind vane self-steering is essential for cruising, which he prefers to address with a stern-hung rudder with an external flap driven by a wind vane – simple, reliable and fixable at sea. He snorts in disgust at those who use electronic autopilots – they’re usually the first thing to fail on passage and require professional repair.

Please do yourself a favor and read the story of the highly regarded designer (by those who know of his work) “The Gary Underwood Story – Under the radar” here:

[0] Edit: I just found a copy published August 1st 2019 by John MacFarlane here so I’m now unsure as to who deserves the credit

10 comments on “The Gary Underwood story – Under the radar
  1. If you have a contact email address for Gary Underwood, I would appreciate if you could email it to me. I want to buy the Shoestring plans.

  2. Hi Oscar
    Could I also get Gary’s email address
    Need to look more into shoestring a little more.

  3. Hi Oscar,
    I’m also interested in purchasing a set of Shoestring plans, and would appreciate if you can give me contact details for Gary too.

  4. Please forward my phone number to Gary Underwood.. I helped build Alice in the Solomon islands. 42 years ago. 04025xxxxx. [number redacted]

  5. Hi Gary I’m Peter peter.xxxxxx@xxxxxxx. [email redacted] I was with you in lunga lunga great to catch up. Kindest regards Peter Brian Medway.

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