The Boating New Zealand magazine published an article back in September 2019 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:
 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