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Robert B. Harris
1922-2014
Best known as a designer for Sparkman & Stephens, a partner in the firm of Maclear & Harris, designer of the Vancouver series of cruising boats, and a pioneer in the world of multihulls.
In 1942, after being appointed a cadet at the US Merchant Marine Accademy Harris saw wartime service in the Merchant Marine. After the war, with a mate’s certificate, he sailed aboard the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Society’s big ketch Atlantis. He then moved into a four year apprenticeship Crosby Yacht Building Yard in Oyster Bay, NY. In 1948 he designed and built his first catamaran the (Naramatac).
In 1950 he joined Sparkman & Stephens where he stayed until 1957. Also at this time, he was designing and building early catamaran’s, notably the cold-molded Tiger Cat, which won Yachting Magazine’s 'One Of A Kind' regatta in 1959.
Harris worked for Grumman Aircraft, then Robert Derecktor for a short time, before entering into the well known partnership with Frank Maclear. Maclear & Harris specialized in multihull design as well as other projects.
When the partnership ended in 1967, Harris rejoined Sparkman & Stephens for several years before going back into multihulls in the early 70’s.
In 1972 he moved to Vancouver BC and set up a small office at first with with Bill Heacock, a graduate of the California Maritime Institute. At this time he drew the VANCOUVER 27, the smallest and first in a series of boats of that name.
Besides his work with multihulls, and commercial naval architecture, Harris is known as the designer of many production monohulls, mostly for Taiwanese Yacht Builders, including a number of the Tayana models.
His two books on multihulls, Modern Sailing Catamarans, 1960, and Racing and Cruising Trimarans, 1970, were recognized as pioneering work in the field.
The best information about his career, as well as other subjects, is contained in his autobiography, 'Tracks on the Water'.
SORT BY LOA
SORT BY BOAT/CLASS NAME
BY THIS DESIGNER:
NAME/TYPE        LOA First Built
English / Metric
TIGER CAT 17.00' / 5.18m 1960
CHEETAH-CAT 14.10' / 4.30m 1960
DC-14 14.18' / 4.32m 1961
DC-14 PHANTOM 14.18' / 4.32m 1964
ALLIED 39 39.83' / 12.14m 1970
HARRIS & HEACOCK 27 27.00' / 8.23m 1972
VANCOUVER 27 27.00' / 8.23m 1973
VANCOUVER 36 (HARRIS) 36.00' / 10.97m 1977
TAYANA VANCOUVER 42 41.75' / 12.73m 1979
VANCOUVER 42 41.75' / 12.73m 1982
VANCOUVER 25 29.00' / 8.84m 1983
VANCOUVER 32 32.00' / 9.75m 1986
TAYANA 65 64.67' / 19.71m 1989



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