J.R. (Rod) Macalpine-Downie

1934 - 1986

J.R. (Rod) Macalpine-Downie photo

by Dick Gibbs, his design partner (beginning in 1964).
(from Buccaneer website)

J.R. (Rod) Macalpine-Downie
Born, Appin, Argyll, Scotland.
His father, a specialist in hypervelocity artillery shells was also an offshore sailor.
Rod attended Eton where he majored in Biology and won the King’s Scholar Award. He considered a career as a concert violinist.
While chicken farming in Scotland in 1961, he saw a Shearwater Cat and although he never designed a boat, concluded he could do a better job. The first boat was Thai MK4 which won all six races of the 1962 European, One of a Kind' regatta. He followed that with the winning of the first International Catamaran Challenge in 1963, and had seven more consecutive wins.
He was the first developer of the 'UNA' rig and wing masts. A series of 'Crossbow' designs won 5 consecutive competitions. Players Fastest sailboat, Trophies at a top official speed of 41 knots, the last of which sailed in 1984, unofficially at 60+ knots. At the time of his death, a new crossbow was underway, which he believed was capable of 70+ knots.
The partnership with Dick Gibbs in 1964, sealed with a handshake, put 80 boats in to commercial production, resulting in 15,000+ boats. Of all his designs, it is probably the BUCCANEER that ended up being the most popular and commercially successful.

Sailboats Designed By J.R. (Rod) Macalpine-Downie

Model LOA First Built
APACHE 41 40.83 ft / 12.44 m 1970
APACHE 45 45.00 ft / 13.72 m 1970
AZTEC 23 23.00 ft / 7.01 m 1977
BANDIT 15 15.25 ft / 4.65 m 1972
BANDIT 17 17.00 ft / 5.18 m 1972
BARRACUDA 13 13.00 ft / 3.96 m 1964
BUCCANEER 18 18.00 ft / 5.49 m 1968
CHEROKEE 35 35.00 ft / 10.67 m 1973
COMANCHE 32 (SAILCRAFT) 32.18 ft / 9.81 m 1978
COPPERHEAD 14 13.75 ft / 4.19 m 1970
DAGGER 14 (CHRYSLER) 14.50 ft / 4.42 m 1976
DINGO 15 15.00 ft / 4.57 m 1963
GLOUCESTER 15 15.00 ft / 4.57 m 1987
GLOUCESTER 18 18.00 ft / 5.49 m 1985
IROQUOIS 30 MKII 30.00 ft / 9.14 m 1968
MAN-O-WAR 15 (CHRYSLER) 15.00 ft / 4.57 m 1964
MUSKETEER 17 16.50 ft / 5.03 m 1973
MUTINEER 15 15.00 ft / 4.57 m 1972
NAVAHO 46 46.00 ft / 14.02 m 1972
PHOENIX 18 18.00 ft / 5.49 m 1964
PIRATEER 13 (CHRYSLER) 13.00 ft / 3.96 m 1974
SHARK CATAMARAN 20.00 ft / 6.10 m 1963
SIDEWINDER 16 15.50 ft / 4.72 m 1969
STARWIND 15 15.00 ft / 4.57 m 1984
STARWIND 18 18.00 ft / 5.49 m 1982


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