Frank Bethwaite, 92, a pioneer in small-boat design and research, died Saturday after a short illness, surrounded by his family.
Born in 1920 in Wanganui, New Zealand, Bethwaite learned to sail on the Wanganui River, building his own boats and experimenting with rigs and hull designs.
He designed a new boat in 1975 called the Tasar that had a minimum weight limit to encourage adults to sail and race competitively. This was picked up by Performance Sailcraft, owner of the Laser racing dinghy. Tasar builders were established in Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia and numbers have reached 3,000 worldwide.
Bethwaite was the author of "High Performance Sailing" (1992) and "Higher Performance Sailing" (2002) and had just completed his third book on apparent wind sailing to be published later this year by Adlard Coles.