Skip to main content

Robert W.B. Kits van Heyningen dies

VanHeyningen

Robert W.B. Kits van Heyningen, co-founder of KVH Industries, died Dec. 14 in Boston. He was 62.

Kits van Heyningen was born in Montreal on April 4, 1957, and grew up in Newport, R.I. He returned to Montreal to study at McGill University, where he earned a degree in physics, with a minor in computer science.

In 1982, Kits van Heyningen co-founded Sailcomp Industries with his father, Arent, and his brother Martin. Sailcomp became KVH Industries in 1986. Kits van Heyningen served as a board member and senior vice president of R&D until 2016.

Kits van Heyningen was the inventor of the world’s first digital compass. Over the years, he served as the lead software architect and designer for KVH’s tactical navigation systems used on more than 20,000 military vehicles.

An avid sailor, Kits van Heyningen competed in many regattas and sailed in the Newport-Bermuda Race a dozen times. He worked on the electronics for several America’s Cup campaigns, starting with the French challenge in 1980. He was also devoted to the martial arts and held a black belt in Aikido.

He also served as a Boy Scout leader, an adjunct professor at University of Rhode Island and a mentor to junior engineers at KVH.

Kits van Heyningen is survived by his wife of 18 years, Debra Kits van Heyningen; his brother, Martin Kits van Heyningen; sons Arent-Peter Kits van Heyningen and Willem Kits van Heyningen; and stepsons, Michael Faria, Matthew Faria and Mitchell Faria.

Related

norm

Who Is Watching Us Fish?

NOAA has started electronic tracking of charter boats in the Gulf of Mexico. Could recreational anglers be next?

1_COX

Cox Expands Partnership with Gulf Yachts

The diesel outboard manufacturer said the agreement adds Bahrain and the UAE to Gulf’s territories in Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Lebanon.

1_EVOY

Evoy Announces New Round of Capital

The Norwegian electric inboard and outboard manufacturer said it will use the funds to further develop its propulsion systems.

1_NEWPORTPRODUCTS

Newport Show Accepting Applications for Product Awards

The Newport for New Products program recognizes new boats, gear and more based on design, innovation and value to the consumer.

1_FREEDOMWISC

Freedom Boat Club Expands in Wisconsin

Parent Brunswick Corp. said it will open five new locations for this year’s boating season.

1_HEESE_TRIGG

ABC 2022: That’s a Wrap

The American Boating Congress concluded Friday with an award presentation, discussions with representatives, a midterm election report from political analyst Charlie Cook, and a panel discussion about electrification.

1_GODFREYELKHART

Godfrey Breaks Ground on Expansion

The company said the additional manufacturing and warehouse space in Elkhart, Ind., will enable an increase in production.

1_HIGHFIELD

Highfield USA Hires New President

The RIB builder said Christophe Lavigne will help develop the brand and operations in North America.