Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Warren Luhrs (USA) single-handed trans-Atlantic winner dies at 69

by Barry Pickthall on 15 Oct 2013
Warren Luhrs (69) one of the great short handed trans-oceanic racers PPL Media © http://www.pplmedia.com
Warren Luhrs, best known as the innovative co-founder of Hunter Boats in the USA, has died aged 69 following a heart attack on September 18.

Warren's name first came to international prominence in solo trans ocean races, starting with the 54ft monohull Tuesday's Child which he and his brother John sailed to second place in class in the 1982 two-man Round Britain Race.

It was in the 1984 Observer Single-hand Transatlantic that he really made his mark, both as a designer and sailor, with his innovative ultralight Open 60 Thursday's Child. She was the first monohull to finish, just 16 hours behind the first trimaran, Yvon Fauconnier's Umpro Jardin V, with an elapsed time of 16 days 22hours 27 minutes - an upwind average of 7.4knots.

In 1985, Luhrs teamed up with Ola Wettergren to compete in that year's Round Britain Race and Thursday's Child again finished top monohull, despite a 2 hour 9 minute penalty for late arrival at Plymouth for scrutineering.

Thursday's Child was designed by Paul Linderburg and built in 1983 and was innovative in many ways. Light displacement, with what was in those days a narrow waterline beam with wide overhangs to provide greater form stability, she had water ballast tanks and carried a lightweight Bergstrom rig with swept-back spreaders negating the need for runners and check stays, and a fully battened mainsail. Her headsails were self tacking.

This boat was advanced in many ways and one suspects that Warren's close friend Lars Bergstrom had a great deal of input into the design. She was probably the first to carry a gimballed nav station, and certainly the first to have a super comfortable racing car seat attached. Luhrs reasoned, quite rightly, that he would be spending more time at the nav station than steering. The design inspired many innovations that appeared later in Hunter production models, including B&R rigs, arches and water ballast.

He also entered the same boat, re-named Hunter's Child in the 1986 BOC Around Alone Race and got as far Sydney where he withdrew because his first-born son was ill.

In 1989, Luhrs sailed Thursday’s Child from New York around Cape Horn and up to San Francisco, breaking the sailing record set by the American clipper ship Flying Cloud. It took him 80 days and 20 hours, creating a new record for the first time in 135 years.

Luhrs built a revised 60-foot boat called Hunter’s Child to compete in the 1994-1995 BOC Around Alone race. In the end, she was skippered by Steve Pettengill who brought her home in second place after completing the circumnavigation in 128 days.

Luhrs began building boats with his brother John and father Henry, a German immigrant at Henry Luhrs Sea Skiffs. The first Hunter sailboat, the Hunter 25 designed by John Cherubini, was launched in 1973. Luhrs was still working with the St. Augustine Marine Center, his one remaining business after Hunter Marine and the Luhrs Marine Group declared bankruptcy in 2011.

Very much a bohemian at heart, the soft-spoken Luhrs an outdoors man. When he wasn't sailing, Warren loved exploring the outback with his wife Linda and their eight children. He also loved his work, and it was a great personal loss when his companies were forced to close. Extremely fit and health conscious, he looked a lot younger than his 69 years, and his sudden death came as a complete surprise.

For further pictures of Warren Luhrs please click here
Bakewell-White Yacht DesignNaiad/Oracle SupplierBarz Optics - Kids range

Related Articles

Vendée Globe – Costa to cross Thursday morning for 14th
Progress has remained painfully slow for Kiwi skipper Conrad Colman today as he sails into a wide high pressure ridge Progress has remained painfully slow for Kiwi skipper Conrad Colman today as he sails into a wide high pressure ridge which stands between him and the favourable westerly breezes which should finally allow the jury rigged Foresight Natural Energy to sail more directly towards the French coast and the finish line
Posted today at 5:22 pm
Sanya awarded Youth Sailing World Championships
World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport is pleased to announce that Sanya, China will host the 2017 edition The 2017 selection process opened in November 2016 after the Israeli Sailing Association exercised the right to withdraw from hosting the 2017 edition as a final contract had not been concluded.
Posted today at 4:05 pm
RORC Caribbean 600 – Day 3 – Phaedo3 takes multihull line honours
While the multihull race record was not broken this year Phaedo3 and Maserati had an incredible 600 mile high-speed duel Phaedo3 held on to win the battle of the trimarans, just 12 minutes ahead of Giovanni Soldini's Italian MOD70, Maserati. The high-speed battle saw the lead change hands at least four times during the race.
Posted today at 3:18 pm
Volvo Ocean Race – Pablo Arrarte joins MAPFRE as watch captain
With just 242 days to go until the start of the 2017-18 edition on October 22, preparations are already well underway. Arrarte, who raced onboard Brunel in 2014-15, will also assume the role of deputy to Olympic gold medallist Xabi Fernández, who was named as skipper on Friday.
Posted today at 1:39 pm
Maserati Multi70 finishes a close second in RORC Caribbean 600
Soldini and his seven-man crew brought Maserati Multi70 across the finish line off Charlotte Point in Antigua. Soldini and his seven-man international crew brought Maserati Multi70 across the finish line off Charlotte Point in Antigua.
Posted today at 1:09 pm
Red Bull Sailing Team returns to the Extreme Sailing Series
The team will have eight Acts to out-sail the world's best in what looks to be the most competitive season yet. The team will have eight Acts to out-sail the world's best in what looks to be the most competitive season yet.
Posted today at 12:29 pm
New Zealand's influence at JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship
Can the Yamaha 18ft Skiff team become the first NZers to win the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour? Can the Yamaha 18ft Skiff team of David McDiarmid, Matt Steven and Brad Collins become the first New Zealand team in the 79-year history to win the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour? The team came within one point of the 2016 winner, Smeg, and are determined to go that one better this year.
Posted today at 9:18 am
RORC Caribbean 600 - Maserati Multi70 in a fight for lead with Phaedo3
After 24-hours of racing in RORC Caribbean 600 Race Maserati Multi70 trimaran is locked in a fierce struggle for lead After 24-hours of racing in the RORC Caribbean 600 Race the Maserati Multi70 trimaran skippered by Italian ocean racer Giovanni Soldini is locked in a fierce struggle for the lead with the race record holder Phaedo3.
Posted today at 5:09 am
3rd line honours in a row for Phaedo^3 in the RORC Caribbean 600
After an epic battle with their MOD70 sistership Maserati, Phaedo^3 took multihull line honours in RORC Caribbean 600. After an epic battle with their MOD70 sistership Maserati, Phaedo^3 took multihull line honours in the RORC Caribbean 600.
Posted today at 4:04 am
Phaedo^3 side by side with Maserati South of Guadeloupe
It was a Gybe for Gybe competition for the two MOD70’s in a Monsoon like storm South of Guadeloupe. It was a Gybe for Gybe competition for the two MOD70’s in a Monsoon like storm South of Guadeloupe. Phaedo^3 has now managed to pull away on the leg up to next mark off Barbuda.
Posted today at 4:01 am