Tribute to Rex Henry

One of the founders of Offshore Powerboat Racing in New Zealand  (1930-2015)

Rex Henry passed away peacefully on 4th Oct after a long illness. He achieved many memorable goals throughout his life, especially in the marine industry as a powerboat designer, manufacturer and industry representative. Rex was inducted to the NZ Boat Show Hall of Fame in 2006.

In regards to offshore powerboat racing, Rex was one of the founding members of the Powerboat Racing Organisation (PBRO) and together with Tony Mason and Ged McCarthy ran the first organised offshore power boat racing in New Zealand on the Auckland Harbour and Hauraki Gulf in 1964. Over 100 boats of varying types and sizes competed in these events which were known as the Epiglass 40 and Atlantic 100. These events were responsible for the founding of the sport in this country.

Rex was one of the first to design powerboats with the deep vee formation. He designed his first 20 degree hull in 1957 and his company was one of the earliest exponents of fibreglass production. He will be remembered for his successful Fleetline pleasure boats, especially the 4.5m Sapphire of which over 3000 were built. His company also produced Haines Hunter boats in New Zealand and these were successfully utilised in many instances as “off the shelf” offshore race boats including  Jacqui Hunter campaigned by Neil McCorkindale  and Head Hunter campaigned by Ron Archer. His specialist offshore racing designs such as Tara Too for Ivan Boyce, Kitten for Trever Burnand plus Coranto and Chindit for Graeme Wingate are his legacy.

Author: Jeremy Ward

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