Deceased , Historic

C. WIlliam



The designer of the very successful Cal boats from the late 1950s through the 1980s, William “Bill” Lapworth is widely considered one of the foremost West Coast naval architects in the post-World War II period.


Born in Detroit, he earned a degree in marine engineering and naval architecture from the University of Michigan. After serving in the Navy during World War II, Lapworth settled on the West Coast and became partners with Merle Davis who had a yacht design office in Los Angeles. Davis died less than a year later.

The following is excerpted from an interview conducted in 2004:

At first, Lapworth paid the bills by doing surveying work. Soon he was designing a series of light displacement racing sailboats that began to win or place highly on the East and West Coasts, beginning with Flying Scotsman and Nalu II, 46′ – a four-time Class C Transpac race winner and first overall in 1959. Next came the 50′ sloop Ichiban, second overall in the 1961 Transpac. By 1958, more than 70 of the wooden L-36′ sloops had been built, but by then fiberglass was becoming the material of choice.

All this attracted the attention of boatbuilder Jack Jensen who one day walked in to Lapworth’s office and, with a handshake, was to form one of the most successful relationships in yachting history.

The first boat for Jensen was a 24-footer which Jensen proposed to be called the Lapworth 24. But Lapworth felt that since he had previously designed a 24-footer for someone else, a new name was called for. According to Lapworth, this is when they decided on the name ‘Cal’ boats.

Together, Lapworth and Jensen produced thousands of boats including the Cal 20 (the most successful with more than 1,900 boats produced from 1961 to 1972), 24, 28, 29, 30, 33, 34, 36, 39, 40, and 46. The Lapworth/Jensen association continued until the Jensen’s death in 1980. In his later years, Lapworth kept his own Cal 46 which he said was the favorite of all his designs.


The following is a list of boats by Lapworth:


Cal 20

Cal 21

Cal 2-24

Cal 2-25

Cal 2-27

Cal 2-29

Cal 2-30

Cal 2-34

Cal 24

Cal 2-46

Cal 25

Cal 27

Cal 28

Cal 29

Cal 30

Cal 31

Cal 3-27

Cal 33

Cal 3-30

Cal 34

Cal 34-III

Cal 35 (1979)

Cal 35 Cruise

Cal 36

Cal 39

Cal 39 MK II (1-147)

Cal 39 MK III

Cal 40

Cal 43

Cal 46 III (1975)

Cal 48

Cal Cruising 36

Cal Cruising 46

Cal T/2

Cal T/4

Calgan 23

Crown 23

Crown 28

Endeavor 26

Gladiator 24

Gloucester 16

Islander 44

Lapworth 24

Lapworth 32

Lapworth 36 (l-36)

Lapworth 39

Lapworth 40

Lapworth 48

Lapworth 50

Martinique 25


Neptune 16

Newport 16

Phoenix 12


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