In 1980, Russell and Sue Satherwaite were looking for a new Jim Young design which Sue's brother, Greg Elliott, was to build for them. The brief was that there were to be no rules concessions and that it had to be a satisfactory cruiser for a young family as well as a fast racer.
The completed hull of ‘Tickled Pink’ was taken to the Satherwaite family home at Whangaparoa and the decks and an Elliot-designed cabin and interior added before she was launched two years later.
â€‹At the time that ‘Tickled Pink’ was being designed, Roger Land and his sailing partner Owen Lockerbie were searching the New Zealand market for a simple all-round family cruiser-racer in the eight-metre bracket. Land and Lockerbie both had a keen interest in diving as well as sailing. The then radical form of the Young 88 – a dinghy-like hull with an open transom – was well suited to both requirements.
Over a bottle of Inner Circle rum, they looked at the drawings of the wooden boat soon to be built by Greg Elliott and hatched a plan to make a mould from it, good enough for about five boats, which Roger thought he could sell reasonably easily, one of course to themselves. They persuaded the owners and designer to stretch the length from 8.5 metres to 8.9 metres and to put a little more rake in the transom and bow which had originally been drawn near plumb.
Young then designed a cabin and interior. The alterations to the hull were made on the factory floor. They then contracted Terry Cookson to build the moulds. They used the deck mould of their own boat, Inner Circle, as the plug for Young's standard design and this became the Mark 1deck. Land, with a wealth of experience in fibreglass construction, first in surfboards and then in yachts, bought Jim Young's plans. His company, then known as Roger Land Fibreglass, had limited production in mind.
They needed to build ten boats to defray the cost of the moulds and so were pleasantly surprised to have six orders by the time the moulds were completed! In view of this, they delayed finishing Inner Circle to get boats underway for other people.
Paddy Wagon, built for Ross Field, was the first Young 88 in the water - launched in December 1981. By the time she hit the water, Land was holding orders for twelve yachts and the original concept of limited production was a thing of the past. They tooled up for 70-odd boats and then later re-tooled for the Mark 2 deck design. ‘Walkaway’ (hull No.3) owned by Bob & Raewyn Walker was launched early in 1982 and ‘Inner Circle’ (hull No. 2) in June 1982.
Either ‘Tickled Pink’ or ‘Paddy Wagon’ might lay claim to being the original Young 88 although not necessarily so, according to Roger Land. By 1980, before he had decided to have a mould made from ‘Tickled Pink’, another boat was under construction for Des Bartlett. She was a wooden boat to the Young 88 design with a centreboard and an outboard motor. He named the yacht ‘Tallulah’ and took her with him when he moved to the Bay of Islands in 1984. In 1987, Paul Page bought ‘Tallulah’ and brought her back to Auckland. He replaced the centreboard with a standard keel, added a diesel inboard engine and modified the stern lines to those of the Young 88. Finally, he gave her a new name: ‘Magic 88’.
The early racing successes of ‘Paddy Wagon’ under the skilful helm of Ross Fields resulted in a rash of orders. The years 1983-84 were the peak with 50 boats built, 15 of which were exported to Australia. The early popularity of the Class and the clear indications that the Young 88 would develop into a strong class convinced Land that a class association should be established. Owen Lockerbie chaired the first meeting, held at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club on September 1st 1981 and agreed to act as inaugural President until a constitution was in place and elections could be held. In total 158 boats were built.
The first National Championship was held in 1986, match-racing was introduced in 1989 and a two-handed (non spinnaker) National Championship regatta was introduced in 1992. Now unquestionably the leading keelboat class in New Zealand...