Angus Primrose, 1926 – 1980. Naval Architect and avid offshore racer.
Although not much has been written about him I can piece together some information compiled from various sources, including Illingworth’s book ‘The Malham Story’.
From what I can gather his first successful design was the TopHat in 1962. Illingworth had acquired Aero Marine, a boat builders in Emsworth, Hampshire, where he was building yachts to conform to the current J.O.G ratings, notably the Tiger V class. He then sold the yard in 1959 and took on Angus as the naval architect for their new company Illingworth & Primrose, based out of Gosport.
He had a lot of successful designs flow from his drawing board, including Gypsy Moth IV for Sir Francis Chichester’s solo voyage around the world, and Galway Blazer II, the unusual junk rig designed to the same purpose for Bill King. Together with Illingworth they also developed the separate skeg hung rudder, originally conceived by Laurent Giles, which was frowned upon to start with but later became an industry standard for cruising boats.
After the company finished he went on to do a lot of work for production boats, mainly Moody, for whom he started the idea of the centre cockpit in their 33MK1, they went on to incorporate this design in many of their models. Other accomplishments in this field were his designs for companies such as Voyager, Warrior, North Wind and Seal.
He remained the principle designer for Moody, playing a major role in their hugely successful line until his untimely death when he was lost with his own Moody 33 ‘Demon of Hamble’ in gale force winds and huge seas off the coast of Carolina. A first hand account of the incident states that he had helped the other crew member board the life raft, ensuring she was safe before he was hit by the other life raft case, he went under the water cascading around the decks and was never seen again.
His company was taken on by the young Bill Dixon who changed the name to his own and has continued to provide Moody with designs ever since. Moody has produced over 4,500 sailboats in the last thirty years and the majority of the designs are from Primrose.