Eight Bells: Jeremy Rogers

Published on October 14th, 2022

British yacht builder Jeremy Rogers MBE, most famous for co-creating the iconic Contessa 32 and Contessa 26, has died at the age of 85. As an esteemed designer and passionate racing sailor, he founded his eponymous boatyard in Lymington, Hampshire, in the United Kingdom.

Rogers was born in September 1937, and as a child his mother evacuated him and his brothers to rural Canada during the Second World War. There they occupied themselves during snow-bound Ottawa winters building model boats.

After the war the family returned to the UK, settling in Keyhaven just outside Lymington, where Jeremy and his younger brother Jonathan began sailing Cadets. He built his first dinghy at primary school, building a home-built Cadet dinghy whilst at Clayesmore School in Dorset, aged just 10.

Jonathan, in an article written for the Contessa 32 owners’ association, recalled how Jeremy continued to build boats during his school years, as the only pupil allowed time off lessons and given a key to the workshop: “There were Canoes, a Planet with a sliding seat, he rebuilt several Finns as well as a number of old 1920s Austin 7s which were salvaged from scrap yards.”

In Rogers’s final year at school, an Olympic sailor was brought in to oversee his building of a 505 dinghy, which Jeremy and Jonathan went on to successfully race together at Cowes.

After leaving school, Rogers completed a five-year apprenticeship with esteemed wooden boat builder Jack Chippendale, before setting out on his own, opening the Jeremy Rogers boatyard in 1961, aged 23. – Full report

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