Model Zephyrs

- An unofficial hobby -

Zephyr sailors are passionate about their boats - so much so that in 2019 three different model Zephyrs were revealed on our community Facebook group.

Chris Bridges from Canterbury, Paul Pearson from Auckland and Llewellyn Viljoen also from Auckland have all independently laboured over designs and craftmanship, constructing several different model Zephyrs. Paul's first model Zephyr is a beautiful 15% scale model, and the build process has been documented in the video below. He also has made a half model Zephyr to hang on the wall under his father's half model. Chris has now built four remote control model Zephyrs with several different rigs designed to suit various conditions. His RC Zephyrs have been regularly raced at Pegasus Radio Control Club by himself and daughter Cathryn (another Zephyr sailor), and frequently sailed in the Queen Charlotte Sounds from the deck of the family launch. Llew's model Zephyr is also radio controlled, and emulates the construction of the 600 series Zephyrs. "Blueprint" has been trialled on Auckland Harbour, and we are looking forward to seeing Llew and Chris' RC yachts race at some point!

This new hobby clearly has some interest in the Zephyr community, and is testament to the boatbuilding skillset held within the Zephyr class.

Chris Bridges has invited any Zephyr sailors interested to bring their own model boats (or use one of his) to his boatshed in Waikawa Bay for some informal, fun races one evening after racing our big boats in our National Championships in Picton. Sailing with BBQ food & beer - let's hope nobody ends up expecting this service on the water in the real boats!


The Zephyr yacht was designed in 1956 by Kiwi yacht designer/builder Des Townson. Over 60 years later a strong fleet is being sailed around NZ. Chris Bridges, a Zephyr sailor since the 1970s, has created these model boats in appreciation of the Zephyr.

Four of Chris' boats are currently being sailed, with another on its way. Two more hulls are ready for production.

A scale RC model of Zephyr #525 made by Chris Bridges for Chris Hargreaves of Worser Bay


From original lines drawing, building a plug and then finishing the hull. The Zephyr dinghy class is an iconic New Zealand racing dinghy designed and built by Des Townson. This video is the record of building a 15% scale model of number 47 "Fantasy".

Paul has also built a half model Zephyr.

"Back in 1955 as part of a 7 year apprenticeship at R.J Pryor & Son boatyard in Burnham on Crouch in Essex, my dad Peter Pearson, built the half model at the top in this picture, a boat called Chanterelle. 64 years later, I have just completed the build of a half model of my own Zephyr "Fantasy". Not on the same scale and sophistication as my dad's but nevertheless, she now sits proudly on the wall of our Auckland home just under my dad's. I hope in years to come, my own offspring will hang these on their own walls at home and feel the same sense of pride I have of my own dad, who will always be my hero. For the boat building purists out there who have spotted that they face in opposite directions... well I'm told by those in the know, that Des Townson (designer of the Zephyr), went against tradition and designed the Zephyr with the bow to the left! So that is how I built mine!" 
- Paul Pearson


A 1⁄4 scale Zephyr, emulating construction of the new 600 series with a GRP hull and Plywood deck, bulkheads and buoyancy tanks, we launched Sunday 7th September and underwent harbour trials.

Read Llew's article