Buying a Zephyr

Buying a Zephyr


There are aspects to buying a Zephyr that prospective class participants need to know prior to purchase.   All Zephyrs require a Measurement Certificate before entering any national, regional or club Zephyr event. Certificates are issued to the owner and expire at point of sale, so new owners must apply for a replacement. Aspects of the boat rendered non-compliant by previous rule changes will require rectification prior to the replacement certificate being issued.

A spreadsheet for all boats on the ZOA records can be viewed on: - 

This list includes the last date of inspection, hull weight, dispensation status and possible non-compliant areas of note. A substantive rule change occurred in 2019, followed by a more comprehensive measuring template in July 2020, so boats measured after the latter date are more likely to have no outstanding areas of non-compliance.

                The ZOA strongly advises prospective purchasers with any doubts to contact any class representative on this website prior buying. Most boats have a well-known track record and advice from a regional representative or class measurer may save future angst.


Zephyrs range in price from $500 to $25000 and as expected, a variation this wide is due to condition, equipment and which variant of hull construction. Below are approximate guidelines and descriptions: -


A hull without decks, bulkheads and likely needing replacement of centrecase, transom and some deck beams. No beach trailer rigging or foils. Not for the feint hearted – only suitable for those with advanced boatbuilding skills.

$1500 - $5000   

Either a bare hull in very good condition, ready for decking or a complete boat that’s overweight, able to be sailed but ripe for a full deck-off rebuild. Often the spars and foils are poorer quality and may end up being replaced during a full rebuild. Once again, prospective purchasers will need elevated personal boatbuilding skills.

$5000 - $8000

Reasonable quality of boat close to minimum weight with functional equipment, able to be raced with minimal immediate upgrading required.

$8000- $15000

Down to weight hull restored to a high standard with either Northern Rigging, NZ Rigging or Forged Fabrications spars, good foils, relatively new sail and alloy beach trailer. At the upper end of this price range, a skilled sailor could start winning races.

$15000 - $25000

Brand new Mackay GRP Zephyr. At the lower price end is a new hull on beach trailer only. Purchaser would need to have spars, sail and foils ready to install. The top end would be a sail-away boat.


Hull Types

1-233           Built by Des Townson between 1956 and 1964.

234 – 239    Built by Ian Cook from 1980-81 under guidance from Des Townson.

251 – 260    Built by Noel May and others. The only strip-planked cedar Zephyrs.

301 – 331    Built in Christchurch by several different builders on a mould to dimensions reverse engineered from several Townson built hulls.  

501 – 529    Build started by Robert Brooke under the Traditional Boatbuilding School umbrella, based on the Townson plans.

601-609      Salthouse Boatbuilders GRP hulls fitted with timber framing, plywood bulkheads and owner-fitted decking. Hull mould made from a                         500 series plug.

700-           Mackay Boats full GRP hull and decking, using the same Salthouse built hull mould as used on the 600 series hulls.

 More detail on the history of the class and the strengths and weaknesses of the various iterations of Zephyrs can be seen in Des Townson – A Sailing Legacy by Brian Peet. purchase direct from  or Ph 027 622 3334