Henry Ashton Highet, commonly known as Harry Highet, (27 January 1892 – 2 February 1989) was a New Zealand civil engineer famous for his ‘P-class’ yacht design. This class is famous for being the sailing trainer vessel for many new entrants into the sport, and virtually every famous New Zealand yachtsman, including Sir Peter Blake and Russell Coutts, learnt to sail in one.
Early life and family
Harry was born in Wellington in 1892, the son of Scottish immigrants Thomas Morton and Isabella Highet. He was the youngest of nine children. Harry’s father was an ironmonger and worked at the Evans Bay Patent slip, introducing Harry to shipbuilding from a young age.
A nephew of Harry’s was Allan Highet, a member of Parliament for National. His sister, Mary, married George Page, Mayor of Nelson from 1935 to 1941.
Harry was also involved in many railway construction projects in his capacity as an engineer for the New Zealand Ministry of Works.
Tauranga Yacht Club – P Class
^ Anderson, Grahame, Fast Light Boats, Te Papa Press 2002
^ Elliott, Robin and Kidd, Harold; The Highets, a Wellington yachting family, Boating New Zealand, March 2005
^ Marriages, Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XL, 29 May 1905, Page2