Tug designer Lynn Senour is dead at 89

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Lynn Senour, a yacht designer known for his Nordic Tugs and American Tug designs, died last year in Seattle at the age of 89.

“He was a longtime friend and a good guy,” says Tom Nelson, whose company, Tomco Marine Group in La Conner, Wash., builds the American Tug line of trawlers. A former CEO of Nordic Tugs, Nelson says he first worked with Senour building wooden boats in the 1960s, and the two would cross paths throughout their careers.

A native of Seattle, Senour began working in boatyards during summers while he was in high school, and served on Navy patrol torpedo boats in World War II. He was certified as a designer through the correspondence program of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, which at the time was located in Stamford, Conn. When fuel prices soared during the oil embargoes of the 1970s, Senour set out to develop a fuel-efficient powerboat. The result was Nordic Tugs.

Senour hooked up with Jerry Husted, co-founder of the company that builds Nordic Tugs. The basic concept was to create a boat that “looked good going slow.”

The Nordic Tug was introduced at the Seattle Boat Show in January 1980, and was quickly embraced by the boating public. “Nordic Tugs was fortunate to partner with Lynn in 1979 to design the 26 Nordic Tug, which was a huge success,” Husted said in a statement. “Since then, Lynn designed each of the succeeding Nordic Tugs models. Nordic Tugs’ success and longevity is due in part to the great hull designs by Lynn Senour.”

Nordic Tug celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Senour was best known for his sportfishing and commercial fishing vessels, including the Marlineer, the Grandy 28 and Delta Charter boats. He also designed many custom boats. Nelson says Senour was always conscious of the use of space, even in the days before ergonomics was a common term. “He was always looking beyond the design,” says Nelson.

Friends say Senour owned kayaks (which he also designed) but never a larger boat, despite his talent for designing them.

Senour had announced his retirement several times but continued to work. When Nelson wanted to form his own company, he met with Senour to discuss what would become the American Tug 34. Senour also is credited with the new American Tug 41.

The designer died Sept. 19.