Vale Phil Hercus AO

Photo: Incat Crowther
Photo: Incat Crowther

I was very sorry to learn of the recent death of Phil Hercus. Phil was undoubtedly one of the world’s most influential and innovative naval architects and a great supporter of the Australian aluminium ship building industry.

In close co-operation and, for a time, partnership with Robert Clifford of Incat fame, Phil designed and perfected many of the original fast aluminium catamarans that put Australian shipbuilding on the global map. Many of his early ferries are still operating after nearly forty years – testament to his prodigious talents.

With Robert Clifford, Phil was the pioneer of the wave piercing and Ro-Pax catamarans that took ferry travel to a new level of comfort, safety, speed, economy and efficiency. He inspired and led a whole new movement in ship design that has spread worldwide. The Australian shipbuilding industry and the wider naval architecture profession have much to thank him for.

It is sad that a poor business decision some years ago resulted in Phil effectively departing the industry he did so much to develop. I very much regret not having seen him since. He will be missed and, hopefully, well remembered for his massive contribution to our industry.

Neil Baird

Co-founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Baird Maritime and Work Boat World magazine, Neil has travelled the length and breadth of this planet in over 40 years in the business. He knows the global work boat industry better than anyone.