Jim Young began his boatbuilding apprenticeship in 1940 at the age of 15, having an obsession with boats and everything that made them tick. Starting out making cups of tea for the other workers, he progressed to helping to build the first naval vessel in New Zealand, the HMS Hinau. Before long he opened his own boatyard on Northcote Point and designed some of the most successful yachts in the world. "Everybody had to build their own boats, right down to the cleats and the pulley blocks and that's what made New Zealanders such great sailors." He claims to have built the first boat in the world with a canting keel, now used by all of the Volvo Ocean Race yachts. In 2012 he earned a place on the New Year honours list as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to yachting.