Composite Technician Apprentice of the Year Tyler Williams, SailGP Technologies

Composite Technician Apprentice of the Year Tyler Williams, SailGP Technologies

Tyler Williams has been a part of the SailGP Technologies team for the past three years. Throughout his time in the composites industry he has made quite an impact with members both inside SailGP Technologies, Composites Association of NZ and at MAST Academy where Williams recently completed his two-year Composite Technician Apprenticeship and is only one year off completing his Composite Boat Building Apprenticeship.

Williams dedication and drive to succeed in the industry has led him to be awarded Composites Technician Apprentice of the Year, presented in 2023 by Composites Association of New Zealand and NZ Marine, recognising excellence within its field.

Graeme Allen, an established boat builder and one of the central mentors for Williams at SailGP Technologies commented, “It is no surprise to me that Tyler made the top guy because he stands out across the board. Everything we’d work on from bookwork to boat building, he was enthusiastic and got it done. Did it well. His skill level is very high, amazing.”

Williams did not come from a background in boating, but over time he began paving a way for himself in the marine industry.

“Tyler always has a consistent, positive approach to his work. And if he sees someone who is good at their job, he’s right in there wanting to learn from them. That’s what makes him stand out,” adds Allen.

His journey started at the age of 17 when he was introduced to key industry figures such as Sean Regan from Emirates Team New Zealand and NZ Marine field officer Mike Birdsall who took the time to show Williams all the exciting opportunities the industry has to offer from America’s Cup boats to TP52s and later on the SailGP F50’s. He was drawn in immediately and began both his Boat Building and Composite Technician Apprenticeships.

“I could see all high-performance sports starting to utilize composites, all the Formula One teams, all the high-performance yachts, everything. I thought, this is the industry I need to be in.” explains Williams.

Williams began his career at Cooksons Boats building 52’s, then moved to Yachting Developments and has spent the last 3 years at SailGP Technologies. “I didn’t even know what the F50 boats were until my friend who used to work at SailGP Technologies said come through the facility, you know, you can work on these amazing boats and go all over the world on the regattas. And I thought, well that sounds amazing. I told the foreman, I’m not really a sailor but I appreciate all the work that goes into these boats,” says Williams.

Tyler Williams working on the repairs to the New Zealand SailGP F50 Wing after the lightning strike to the boat in Sydney. Photographer – Brett Phibbs

From the day Williams started at SailGP Technologies he was brought in to work on some pretty amazing projects. “I started my apprenticeship off building the daggerboards for Mike Pollard in the Top Shop. From there I worked on all the 52s that came through, so both TP52 Sled and IRC 52 Caro. Most of my apprentice work was from working on the 52s. But I’ve also built the F50s, I built the hulls, decks, pods and so on.” 

Over the last two weeks Williams was picked to be part of the build team in Lyttelton, New Zealand working in the SailGP Tech Team to get all nine SailGP F50 boats race-ready for the ITM Christchurch Sail Grand Prix.

Williams has many opportunities to weigh up at the end of his boat-building apprenticeship but first he’d like to expand his horizons traveling.