Graeme King was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1947. He became fascinated with boats at the early age of five while watching a news reel of an eight oared shell race. As Graeme tells the story, he went home immediately and built his first model of a rowing shell. This first effort would mark the beginning of a long and illustrious career as one of the most decorated and credible rowing shell designers in the world. King began rowing at the age of 16 at the South Australian Railways Institute Rowing Club (SARIRC) and at the same time commenced an extensive apprenticeship with the South Australian Railways that would hone his skills as a true mechanical engineer. After only a brief introduction to rowing at SARIRC Graeme knew he wanted to dedicate his life to building boats. In 1965 he built his first full scale 1x, a boat equipped with fully adjustable stretchers and riggers, with a much wider span than what clubs were used to seeing. People in the rowing world began to take notice of his fine craftsmanship and began ordering boats from the young King soon thereafter. Norm Talbot was one of them. A ten time state sculling title holder and President’s Cup title holder, Mr. Talbot commissioned Graeme King to build him a boat in 1970. Norm rowed his new King 1x to gold at the Australian National Championships in 1971–the first of many national championships to be won in King shells. It was in the 1970’s that Graeme really began to flourish as a boat maker and mechanical engineer. Howard Croker is one rowing dignitary that helped put King in the spotlight of international rowing. Croker and legendary coach Harry Parker crossed paths at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games and spoke about Graeme’s attention to detail and how his skills as a mechanical engineer were showing up in the form of singles in Australia. Soon thereafter Graeme King and Harry Parker were introduced. Coach Parker then invited Graeme to come over to the USA as the Harvard boatman, a position King held from 1972-1975. At the end of the ’75 season Graeme King returned home to Australia to continue designing and selling boats.
Graeme soon became comfortable designing and building 4+’s and 8+’s as well. King built his first eight oared shell for Adelaide Rowing Club in 1979. His 1x’s and 2-‘s were getting a lot of attention and were the boats by which all other shells we’re compared. However his 8+ designs would soon be well received by clubs in Australia and the USA, including Parker’s crews at Harvard. Aside the exceptional race results, these wooden shells were also known for their simple elegance and extreme durability. Many of the boats that were built over 30 years ago are still being rowed and raced today. With King boat sales growing in the US (along with several shells damaged in route), Graeme made a decision to permanently set up shop in Vermont in 1983 He’s been living in Putney, VT. since the 1980’s and has seen his shells win numerous US National Championships in the collegiate and scholastic brackets since then. After a conversation in the late 1990’s with former Harvard coxswain, Jim Crick, Graeme was right back in the competitive big boat rowing scene with a new company called Elite Boatworks (they eventually changed their name to Quantum Racing). Quantum’s King design was a winner right from the first boat, and you can still see many of these shells rowed by elite US collegiate and scholastic rowing programs ten years after the first boat came off the production line. Unfortunately Quantum Racing was improperly funded and they closed their doors in 2004. At this time several engineers from Quantum Racing, including Dave Thomas and Ed Hofmeister, joined forces with a new company on the scene, WinTech Racing. They’ve been at WinTech ever since and have applied their knowledge and experience in building uni-directional carbon fiber boats to WinTech’s entire fleet, expanding to become the world’s largest manufacturer of rowing shells, now rowed by several national teams and hundreds of clubs around the world. In 2009, members of the WinTech Racing team met up with Graeme King at the Head of the Charles and asked him if he would like to re-introduce his design–this time with proper funding in place and a state-of-the-art facility capable of meeting the demands of the marketplace.
Graeme accepted this invitation and has since re-introduced the LW and MW hull designs seen on the first Quantum 8’s, along with new super-lightweight and heavyweight designs. All of these boats are branded with his namesake, “King”, an appropriate and fitting brand for the world’s finest racing shells.