Rolling in the Design Luxury of Rolls-Royce.

Who knows how we get invited to shindigs this big and fancy: But … we’re delighted to be among the select few luxury companies to be profiled in Strive for Perfection, a commemorative book celebrating the Rolls-Royce Owners Club’s Annual Meet. That’s right, that Rolls-Royce: The essentially semi-custom luxury automotive brand that has defined the high-end in rolling personal transport since 1906. The owner’s club invited us out to their annual confab for Rolls owners. This year, they are meeting in French Lick, Indiana. We will be among a select group of owners of those iconic Rolls-Royce and Bentley vehicles. […]

Starting Up the Debate on Motor Yachts.

Sailboats are fighting off a hard leeward marketing shore, these days. In any given year, something like ten motor-powered craft are sold for every one sailboat. Powerboats have become such a powerful marketplace force in the boating industry, that many of the world’s best boatbuilders no longer bother with sailboats. The Hinckley Company, which essentially pioneered the high-end production sailing yacht with classics like the Pilot 35 and Bermuda 40, still advertises its lovely Bermuda 50. But that doesn’t mean there’s one ready for a customer to buy. Read the fine print: This boat is a custom-built boat, just like […]

Paul Waring on “Alternative Boating Facts”

I’m an engineer. I live to reduce things down to basics. I love to break complex components into smaller pieces that make them easier to explain. Last week, we compared the price of different boats by measuring the cost of each pound of those boats. What did that simple price-to-displacement tool teach us? That comparing the price of boats is almost never apples-to-apples. The Bad News On Shopping for Luxury Goods. Comparing custom-made high-end products is tricky. The quality of the build and the cost of the labor are factors. Timeline and schedule also play a role. if you’re looking […]

What’s so flippin’ cool about expedition yachts?

It’s so true, we have to say it again: What’s so flipping cool about expedition yachts? Sturdy, serious-looking and able, it seems like everybody loves a yacht that feels like it can circle the globe not once, but time after time. We sure do. And we’re not shy about just waiting for the right person to come through the door and ask us to make one. Here’s why: That Hard Body, Expedition Look. What speaks to us about expedition yachts most, is their ability to take on whatever duties the captain asks them to do.  They’re not dazzle and speed, […]

A Camden Classic Cup Profile: The Dolphin 24.

If your plan is to roll up to the bar and lay down a Dolphin 24 story, yours better be up to the competition: This Sparkman & Stevens 24-foot racer-cruiser, built for George O’Day back in the heyday of the 1960’s Midget Ocean Racing Club circuit, is long-considered a classic yacht. Yes, the design dates from 1958, and these boats are rated in the Classic Class under Camden Classic Cup notice of race. They were also among the first mass-produced boats to be built of modern materials. In this case, fiberglass. The design spawned a species of something like 300 easy-to-sail, yet fast […]

What Ben and Steve Have To Say About Boatbuilding.

Steve Van Dam really did get his wife Jean, to “volunteer” to help him build his first boat shop. It was in 1977 and the young couple was living in a single-wide mobile home on a small woodlot outside of Harbor Springs, Michigan. “I wanted to build boats,” is how Van Dam likes to describe his approach to business. And today, almost 40 years later Steve, and now his son Ben, are still building some of the finest all-custom, handcrafted vessels on Earth. We sat down with Ben and Steve for a talk about their philosophy on boat building; how […]

Marine Engineering 105: Why My Boat Costs What It Costs?

Pricing dreams is the no-win gig in yacht design. No matter how hard we try, we never seem to be able to get away from the hard fact that the magic of enjoying a boat only displaces a fraction more than the frustration that comes with pricing that boat. It’s not rocket science as to why new boats are hard to cost out: The only thing posing more variables when building a yacht, is the owner’s evolving expectations in creating that yacht. Assisting clients in pricing their priorities is tricky. We have evolved two methods to get at an early approximation for […]

The 3D Boat Designer In Your Pocket.

Designing boats is about to go mobile. One of our most interesting side gigs is collaborating with the next generation of younger yacht designers. Two of our most promising Web student collaborators are Cassio Neres, a teaching assistant up at The Landings School in Southern Maine. And a naval surveyor named Matthew Knoll who has a terrific idea for a 30-foot swamp racer/chill boat he’s self-designing down in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie.   While both are working on their designs that we will be sharing in full detail when they are ready, we got an excellent question from […]