News

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 SoT Regatta Debate Goes Global

What makes for a proper Spirit of Tradition regatta is now officially a global debate. In case you missed it, we have begun laying out arguments on how to reform SoT regattas ahead of the Camden Classics Cup, which we sponsor, that is coming later this summer. In several stories, we’ve outlined reforms for class rules, rethinking ways organizers should handle divisions amongst classic, vintage and SoT yachts. Protecting the passions of the many owners we know who feel gypped by the structure of SoT and classic racing events is important. What we did not know was that some of […]

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 […]

What’s Drew Got To Say About It.

Drew Lyman is not entirely sure: Did he spend more of his childhood in a house or a boat yard? His dad, Cabot Lyman, was part of the wave of young turk boatbuilders who came to Maine yards in the late 1970’s and 80’s to bring struggling local marine businesses into the 20th century. In 1978, the elder Lyman founded Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding, making it the family business that his son Drew now oversees. After a lifetime working his way around the marine construction firm, over the past few years Drew he has taken over direct day-to-day control. Drew is now […]

Marine Engineering 104: What keeps what’s inside my boat, inside my boat?

What is it with interiors? Those inner, untalked-about bits of boats that never seem to see the light of nautical-chat day. Does anybody, anywhere brag about the size of their cabin sole? Or compare the space-age materials in their staterooms or galleys? Has anybody ever said “High-performance head” on any boat in any century, ever? We doubt it.  “Interior denial” is a sort of sad fact of boat-design life. That’s too bad because what’s going on inside your boat is a driving factor for what’s going on outside your boat: How long she is; how beamy; how big the sails […]

“De Nederlandse Yacht Factor:” Early Thoughts on How the Dutch Rule the Marine Design Seas.

When it comes to dealing with fluid molecules of hydrogen and oxygen, the Dutch have water down cold. The small low-lying nation-state that is The Netherlands leads the world in many marine-oriented categories. It is the global master of large-scale flood management and wetlands maintenance projects, like the Zuiderzee or Delta Works. The Dutch crush it in water-generated power and industrial energy applications. And closer to our floating world, the Dutch yacht design and engineering economy is filled with storied operations like Royal Huisman, Dykstra Design and Hoek Design. Studying these great outfits work is one of the humbling parts […]

The Spirit of Tradition “Guest Cottage:” The Most Exclusive Marine Environments on Earth — But at a Fraction of the Cost.

It’s been a bit spooky out here on the sidelines of the Tiny Floating House wave. We love the charm of smaller homes that float. But it’s scary how seemingly unaware smaller floating home makers are of the nautical engineering realities of self-contained little, floating human worlds.   On many levels, “Floating Homes” are different than yachts. They do not need to be easily driven through the water. They do not carry sails. Most don’t have motors. And often, floating homes have more consistent and lower-cost access to shoreside infrastructure. But these miss the point — and risks — of […]