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Book about superyacht design legend Jon Bannenberg is launched in London

Last night Dickie Bannenberg launched his biographical coffee table tome about his father, yacht designer Jon Bannenberg, with a party at The Royal College of Art in London.

The book Jon Bannenberg is a personal and revealing collection of archive photography, recollections, quotes and drawings by the legendary yacht designer. The absorbing images of the great man run the gamut from shipyard scaffolding to Vogue photoshoots and family snaps. The combination vividly evokes a character that Dickie Bannenberg describes in the book as ‘incandescent and irrepressible’.

The launch was attended by the great and good of superyacht design, many of whom had studied under Bannenberg, before themselves rising to become the next generation of stars. Those present included Andrew Winch, Terence Disdale, Martin Francis and Tim Heywood – among many others. Also in attendance were representatives from yards, including Dick van Lent and Ronno Schouten from Feadship, with whom Bannenberg created some of his most famous boats.

Since Bannenberg’s untimely death in 2002, his studio has evolved under the care of his son and fellow designer Dickie, becoming Bannenberg & Rowell when Simon Rowell joined as creative director. Continuing the legacy, they are currently working on a yacht that at 168 metres, will be longer than Bannenberg senior’s famous Carinthia and Nabila “welded together”, as Dickie put it.

Dickie Bannenberg spoke with affection and humour about his father, describing him as a man who could and would design anything, from a boat to a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. “He even redesigned my school shorts because he didn’t like the cut of them,” he said. Dickie related a few of the wealth of anecdotes about his father, including the series of faxes he sent to Robert Maxwell spelling out, in foot-high letters, ‘PUBLISHER PLEASE PAY MY BILL’. The pivotal role that Bannenberg senior played in the lives of so many present was acknowledged, both as the man who fused previously separate disciplines to create the job description “yacht designer” and as a mentor to so many. As Dickie put it, “all roads lead back to Jon”.

The book, published by Julian Calder, costs £100 and is available through Bannenberg & Rowell from the afternoon of 30 March.

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