Yacht designer Ron Holland
by Grace Trofa
The increase in the motor yacht market is one of the most dramatic trends of the last 10 years.
‘I think it has to do with the spread of wealth,’ says Holland. ‘It has enabled people who traditionally would not consider owning a yacht, who haven’t a background in boating like most sail yacht owners but have made a lot of money, to enter the market as a passion or pastime. The automatic response is to get a powerboat. It is simpler and more logical.’
However, although up to 400 boats of over 30m are being built at the moment around the world, only a small percentage of the people who can afford a private yacht have actually bought one, which leads him to believe that superyachts will continue to be an important growth industry: ‘I don’t think we are anywhere near the limit.’
Holland believes it is right, while bearing safety in mind, to fulfil his clients’ dreams and goals.
‘I had to face this when we did Mirabella V. Previously we had the tallest mast on Felicitá West, a Perini 210 ketch. We thought, ah, it’s the master of the world. Then Joe Vittoria came along for Mirabella V and said he wanted a sloop,’ Holland explains.
‘Mirabella’s mast is easily 30m higher than anything around. I did say to myself, can we do this, is it reasonable? From an engineering point of view, yes, we certainly can, and if that is what the client is asking for, we can fulfil it.
‘People need to remember that with projects like _Mirabella V _and the 120m motor yachts being built, a great thing is happening and that is the distribution of wealth. This is a hell of a good way for wealthy people to feed money back to a wide variety of craftsmen. Building a complex yacht touches more aspects of engineering and services than any other single industry.’
Probing further into the subject of Mirabella V, how was the experience?
‘It really was a once-in-a-lifetime project. Every time I walked into the shed when they were building it, it was breathtaking to see how big and magnificent the thing was. I can’t say it was something I dreamed about because when we were doing Whirlwind and Avalon we could never imagine 76m sailboats. It was just that a courageous client gave us the opportunity to put our experience and knowledge into fulfilling his dream and it was a wonderful chance to be involved.’