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Yacht designer Ron Holland

Beauty is paramount in Holland’s designs, even though he is focused on fulfilling the client’s dream.

‘I don’t want to sacrifice the aesthetic solution around what the client is trying to do,’ he says. ‘I put that ahead of everything else. When the boat is launched or anchored in a bay and you look back from the beach, it has to look great.’

Today, ecological issues and spiralling costs enter any discussion with a yacht designer about the future of the industry.

‘I mean, $100 a barrel for oil must be an influence, even if it is not apparent at the moment. Certainly there is awareness, ecological or even just efficiency awareness, among designers, builders and equipment manufacturers. For the first time we are seriously looking at how to be more efficient in the use of materials.’

The company has designed a 45.72m motor yacht, Marco Polo, a single screw explorer that has a fuel efficient advance of 34 litres an hour, a huge advantage over conventional twin screw motor yachts. Even commercial ships are using one large diameter propeller rather than multiple propellers because the efficiency gain is huge.

Ron Holland Design is focusing on designing motor yachts with hull shapes that are very low resistant and sea-kindly

‘Still, we have seen a lot of resistance to the concept because of the psychological thing of one engine versus two, despite the fact that we can offer almost a 30 per cent reduction in fuel – a big cost saving over an ocean-going yacht’s lifespan. Clients feel that having two of everything is safer.’
Ron Holland Design is focusing on designing motor yachts with hull shapes that are very low resistant and sea-kindly, have a nice motion in rough water, and are designed with the same sophistication as racing boats.

‘I don’t see any pioneering stuff going on – I think there is a refinement of the things we have already done. I really don’t have any desire to do something really wild.’

He is, however, working on a project for a super-trimaran, close to 91m, with a very low resistant hull form, for fuel efficiency, and a ‘gigantic’ living space.

Holland has enough motivation to keep designing yachts for years to come. ‘I think my motivation goes back to when I was a kid, about eight or 10 years old,’ says Holland. ‘I had my little sailing dinghy and I imagined that I was Captain Cook exploring New Zealand. The motivation was the exploration, the sailing across the ocean with a wind-driven ship, and it is amazing how that is still as solid today. My whole life has been about sailing, from a little kid to now, that’s me. Sailboats are something I will do until the day I die, hopefully.’

Originally published: Boat International Jubilee Special 2008.

Ron Holland Design

Andrew Bradley

Neil Rabinowitz

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