Pioneer FRP Builder Columbia Yachts Reborn in California | Cruising World

Pioneer FRP Builder Columbia Yachts Reborn in California

Columbia Yacht Corporation in early October announced the return of Columbia Yachts, one of the more successful sailboat lines of the 20th century. Columbia Yachts will introduce their first model next year--a 30-foot sport sailer designed for performance-minded enthusiasts who also desire ease of use and comfort at a highly competitive price.

"Columbia Yachts became popular in the early 1960s, because they produced well-designed, well-built vessels that met the needs of the sailor," said Vince Valdes, president of Columbia Yachts and son of Richard "Dick" Valdes, creator of the original Columbia Yachts. "This is precisely our goal in reintroducing Columbia Yachts. We’ve taken a careful look at what’s offered in the market today and feel there’s a large group of sailors whose needs just aren’t satisfied by what is out there--at any price. We’re developing a company--headlined by the introduction of our new 30-foot sport sailer--that recognizes these needs."

Columbia’s 30-foot sport sailer is designed by Morrelli & Melvin Design and Engineering Inc. Morrelli & Melvin D&E; Inc. drew the lines of Steve Fossett’s maxi catamaran PlayStation among other notable sailboats. "When we were approached by Columbia Yachts to design their new 30-footer, we were quite pleased with the prospect of adding to the Columbia heritage," said Gino Morrelli.

"Morrelli & Melvin D&E; is primarily a multihull design shop, but Vince Valdes explained that he was looking for an innovative design team. We both agreed that innovation in sailing often comes from the multihull world. Columbia Yachts was the premier builder of sailboats in the ‘60s and ‘70s and an innovator in the industry; in fact, my parents and I learned how to sail in a Columbia 24. We are happy to be a part of Columbia’s rebirth," said Morrelli.

Vince Valdes’s father was responsible for building the original Columbia Yachts into an industry powerhouse that put more than 30,000 boats into the water and operated production facilities throughout the world. His upbringing in a boatbuilding family has helped Valdes to develop his own boatbuilding and business management knowledge at an early age. Valdes works, designs, and speaks from personal experience, and regularly serves as a skipper or crewmember on a variety of cruising and racing sailboats. Recently, Valdes sailed aboard the racing yacht Bull in the 2001 Trans Pacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu, winning first in class and first overall.

For more information about the new company, the 30-foot sport sailer, the executive team ,and plans for the future, visit the company’s website at www.columbiayachts.com, e-mail: vvaldes@columbiayachts.com.

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