Long before he designed two winning America's Cup yachts or a thoroughbred for the king of Spain, and long before his designs racked up dozens of top finishes under the I.M.S., I.R.C., and I.O.R. rules, Rolf Vrolijk would pal around the waterfronts of northern Europe with Michael Schmidt. It's been more than 30 years since the designer and the boatbuilder first collaborated on an Admiral's Cup yacht that quickly became a local legend and spurred the careers of both men.
In 1993, Schmidt took over a centuries-old boatyard in Greifswald, on the Baltic coast of the former East Germany. This was just three years after German reunification; since then, the shop that Schmidt acquired has grown to become that country's second-largest boatbuilder. And since 1999, the designer and the builder have themselves been reunited in the creation and the development of Hanse Yachts.