With half his clients based in North America and increasing interest in new sail and power projects in the Pacific Northwest, yacht designer Ron Holland has opened an office in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Holland says he was also attracted to the area because of British Columbia’s magnificent cruising coastline (which he has explored aboard a client’s Holland-designed Trintella 65), and the area’s historic importance as a custom and semi-custom yacht-building center.
Holland plans to spend about half his time in Vancouver, where he’ll likely hire one or two staff, and half at his design studio in Kinsale, Ireland, which will remain the principal base for Ron Holland Design.
Fortunately, modern technology and the Internet means that it doesn’t really matter where Holland works. “It gives me the luxury of being able to choose where in the world I want to live,” Holland says from his new studio overlooking Vancouver’s bustling Coal Harbour Marina. “I was talking on Skype to the team in Ireland this morning,” he says. “Everyone was sitting around and I was looking at the drawings that they were looking at on the computer screen. It’s literally like you’re there. That’s the reality of it.”
Holland is perhaps best known for his mega-sailboats, including the 247-foot_ Mirabella V_, the world’s largest sloop, and the 190-foot Ethereal, which claims to be “the most technologically innovative superyacht ever built.”
Holland isn’t only about big boats. He got his start designing small boats, working with Gary Mull and Charlie Morgan before striking out on his own and designing the quarter-tonner Eygthene, which won the Quarter Ton Cup in 1973.
He also worked with Nautor’s Swan on several of its 36- to 44-foot designs. In 1994, he began a continuing relationship with Trintella Yachts (now part of Italian builder CCYD) and updated their line of cruising yachts.
More recently, he designed the high-quality and very successful English-built Discovery 55 and 67 series of cruising yachts. “Most of the boats they build immediately go off around the world,” Holland says. Currently, he has several 30 to 35-footers in small series production in Scandinavia and a 36-footer for a European builder. Holland says he typically designs one or two 30 to 40-footers per year, so despite his reputation for designing superyachts, he continues to produce striking, performance-oriented cruisers.
Ironically, not too far from Holland’s Vancouver office is a Holland 50 (formerly a Trintella 50) that the Italian builder was unable to complete. Its Seattle owner brought the half-finished aluminum sloop to Vancouver where it’s now in the final stages of completion by Platinum Marine (a company that is partnering with Holland on a 100-foot sloop and a 140-foot motor yacht series to be built locally). The fortunate Holland 50 owner must be pretty pleased that his dream yacht can be completed under the watchful eye of its designer.
With more and more cruising yachts coming to voyage up the coast to Alaska, it’s likely that many of Holland’s boats will be travelling right by his studio window