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RON HOLLAND

Yacht Designer Naval Architicht Ron Holland portrait with CAD drawing of General Arrangement for superyacht in development

“I wake up sometimes and think ‘I can’t believe this is my life’. I love what I do. There is nothing better.”   Ron Holland

A TWIST OF FATE

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Ron Holland’s love for sailing began at an early age. Ron’s father, wanting the best for him, bought Ron a sailing dinghy for his 7th birthday. Ron recalls feeling upset because he really wanted a rowing dinghy, not a sailing dinghy. Ron was afraid the dinghy would tip over. Sure enough, on their first trip out on the water the boat capsized, and a local fisherman picked up a terrified Ron and brought him to shore.
“That little ‘P’ class dinghy was the same kind that all the Olympians and world-class New Zealand yachtsmen of that generation started out on. It was a famous little boat!”
His father must have had some foresight because only a year later Ron and his family moved to the east coast and Ron developed an almost feverish passion for sailing. Ron became submerged in the local sailing community.

A RACE TO SKETCH

By the age of 13, Ron was a well-known crew member of several successful race yachts. At 15 years of age, he had the opportunity to join the crew of the 36 foot ketch Aloha on which he sailed from Auckland to Sydney, a journey of over 1,000 miles across the unpredictable Tasman Sea.

His sailing experiences led to an apprenticeship with boat builder Keith Atkinson that included classes at Auckland Technical Institute. While there, two teachers, Peter Peal and Allan Wright recognized a budding designer in his drawing abilities. With their support and encouragement, Ron’s focus shifted from boat building to boat designing.

Ron was 19 when he received his first yacht design commission to design a 26 foot yacht for a fellow boat building apprentice. The success of this first yacht, “White Rabbit” led to additional commissions in Auckland.

In 1968 at age 21, Ron was invited to go to San Francisco where he soon found employment as a Design Draftsman with celebrated American yacht designer, Gary Mull. Through Mull he was introduced to some of the top sailors in California and began crewing with some of the most competitive international sailors of that time.

“In those days racing was my obsession. I always had the next regatta in mind.”

Racing became second nature to Ron. He used his experience to design and build his own Quarter Tonner – “Eygthene”. After winning the USA Quarter-Ton Regatta in St. Petersburg, Florida with “Eygthene”, this success created the opportunity to enter the World Championship Quarter-Ton Cup in England in 1973 which “Eygthene” won. As word of his design skills reached the sailing world, an Irish yachtsmen looking for a winning race boat sought out Ron Holland to design “Golden Apple”. This led Ron to open Ron Holland Design studio in County Cork, Ireland in 1974.

Ron Holland of Ron Holland Design at the launch of sailing yacht "Golden Shamrock" lead photo for news article
1974 Launching "Golden Shamrock"

TODAY AND BEYOND

Ron’s innovative racing designs have repeatedly shaken up the world of yacht racing. Ron Holland Design became one of the world’s leading yacht designers and creator of a new generation of custom 100ft (30 metre) plus performance superyachts in the early 1980’s.

A good working relationship developed between Ron Holland and Perini Navi during the design and construction of the 64 metre (210 ft) Ketch ‘Felicita West’, at the time the largest aluminum yacht to be built. This yacht’s construction program  commenced in 1998 with the yacht launching early 2003 in Viareggio, Italy. Giancarlo Ragnetti, Managing Perini Navi was instrumental in building a series of 56 metre yachts with ten of these design collaborations launched. This led to an ongoing Ron Holland Design – Perini Navi Design collaboration, delivering a total of 23 yachts to date with a 60 metre ketch presently building at the Viareggio shipyard.

In 2018 Ron Holland published a second book, his memoir “All The Oceans”.  Promoting the book, Ron gave over 50 presentations around the world including Vancouver BC, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. During the Monaco Yacht Show Ron held a book launch reception aboard Perseus^3 a Ron Holland – Perini Navi 60 metre sloop. Next stop was USA including events in Chicago and on both coasts. Followed by presentations in England and Ireland where it all started. This was an opportunity to reconnect and share stories with lifetime friends and crewmates who contribute the story.

The latest Ron Holland Design presently in development is a 42 metre Schooner for long time sailing yacht clients. Combining classic design rig elements with state of the art yacht design and construction features. A yacht for all seasons.

To Ron, that’s the joy of it. To take what starts as a sketch on a clean sheet of paper, and turn it into a luxurious, high performance work of nautical art. With each new design Ron’s commitment pays off at that exquisite moment when his latest design hits the water for the very first time.

Ron has created some of the fastest, most luxurious, award winning sailing yachts afloat – his studio is also responsible for several significant ocean voyaging motor yachts, combining modern technologies, and just the right touch of tradition.

An important example of Ron Holland Design Motor Yachts is the 45 metre Dorothea III. With extensive ocean passages across both Pacific and Atlantic Oceans to her credit, this design has proven to be safe, comfortable and highly efficient during these long distance voyages. In 2020 MY “Dorothea III” was nominated by Boat International Media for the “Voyager’s Award”.

In 2020, Ron celebrated over 45 years of innovation  with  Ron Holland Design. The industry has changed immensely over the past four and a half decades. As a designer Ron strives to stay ahead of the curve. He is always looking for the latest innovations to improve his clients yachting experience and life on the water.