In Focus: Olivier van Meer Design – A ‘future classics’ designer, born and bred onboard

ENKHUIZEN, July 2017~ No label sticks to Olivier van Meer. The Dutch designer draws yachts large and small, classic and modern, sail and motor-powered, custom and series, traditional and edgy.

Unsurprisingly, for someone born on his parents’ sailing yacht. “My parents took me on voyages,” he says. “I was always drawing boats.” His mission in life: exploring “perfect lines for the classics of the future.”

Pride of place in Van Meer’s designs goes to the Puffin (upper photo), a classic yacht with upright deckhouse windows and slightly negative bow. Recently a Puffin-37 was launched for which Van Meer tweaked the design: new lines, lighter materials and a slightly bigger cockpit. “In the last 22 years, some 50 Puffins have been built,” says Van Meer. They remain popular and he is now tweaking the design of the Puffin range while retaining its classic looks.

infocus02Van Meer started his studio in 1985. An early design was the Goodvaer, a motor yacht with vertical windows curved around the wheelhouse. “People loved it or hated it,” he recalls but adds years later the design went mainstream in other yachts. “My heart is in classic ships but don’t just repeat what went before. I focus on a particular line and approach every boat with the newest techniques.”

This year, Van Meer’s 19.5m ketch Wolfhound won the Classic Boat Award in the +40ft category (lower photo.) He also does refits, engineering and naval architecture and comes up with modern designs such as the 49m Nassima, a long-range superyacht for 12 guests and a crew of 9.

The future? “The superyacht sector does well but the mid-segment is in decline. The Netherlands has much yacht building expertise. There remains a market for unusual projects That means a rosy future for my studio.”