ALKMAAR – What’s it like to be a yacht designer these days? “For one thing,” says Hans-Maarten Bais, co-owner of Diana Yacht Design, “clients have become more critical. So, it’s imperative to be flexible. Distribute your workload across several yards. And don’t ignore modest orders!”

Sound advice from a man whose studio in the past 46 years conjured up 66 yachts spanning 2100 meters, built at 22 yards on 3 continents. It gives Bais bragging rights. “I’m upbeat about our studio,” he says. “We got a great portfolio and a large network.”

Diana Yacht Design excels in design, naval architecture, construction and engineering. It has worked on yachts to 100m. (328ft.). Today, it employs 15 in new digs in Alkmaar, north of Amsterdam, where 8 superyachts are ripening on the drawing boards.

The studio has 2 nominations in the 2018 World Superyacht Awards (May 19, Florence): the 38.3m Soprano and the 43.7m. Cyclone (right). The latter is a remarkable one-off. It has an owner-requested, fiberglass-covered wooden hull and keel and a composite superstructure. Diana Yacht Design was responsible for the naval architecture, engineering and construction. The semi-displacement Cyclone is a yacht with attitude that resembles a naval vessel, can do 20 knots and accommodates 8 guests in 4 suites.

In 2016, Bais’ studio won a ‘Best Rebuilt Award’ for its transformation of an ex-Soviet icebreaker into Legend (left), an expedition vessel. That refit included lengthening the yacht by 3.6m (12ft.) _ to 77m (253ft.) _ to allow for a new swim platform and a pool with a waterfall.

But it’s not all in-your-face, angular yachts that come off Diana Yacht Design’s boards. The studio has marketed very classic yachts with graceful canoe sterns and fan bows, like the 38.25m (125ft.) Soprano (below) and the 44m Pamela V that Hakvoort Shipyard launched in 2017 and 2011, respectively. “Their timeless designs  make them beautiful,” says Bais. “It’s the same with cars. Some brands become classics because of their timeless look. Others become dated.”

Bais stresses his designs are not just pretty boats. He remembers a design of his that Hakvoort built and that ran into foul weather at sea.

“It was hit by a giant wave, ended up listing 45 degrees but remained upright. We must always remember always that superyachts are sea-going vessels. They must be able to handle rough weather.”

Recently, Diana Yacht Design unveiled the 55m (180.4 ft.) Bluebird (left), a concept cruiser for growing families. The owner’s deck, between the bridge and main decks, has a full-beam master stateroom. Suites on the main and lower decks can be configured depending on the ages of the children or number of guests. It is a flexible arrangement that should appeal to the charter market.

Bluebird is designed for long voyages. It boasts much storage, a beach club and a cinema and can accommodate 14 crew. Diana Yacht Design is crafting a marketing campaign to the 55m (180.4 ft.)  concept yacht. “There is much interest in 50 to 60m (164 to 197ft.) yachts these days,” says Bais.