Ever wondered what a day in the life of a yacht designer looks like? Bill Prince tells how it is—and isn’t—a lot like yours.
What’s it like to be a yacht designer, day in and day out? Probably a lot like what it’s like to do what you do. A daily routine. Meetings, deadlines, phone calls, emails, finding time for lunch. Just like you. Picking up the Bugatti from the detail shop, making sure Signature Flight Support has my Gulfstream fueled up in time to be on board a superyacht for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit photo shoot this afternoon. Just kidding.
But some days are special. Some days, when it all comes together, it’s a story. June 9th was one of those days, and here’s the story.
0800: Video conference with one of the biggest European shipyards. The female naval architect I work with most closely there was wearing a Super Mario t-shirt while we discussed the details of a 252-foot design to be unveiled at the Monaco Yacht Show about the time you read this. Superyachts are big business, and the brains behind the boats tend to be powering some fun people.
0900: Today, I’m volunteering my Tiara to be the committee boat for a large sailboat race on Lake Michigan. I check the progress of the incoming fleet via AIS from my desk. The winds are sporty, 20 knots from the west-northwest, and the fastest boats are bearing down. This compresses the day’s schedule because we’re going to have to be on station several hours earlier than anticipated. Read: I’m going to have to play hooky on a beautiful day sooner than I had planned.
1030: Video conference with a Pacific Coast shipyard. We’re working on one of the largest superyachts under construction in North America, so the excitement builds as a launch date is scheduled for later in the year. During a lull in the agenda someone cracks a joke about a grasshopper walking into a bar and the bartender says, “There’s a drink named after you,” and the grasshopper says, “Really, there’s a drink named Stan?”
1130: Video conference with another North American shipyard regarding another large yacht under construction. This one is just getting started and will take a year to tick off all the boxes on our engineering to-do list. I assign two naval architects to the first tasks and we’re off and running. No grasshopper jokes this time.
1245: A friend and client pops in unannounced for a big smile, a pat on the back and a request for a new, custom sportfishing boat. Can do!
1329: This is a good day already.
1330: Off to my boat, a 3-minute walk from the main design office, to finalize details with my volunteer crew and make sure the beer and wine will be cold by the time we’re back at the dock tonight after the race. The sun is shining and the breeze is perfect.
1430: Fire up the engines and get the race committee on station. The weather is great save for a pop-up storm a few miles offshore, the breeze blowing around 12 knots now.
1500: Anchored at the finish line, snacks deployed and friendly race committee in place. That pop-up storm produces the most amazing full rainbow across the endless horizon, seemingly just for us, as we gaze in awe. A memory for the ages was captured as the sky cleared and the racing boats neared. Thank you, Gawd!
1750: I mentioned something about finding time for lunch, didn’t I? Oops! Fortunately, a friend wants to dinghy out to the committee boat and she’s willing to bring me a big sandwich. My own personal Uber Eats Zodiac arrives several minutes later, much appreciated.
2130: All the racers have finished and we’re tied stern-to, snug in our slip for the evening. I enjoy a celebratory adult beverage as the dock comes alive with happy boat people, good music, food and drink. Friends and crew mingle contentedly as the night comes to a close, the perfect amount of windburn on my cheeks. It was a “full and by” kind of day for the assembled fleet, and for yours truly.
2344: (Even after all that, I left out the best parts.)
2345: I lay my tired, happy head down in my comfy berth and close my eyes. Who needs a Bugatti, anyway?
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