The splash of waves hitting the bow as the boat cuts through the water. The whistling of masts in the harbour. Sails flapping in the wind. These are some of our most vivid childhood memories, as well as the sights and sounds that will stay with us from last weekend, and the weekend before.
We’ve savoured the joys of being on the water for as long as we can remember. The immediate sense of freedom induced by sailing is, for us, a mystical experience. We’ve had the good fortune to have sailed many waters around the world, and to have observed enough evidence of the boundlessness and immeasurability of nature, as well as its sublime beauty, its humbling power, its grace, and its fragility.
“Every weekend my family went boating. It was like camping on the water. Then the boats got bigger, and the journeys became greater. Family life on a boat, the experiences and the stories that it provides, that for me is ultimately what yachting is about. There is simply nothing else like it out there.”
Bart Bouwhuis has been playing with and repairing boats for as long as he can remember. Growing up among them, both large and small, his passion for yacht design blossomed from an early age. “As a child, I filled whatever blank pages I could get my hands on with sketches of boats. I’ve always thought that drawing boats was seriously cool. From there it was only natural that I went on to study naval architecture.”
He joined Vripack in 1994 while qualifying as a naval architect and climbed the ranks from intern to partner in 4 short years. For Bart, a self-confessed pragmatist, the core of yacht design is about function and simplicity. Over the course of his 25 years at Vripack, he has used his technical vision and engineering know-how to help carve a niche for the studio within the competitive field of yacht design.
“It’s never just about one boat. We’ve been able to craft this team, build this brand, and provide unique services to a huge variety of clients the world over. I feel very fortunate to have been able to do that.”
A technically gifted draftsman, Bart’s strengths lie in his collaborative approach to realizing an owner’s vision. To embrace the challenge of a client brief collectively, and to know exactly when to add his own personal contribution to give the design the finishing touches it requires.
“The Vripack company and internal structure is defined by our holistic way of working. We share the workload and the credit. Bart and I introduced that ten years ago, and I truly believe it’s why we’re thriving today. It’s definitely something I’m very proud of.”
Growing up around his family-owned shipyard, Marnix Hoekstra has always been at one with boats. An early participator in sailing regattas, his competitive edge was honed on the water, laying the foundations for a career in yacht design. “I’ve been sailing as a family since I can remember. Boating is in my blood, and being at sea and using boats has always been my passion.”
A qualified naval architect, Marnix’s yachting vocation first began as an international surveyor, including a stint rule writing for ISO. Here he sharpened his technical knowledge and his ability to approach yacht design from both a mechanical and creative point of view.
“I can be inventive with design and I know that it will work within the rules. It helps to understand the process, how to judge something – and what I use every single day is my meticulous eye for detail.”
Marnix joined Vripack in 2004. Bringing artistic flair and vision to the company, his holistic methods are underpinned by a 360-degree viewpoint and understanding that design has no boundaries. Ideas come first, solutions second. This has come to the fore with Vripack’s growing recognition for yacht interiors, which are organic, fluid, and have a welcoming appeal.
“My design was noisy in my youth. Today, my style is softer, clearer, and more refined with plenty of harmonious expressions. The interiors we are making now truly deliver something special for our owners. And I love that it’s always teamwork.”
Designing a yacht is not a one-man job. At Vripack, we believe in working together to produce the best possible designs, underpinned by the smartest naval architecture and engineering, to breathe life into our owners’ dreams of sailing the world and feeling at home at sea.