2022 June 1

Bob Perry designs a custom 53-foot motorsailer with a Pacific Northwest aesthetic

My client writes: “I’ve admired Bob Perry’s designs for years and in 2010 we were fortunate enough to have our own Valiant 42 built (sadly the last hull laid up). She has taken care of us for the last 12 years­—strong, yet sails well. More than a decade ago, I saw renderings and line drawings for the motorsailer Gypsy and bookmarked it in 

my mind as an ideal, next, ‘old man’s boat.’ With some trepidation, I contacted The Maestro to see if he would be willing to resurrect the design for a custom build. I was elated to hear he would take this on, as well as assemble a team of talented individuals—a dream team. It has been a dizzying but rewarding journey so far. While a builder has not yet been selected, I’m already envisioning having the privilege of joining a future Perry rendezvous.”

And that is how the adventure of producing a new custom design begins. A few things you need to keep in mind: This will not be the boat you want. This is the boat the client wants. I call my client “Captain Puget.”  That’s not his name but it will do for this review. The captain provided me with an extensive wish list of requirements. These requirements were not to be found on any production yacht offerings. It was up to me to produce a new design that would satisfy the wish list. As such there will be many features of this design that probably mystify you. I’ll endeavor to explain the reasoning behind these custom features.

This is a very complex design. It’s not my version of any existing boat. It was clear to me from the very start that this project was not one I could do on my own. I needed a team of designers to work with me. Each team member would bring their specific skills to the project. 

Given the complexity of the systems involved I first asked Neil Racicot of Borealis Boats in Anacortes to join the team. I had worked with Neil on the carbon cutters project where Neil was the lead man. Neil combines thousands of miles of offshore sailing with a very detailed knowledge of systems and the ability to produce beautiful 3-D  drawings of the systems. It also helps a lot that Neil has worked for some very prestigious builders before. 

Next I needed help with the 3D modeling of the hull and deck. I called Will Porter for this job. I have known and worked with Will since he was 15 years old. He went on from an internship with me to graduate from the Southampton University’s yacht design program No. 1 in his class. Will also has thousands of offshore miles to his credit in addition to holding the world record for boat speed in a Portland Pudgy dink. 



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