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Welcome to Robert H. Perry Yacht Designers Inc.

Welcome to my new website designed and built by my old Friend Tom Larsen. Tom knows my work as well as I do and sometimes I think he knows it better. Tom has an eye for design and is a very good photographer. So in the capable hands of Tom and his gentle prodding of me I think we are on the edge of having a very good new website to showcase my work.

Of course I want to design your next boat whether it be a custom project or a new production series. I bring 47 years of professional yacht design experience to the project and a total of 54 years of involvement in yacht design. In addition I have over 50 years of fairly intense sailing experience. But I still don’t know everything about yachts so I rely on my version of the “Baker Street Irregulars”, i.e. my crony network to provide specialized support and assistance in the many areas that must be addressed in any new design project. Together we can provide you with a boat that will make you smile. My focus is to produce designs that combine art and science so that your boat will be an aesthetic standout in any harbor or fleet.

Have fun looking over the examples of my work. I have had fun producing the designs. I think the range of my work is as great as any other designer and far more broad than most design offices. I just plain like boats, all types. If you don’t see what you like here, don’t fret. I have a head full of new design ideas just busting to come out.

Call or email me if you would like to discuss a new project.

Currently in Design - Quail

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My friend Keith has a lovely boat now. It’s a Hinckley 42, QUILL. Keith loves his boat. But Keith was getting the urge to do a custom boat. Not because he needed a new boat but because he wanted the experience of doing a boat that would reflect a unique image of his approach to life on the water. To me that’s what custom designs are all about. There are lots of nice new and used boats out there that will do the job just fine. But, a custom boat can be wrapped around the personality and experiences of the client to project a unique and very personal image. The owner may have a picture in his head of exactly how he sees himself under sail. It’s my job to bring that mental image to life. I am pretty confident that I am very good at that job.

First off the new Quail had some pragmatic considerations that were not options. There was a nearby bridge that limited our “air draft”. There was Chesapeake Bay with its shallow water that limited our draft. With rig height limited by the bridge boat size also was limited. I could not simply put a big boat under a small rig. I chose an LOA of 46.2’ with a DWL of 39.72’ and that’s substantially more waterline than Keith has on his Present QUILL. Beam was kept on the low side at 12.6’ and displacement is moderate at a bit over 25,000 lbs.. Read more.
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Currently in Build - Catari at Pacific Seacraft

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Paul called me just about the same time that Kim called me. Their ideas for their own custom boats could not have been more different. But I like different and I jumped on both projects with equal enthusiasm. We started Paul’s boat around 49’ LOA but it had growing pains as we began to explore options. In short time, kind of, we were up to 62’. Our simple little, light air, Chesapeake Bay cruiser had grown to a complex offshore ketch with the emphasis on comfort and easy of handling.

I have lost count of all the hulls I drew before landing on the final hull shape. I knew that short overhangs would give us the best boat speed but Paul’s wife had her own ideas of aesthetics and she wanted to see some overhangs. No problem. We began running VPP tests to evaluate draft options due to the shoal draft attraction with the boat living much of the time on the Chesapeake. We finally decided on 7’ draft with a long, moderate aspect ratio fin keel. I wanted a stiff boat with a good LPS so I put the lead all along the very bottom of the fin ending in a trim beaver tail.

The overall look I was after was of a boat from around 1958 maybe to 1962, something sort of Phil Rhodes-ish in general contours. I have always been a huge Phil Rhodes fan and the traditional styling conventions of the Pacific Northwest were not appropriate for this East Coast yacht. I wanted very much to avoid those Bill Garden styling clichés. I like to flatter myself by thinking that my designs have my own stamp. I’d like to think that you can pick out a Bob Perry boat from the fleet even though I have tried to develop a wide range of styling approaches. My goal is to wrap the new, custom boat around the owner’s own image of how he sees his life on the water. It might be an Italian wool suit for one client and an all L.L. Bean wardrobe for another. Read more.
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Recently Completed - Francis Lee

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I have known Kim for over 20 years. In that time we have discussed our mutual interest in the history of yacht design and various boats that appealed to both of us. Kim has an amazing library of things yachting with an emphasis on design. Kim also has a history of owning skinny boats. He just prefers narrow boats and can trace this preference back to cruising with his parents on their Dragon Class sloop.

So I wasn’t totally surprised when Kim finally called and suggested we get together to discuss a new boat. During that initial meeting we discussed our mutual love of double enders and our preference for narrow boats. For me narrow is a performance issue. Narrow boats sail well and are generally very well behaved. We like double enders because we just like the look. It’s an aesthetic element that clearly defines the boat. After about an hour I began to sketch and in short time Kim and I were in agreement on how to proceed. The boat evolved way beyond that initial sketch but the seed was planted and the formal part of the design process was initiated.

Drawings were emailed back and forth and soon we were honed in on a type with minimal overhangs, deep draft, narrow beam and a very modest interior layout. The boat was to be by design an “old man’s day sailer”. After some severe arm twisting I convinced Kim that the boat needed a comfortable interior if for nothing else than to satisfy his wife and his two sailing sons, Derek and Brent. The deck layout was to be fine tuned for one man’s operation of all sailing functions.

Kim and I put together a team of experts to contribute to the various elements required to bring the design to life. These included Ivan Erdevicki, my engineer who designed the keel, Tim Nolan from Port Townsend who did all the structural engineering. Jim Franken, Tim’s associate was hired to do all the 3D modeling to allow close tolerance CNC pattern cutting. This is the short list. I won’t even try to list al the contributors to the effort here but rest assured Kim tapped into the wealth of knowledge and experience in the PNW to bring this boat to life. Fact is I had a lot of skilled help in the design process.

FRANCIS LEE aka The Sliver Project was built at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Hadlock Washington and finished at the CSR yard in Ballard. The hull is red cedar strip planking sheathed in glass. The deck is composite out of a female mold made from CNC cut patterns. The interior is also all CNC cut composite panels and masterfully designed to be all assembled outside of the hull and dropped intact into the finished hull. I thank Jim Franken for his work on this part of the project. Jim always amazed us with his cavalier attitude that “It has to fit. It’s all from the same computer file.”

FRANCIS LEE has now been sailing for about three months. The boat’s performance has delighted us from the very first day under sail. The boat is stiff, has great directional stability, perfect docile manners and above all is very fast. So fast in fact, that Kim after winning the first race he entered has seldom missed a race since. The “old man’s daysailer” has turned into Kim’s race boat for now. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself racing the boat. We push the boat hard with a crew of five or six and that’s all we need to beat boats crewed by a dozen or more. Excuse me if I sound smug but it’s because I fell a bit smug about the performance of FRANCIS LEE. The boat is just plain very fast. The feel on the tiller is delicious. We regularly fight over who gets to, drive. I usually win.

Yes, this is an unusual design. No it’s not the boat for everyone. I only wish more people could sail “FRANKIE” to get a feel for the personality of a long, skinny boat. The boat simply has no bad manners.

I struggle when asked what is my favorite design. I don’t struggle anymore. For now my favorite is FRANKIE. It is both an aesthetic and a performance statement of excellence. I am most proud of this design.
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The Taiwan Connection

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Despite the fact that it is now about 20 years since I have actively worked in Taiwan my time there starting in about 1977 remains a very important part of my life. I connected to Taiwan. I was half way across a very busy intersection one Sunday afternoon when it flashed on me, “I am happy here.” I enjoyed the country, the people and of course the food. I maintain a huge collection of Taiwanese Facebook friends. I do my best to try to keep up on what is going on over there.

My Chinese name is Pang Roa Bor although I’ll answer to Da Beedse ( big nose). Read More.

Robert Perry Used Boat Consultation Service

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Bob offers his unbiased curmudgeonly service to clients who need a second or unvarnished opinion about the boat they are considering in the used market. Your webmaster mailed off a check to Seattle for just this purpose more than ten years ago. As it happened, we had common interests beyond boats and became very good friends. But, as far as Bob's advice, about which boats would suit my purpose, he was concise and not all hesitant to recommend boats by other designers. Bob will cut through the broker babble and marketing drivel and tell you, that there is no substitute for draft, but he knows that if you sail the Chesapeake Bay, a 7' draft will get you to the nearest sandbar and ultimate upwind performance will have to take a back seat to getting into your chosen anchorage.

Bob's advice is available for $500. That gives you one year's e-mail support with a couple of phone conversations thrown in. Bob will also provide pdf copies of relevant articles, he has written on various technical aspects of boats and performance. The better you can articulate your needs and practical constraints, the more value you will get out of the service. Bob is very, very good at sharpening your focus, but it is a two way street, if you are all over the map and completely unrealistic with respect to what the boat of your dreams will cost, Bob will show his curmudgeonly side until you come to your senses.

If you think the consulting fee is too much, then consider Bob's book: Yacht Design According to Perry as a low cost alternative. It provides a solid primer on many aspects of boat design and will also help you ask better questions, if you do engage as a consulting client.

For the truly frugal there is Cruising Anarchy, where Bob is a frequent poster. Be warned, the language is salty and the restaurant slogan "Tacky, yet delightfully unrefined" describes it well. However, when the conversation stays on track, an awful lot of useful information is available and a couple of collaborative design efforts with Bob as guiding light have taken place on the forum.

Since 1976 Bob has written the monthly design review column in Sailing Magazine where he reviews four boats in each issue. Chances are that the boat you are looking at is in the archive. You can find it here. Bob also writes technical articles for Good Old Boat.

Classic Perry Designs - Production Boats

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If you own one of my production designs, thanks very much for buying one of my designs. Few things make me happier than seeing people out enjoying sailing in one of my boats. It always gently reminds me that I didn’t “turn out just like Uncle Mick” my Mom’s twin brother and my favorite Uncle.
I have two suggestions for you: you may be interested in consultation so we can discuss your boat in detail and I can pass along what I have learned about your particular model. ( see the consultation section of the web site) You may also be interested in having a set of plans for your boat for reference. These can come in very handy. See the section of Drawings and Plans.

If you have random questions about your boat do not hesitate to call me. I’m kind of gruff and taciturn in person but having grown up in Australia I was taught that coming straight to the point is a good character trait. But here in the US I can often come off as “rude”. Don’t worry, I’m not rude all the time. I’d like to hear from you. My office is in my home so you can almost always reach me. If you email me and do not hear back within 24 hours I probably did not receive the email. I make a point of answering emails asap. If you bombard me with a long list of questions I will probably refer you to consultation. If you have one or two questions I’ll help any way I can. It’s sad to say this but in many cases I’m the last one left alive in some of these projects. I think it’s very important to keep the history and information surrounding these production boats alive and accessible.
I’m also interested in gathering all the digital photos that I can of my various designs. If you have any great photos of your boat please send them along to me so I can add them to my archives. You never know, your boat may show up on my web site one day.

If you live n the Pacific Northwest I have a mooring buoy right in front of my beach shack and you are very welcome to use it any time. I love to see my boats sitting peacefully I front of my shack. Just give me a heads up that you are coming. My GPS coordinates are:

N 48.06.021
W 122.20.734

If you can’t stop and spend the night just wave as you sail by. My shack is the only one on the beach with a red metal roof and solar panels on the south side.
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Classic Perry Custom Designs

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Bob will usually try to deflect the question about which one of his designs he considers his favorite, but, if you press him hard you can be sure Night Runner will be one of the first he mentions. There are quite a few Perry custom designs that will stand out in any harbor, and there are even a few power boats. Above you have Night Runner, to the right Woodson, the launch for Little Palm Island, and below Wild Horses, a frequent visitor at the Perry Rendezvous.
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The Perry Rendezvous at Port Ludlow

An Annual Event for Perry Boat Owners

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This year's Perry Rendezvous is now behind us. We are working on posting a gallery.
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The Cartoon Boats

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December sees a flurry of very special boats leave Bob's drawing board. They are the cartoon boats Bob draws for his friends as Christmas cards. What the casual observer may sense, is that these are not simply drawings of random boats. Each and every one is in fact carefully drawn to illustrate a particular theme that relates to the recipient. The drawings are treasured gifts and they also appear on the T-shirts made for the annual Perry Rendezvous. See more cartoons here.
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