Yacht designer K. Aage Nielsen died 30 years ago this June at age 80. Born and raised in Denmark, and classically trained in that country’s apprenticeship system, Nielsen immigrated to the United States at age 21. Despite having done significant work for two prominent American design firms—the John G. Alden Company and Sparkman & Stephens Inc.—prior to setting up a successful practice of his own, Nielsen never achieved widespread name recognition during his lifetime; even the publishers of a 2006 Nielsen biography-plus-portfolio acknowledge as much. Nielsen did, however, develop a devoted following, mostly in the Northeast and especially among those fortunate enough, whether as first or subsequent owners, to possess a custom sailing yacht—Nielsen’s specialty.
Until this year, that select constituency believed their yachts were, in effect, one of a kind and the last to be had, because Nielsen, according to the biography, stipulated that “no further boats should be built to his designs” after his death.
Praise for Big Props
In Professional BoatBuilder No. 150 contributing editor Nigel Calder’s exploration of the inherent efficiency of larger propellers and their demands on propulsion engines introduced readers to the 78′ (23.8m), 150-ton Elmore, built in Astoria, Oregon, in 1890. Dee and Sara Meek have lovingly restored this former tugboat. Her current engine is a massive Atlas Imperial rated at 110 hp (82 kW) at 325 rpm and weighs 10 tons, for a power-to-weight ratio of around 1 hp per 180 lbs (82 kg). At 8 knots, fuel consumption is reported to be around 4 gallons (15 l) per hour. The Elmore is equipped with either a 58″- or 62″-diameter (147cm or 158cm) propeller (the engineer couldn’t remember which.
from Professional BoatBuilder magazine No. 149
Compiled by Dan Spurr
Two Steps Ahead
In 2012, Patrizio Ferrarese, head of R.A.M., the Italian Riva Boat Service founded in 1957 by his father-in-law, Carlo Riva, received a message from an American former customer wanting to restore a 1981 Monte Carlo Offshorer, but with a resolutely contemporary look. Ferrarese gathered a state-of-the-art restoration team in Sarnico. When the boat was delivered to the yard, it was evident that the 32-year-old hull, number 91 of the series, was in excellent condition, and a suitable candidate for a makeover.
from Professional BoatBuilder magazine No. 148
Compiled by Dan Spurr
A Million Ideas
One look at the portfolio of Janusz Konkol, a boat designer and builder in Poland, confirms that his mind runs in many directions at once: wooden boats, composite sailboats and motoryachts, center-console outboard boats, mahogany plywood classic runabouts à la Chris-Craft, GarWood, and Riva, traditional wood blocks for Tall Ships, composite and metal parts for automotive and other industries…. For 14 years Konkol’s Haber Yachts has supplied motorboats for RothBiltBoats in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts. Haber Yachts employs about 50 people.
Maryland-based consulting naval architect William Hockberger said he was “searching for something else” last August when he stumbled on “a paper read before the Institute of Naval Architects, in London, in 1906.” Hockberger had found this particular monograph—“Design and Construction of Auto Boats,” by James A. Smith—buried in a once-popular but long-defunct weekly periodical called The Automobile, published in New York City and later bound in a single volume spanning the period January to June of 1906. Eleven-hundred-plus pages of newsprint—now property of the University of Michigan library system—had been digitized by Google. That conversion enabled Hockberger to e-mail Word and PDF files of his find to naval architect and friend Donald Blount, with the comment: “Maybe nothing new or interesting to you, but the kind of source it is makes me think it’s pretty obscure and probably something you haven’t seen.”